Written by Megan Burns. Media by Baylen Whitfield. [divide]
Just down the road from Greenville College, lies Marcoot Jersey Creamery. This is a seven generation, family owned dairy farm that hand makes artisan and farmstead cheeses. They offer a variety of over 20 cheeses ranging from fresh mozzarella to cave-aged alpine cheese. Whatever cheese you choose to try is sure to be gouda. Sorry, too cheesy?
The Marcoot Jersey Farm has been dated all the way back to the 1800’s when the first generation of Jersey farmers came from Switzerland to New Orleans, to Bond and Madison counties. Around 2009 the choice to continue the farm or sell came about when the sixth generation decided it was time to retire. In the year following, the seventh generation, which includes Amy and Beth Marcoot, decided to keep the farm and expand by releasing a line of cheeses. Amy and Beth, along with Audie, head cheese maker, and Laura, marketing, have made a successful business, just turning 6 years old this past month.
All of the cheese at Marcoot’s creamery is hand made by their employees, using only the milk from their own Jersey cattle. They milk approximately 65 Jersey cows two times a day right on the Creamery’s land in Greenville, IL. The owners love to educate others on the processes of making cheese. In their store, they have large viewing windows, to observe the cheese-making. They also invite anyone to visit their calves, which are housed near the Creamery. Beth Marcoot, now Beth Young, gave a bit of insight to the behind the scenes.
What is something most people don’t know about the creamery?
We are open six days a week and we have several events throughout the year.
Can people come tour?
Yes! We offer private tours (scheduled with our Tour Director), or our ‘Open Tours’ no reservation needed (Currently, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1pm, starting April 1-Oct 31.
How do you feel your location (in Greenville) is good for your business?
We have lots of visitors travel from surrounding communities to visit us. It’s really fun!
Can college kids get jobs or internships at the creamery?
We do hire!
What is the most difficult part of the creamery?
Dairy farming requires long hours! My dad, John, milks the cows every morning. He starts at 2:30AM. We start making the cheese between the hours of 3AM and 5AM. The cheese process can be a 10-12 hour process. Regardless, of the long hours, we love being dairy farmers and cheese makers!
What is your purpose/ goal for the creamery?
That’s a tough question because there is not a short answer! My sister, Amy, and I came back to the farm when our dad discussed the possibility of selling the farm. After we had the discussion, we decided we needed to add value to our cow’s milk by making a product with the milk. We decided cheese would be a great start! We have been making cheese for 6 years! The short answer to the question is sustainability, heritage, education and passion. Sustainability for our family, our family’s heritage with the Jersey cow, educate our guests about agriculture, the dairy industry and cheese, and passion for producing excellent products.