Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cream of the Crop

Remember the days of when a milkman would come every week, leaving milk and cream in glass bottles at your door? Well, me neither, but I've read about those days with nostalgia and am fully ready to embrace them.

Beginning soon, Artisan Foods Delivered in southwest Wisconsin will play the role of milkman, delivering glass-bottled milk, artisan yogurt, cheeses, butter, eggs and meats to doors in a yet-to-be-defined area. They are currently taking names and addresses to determine their home delivery routes so sign up
now. Weekly orders must total at least $25 and include a $2.50 delivery charge. You can also create a standing order, which a driver will pre-pack and deliver each week, and for a nominal charge, provide a cooler to sit outside your door so you don't even have to be home to put the food in your fridge.

Artisan Foods Delivered consists of two Wisconsin dairy artisans who found each other just at the point where they were considering establishing separate home delivery routes. Dairy farmer and farmstead bottler Nick Kirch of
Blue Marble Family Farm near Barneveld and farmstead yogurt producer Ron Paris, Sugar River Dairy near Albany have partnered with two of their distributor expert friends: Jeff Barnhardt and Evan McAlter to form Artisan Foods Delivered.

Blue Marble Family Farm describes itself as "land-farm-table." The sustainability of the farming practices and the way animals are treated are just as important as the taste of the products. Blue Marble features "creamline" milk from pasture-fed cows and is a nonhomogenized milk , meaning the cream rises to the top and can be seen as a line near the top of the bottle - either you skim it off or mix it in.

Sugar River Dairy is an artisan plant crafting farmstead yogurt with creamline milk produced by Blue Marble. It's a one percent milk fat, fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, rich and satisfying. Together, Blue Marble & Sugar River Dairy have signed on other artisans such as Tomato Mountain, Just Coffee, Cedar Grove Cheese, Pecatonica Valley Farm and The Summer Kitchen, with more to come to add to their home delivery route.

The delivery network solves one of the biggest problems facing small producers - distribution, providing a valuable link between farmers and consumers without the middleman. Now, let's just hope we all live near a planned home delivery route!