John Marcoot had planned to sell his dairy operation when he retired. The operation had been in the family for six generations. He didn’t want his daughters to struggle with lives on a small farm, as competition from mega farms was making it more difficult for small farm survival. If they were to continue the operation, they needed to do something different than to continue to sell their milk to the local dairy coop. Daughters Amy and Beth, who had already started other careers, wanted to continue the family legacy. However, they agreed with Dad that they needed to work it from another angle. They found that angle in making cheese and in agritourism. Marcoot Jersey Creamery was born.
The family had been raising Jersey cows for decades. Jersey cow milk is higher in butterfat than other cows and ideal for cheese making. John had switched years earlier from feeding grain to the cows to letting them graze on grass, another huge plus. After studying the viability, visiting cheese making operations in the east, taking cheese making lessons from a consultant, and creating a business plan, the Marcoot Jersey Creamery was born in 2010.
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Touring the Marcoot Jersey Creamery
Marcot Jersey Creamery offers an hour-long guided tour on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 1 p.m. On the tour your will see the milking parlor, calf barn and creamery. The tour also includes a sampling of the creamery’s artisan cheeses. Admission is $3 per person.
Kids get a feel for milking on the cow simulator in the calf barn.
If you miss the guided tour time, you can still watch creamery staff make cheese or bottle milk through a large viewing window, watch a “field to fork” video, and of course purchase cheese.
We happened to visit the Marcoot Jersey Creamery shortly before a cheese and beer pairing event was coming to a close on the creamery grounds. The creamery sponsors such events about four times a year. They also offer a chocolate and cheese tasting tour that you can inquire about.
The family operation goes on with the seventh generation, albeit with a twist from tradition. Amy pointed out, “It was a do or die situation” once they committed to cheese making. The company is now are now in its sixth year of selling cheese in their creamery, at farmers markets, through local distributors, and partnering with other food and beverage companies. It is clear they’re on the track to success.
If you visit Marcoot Jersey Creamery
Marcoot Jersey Creamery is located at 526 Dudleyville Road in Greenville, Illinois. Check the web site for creamery hours and other details.
Accommodations: We stayed at the Hampton Inn Collinsville during our visit to the Illinois South area. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Disclosures: My visit to the Marcoot Jersey Creamery was hosted by Illinois South Tourism and Marcoot Jersey Creamery. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own. Accommodations were provided by Hampton Inn, Collinsville, Illinois.
This article contains an affiliate link, which means that if you book a hotel room through the TripAdvisor link above, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
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