Feb
19
Minneapolis
debriefing

Expansion


Cedar Summit Farm adds
creamery to employ
more family members

Cedar Summit Farm has been in Dave Minar’s family ever since his grandfather purchased it in 1926. He and his wife, Flo, have been running the New Prague, Minnesota-based farm, which produces meat and dairy products, since 1969.

A year ago, the Minars decided that they would like to involve more family members in the operations of the farm and so they added a creamery. Today Cedar Summit Farm makes and sells its own butter, ice cream, yogurt and cheeses, which can also be found at retail outlets around the metro area including the St. Paul Farmer’s Market, as well as Whole Foods Market grocery stores in Minneapolis. The creamery employs four family members in addition to Dave and Flo on a regular basis. Other family members help out part-time.

“It was a long process. It took us about four years to get this all structured and get the creamery built and planned,” says Dave Minar. “It’s been a real challenge. We did a lot of marketing ahead of time to make sure there’s a market for what’s being produced.”

Although the story of the struggling family farm is familiar to many Americans, Minar insists that the creamery wasn’t built to prop up the farm. The Minars had switched from feeding their cows from a trough, which is the method that many farms use, to a rotational grazing system in 1993. That switch allowed the farm to become financially stable.

The creamery, he says, was built  “to be able to keep what the middleman takes for our own family.”

However, Minar says his farm isn’t unique in adding a creamery to its operations and he estimates that there are about 160 other farms with creameries in the country. But he believes that the glass bottles in which Cedar Summit Farm’s milk is packaged along with the wide array of the creamery’s products are unique.

Because the creamery is only a year old, the family is still working the kinks out of the operations. Challenges include keeping up with demand for butter and certain cuts of meat. To combat the problem, Cedar Summit has begun purchasing butter for its products from other partners, though it continues to make its own for sale at the creamery.

The farm, in fast-growing Scott County, also provides tours of its facilities, and makes deliveries of its products. “Our claim is that our customers are moving in around us, which is literally the case,” Minar says.

Dave Minar, Cedar Summit Farm: 952.758.6886; daveandflo@cedarsummit.com; www.cedarsummit.com

 

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