FireFly Farms Announces Partnership with Wagon Wheel Ranch in Collection and Use of Whey By-Product of Cheese Making

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FireFly Farms (http://www.fireflyfarms.com), producer of artisanal goat cheeses from Maryland’s Allegheny Plateau, is proud to announce a partnership with Wagon Wheel Ranch (http://www.wagonwheelranch.org) of Mt. Airy, Maryland, in the collection and use of whey, a by-product of the cheese-making process.

FireFly Farms (http://www.fireflyfarms.com), producer of artisanal goat cheeses from Maryland’s Allegheny Plateau, is proud to announce a partnership with Wagon Wheel Ranch (http://www.wagonwheelranch.org) of Mt. Airy, Maryland, in the collection and use of whey, a by-product of the cheese-making process.

Completed in July, FireFly Farms’ new 4,200-square foot creamery in Accident, Maryland, allows for the collection of whey. Whey is the serum or liquid part of the milk that is separated from the curd when making cheese. It has excellent nutritional properties, providing phosphorus and potassium, is acidic, serving as a good additive for alkaline-heavy soils, and contains simple organic compounds, making it an excellent plant fertilizer. Some producers choose to dispose of the whey, but given its nutrient-rich composition, FireFly Farms sought out an appropriate use for it.

At Wagon Wheel Ranch, owner Brian Schiner raises free-range cows, lamb, goats, pigs, and poultry without the use of antibiotics. All of the animals eat an easily digestible vegetarian diet of grass. The farm sells directly to consumers and to wholesale customers.

“We’re so pleased that we were able to configure our new building so that we could capture and make available this high-nutrient fertilizer and feed available to a farming partner,” said Mike Koch, FireFly Farms President. “We believe in the interdependence of people and our environment, and we are committed to ensuring our cheese-making operations are as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible,” he added.

“We raise our pigs in the wooded areas of our farm where they can free range for grass, weeds, bark, bugs, and insects, like they would do in the wild,” said Schiner. “The whey provided to us by FireFly Farms is an excellent source of protein that has allowed us to feed even less grain to our pigs.”

About FireFly Farms:
FireFly Farms offers nationally and internationally award-winning premium goat cheese that features the distinct regional flavors of Mountain Maryland’s Allegheny Plateau. Each cheese is artfully handcrafted and aged with precise detail; and, each offers distinguished flavor, exceptional texture, noteworthy composition, and unprecedented aesthetics. The cheese of FireFly Farms is produced using agriculturally sustainable, locally sourced fresh goat’s milk and time‐honored, traditional methods of goat cheese making. FireFly Farms opened its new Creamery & Market to the public on Friday, October 7, 2011, in Accident, Md.

About Wagon Wheel Ranch:
Wagon Wheel Ranch raises grass-fed beef, lamb, and goat along with free-range pork, chickens, and eggs. They do not use antibiotics or any type of growth hormones. Their lamb can be found in many Whole Foods Markets and all of their meats are available directly from their farm in Mt. Airy, Md.

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ANDREA CEDRO
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