Category: Hannah Findling

Assignment 2a – Local Food Systems Snapshot

I first learned about Keswick Creamery during my Freshman year at Dickinson, when I worked for Dining Services at the Juice Box.  One of my co-workers was Sara, a chipper mom and homesteader who kept a herd of goats, cows, chickens, and dogs.  In 2017 I visited Sara’s home and helped with evening chores a few times during the semester, enjoying fresh cheeses and milk as a reward for my labor.  At the time, Sara began her transition away from Dining Services to work full time as a cheesemaker for Keswick and for her own business, Swirly Girl Creamery.

Representing Sweet! at the 2019 Market of Curiosities…you can see Keswick’s booth in the left corner. Julie, Kath, and I became friends during our time at the market.

Julie from Keswick became a good friend in the Carlisle small business sphere after my partner, Kathleen, and I sold our baked goods at a booth next to Keswick’s booth at the 2019 Market of Curiosities.  Julie, Kath, and I exchanged goods and spent the day chatting about the landscape of small business and food production in our community.

Outside of the historic Carlisle Theatre, the winter home of FOTS.

Much more recently, I visited Julie at Keswick’s booth at the Farmer’s On The Square Market.  I picked up a tub of her dill and onion quark, and took advantage of the opportunity to ask her some questions about her involvement with local food production.

 How did you get into cheesemaking?  How long have you been producing cheese?

      Julie’s response:  “I’ve been making cheese for 20 years…I’m a farm girl at heart.  Keswick provided me an opportunity to stay on the farm while also practicing and developing something new.”


How does Keswick operate in the market system?  Where else do you guys carry product?

Keswick operates at diverse farmers markets in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Maryland, and in the Cumberland valley.  As a business, they strive to provide handcrafted artisanal cheeses and dairy products produced in a humane and sustainable manner.

 Have things changed a lot within the last few years?

We’ve expanded our markets and product offerings.  We’re excited to see what the future holds!

 How does Keswick practice sustainable dairy?

All of Keswick’s dairy cows are raised freely on pasture, without any pesticide, herbicide, or fertilizer applications.  The cattle are grazed rotationally, and have been since 1990.  They are treated humanely, and never undergo tail docking or treatment with rBST.  Sara and Mark’s goats and cattle are treated in the same ways, and allow us to bring new varieties of cheeses to market while also supporting another local family farmer.


Links and More:

Farmers On The Square (FOTS)


Keswick Creamery:   316587556951/,

Swirly Girl Creamery:

In-Class Reflections

14 February 2020

In class reflection – queer and lesbian food culture with Prof. Vooris.

I greatly enjoyed Prof. Vooris’ lecture today.  They did a lovely job encapsulating perspectives and 50 years of queer history into a short 30 minute block.  I enjoyed our dive into Dykes To Watch Out For, and especially enjoyed our conversation surrounding the backyard wedding and it’s significance within queer culture.  As a queer woman myself, I loved hearing the perspectives of other students in our class as they learned more about queer culture.

Week 2 Assignment: You and the Food System

  1. Keswick Creamery Milk and Cheeses – main ingredient: Milk
keswick creamery logo

I have lived full-time in Carlisle since December of 2018.  One of my major goals in 2019 was to patronize local businesses whenever possible in favor of shopping at Walmart or Giant.  Currently, my household gets our cheeses and milk from Keswick Creamery, a dairy located just outside of Newburg, PA.  I pick up cheese and milk each week at the Farmers on the Square Market.

Keswick grazes their herds of dairy cattle on grass pastures, and does not treat with rBST or other artificial growth hormones.  Sara Kelley, a personal friend since we were coworkers at the Juice Box in the Kline back  in 2016, raises milking goats and sells their milk to Keswick, which she incorporates into their cheeses as one of their cheesemakers.  Operating as a small local business allows Keswick to minimize environmental externalities, as well as to work alongside local environmental organizations to ensure sustainable dairy practices in an environment which is well-acquainted with mega-dairy production.  On average, my milk and cheeses travel about 25 miles to reach my refrigerator.

2. Nasoya Extra-Firm Organic Tofu – main ingredient: Soybeans

nasoya tofu

Nasoya Extra-Firm Organic Tofu

My second staple food this week was Nasoya extra-firm organic tofu, the primary ingredient of this product is soybeans.  Nasoya sources their soybeans from Vitasoy-USA, located in Ayer, Massachusetts.  Vitasoy and Nasoya are both branches of the same parent company, Pulmuone Foods USA.  Soybeans are a crop which requires high irrigation and careful management to avoid pests in an organic system.  Large combine harvesters are utilized in the harvest of the crop, which contributes to increased carbon outputs.

Although I do not currently identify as vegetarian or vegan, I endeavor to be a conscious consumer, both in the retail sense and in terms of the foods I eat.  Organic tofu is a great alternative to eating meats, as the carbon inputs required to grow soybeans and process the soy into tofu are significantly less than the inputs required for the production of commercial animal products.  Given, significant human labor and carbon is still required to produce and harvest the soybeans, clean them, ship the beans to production, press and ferment them into tofu, and then package and ship the products to supermarkets.  On average, my tofu has travelled about 450 miles to arrive on my plate.

3.  Basmati Rice


Full Circle Organic Long-Grain Basmati Rice

The third food that is a major staple of my diet is long-grain basmati rice.  I prefer to purchase organic products when I can afford them, and currently have the Full-Circle brand.  I store my dry goods in glass mason jars, so unfortunately I do not have the packaging in order to reference wether the product was produced in the USA or abroad.   India is the primary exporter of rice worldwide, but the United States does produce rice domestically, particularly in Texas, Mississippi, and California.

Rice is the most intensive in terms of inputs in both labor required and water usage for production of the three main staples in my diet this week.  Rice is grown in a semi-submerged environment, so water usage is quite high.  Rice must be harvested from the paddies, transported to processing facilities, hulled and washed, packaged, and finally shipped worldwide to grocery stores.  Human labor in rice production is grueling, and extremely tedious.  Assuming my rice was produced in the southwestern US or abroad, it is likely that my rice travelled over 1,000 miles to reach my bowl.

Hannah Findling

Hi there! My name is Hannah and I am a senior biology major at Dickinson College.  This blog will serve as an outlet for my thoughts and assignments during my Food Studies Certificate capstone.  I grew up in Ithaca, NY, and enjoy riding horses, spending time with my girlfriend, Kathleen, and my cat, Dana Scully, and hiking during my free time.  My interests in food studies center around sustainability, food justice, accessibility, and my personal experience as an individual living with Celiac Disease.

My Celiac diagnosis came as a major surprise and created a drastic shift in my life and the life of my partner, who works as a pastry chef.  Since going gluten-free, we have restructured and rebuilt her small business to cater to the allergen-friendly market.  My background in biology and the liberal arts pairs well with her pastry and business education to position us strongly as we move forwards as entrepreneurs.

Kath and I have also been part of the team at The Sunrise Cafe, a new restaurant as of October 2019 in Carlisle.  Kath is the kitchen manager and cook, and I work on the line as well as on the social media presence of the business.  I am using the cafe as my experiential component for the certificate, and am excited to deepen my understanding of what it takes to get a brick-and-mortar business up and off the ground in a community similar to this one

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