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.
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.
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)
Swirly Girl Creamery: