Cheese Cave

Farm Name: Bosky Acres Inc.
Location: Waxhaw, Union Co.
Operator Name: Matt and Michele Lamb
Production: Goat Dairy, Cheese

“The goal for this project is to create a more sustainable solution for aging farmstead goat cheese, increase farm revenue by expanding our product offerings, and share the design, process, and associated costs with any interested party.”

Bosky Acres is a goat dairy in Union County primarily selling cheese to consumers in the Charlotte metro area. It is a partnership between wife and husband, Michele and Matt Lamb. Both are degree holders from Ohio State University. Matt has a full time job as a designer for Continental Tire. Being a designer he likes to formulate ideas and solutions to make the dairy more efficient. Michele is the primary farm operator at Bosky Acres. She is responsible for most of the marketing and daily chores, in addition to homeschooling their two sons.

The goat dairy had done well selling soft cheeses to local markets, grocers, and restaurants, but in order to increase the product line and have cheeses that could be stored for longer periods of time, Matt and Michele desired to build a cheese cave for hardening and aging their cheese.

Although the cheese caves are typically man-made structures, the function is essentially the same as a natural cave, which tends to stay at a consistent cool temperature and adequate humidity for food storage and preservation. “Caves” in the cheese business are usually a simple insulated room that is monitored and climate controlled by electrical equipment and high energy usage, similar to a large refrigerator. Matt and Michele wanted to install a cheese cave that was just as effective in aging the cheese, but at the same time use little energy to make their farm more sustainable. The couple designed a cheese cave that would be an 8 X 8 X 12′ concrete structure that would be buried into the hillside. This design utilizes the thermo-regulating properties of the earth to stabilize the temperature and humidity, mimicking a natural cave.

“Other cheesemakers should learn what is required for a more sustainable approach to aging cheeses. The use of walk-in coolers for aging cheese is a trend based on short term economic necessity. This trend needs to be countered by pragmatic approaches to building traditional aging caves. Our goal is to show that the real costs and considerations for aging cheeses can favor a more sustainable approach.” – Michele Lamb

Bosky Acres anticipated increasing their revenue stream by $40K to $50K annually through this project. They also hope that the project will show others that there are sustainable, low energy ways to do value added products if the Earth’s natural systems are taken advantage of in the design process.