After making more than a million pounds of cheese in 2022, the Pineland Farms Dairy Co. has goals as big as consumers’ appetites as it has announced its aim to make 1.3 million pounds in 2023. With this milestone, the cheesemaker has become one of the largest cheese producers in the state of Maine after arriving in Bangor, Maine, five years ago.
“The idea was ‘What are we going to do with dairy in Bangor in the next generation?’” Craig Denekas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Libra Foundation, which owns Pineland, said in a recent interview with The Bangor Daily News, touching on why the cheesemaker chose Bangor as the area to establish its facility in. “What’s going to happen to those farms and land if there’s no longer a market in Bangor? What the farmers really want, to stay in business, is to have a market for the product.”
The Libra Foundation is a Portland, Maine-based nonprofit. According to the same article, the organization bought and outfitted the Bangor facility with the intention of renewing the local milk market, which has seen a decline in recent years after the area lost a major dairy company in 2013.
After purchasing the facility, the Libra Foundation invested millions of dollars into refurbishing it, buying all new equipment for all steps of the cheesemaking process. In 2017, the organization created Pineland Farms Dairy Company, which is a for-profit extension of the original Pineland Farms enterprise.
Today, the company has nearly 40 employees that help produce more than a dozen different varieties of cheese including, Cheddar, jack, Swiss, feta, and curds. All of these are made using milk from roughly 20 farmers within 50 miles of Bangor.
“Knowing their milk stays local and within the community, I think gives our farmers a sense of pride in what they do,” Pineland Farms’ Head Cheesemaker Earle Taylor said.
To read more about Pineland Farms and its evolution, click here.
What is next for this growing cheesemaker? Stick with Deli Market News to find out.