July 22, 2012
Name of business: Shepherd’s Whey Creamery
Owners: Suzanne and Toby Behrmann
Address: 825 Jenny Wren Drive, Martinsburg, W.Va.
Opening date: May 25, 2012
Products and services: Goat milk cheese including chevre, a soft, spreadable traditional goat cheese flavored with pineapple, as well as various herbs and spices, including basil, caraway, black pepper and seasoned salt; queso fresco, a firm, pressed cheese offered plain or with various herb flavors, including basil and pepper; feta, a traditional Mediterranean salty cheese; and Camembert, a soft, mold-ripened cheese. In the future, the business plans to offer havarti, a firm, curd-washed, aged cheese; drinkable yogurt; and a more traditional custard-type yogurt in 6-ounce cups and quarts.
Target market: Anyone who likes to eat cheese
How did you get into your business, and what motivated you to start it? We moved to Martinsburg from suburban southern California in 2001. Having never farmed, we purchased our first two goats for family milk in 2002 and made our first cheese in 2007 on the stove in our kitchen. Our oldest daughter, Megan, took on cheese making as a 4-H project. Three years ago, we began researching the laws and regulations related to dairies. We broke ground on our dairy and creamery in December and received our official grade-A producer’s license and food-manufacturing permit in May. We have 18 purebred French Alpine dairy goats, 12 of which are being milked for cheeses and yogurt. Having little farming knowledge or experience — though Toby spent one summer on a farm in Germany as an exchange student when he was in high school — we have benefited from the knowledge of our neighbor and retired dairyman, and from a friend from whom we purchased our foundation does. Suzanne and Megan also attended several workshops and classes on farmstead cheese making.
Previous business experience: Suzanne is a physical therapist in private practice. Toby is a Ph.D.-level clinical psychologist in private practice. They have been farming for about eight years, and their products include hay; goats for show, milk and meat; hogs for meat; free-range eggs and compost.
Number of employees: None, but the Behrmanns’ children, Megan, Emily and Matthew, help run the business
Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The creamery’s products also are sold at the Charles Town Farmers Market in the 100 block of South Samuel Street in Charles Town, W.Va., on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
Phone number: 304-283-5203
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