Cheese made from Philadelphia school's cows hits store shelves
Cheese made exclusively from the milk of Philadelphia cows is hitting supermarket shelves in the city.
What's happening: W.B. Saul High School in Roxborough is distributing cheese under its own label — using milk exclusively from cows on its working farm — for the first time this year.
- The types of cheeses include Gouda, cheddar, colby and baby Swiss.
Why it matters: Tenth and 11th grade students involved in the farm's vocational program take part in nearly every aspect of raising and taking care of the cows, from breeding to milking.
- And profits from selling the cheeses go right back to the school.
By the numbers: The farm — which has 11 cows and 10 heifers, or young cows — is estimated to potentially raise around $30,000-$40,000 a year by selling the cheese locally.
- The cows produce around 360 pounds of milk a day at the farm.
Catch up fast: Land O'Lakes had bought milk from the school’s cows for decades. The major dairy producer used it to make cheeses and other products.
- But that relationship ended late last year over issues around transporting the milk from the school, farm administrator Jane Arbasak told Axios Monday.
- The school is now partnering with an Amish cheesemaker in Lancaster County to produce cheeses.
The intrigue: The cheeses have drawn a flurry of interest, particularly from school alumni, after landing at Roxborough deli T & F Farmers' Pride as part of a test launch last month.
What they're saying: "This cheese is from our cows and from no other cows, and it's exciting because we actually have a product that people can [buy]," Arbasak said.
Emily Cullen, an 11th grade animal science teacher, told Axios that the effort is special because students "get to see the full dairy cycle, full circle."
- Tamia Grimes, a 17-year-old junior in the vocational program, said she's always wanted to help animals and hopes to become a veterinarian.
- "It's been my dream to come to Saul because I can hands-on work with these animals," Grimes said.
What's next: More of the school's cheeses can be found at T & F Farmers' Pride and Weavers Way Co-op in the coming weeks.
- The school is also exploring opportunities to sell the farm's milk and cheeses to local restaurants and businesses, Arbasak said.
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