Small Dairies See Business Opportunities

There is optimism in smaller dairy producers that are willing to focus on locavore consumers. Locavores are interested in sustainability and eco-freindly food production. While main stream dairy producers are struggling, smaller dairies are using consumer interest in how milk products are made to sell premium priced products, like heritage cheeses.

Much of it is being devoured by "locavores," people who try to eat locally produced food and are willing to pay up to get it. There's also growing demand for "heritage cheese" produced by breeds of cows, goats and sheep not found in normal dairies.

"In America you have block cheddar and you have black and white cows and that's what the general consumer understands about cheese and dairy," said Ms. Nichols [of Heamour Farm in Madison, N.Y]. "I'm hoping the consumer will start to stop and think about the cultural heritage behind that product they are eating and why that breed of animal is contributing to the flavor of that product."