It's been a challenging year for both consumers and agricultural business. Redhead Creamery knows all about that — and is finding ways to overcome those challenges.
"This has been quite a year for making adjustments. We've been able to make some that have really helped," said Alise Sjostrom, a co-owner of the family business in Broten, Minn. Sjostrom, like her three sisters, is a pronounced redhead, which inspired the company's name.
Among the developments at Redhead Creamery, which has been making cheese since 2014:
- Buying a refrigerated van to deliver its products to the Twin Cities, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo, N.D., and other communities.
- Making and selling apple pies from apples grown in an orchard owned by the creamery's owners.
- Having one its cheeses selected as a finalist for the 2021 Good Food Awards, which "celebrate foods that are tasty, authentic and responsible," according to contest promotional material.
Delivering products to its customers takes on greater importance this year because Redhead Creamery traditionally has relied on sales through farm tours, visitors to its on-farm retail shop, farm dinners and other special events. With the normal sales hampered because of the pandemic, Redhead Creamery "really needed to get our products to our customers," Sjostrom said.
The Twin Cities dominates Minnesota's retail market, while Fargo and Sioux Falls are the largest cities in their respective states. Redhead Creamery also will deliver to customers in communities located directly between Brooten and the Twin Cities, Fargo and Sioux Falls, she said.
For instance, Interstate 94 links Brooten and Fargo. Fergus Falls, Minn., lies right along I-94, so the Redhead Creamery refrigerated van will deliver to Fergus Falls on their trip to or from Fargo.
The new line of apple pies, a product often associated with cheese, is doing well, Sjostrom said.
And Redhead Creamery's North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster is among the 24 cheesemaker finalists in the national Good Foods cheese category The winner will be announced Jan. 22, 2021.
North Fork is the name of the township in which the creamery resides, and Munster is the style of European cheese after which it's modeled. Whiskey from the Panther Distillery's Minnesota 14 Whiskey, 14 miles away, is washed on the Munster to produce what Redhead Creamery calls "the funkiest cheese" it makes.
The company says Redhead Creamery North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster can be found at fine grocery retailers, at the Redhead Creamery on-farm store, shipped via UPS, delivered to your door via the Redhead Creamery Cheese Van or ordered online at https://www.redheadcreamery.com/buy-online.
Redhead Creamery works with the adjacent dairy farm, Jer-Lindy Farms, which dates to 1979. Jerry and Linda Jennissen are Alise's parents.
Redhead Creamery is owned by Linda and Jerry Jennissen, as well as Alise and her husband Lucas Sjostrom, who's also executive director of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. Alise and Lucas, who grew up on his family Holstein and diversified crop farm in southern Minnesota, first met as children during an annual convention of the Minnesota Junior Holstein Association.
Alise Sjostrom said her family remains optimistic about Redhead Creamery's future.
"We're making adjustments we need to," she said.