When Moore Family Farms decided to add value to the milk from their 50 registered Holsteins by having an exclusive cheese made, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into! Today their cheese shop in Maquoketa sells local foods, locally sourced sandwiches, and other locally sourced items
When we began milking cows in 2014, we had no idea where we would be five years later. In 2017, we decided that we needed to add value to our milk to remain competitive in the dairy industry. We sent approximately 7,000 lbs of milk to a cheesemaker in Wisconsin and brought 700 lbs of Moore Family Farms Mild Cheddar home in November. While our cheese was aging, we came across the opportunity to rent a small shop on Main Street in our hometown. We rented a couple of coolers, added some other locally sourced products and opened what was supposed to be a 6 week pop up shop to market our cheese. The response was so overwhelmingly positive that we decided to remain open permanently! Since then we've added locally produced ice cream, started making gourmet grilled cheeses with our cheese and homemade bread, and added a partner who specializes in unique gift items. In May of 2019 we moved out of our 500 square foot shop on Main Street into a 2,500 square foot stand alone building with kitchen facilities and a walk-in cooler.
We've been able to expand our local product offerings, expand our restaurant menu, added an espresso machine to serve locally ground coffee, all to create a unique experience in our hometown!
We are working on plans to renovate a building in our downtown to process all of our milk, and to use a 10,000 square foot historical building as a retail center, farm-to-table event space, and upper story housing.
Heather and Brandon Moore are the owners and operators of Moore Family Farms. Moore Family Farms is a first generation beef and dairy farm in Maquoketa, Iowa. Heather is the general manager of the dairy and cheese shop, while Brandon manages 800 head of custom-fed feeder cattle on the farm and works full time for Big Gain, Inc. as a District Manager. His duties for Big Gain include helping other farmers and several feed mills in his area troubleshoot and improve their operation.
Also located in the same building with the Moore Family Farms cheese shop is Burbs to Boonies, owned and operated by another local farm family, the Millers. Alicia Miller and Heather, assisted by several part-time and seasonal employees, keep the shop open seven days a week. Heather does most of the dairy farm chores, including milking, assisted by a part-time milker. Brandon does all the feed lot related chores and assists with feeding and breeding the milking herd. Heather and Brandon's four young children (ages 9 to 9 months) help as much as they can- their favorite job being quality control of the locally produced ice cream!