FireFly Farms: Award-Winning Handmade Cheese Sustainably Produced from Renewable Energy in Garrett County
Last Updated on Aug 28, 2015 at 8:53am | Energy
, producer of handmade cheeses from Mountain Maryland, proudly announces the completion of a 27.72 kilowatt solar array at its cheese production facility and specialty retail store in Garrett County, Maryland.
“The completion of this important renewable energy project reflects our corporate commitment to sustainability,” remarked FireFly Farms board president, Mike Koch. “We’re thrilled that our cheese making operations are now powered by the Garrett County sunshine. We share our customers’ commitment to the local economy and the sustainable use of our natural resources and agriculture assets.”
The FireFly Farm’s solar project, nearly two years in the making, resulted from an impressive local collaboration: structural roof reinforcements by the Beitzel Corporation, a new metal roof by general contractor Lorne Brenneman, and solar energy engineering, equipment and installation by Tri-State Wind & Solar. The solar renewable energy installation will initially generate at least one-third of FireFly Farm’s total energy demand. Lighting system retrofits by Maryland’s Eco-Electric are planned for later this autumn. This energy conservation work aims to reduce energy consumption and increase the site’s renewable energy production to nearly half of its energy demands.
In addition to FireFly Farm’s own capital investment, project financing was provided by the Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF). Grant funding was provided by the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) Kathleen A. P. Mathias Rural Energy Efficiency Grant Program.
“NCIF’s loan to FireFly Farms for their solar panels is our first in Maryland, and there is no better example of the kind of business we like to support,” remarked Hannah Vargason, the NCIF Energy Program’s project manager. “FireFly Farms provides good jobs while benefitting the environment; powering their creamery with solar will save them money which they can invest back in their products and their people. It’s a win for the whole community.”
“We were extremely pleased to partner with FireFly Farms on this project,” stated Gene Scherrer, Managing Partner of Tri-State Wind & Solar. “This installation should go a long way to proving that solar energy is viable in Garrett County Maryland.”
"Supporting Maryland's farms and farm businesses through projects that incorporate both energy efficiency and renewable energy measures enables best practices within the agriculture sector," said A. Leigh Williams, Esq. Director of MEA. "We are pleased to assist with this upgrade that helps to build a stronger and more vibrant agriculture community in Western Maryland."
Hailed as one of the best places to visit in Mountain Maryland’s Garrett County, the solar installation makes FireFly Farms an even more attractive destination. The market features FireFly Farms’ award-winning cheeses, as well as other specialty, hand-selected items from the region and around the world. All of FireFly Farm’s cheeses are crafted on site in the adjacent creamery using fresh goat and cow’s milk sourced from local family farms. Visitors can view the specially constructed production and aging facilities and cheese making processes through observation windows.
FireFly Farm’s cheese is available at farmers markets, restaurants and many specialty retail and grocery stores. For information on where to purchase please contact FireFly Farms or visit www.fireflyfarms.com. To read more about FireFly Farm’s sustainable cheese making operations, visit www.fireflyfarms.com/sustainabilityinfo
About FireFly Farms:
FireFly Farms offers nationally & internationally award-winning premium cheese that features the distinct regional flavors of Mountain Maryland’s Allegheny Plateau. Each cheese is artfully handcrafted and aged with precise detail; and, each offers distinguished flavor, exceptional texture, noteworthy composition, and unprecedented aesthetics. The cheese of FireFly Farms is produced using agriculturally sustainable, locally-sourcedfresh goat’s milk and time-honored,traditional methods of goat cheese making.