Looking Glass Creamery, Fairview, N.C., is expanding production and building a new facility with underground cheese aging caves in Polk County, N.C. Their existing facility in Fairview will also be renovated to offer more retail and foodservice options and improved parking.
The new facility will be located on the historic Harmon Dairy, a second generation cow dairy run by brothers Doug and Alan Harmon. Harmon Dairy is a 226-acre farm originally purchased in three parcels by Doug & Alan’s father in 1947. In 2013, the brothers placed the farm as a whole under an agricultural conservation easement to keep it intact. After 8 months of negotiations, Looking Glass Creamery and Harmon Dairy formed an agreement that would fulfill the needs of both parties.
The Harmons will continue to own and operate the dairy until the creamery is operational. Once the construction of the creamery is completed, Looking Glass Creamery will take over all operations of the dairy.
“We feel so fortunate that the Harmons have the vision, patience and commitment to the land and their broader community to protect this farm and find a way for it to grow with respect for the past, but with an eye to the future,” says co-owner Andy Perkins.
The move will enable Looking Glass Creamery to expand production, improve their affinage and allow them to tell the whole story of the farm and their cheeses from the cow to the customer. The company will host culinary events and dinners centered around the farm, the dairy and the cheese made on the property. Visitors to the farm will be able to see the production floor through a picture window to watch the cheesemaking process and peek into an aging cave. Looking Glass also announced plans to add ice cream and several varieties of blue cheese to their regular product line. A farm store will be added later, where visitors can purchase cheese and other products made on the farm.
Once the production is re-located to Polk County, the company’s original Fairview location will be renovated to include an enlarged retail area, additional seating, light food service and a small classroom space.
“We have been blessed with this opportunity, but with that blessing comes a lot of uncertainty and new responsibilities. It is our customers, independent restaurants and retailers that have made us successful over the past 9 years. As we grow new roots in Polk County, we look forward to sharing the farm and the cheesemaking process with our long-time supporters and develop new ones in Polk County, Greenville and Charlotte too,” says co-owner Jennifer Perkins.