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The Small-Scale Cheese Business

The Complete Guide to Running a Successful Farmstead Creamery

There has never been a better time to be making and selling great cheese. People worldwide are consuming more high-quality, handmade cheese than ever before. The number of artisan cheesemakers has doubled in recent years, and many of the industry’s newcomers are “farmstead” producers–those who work only with the milk of their own animals. Today, more than ever before, the people who choose to become farmer-cheesemakers need access to the knowledge of established cheese artisans who can help them build their dream.

Few career choices lead to such extremes of labor, emotion, and monetary challenge. In The Small-Scale Cheese Business (originally published in 2010 as The Farmstead Creamery Advisor), respected cheesemaker, instructor, and speaker Gianaclis Caldwell walks would-be producers through the many, and often confusing, steps and decisions they will face when considering a career in this burgeoning cottage industry. This book fills the gap that exists between the pasture and cheese plate. It goes far beyond issues of caring for livestock and basic cheesemaking, explaining business issues such as:

    * Analyzing your suitability for the career;
    * Designing and building the cheese facility;
    * Sizing up the market;
    * Negotiating day-to-day obstacles;
    * Ensuring maximum safety and efficiency.

Drawing from her own and other cheesemakers’ experiences, Caldwell brings to life the story of creating a successful cheesemaking business in a practical, organized manner. Absolutely essential for anyone interested in becoming a licensed artisan cheesemaker, The Small-Scale Cheese Business will also appeal to the many small and hobby-farm owners who already have milking animals and who wish to improve their home dairy practices and facilities.


"This delightful book is a road map to success for aspiring farmstead cheesemakers. It will help them plan, implement, and develop their new businesses. Passionate stories of experience are revealed, giving great insight into becoming a sustainable, conscientious, and entrepreneurial cheesemaker—including common pitfalls and how best to avoid them. It's about time someone writes such a comprehensive guide! I will recommend this book to every aspiring cheesemaker I know. We would have saved numerous hours and dollars with such an invaluable resource."--David Gremmels, President of The American Cheese Society; Co-owner of Rogue Creamery

"There have been many books written, and classes given on the subject of cheesemaking, but primarily from the process-oriented view. Little has been written about how to get started, or the answer to, "What are we up against here?" The Small-Scale Cheese Business fills in those blanks. One of the best pieces of advice in this book is for cheesemakers to build a base foundation beginning with proper business management. No matter how good the cheese, or how much you love your animals; everything depends upon a good business plan to eventually turn a profit. Especially useful, in addition, is Caldwell's chapter on developing an aging space in light of increasing energy costs. This has been a not-so-well thought out part of many cheesemaking projects, and could be some of the most important information in this book. To be sure, Gianaclis Caldwell asks the big questions that need to be considered before beginning to develop such a project; it's a true reality check every aspiring cheesemaker needs. In fact, this book should be in all their libraries."--Jim Wallace,

"The Small-Scale Cheese Business is an authoritative, yet friendly and approachable, guide to the process of establishing a farmstead creamery. Simply a must-have for anyone who wants to realize their dream of making and selling cheese."--Tami Parr, Author of Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest

"The Small-Scale Cheese Business is thorough, eloquent, and generous—a must-have book for anyone considering establishing a creamery. Each point is covered in detail: from the fundamental reasons for going into the business to begin with, to the design of the make room, all the way to the often-neglected exit strategy. This is a good business book for any-sized dairy."--Max McCalman, author of Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maitre Fromager

"Where there's a will, there's a 'whey.' For both the dreamer and those who've already set their sights on the beauty of being a cheesemaker, here is all the information to get started in business and survive. Caldwell's first-hand knowledge takes the reader from their fledgling idea to selling their finished product, and is presented in an easy-to-understand format. Watch out—you may start a venture that just might succeed! This is a brilliant how-to guide, and just what us stewards and entrepreneurs need during a time when our farmland must be saved."--Ricki Carroll, Owner of

"Here's a nuts-and-bolts, no-nonsense, and essential guide for anyone curious about starting a farmstead dairy. Who better to explain the intricacies and pitfalls of the cheesemaking business than a true practitioner—a woman with a lifetime of experience caring for cows and goats."--Brad Kessler, author of Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese


Gianaclis Caldwell

Gianaclis Caldwell

In her first book, The Farmstead Creamery Advisor (Chelsea Green, 2010), Gianaclis presented would-be farmer-cheesemakers with a thorough guide to building and running a small, on-farm cheese business. In Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking (Chelsea Green, 2012) she provides guidance on the intricacies of cheesemaking science alongside considerations for preparing each type of cheese variety.

Gianaclis has been teaching all levels of cheesemaking for years, as well as speaking and teaching about the business of farmstead cheese, both at her family's licensed cheese dairy, Pholia Farm, and other venues, including the American Dairy Goat Association annual convention, the American Cheese Society Conference, and the Mother Earth News Fairs.

Gianaclis' aged, raw-milk cheeses have been recognized and applauded by America's foremost authorities on cheese. Pholia Farm cheeses have been included in many major books on artisan cheese, the latest being Max McCalman's Mastering Cheese, in which her Elk Mountain cheese is included in a short list of "rock stars of the 21st century." Her Hillis Peak cheese was the centerfold cheese in the Winter 2010 issue of Culture Magazine. She was one of the spotlighted cheesemakers in a recent publication Cheesemaking by Hobby Farms magazine for their Popular Kitchen Series


Gianaclis Caldwell's Blog
Gianaclis Caldwell's Facebook Page
Pholia Farm Website


November 12, 2015

Gianaclis Caldwell at Mother Earth News Institute

777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs, PA, 15622 | Gianaclis Caldwell
Gianaclis Caldwell will be present at the debut of the Mother Earth News Institute, the inauguration of which is featuring four days of cheesemaking! The course, which is titled "The Joy of Cheese: Four Days of Cheesemaking Workshops & Tasting," is taking place November 12-15 at the Seven Spring Mountain Resort. Caldwell will be present throughout the weekend, will be teaching workshops and demos, and will be speaking on several occasions. The tuition package for "The Joy of Cheese" costs $689, the cost of which includes all of the workshops and demos, the reception dinners on both Thursday and Sunday, three nights of lodging at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, meals for all participants, complimentary copies of the books "One-Hour Cheese" and "Mastering Basic Cheesemaking," and a Deluxe Cheesemaking Kit from Urban Cheesecraft.

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Running a Small Scale Dairy Farm

Running a Small Scale Dairy Farm

Tour of the Pholia Farm

Pholia Farm and Gianaclis Caldwell

Pholia Farm - Southern Oregon Micro Creamery

The Small-Scale Cheese Business

Pages:256 pages
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603585491
Pub. Date March 21, 2014

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 256 pages, $34.95