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For seven generations, the Marcoot family of Greenville, Illinois, whose roots trace back to Switzerland, successfully raised Jersey cattle in southern Illinois. With the explosive growth of corporate dairy farms, however, the family business began to decline, so patriarch John Marcoot, at the urging of his daughters, decided to extend the farm's longevity by taking it into a new direction. In March 2010, the family launched the Marcoot Jersey Creamery and created their first wheels of cheese. Today they are making a name for themselves across the region and beyond with high quality artisan and farmstead cheeses such as Alpine, Tomato Basil Jack, and Smoked Gouda, which they sell at Farmers Markets across the region. They also have a distributor who supplies the Creamery's products at cheese restaurants and some stores.
Unlike some large-scale dairy operations, where cows are often confined, fed grain, and injected with growth hormones and antibiotics to increase milk production, the 60 Jersey cows at the Marcoot farm are grass-fed, which suits their natural ability to produce milk well suited for making cheese. No growth hormones or antibiotics are given to the cows.
In this InFocus segment, we meet a few members of the Marcoot family and spend quality time with Audrea “Audi” Wall, a helicopter pilot turned cheese maker who demonstrates how to make a batch of Tomato Basil Jack cheese. We also explore “the cave,” a special cellar the Marcoot Creamery uses to age some of their signature cheeses, such as the Alpine, which resembles an Asiago cheese in taste and texture.
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