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This semester, students from the Beautiful Social class are working with a local cheese maker, Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Dairy Farm. Located in the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Sue, her husband Ken and her two sons Randy and Jesse, own and run a small family dairy farm where they produce and sell dairy products as well as seasonal, artisanal cheeses. Sue contacted the SJU Beautiful Social class when she wanted some students to assist her in creating a Kickstarter video. Sue was interested in raising money for her “Cave Raising” project, which will help her in her goal to build her very own cheese cave on her property where she can make and sell her own cheese.

Sue and her family own 80 cows and know each of them by name. “They were babies and have grown up here. That’s the great thing about a small farm, the cows personalities can really come through.” Interested in small batch, artisanal cheeses, Sue makes 4 styles of cheese from her cow’s milk: Birchrun Blue, Fat Cat, Equinox and Red Cat. “Cheese making is a lot about the quality of the milk. What the cows eat has a lot to do with the components of the milk.” All cheeses are seasonal and capture the essence of the time of year. “It’s the life we were meant to live. Farming. The pay off is that you get to wake up to a new calf or have the opportunity to hand a customer a piece of cheese because everything that went into that cheese began here on this farm. It’s the full circle that we are focused on here on the farm. It’s unique.”

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Sue’s Kickstarter video will be up and running within the next few weeks and her Cave Raising project will be under way. Stay tuned for more updates on Birchrun Hills Farm and updates about Sue, her inspiring family, and her community vision.