Cypress Point Creamery
Nancy Mims of Cypress Point Creamery is a fourth generation dairy farmer, but she had to do some recruiting to get help on her farm. She met her husband John in English class when they were studying at the University of Florida. “I sat right behind him and thought, ‘He’s got nice broad shoulders, he’d make a good farmer,’” Nancy said. John winked and said, “She wasn’t looking for someone too smart, just a strong farmer.”
Nancy and John bought their farm in Hawthorne from Nancy’s parents in 1980. They’ve always had a small operation-- they own 90 cows now, though in the past they’ve cared for up to 250 cows. Because feed costs are high and there’s a low margin of profit in fluid milk, in 2010, Nancy and John decided to expand their operation from just milk and and to start making cheese. “You either have to do something like cheese, or you have to get large,” Nancy said. “We have no desire to be a factory farm, so John built and designed the cheese plant, and $26,000 later we were ready to make cheese.”
Dairy farming is no joke when it comes to workload. John’s day begins at 5am with a cup of coffee, and milking starts at 6:30. Throughout the day he works on baling hay or working on equipment. Evening milking happens 5:30pm-8:30pm, and then all the cows get moved indoors for feeding. Nancy’s cheese-making days are no picnic either. “My day started at 6:30 am to make a batch of cheese,” she said. “I finished at 8:30 at night. It was a long day.” What’s more, if they want a vacation from the farm, they sell the whole herd! “We’ve had about 4 vacations in 38 years,” John said.
But the hard work and love of the animals makes the cheese taste even better. “It’s either worth it or we’re pure stupid!” John said. “It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. We love our little cows, and can’t imagine life without them.”