Solar Hot Water Dairy and Cheese Plant
Grant Award: $6,000
Lisa and Brandon have installed a solar hot water system as part of their new dairy, where they plan to milk approximately 10 cows to produce cheese. The system includes a solar hot water panel on the roof, hot water storage vessels and a backup wood boiler. Hot water is used to pasteurize milk, clean the facility and provide supplemental heat to the processing room.
Using solar to heat pasteurization water results in significant energy cost savings, which continues to compound over the life of the system. In using the whey, a byproduct of the cheese, as hog feed, Lisa and Brandon can also expand the number of pigs grown on farm without increasing the feed budget.
C-Saw Hill Farm is the only dairy producing cheese commercially in Rutherford County. Lisa and Brandon sell their meat and dairy products at farmer’s markets, to Community Supported Agriculture members, restaurants and buying clubs. They aim for the “one stop shopping” approach, raising multiple species of animals and offering multiple cuts to meet the needs of customers.
The farm has other important benefits to their family. “We started C-Saw Hill Farm in 2008 after our daughter, Cecelia (CJ), was diagnosed with salmonella at the age of one from a fast food restaurant,” Lisa said. “Being able to farm allowed us to provide quality protein for our family and avoid eating Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation produced food.”
CJ, now 6, has started selling eggs and will soon have her first meat rabbits to breed and sell at the farmer’s market.