Germination of Pennyroyal: Breaking Ground on a New Creamery
Four Years and 364 Days to Build a Creamery...
and I may be overly optimistic about the 364 day part!
A goat dairy at the nascent Pennyroyal Farm vineyard began as a conversation early in 2007. After two years of planning, foundations were laid for the barn and milking parlor in a freshly planted vineyard just east of downtown Boonville, a secluded town in California's Mendocino County. The 70' by 100' barn was designed to comfortably accommodate a milking herd of 108 goats. The milking parlor permits 36 goats to enter at a time, filling two raised platforms between which the milker is stationed. While construction proceeded on the dairy buildings (which allowed me to relocate my herd from Sonoma County to the site of the future farm), planning and the convoluted permitting process were tackled for the creamery.
When the building permit approval came through in January after months of delays, it seemed foolish to think construction could begin at once. However a balmy late January dried out the ground enough that we were able to bring in the earth moving equipment to grade and compact the site. Of course winter finally hit, but at each break in the weather I hold out hope that construction will commence. Sadly I'm learning the contractor bidding process is a lengthy one. Also, just because plans are approved doesn't mean everyone is committed to them. We met this morning to discuss flooring bids, coordination with PG&E, and to debate pasteurizer placement to relay a final decision to the mechanical engineers.
Still, while delays have plagued us, the permits are stamped and on file, the ground has been prepped, and I am choosing to believe the promises of our architect that I will be making cheese in the new creamery by the end of the year. For the moment, it is kidding season, and I am (nearly) content to focus on the growing herd and appreciate the completed barn and milking parlor. The compacted creamery site, with its spray paint outline, promises future production, just as surely as rotund goats in the pregnant doe pen do. I will keep you updated about the birth of the former!