Founded in 2002, Firefly Farms is owned by Mike Koch and Pablo Solanet and produces a range of cheeses made from goat’s milk.
The partners’ original creamery was located in a neighbor’s converted barn, adjacent to the herd of milking does. After a few years, the company soon started to outgrow the premises and Koch and Solanet began searching for a new location in 2008. One year later premises were acquired in Accident, Maryland, in an historic building that was formerly a machine shop. Over the course of three years the building was converted, and is now home to the creamery as well as Firefly Farms’ flagship retail store.
The store allows plenty of interaction between customers and the cheese business as well as being an attaction to visitors in Garrett County.
The original herd of milking does was sold in 2006. Firefly Farms now sources goat milk from six local farms, each located within twenty miles of the creamery.
Cheesemaking operations are managed by Matt Cedro together with Head Cheesemaker Dan Porter.
Firefly makes a variety of both younger and more aged cheeses that have won numerous awards at national competitions. Their cheeses are produced from pasteurized milk since Maryland regulations require this.
Firefly Farm’s Black & Blue was developed in the early Spring of 2007. The intent was to develop a longer-aged, blue cheese with complex flavors. The outer casing of black wax allows moisture to be retained during aging as well as to provide a contrast to the white and blue interior.
Early versions of the cheese were introduced at farmer’s markets and after an enthusiastic reception, Firefly went into full production with the Black and Blue.
During their maturation, cheeses are pierced to allow the blue veining to develop and then, at about five weeks of age, wheels are waxed and matured for a further three months before release. The intent is to be able to mature cheeses for up to nine months of age, when the flavors become even more complex. However, consumer demand together with limited aging space currently dictates the four month release date. Black and Bleu is made during eight months of the year.