Despite early assurances that we had a shot at completing the creamery by the end of the year it was evident pretty early on that that wouldn’t be the case. Sadly, as 2011 comes to a close it looks like having the creamery ready to run by the time the goats start milking again at the beginning of March isn’t going to be attainable either. Thank you very much contractors.
While our construction crew has labored 6 days a week to complete the exterior siding, the electrical contractors were on site closer to 3 days a week (and have been completely off the job for the holidays for a solid 2 weeks), and they show up to work 2 hours later and leave 2 hours earlier. Mechanical contractors have passed on bidding on the project, most of them citing a lack of familiarity with the cold and humid aging facilities of a creamery. We finally have someone who put in a bid, but this late in the game we’re looking at several weeks before equipment is ordered and on site.
The last month has been a busy one at the creamery. While the guys completed closing in exterior walls and began installing roofing materials massive trenching was underway all around the creamery and dairy.
Below ground level lines were run for electrical cables from the PG&E power boxes at the edge of the property over to the site of the mechanical pad. Pipes for whey and process water were laid from the creamery across the length of the farm to the water treatment tanks that will allow us to recycle our water. The whey will be pumped to a storage tank adjacent to the pigs (which for obvious reasons we don’t want living anywhere within the vicinity of the creamery). A gas line was put in from the creamery to our propane tank which is adjacent to the milking parlor. As with the dairy, we will use propane on-demand water heaters to supply hot water to both the sinks and for the jacket of the pasteurizer.
In just a few days we went from a concrete pad to a framed creamery building!
Cheese makers often talk about the balance of artistry and science in cheese making. The framing design is the balance between artistry and science in creamery building. Certain aspects of framing are dictated by mathematics: doors need to be wide enough for equipment to pass through them, aging rooms need dimensions that accommodate the volume of cheese they will house, blocking between wall studs needs to be in place where shelves will be mounted. And then you have windows, more importantly you have the view from windows… that is where aesthetics come in to the design! Sure, you could argue windows provide light to work by, but with strict candle foot requirements for each processing room dictated by regulating agencies windows aren’t really going to be sufficient in most cases. What windows really contribute to the design is a view and a connection with the outside world!
On July 11th the cement trucks rolled in and the foundations were poured. The interior was back-filled with gravel and trench drains and floor sinks were secured into their respective positions. Thick sheets of foam insulation were laid down over the gravel and along the edges of the wall curbs. This insulation provides a thermal barrier between the cheese making environment and ambient heat in the ground and between rooms with different temperature requirements. This will help keep our energy costs down when outside temperatures are too high. It also minimizes temperature fluctuation in the aging rooms, reducing run time for air conditioning which dries out air and can negatively impact aging cheeses.
The Nuts and Bolts of Building a Creamery…
or the pea traps and drains, as the case may be. That is the phase of construction that is underway now at Pennyroyal. There are three systems of drains and piping that are being installed before foundations and the floor slabs can be poured. The first is the domestic waste system, which handles water from the bathroom and takes it to our septic system. The second is the largest, and will capture all the process water which will be pumped to a water treatment system. The third system is a whey diversion line, which will allow us to collect whey to use as animal feed.