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Sweet Grass Dairy, Nationally Known, Locally Committed

September 5, 2014
In 2010, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop opened its doors in the heart of downtown Thomasville.

In 2010, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop opened its doors in the heart of downtown Thomasville.

One of Thomasville’s gems was founded just north of town, tucked away down a meandering clay drive. This plot of earth is where Sweet Grass Dairy founders Al and Desiree Wehner cultivated their dream and molded a new way of life.

For nearly 20 years, Al and Desiree used the conventional style of dairy farming. This style began weighing on the Wehners—and their cows —and so the churning of fresh ideas began. After learning of New Zealand-style rotational grazing, the Wehners took a leap of faith. Their entire philosophy and operation changed, allowing cows to be cows. The farm and the animals were happy and healthy, and the milk—well, it spoke for itself.

Soon, the Wehners were ready for a new venture, and cheese-making seemed like the perfect challenge. Desiree quickly fell in love with this age-old art and began making cheese every day from home. Sweet Grass Dairy was officially formed in 2000 with a small herd of dairy goats on their homestead and grass-based jersey cow’s milk from their other farm a few miles away. The cheese was good, and folks really began to take notice.

Before long, the demand for Sweet Grass Dairy cheese required the help of more hands. The Wehners enlisted their daughter Jessica and soon-to-be son-in-law Jeremy. Jessica’s knack for marketing, along with Jeremy’s love of creating delicious food, were just the right ingredients. Chefs around the nation agreed.

In 2005, Jeremy and Jessica Little bought the dairy from her parents. Since then, production has doubled, they’ve been featured in numerous cookbooks and press pieces, distribution has expanded into 40 states, and several of their cheeses have won national and international awards.

Although all of this success can be seen from coast to coast, Sweet Grass Dairy continues to honor their humble beginnings and pay it back to the community. Early on, tours of the dairy were offered to educate the visitors. Today, cheese-making classes and week-long summer camps for kids are offered on the farm. Camp attendees are delighted a few weeks later when their cheese masterpieces show up on their doorsteps. The owners are also quite willing to help food banks and local nonprofits.

Keeping the community in mind, the Littles wanted to make their cheeses more accessible to their local customers and visitors. They looked to Thomasville’s vibrant downtown and the bricks of Broad Street beckoned.

“When considering where to expand our retail cheese shop, the answer was simple,” explained Jessica Little. “We choose to share our products and ourselves with the community that has continued to embrace us.” In fall of 2010, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop proudly opened its doors in the heart of downtown Thomasville, a Great American Main Street City.

This popular storefront has become the face of their thriving business and is a favorite gathering spot of locals and visitors to downtown Thomasville. Inside one will discover handcrafted cheeses displayed alongside other fine small-batch cheeses. The cheese monger happily offers visitors a wedge of Thomasville Tomme or a sliver of Green Hill. Wine and beer pairing classes are also available. Lunch-goers can purchase a sandwich or salad, and then come back after hours for a glass of limited release wine or a pint of craft beer.

Sweet Grass Dairy strives to provide each new guest and loyal customer with unparalleled service and a unique experience that will keep them coming back again and again. Sweet Grass Dairy is continuing to evolve, without losing sight of its past.
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