When the cheesemakers at Landmark Creamery in Paoli pivoted from operating a retail shop to surviving through home delivery this spring, they didn’t want to leave local farmers behind.
Anna Thomas Bates, co-owner of Landmark, saw a mutually beneficial opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The creamery’s online store now markets products from Wisconsin farmers who typically sold their goods to restaurants or at farmers markets, in addition to Landmark’s well-known cheeses.
Landmark Creamery had never offered delivery before March 17, Bates told the Press.
“In March, news was coming fast and changing every day,” Bates said. “We sell wholesale across the county and at least 50% is to restaurants, so we had to come up with a new way to sell our cheese. We knew farmers who only sell to markets and restaurants and don’t have CSAs wouldn’t have a place to sell their goods.”
Now, Landmark is averaging 140 deliveries a week across two delivery days – Wednesdays and Saturdays. Customers order and pay online, and Landmark provides contactless delivery to their front steps, usually dropping the orders into coolers the customers place outside. It also offers curbside pickup from its shop in Paoli on the same days.
In addition to its own cheese, it is selling cheese, eggs, vegetables, fruits, coffee, nuts, maple syrup, jams, baked goods, spices and sauces from over a dozen Dane County farmers and cheese businesses.
Bates said Landmark is making only a small profit margin off the goods, as the company wants to help farmers earn what they’d make selling directly to consumers at markets.
Landmark is getting creative with its offerings to entice sales, offering meal kits such as a taco making kit and a pizza making kit, all with locally produced ingredients from its partners.
Despite some farmers’ markets resuming for the season and restaurants opening back up, Bates said the deliveries shouldn’t be affected.
“Everyone we’re working with is still committed,” she said. “We’re helping them pick up restaurant accounts. We haven’t seen a drop in deliveries during the first two weeks of markets. We will keep doing this as long as it makes sense for everybody.
For now, shipping and delivery will continue, but plans to re-open the retail shop are not in the works yet even as many retailers move towards resuming normal operations.
“Because we’re such a small business, we’re a little reluctant to open up, we don’t want to expose ourselves,” Bates said. “And I’m not sure we’d have enough traffic to open up.”