Lisa Jacobs of Jacobs Creamery in Chehalis, Washington recently announced (note: article requires login) that she will be offering her cheese and dairy products through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. For $125, $250 or $450, customers can purchase cheese, butter and eggs from Jacobs Creamery and ensure themselves a steady supply throughout the season.
If you're not familiar with CSAs, here's how they generally work: the consumer pays a specific sum up front and in exchange the producer/farmer promises to deliver products according to an agreed upon schedule later in the year/season. It's a way for small producers to make money earlier in the production process, freeing them from constant marketing to focus on what really matters - in this case, making cheese.
Here in the Pacific Northwest quite a few produce farmers sell vegetables through weekly CSAs (see Helsing Junction Farms in Chehalis, WA, for example) but this sales method has not been all that popular with the area's cheese community. The only other regional cheese CSA that I'm aware of is run by Quillisascut Farms of Rice, Washington. Anyone know of any others? A quick Google survey shows that there are a few (but not all that many) cheese producers nationally that offer a cheese CSA program - see, for example, Shady Apple Goat Farm in Pennsylvania. The most commonly cited reason I've heard from producers for NOT doing a CSA is the time and energy required to administer the program.
This is a great opportunity to support a local cheesemaker. For more specifics on Jacobs Creamery's CSA contact Lisa Jacobs (info here) or catch her at the Portland Farmers Market on Saturdays.