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Kiklys Farm

Creamery Finds New Markets for Artisan Goat Cheese

Caprini Creamery made sure that restaurant closures did not keep Indiana foodies from enjoying the family farm’s award-winning goat cheese.

Farming couple Kristy Kikly and Mike Hoopengardener operate the Spiceland, Indiana, goat dairy. Milk from their hundreds of goats is the primary ingredient in its 2019 American Cheese Society gold medal-winning feta. Caprini Creamery also offers several flavors of chevre as well as its bloomy rind and semihard cheeses such as Dicentra and Dutchman’s Breeches.

Their cheeses are sold to area restaurants and at farmers markets and marketed through several online food hubs. Food hubs allow local consumers to purchase products directly from Indiana farmers. The food – often perishable items like meat, dairy and vegetables – is then picked up at a designated time at a local drop site.

Caprini Creamery’s market diversification helped keep the family afloat when restaurants were forced to close during mandated COVID-19 restrictions

When Kikly and Hoopengardner established their farming venture, they intentionally decided not to concentrate only on restaurant sales. “We didn’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket, even though selling only to restaurants would have been more convenient,” Kristy says.

That business plan paid off in 2020.

“We weren’t trying to scramble and get into markets that we had not worked with before. Although our restaurant sales dropped last year, our online sales partners more than replaced sales,” she says. “We were connected with several online markets prior to the pandemic, and were poised to take advantage of everything switching over to the online markets.”

As the state began to consider how best to reopen, Caprini Creamery was at the forefront of drafting new state guidelines to ensure farmers markets across Indiana were able to operate safely.

“Mike worked with organizations such as Purdue University, Indiana Farm Bureau and the Indiana Department of Agriculture to help make sure that the state has consistent statewide guidelines for farmers markets instead of variable guidelines for each county,” Kristy says.

When farmers’ markets began opening in May, Caprini Creamery was among the first to begin interacting with consumers in person again.

“We had record sales at our farmers market,” Kristy says. “People just wanted to get out of the house. There’s also an increase in consumers wanting to know where their food is coming from.”

Caprini Creamery cheeses can be purchased in online specialty markets and local farmers markets. Their cheeses also are on the menus of several Indianapolis area restaurants.

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