Dairy Processing -March/April 2022 - 33

OPERATIONS
" If we had taken every project that came our way, it
would have broken the back of the organization, and we
likely wouldn't still be in business today, " Rodriguez said.
He said they approach conversations with potential
partners by asking what the partners are looking for as
opposed to what the company is prepared to offer.
" I think the exploratory nature of those conversations
really gives suppliers and retailers a level of comfortability
they may not get with some partners as a retail
manufacturer, " Rodriguez said.
They ended their first year of retail production with about
$500,000 in sales, and this year they plan to achieve between $25
and $28 million in sales. Nicki Schroeder said another aspect of
all this growth was implementing food safety protocol, and they
are now certified SQF level 3. To support their growth efforts,
they also opened a facility in Wisconsin in 2020.
" We see ourselves as very passionate about being
creative partners for people, " Nicki Schroeder said. " Some
of the most fulfilling projects we have are the ones where
we are partners with either private-label retailers or a
restaurant group - groups that want to make innovative
things. That's where our sweet spot is. "
DEVELOPING THE MARKET
There are times a processor must work to establish a
category themselves. While popular in the Middle East,
the market for sheep's milk products has traditionally
been limited in the United States. Liam Callahan, owner
of Bellwether Farms in Sonoma County, Calif., thinks the
market for sheep's milk is poised for growth and could
follow the same growth trajectory the goat milk industry has
experienced in recent years.
Callahan's family began a small operation raising sheep
in 1986, and Bellwether Farms now offers yogurts and
cheeses made with sheep's milk nationwide.
When the company first began retail production
of its sheep's milk yogurts and cheeses in 1990, it
only had a single 100-gallon pasteurizer. As Bellwether
products became available nationwide through
Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other
specialty stores, the company added a
300-gallon pasteurizer and three
600-gallon pasteurizers. Overall,
Callahan said the company has
High Road began by making
ice cream products for the
foodservice market and, with
key partnerships, had nationwide
reach within a few years.
DAIRYPROCESSING.COM | MAR-APR 2022 33
High Road
http://www.DAIRYPROCESSING.COM

Dairy Processing -March/April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dairy Processing -March/April 2022

Dairy Processing -March/April 2022 - Intro
Dairy Processing -March/April 2022 - 1
Dairy Processing -March/April 2022 - 2
Dairy Processing -March/April 2022 - 3
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