The Marcoot family’s history in America began in 1840, when their ancestors made the journey from Switzerland to New Orleans and finally up the Mississippi River to Bond-Madison county area. They established their farm, raising Jersey cattle. Today, seven generations later, they continue that tradition, bringing their agriculture efforts straight to area tables.
Looking at the family’s operation today, it’s hard to imagine now that a little over six years ago, John and Linda Marcoot, the parents of four girls, had been thinking about retiring from their Greenville dairy business. But after a family meeting, there was a change of heart. The girls would come back home, and instead of quitting, the Marcoots decided to expand.
“We chose to build the creamery, because it was unique,” Beth Marcoot, who now co-runs the creamery with her sisters, Amy, Audie and Laura. “When we first started, my mom said, ‘Let’s just dream. What if, when we get this creamery going and we wanted to expand, we brought in our neighbors?’”
And they did just that.
In May, the Marcoots teamed up with their neighbors, Michael Turley and his mother, Connie, to add bottled milk to their line of products.
“Our families were friends for a long time, so there is a little family history in there,” Beth said.
The Turleys live three miles west of the Marcoots and raise Holstein cows. A series of pipes run from the Turley dairy to the milk processing room at the Marcoot creamery. They process and bottle the milk two times a week and their cheese three times a week. According to Beth, it sometimes takes around 12 hours to process the milk, depending on the amount they have. The entire process, from transportation between the two farms to bottling and distribution, takes between one to two days.
For creamery side of things, the Marcoots currently milk 70 Jersey cows, which typically have a higher butter fat content in their milk — good for making cheese. With demand for their cheese growing, the Marcoots also plan to expand their herd this summer. Between Missouri and Illinois, they distribute to more than 170 grocery stores, restaurants and markets.
The cattle are all grass-fed and hormone-free.
“They seem very happy, very content,” Beth said.
The Marcoots make between 15 to 20 different types of cheese. From Alpine to Gouda, many of their cheeses are aged in a cheese cave below the creamery.
“We were looking through a book and saw a Swiss cheese cave and thought that would be a cool idea, since our ancestors are from Switzerland,” Beth said.
Agri-tourism is also a big part of their business.
“It’s really neat. One of the things that is special, is that the visitors are eager to know how their food is made,” Beth said. “I love seeing my dad being excited to see visitors. He (runs the dairy farm) because he loves it, he’s not doing this for the money.”
The Marcoot Family holds open tours on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 1 to 2 p.m. from April through Nov. 1. They also hold other events. This summer, will host several “Moovie” Nights, which are open to the public. The first was held on June 17. The next one will be on July 22 at 8:30 p.m.
“We are very thankful that people come visit us.” Beth adds. “It’s hard to put an emotion behind having visitors. There is so much happiness and excitement. We are excited to see the public’s excitement about learning about agriculture. It’s such a joy to have people here.”
Marcoot Jersey Creamery at a glance
Location: 526 Dudleyville Road, Greenville
Phone: (618) 664-1110
Country Store Hours: April 1-Oct. 31, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. / Nov. 1-March 31, Monday- Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tours: On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 2 p.m., open tours are offered. Guests get a guided look of the milking parlor, calf barn and creamery. It also includes a sampling of several of our artisan cheeses. Cost for the tour is $3 person. You do not need to make reservations for open tours.
If you have a group of 10 or more people wanting to visit, private tours are available Monday through Friday and last approximately one hour. Private tours need to be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
Cheeses: Habenero Monterey jack, white cheddar, tipsy cheddar, smoked Gouda, Gouda, creamy Havarti, cave-aged Tomme, cave-aged Alpine, cave-aged heritage, cave-aged Gouda, fresh mozzarella, fresh cheese curds, garlic-herb cheese curds, quark, strawberry quark, garlic quark.
Beef: Beef is raised on the Marcoot farm. Cuts offered include ground beef, New York strip steaks, filets, and roasts and more. Whole beefs or sides can also be purchased.
Pork: Berkshire pork is whey-fed. Cuts of offered include bacon, breakfast sausage, pork chops, pork steak, ham, ham steak, hocks, pork roast, neck bones, heat, liver, baby back ribs, spare ribs, and more.
Others: Fresh milk, hand-dipped ice cream, and a variety of local products, including preserves, honey, popcorn, coffee, pure maple syrup and Alaskan salmon.