The HVADC Cultivator

HVADC Client Update:
Argyle Cheese Farmer

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Argyle Cheese Farmer’s newly operational processing facility in Hudson Falls is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. A former graduate of HVADC’s first Farm and Food Funding Accelerator (FFFA), founder Marjorie Randles continues to strive to grow the business even as she tackles the idea of slowing down and handing more control of the process to her partners at Ideal Dairy Farms.

 

Along with her dairy farmer husband Dave, Randles built the cheese company as a second career, leaving a successful accounting firm she built herself - which focused primarily on helping farmers and agriculture businesses with their finances and taxes.

 

Cheese making started as a hobby, Randles said. The Randles owned and operated the multigenerational Randles Fairview Dairy Farm in Argyle New York, and with their already excellent milk as a base, the cheese, yogurt and other products they started producing were immediately loved by friends and at local farmers markets. Though Randles had a lot of experience helping other farmers with Business Technical Assistance (BTA), when she looked to turn her hobby into a successful value added brand, she saw there was still much she needed to learn.

 

“Marge seems to be one of those people that does more with every hour in the day than most,” said Todd Erling, HVADC executive director. “When she came to us she had already built a successful accounting business, run a family farm and is a mother of four. To see her then build another successful business with an amazing product is inspiring.”

 

Randles was a member of the FFFA in 2016 and said that the program helped her gain the market knowledge she needed and put her in contact with industry leaders and professional peers that helped her eventually grow from making cheese in the farm kitchen to an 11,000 square foot facility in a former supermarket, and employer of over 20 team members.

 

“Todd got me hooked into Hudson Valley Harvest and helped me get into sales opportunities I was unaware of,” Randles said of her experience in the FFFA. “When we were just the farm we never marketed anything. In that program we met so many great people.”

 

In the new facility, Randels has grown production and is able to invite visitors to watch the process of making their delicious products through a viewing window. Argyle Cheese Farmer is New York Grown and Certified and makes a wide selection of award-winning cheeses, yogurt, smoothies, dips spreads and more. They even sell baked goods and other local items at their onsite farm store. They also attend multiple farmers markets throughout the year.

 

It may seem like Randles never slows down but she admits that she and her husband are planning for at least partial retirement. The Randles are now partners with another local multigenerational farm, Ideal Dairy. Ideal provides superb, fresh A2 milk that has only improved the already sought after products.

 

“It’s developed into a really good partnership,” Randles said. “Two years ago we were seriously looking into selling the business. Now we have built something that we can keep growing together.”

 

Randles never seems to take a break, however, and is already planning for the expanding businesses next step. Argyle Cheese Farmers is now in the process of securing an Interstate Milk Shippers License (IMS) from the FDA.  Once attained, Randles sees great market potential in nearby Vermont and Massachusetts.

 

“I think our story is one of one of having a large number of opportunities and events that lead us to where we are,” Randles said. “Things happen when they happen for a reason.”

 

To learn more about the type of Business Technical Assistance HVADC can provide producers, visit https://www.hvadc.org/iww.