Roasted Banana with Salted Peanuts.
These are just a few of the many alluring ice cream flavors available at Southern Craft Creamery in Marianna, Florida. Southern Craft Creamery, owned by Cindy and Dale Eade, alongside both their daughters and their husbands, is truly an “udder to pint” operation. A portion of the milk the Eades produce on their dairy farm, Cindale Farms, goes directly to the creamery, while the other portion is sold through their cooperative.
The Eades began their lives as dairy farmers in the 1980. After nearly two decades on the farm, Cindy and Dale, having moved to Marianna, felt a mounting pressure to increase milk production for their dairy to stay financially viable. Considering the modernizing agriculture industry and unstable milk prices, they didn’t want to increase their herd size above 300. That’s when Southern Craft Creamery was born. The Eades could diversify their income and strengthen their business’ finances without purchasing more cows.
“The development of Southern Craft Creamery gives us the opportunity to make our farm more sustainable,” Dale said.
Beyond supporting the farm’s bottom line, the creamery allows Dale and Cindy the opportunity to build community with the consumers of their product, something they hadn’t be able to do when they were only milking cows.
“Every chance we get, we’re out meeting our customers,” Cindy said. “Being able to share what we’re passionate about with others is awesome…then they take a taste and we wait to see what their expression will be. It’s the best experience in the world.”
Beyond individual consumers, building relationships with restaurants and retailers is also important to Cindy. She said, “We get to know every restaurant and retailer that carries our ice cream and we make sure they know our story. We like to bring them out to visit our farm and our creamery.”
Cindy serves as a board member at Farm Credit of Northwest Florida and, as customers, the Eades have turned to Farm Credit for support through the diversification of their business. “When I look back at how far we’ve come since the beginning, I can honestly say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without our friends at Farm Credit of Northwest Florida,” Cindy said.
This sense of gratitude goes both ways. The Eades’ loan officer, Emily Lowe said, “Cindy and Dale have been wonderful to work with…they have an impeccable work ethic. They considered every detail when selecting a property so their new capital investment would be a success.”