January 13, 2012

CARDIN VISITS GARRETT COUNTY’S AWARD-WINNING GOAT CHEESE PRODUCER

FireFly Farms is an example of the importance of small businesses to our economy

ACCIDENT, MD -- U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today visited the FireFly Farms Creamery and Market to tour the award-winning goat cheese production facility and to congratulate the small business owners on their success.  FireFly Farms recently moved into a new manufacturing and retail facility in Accident, allowing the company to increase production capacity.  Since 2010, FireFly Farms has increased employment by 80 percent company-wide.  Senator Cardin also met with members of the Garrett County Commission.

“FireFly Farms is an example of how an innovative, creative business can create job opportunities for local residents,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “We have lived through a serious economic downturn, but small businesses like Firefly Farms are the economic engine that will drive our recovery. As a member of the Small Business Committee, I am here today to tell them I will do all I can to ensure we have a strong business climate in which they can grow. ”

FireFly Farms is a privately owned company dedicated to the art of cheese making.  The business began in 2002 in Bittinger (south of Grantsville) and recently opened its new facility in Accident.  Its artisanal cheeses are made according to time-honored tradition; and each piece is produced and ripened with handmade care. 

FireFly’s annual sales for 2010 were $563,000, an increase of 15 percent over 2009 sales.  Projected sales growth for 2011 is between 10-24 percent.  The majority of sales are regional, and the majority of suppliers are local.  FireFy products are sold in retail stores, restaurants, and farmers markets in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Delaware, Ohio and Illinois. FireFly cheeses are also available in wine and specialty stores (including 39 Mid-Atlantic stores and Whole Foods Market).

FireFly Farms Creamery cheeses have received many awards for its cheeses. Among its most recent awards are: In 2011, First Place Ribbon from the American Dairy Association for its Mountain Top Bleu (aged goat blue cheese), which was also named by Saveur magazine as one of its editor’s favorite 50 American cheeses in 2005.  Mountain Top Bleu also received a Gold Medal at the 2010 World Cheese Awards and was selected as America’s top goat’s milk blue cheese at the American Cheese Society Conference. FireFly’s Bella Vita was one of only two cheeses from the United States to receive Super Gold recognition at the 2010 World Cheese Awards. 

--##--