Solar Powered Cheese in Tennessee

Last year, because my father had been in the hospital, my family in Birmingham missed our annual summer trek to Aunt Emily and Uncle Jim’s (Emily & Jim Wright) Sequatchie Cove Farm, a half an hour west of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This weekend, we made it back to the farm after two years to pick blueberries, visit with family and explore the farm with my 8-year-old daughter. While we walked around, to our surprise, there had been a major change on the farm at the creamery where Sequatchie Cove artisan cheeses are produced.

It had gone “solar.”

In front of the creamery, shining bright on that clear late June summer day were two rows of solar arrays.

I learned from my Uncle Jim (who looks after the solar project) and my cousin Bill Keener that the solar panels had been installed and operational for about a year and half and that it was made possible by grants secured by the Tennessee Solar Institute. According to my uncle, on a sunny day, the solar installation on the farm can capture and convert up to 28 kilowatts or about 150 kilowatts hours of electricity for the day. That is enough electricity to power their entire daily creamery/cheese-making operation without tapping into another source of power.

In other words, numerous times during the year, the Sequatchie Cove Farm Creamery is powered solely by the ultimate renewable energy source – the sun.

After the tour of the creamery and its impressive solar arrays, my family picked blueberries, had lunch with my aunt and uncle and watched the cows, pigs and chickens. It was a very special day. And we topped it off enjoying Sequatchie Cove’s “solar powered” cheese.

Personally, it was the best and most “meaningful” cheese I had ever tasted.

by Pat Byington, Editor of The Green Register.

Sequatchie Cove Cheese is available at Whole Foods in Birmingham. Representatives from the farm also visit Pepper Place during the summer.

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