• HAND CHURNED
Employees at FireFly Farms Creamery & Market making goat-milk cheese.
Dan Porter (bottom photo, left) oversees FireFly’s team of artisanal cheesemakers.
• WHERE THE
CHEESE COMES FROM
FireFly Farms Creamery
& Market in Accident, Maryland
THE VOLUME About 2, 100 pounds of goat
cheese per week is shipped to restaurants
in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
THE CHALLENGE Sweetgreen’s founders came
across FireFly in 2007 at Washington’s
Dupont Circle Farmers Market, which is out-
side their second restaurant. FireFly buys its
goat milk from seven family farms near the
creamery, still makes its cheeses by hand, and
has made a frm commitment to paying its
workers a living wage. But the initial relation-
ship was rocky: Sweetgreen didn’t always get
its forecasts right, so unexpectedly large
orders sometimes left FireFly scrambling.
THE SOLU TION It took about three years for
Sweetgreen to fne-tune its forecasts—which
FireFly waited out, occasionally running out
of milk for other cheeses. “I didn’t like that,
but we did what we needed to do,” says
co-founder Mike Koch. Even now, FireFly can’t
provide enough volume at times, sending
Sweetgreen to a temporary supplier. Keany
picks up orders directly at the creamery, saving
the cheesemaker on transportation costs.
THE PAYOFF Koch says Sweetgreen has been
a signifcant driver of revenue growth for
FireFly since 2010 and, as of June, accounted
for 34 percent of FireFly’s revenue in the
previous year. “My margin with Sweetgreen
is as thin as I can let it be, but the tradeof
there is volume and efciency,” Koch says.
Plus, “our ability to service a customer like
Sweetgreen is like a résumé gold star when
we go to other large buyers.”