This is the perfect location for this landmark creamery—a 7th-generation, family-owned, Jersey farm specializing in the handcrafted production of artisan and farmstead cheeses. Their grass-fed, 65 Jersey cow herd—well-known for producing a rich, hormone-free, high-quality milk—provide the secret behind their award-winning products: a collection of more than 16 cheese varieties, all carefully aged in cheese caves replicating the Swiss tradition. Not only is this a natural process, but it also conserves energy, contributing to the creamery’s overall sustainability.
Back in 1840, the original “Markut” family sailed from Switzerland to New Orleans by steamship up the Mississippi, landing in the Bond-Madison County, and settled into a livelihood of dairy farming. All went according to plan for more than 150 years until economics caught up to the family business.
That’s when Audie and Laura stepped in to keep the family farm intact. Reverting to old-world spelling, “Marcoot,” these entrepreneurial farmers’ daughters – with Jersey farming in their DNA – sidestepped career plans to continue their family’s legacy—only this time as makers of award-winning cheeses crafted from the milk of the Jersey cow descendants that arrived in these grass-fed pastures during Illinois’ formative days.
So, when you get the chance to meet this enterprising cheese-making family, you’ll appreciate the farm-fresh enthusiasm for what they do. From their country store to farm tours, they’ll likely introduce you to their cows by name. The store sells their award-winning cheeses, but it’s also a must-stop source of pasture-raised beef, whey-fed pork, hand-dipped ice cream and a variety of local preserves, honey, popcorn, coffee and pure maple syrup and so many other farm-raised delectables.
Meet more Illinois makers at Illinois Made.