In April 2014 we broke ground on a 2,900 square foot cheese-making facility and started making cheese in early 2015. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our families and friends.
For now, we will source Jersey and Holstein cow’s milk from a long-time neighbor, and Alpine, Nubian and Sannen goat’s milk from another nearby dairy. With Italian roots stretching from the Piedmont to Sicily, and with the help of local formaggiaia Alessandra Trompeo, our cheese is inspired by the small country farmsteads of Italy. Our experience and dedication to family, hard work, and good food are the soul of Boxcarr Handmade Cheese. We hope you’ll taste that in every bite.
– Samantha Genke –
co-founder / head of operations
It’s reassuring to learn that there are families still farming in this country, and it is even more comforting to realize young families are starting new ventures in farming, hoping to provide for generations to come. That was Samantha’s dream, and now it is her job. She runs Boxcarr Handmade Cheese with her brother Austin.
Samantha’s move to North Carolina 11 years ago led to work in the best creameries in the state. For over a decade she made cheese, worked at the area’s top restaurants, raised goats, and helped with the ventures at Boxcarr Farms.
Samantha now brings her energy, heart and vision to Boxcarr Handmade Cheese. She is a true entrepreneur, dreaming much bigger than most, never afraid to do whatever it would take to build a family creamery from the ground up. Her Italian-American roots have guided the direction of her cheesemaking – she looks to Italy for inspiration in the cheese room, all the while crafting products that will be unique to Boxcarr.
– Austin Genke –
co-founder / head of sales
Austin is one of those natural leaders who makes everything seem effortless. He’s the boss that everyone likes — hardworking, talented, considerate, patient, and fun. Austin’s affinity and natural talent for cooking led him to a vocational school where he honed his skills and placed First in State for Culinary at the VICA competition his senior year. He earned a scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Upon graduating, he worked in Las Vegas at both MGM Grand and the Venetian under renowned chefs such as Mario Batali.
Austin traded the shiny lights and big kitchens for a career in food that brought him closer to family and a life on the land. He and his wife Dani moved to North Carolina and founded Boxcarr Farms in 2009. They farm 30 acres of vegetables, raise pigs and chickens, and run a food truck and catering business with the help of their cousins and sister Samantha. At every corner, it has truly been a family venture. Austin’s father Paul and his wife Lila have contributed immeasurably to Boxcarr’s endeavors as well.
Austin partnered with Samantha to start Boxcarr Handmade Cheese in 2014. He was the contractor for the new creamery on the farm, and his dedication and extensive work in kitchens, with chefs, and farmers, will help him lead the sales division at Boxcarr Handmade Cheese.
– Alessandra –
No team is complete without the inquisitive individual who brings method and magic to the place. Alessandra grew up in Northern Italy and was part of a family who valued food and sharing it with others. Why cheesemaking? Well, she followed the proverb “second thoughts are the best thoughts.” Her love for the outdoors and the mountains around Torino, Italy led her to train as a professional geologist. Working in a lab in which bacteria were used to analyze samples, she fell in love with “living things.” At the same time she was following her family back and forth between Italy and the USA – and during one visit to Italy in 2001 she learned about a year long program in cheesemaking sponsored by the European Union. Around Torino, some of the best cheeses are made in the “alpeggi” (mountain huts). This is when the idea of becoming a cheese maker came to her mind: it was the perfect combination of working with living creatures and her attachment to mountains.
Her future plan of coming to the US and making Italian cheeses convinced the committee to accept her application to the cheesemaking school, despite the fact that she was the oldest student. She worked at several dairy farms for her training and then moved to North Carolina where she started making Northern Italian cheeses on her own. In the cheese room, Alessandra provides precision and methodology, whereas Samantha works with a freedom of experimentation, and together they bring out the best in one another. The two traveled to Italy together to research some of the styles they are working on now.
– Lily –
We’re excited to introduce our newest employee, Lily, who we completely adore & are excited to have learning to make cheese with us every day! She is an amazingly hard worker and lots of fun.
– Dani –
artist / cheese devotee
One of the key members of the Boxcarr Handmade support team is Austin’s wife, Dani. She designed the labels and logo, and she tastes along with the crew to offer valuable opinions as they further refine their recipes. Even their young son Ariyeh has developed quite a palate for cheese and lets the cheesemakers know what he likes the best.