Kosher cheese maker hits funding target

Kosher cheese maker hits funding target

Mark Bodzin of Highland Park is preparing a trip to Vermont to watch his dream of producing a high-quality kosher cheddar cheese come true.

Bodzin wrapped up a successful crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter by raising $19,435 from 308 backers.

Surpassing his $16,000 target, Bodzin will be able to pay Shelburne Farms to make a run of 600 pounds of cheddar to test the kosher market. In fact, Bodzin has more backers than cheese.

“We intend to honor all our sales,” said Bodzin in a phone interview with NJJN. “We’ll do another run on the second day of 100 to 200 pounds. That’s not a big deal.”

After the two-day run, the cheese has to age up to a year before it’s ready to ship.

Orthodox kosher certification for Bodzin’s cheese would be handled by the Vaad Harabonim of Massachusetts.

“When we first started this, the whole idea was to do it on an annual basis, and then this really took off,” said Bodzin, who works in the Kosher Experience at the West Orange ShopRite and went to grad school for marketing and distribution. He hoped to become an importer of kosher European wines and later worked for years in various corporate jobs.

“I’m quite happy, and I know Shelburne is quite happy,” said Bodzin. “Now we just have to coordinate to see when they can do the production and I can get the mashgiah [kosher supervisor] there so they can produce the cheese.”

Shelburne, which already makes award-winning cheddar, will also keep some to stock for its on-site store. Bodzin is unsure if it will be available by mail order.

“I know it happened, but I can’t quite believe it happened,” said Bodzin. “Once the production date is finalized with Shelburne it will seem much more real…. I plan to be there to make sure I do right for everyone who put their faith in me. That’s the whole thing with Kickstarter; people are sort of investing in your dream so you have an obligation to your backers.”

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