Creamery Team Spotlight: Brian O’Keefe

Brian O’Keefe has been working in the make room of the creamery since the beginning. As Dan’s nephew, he is part of both the Takes family and our Creamery family. Brian moved from St. Louis to Ely almost two years ago to help us bring farm-fresh dairy to this Iowa community, and has been a valuable part of our team ever since. You can usually find him working alongside his cousin Dustin bottling cream-top milk and making squeaky cheese curds. Before we opened, he worked alongside us as we learned how to do these processes for the first time. Since then, he has become proficient at making delicious dairy products fresh from the Takes family farm. 


What has your experience been working at Dan and Debbie’s Creamery?

I have learned that every step – from milking the 150 cows to bottling the milk – is more complicated than I previously thought. There are a lot more steps in the process, and if you don’t follow those steps exactly you can ruin the milk or turn out a lesser-quality product.

My favorite part is seeing all of the steps from start to finish. I like having a part in turning raw milk fresh from the farm into cheese and watching that process take place.

It’s good to be around family and to be working toward the same goals. Before I moved here to work at the Creamery, we just saw each other on major holidays. They are hard working people and any job or task they approach, they get done right. I am excited to see where the business is headed!


What is your favorite farm-fresh dairy product made at the Creamery?

My favorite product we make is the handcrafted ice cream. My go-to flavor is cookies and cream and strawberry cheesecake is a close second. I remember when we first opened in July 2016 we had milk and cheese curds available but didn’t have ice cream yet. When word got out we were making our own handcrafted ice cream, it became a lot more busy in the store.


The Creamery has partnered with over 50 local farmers, artisans, chefs, and businesses to stock Iowa-made products on its shelves – which is your favorite?

My favorite Iowa-made product sold in our store is Cheryl’s Salsa and Queso. I also really like the Timber Ridge Beef Sticks.


The Creamery opened in July 2016 – how do you see it changing in the future?

I see the creamery venturing out into making new dairy products like block cheeses and different flavors of milk and butter. I am looking forward to learning how to best make butter and block cheeses using the fresh milk from our farm. I am most excited to make butter. There are butter processing classes we will attend to learn how to make the best butter. We have the machinery for it and we just have to learn the best way to make and package it for our customers.

  • Posted by Josie Rozum
  • On November 13, 2017