New Appel Farms cheese production and cold storage facility

Appel Farms positions for growth with new cheese production facility

Ferndale-based Appel Farms moves its cheese operations in December to a new 12,800-square-foot production and cold-storage facility, positioning it for future growth while increasing the farm’s efficiency and food security.

“We can grow a tremendous amount without running out of room,” said John Appel, who runs the cheese production operations while his wife Ruth directs retail and marketing functions.

Faber Construction of Lynden built the unique pre-engineered steel building, located at 6605 Northwest Drive. It incorporates an exo-skeleton technique, placing steel columns on the outside, while utilizing insulated metal panels for exterior walls, coolers and the freezer. This created an uninterrupted interior wall around the perimeter, increasing efficient use of the space, according to Rick Faber, president of Faber Construction.

The building also has to be capable of reaching a wide range of temperatures. Some blast freezers can get below 0 degrees while in dairy production coolers are expected to get as low as 37 and incubators as high as 108 degrees.

“The Appel Farms Cheese Plant is a one-of-a-kind facility in the Northwest Washington dairy industry,” Faber said.

Appel Farms started cheese production 30 years ago in an 800-square-foot building on the farm founded by John’s late father Jack Appel and his mother Audrey. They added on to it and utilized adjacent buildings to accommodate growth until the family was convinced a new building was necessary.

Cheese production currently uses more than half the milk from the farm’s 600-cow dairy herd, which is run by John’s brother Rich Appel. Appel Farms in mid-2016 began producing havarti, parmesan and maasdammer cheeses, adding to a product line that already included gouda, cheddar, quark, feta and paneer. The new building includes a window for viewing gouda production, although interested visitors should call ahead for times.

John Appel said steady growth has resulted in this expansion, but the family wasn’t taking all of the credit. “God has blessed us even despite some of our decisions,” he said.

The Cheese Shop, the retail arm of Appel Farms, is adjacent to the new production facility and open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturdays. For more information, call the store at (360) 312-1431 or visit

With success constructing and managing commercial, civil and industrial projects, plus education institutions, apartments, restaurants and tenant improvements, Faber Construction has become a fully integrated company with 85 employees and the versatility to handle projects ranging from $25,000 to $15 million. For more information, call Faber Construction at (866) 354-3501 or visit

> Check out the Bellingham Herald’s article and photos of the new creamery

Appreciation from the Whatcom Community Foundation

We want to share with you a lovely letter we received from the Whatcom Community Foundation for the Ferndale Library.

April 2015,

Mr. Ben Faber
Faber Construction
131 East Grover
Lynden, WA  98264

Dear Ben,

As farmers in rural South Dakota in the early 1900s, my grandparents participated in many barn raisings. While barns were necessary to store food and shelter animals, they were also expensive and labor intensive to build. Because construction typically required more than one family could manage independently, neighbors came together and volunteered to chip in what they could to build barns for each other. In the process, they also built a strong sense of community and interdependence.

The tradition of barn raising continues today. Instead of barns, communities are raising all kind of essential structures and that are too costly and complex for any one entity to complete.

The latest barn raising in Ferndale is your beautiful new library. Historically, completion of the barn ended with a shared meal in celebration of the collective achievement. If my house were big enough, I would invite each of you to share a meal and celebrate the accomplishment. It required every shoulder, creative idea and penny. Most importantly, together we did it! Neighbors helped neighbors and all of your efforts and generosity is being enjoyed daily by thousands in the Ferndale community.

What once seemed like just an audacious and impossible goal is now a beehive of connection and learning. We have seen more people enjoying the library in more ways, including a 25% increase in the number of library cards being issued each month.

On behalf of the Community Foundation, please accept my most sincere gratitude for your help, support and enduring commitment to building this library. Our hope is that this project provides a renewed sense of curiosity about learning and shows what is possible when people come together with a shared purpose.

Please take a few minutes with the enclosed early results of our collective investment in the library. We look forward to working with you in the future, and invite you to call if we can play a role in your personal giving and dreams for making life here even better.


Pamela Jons
Director of Advancement & Programs

See actual letter here

Fun facts from Whatcom Community Foundation

  • More library card holders! – We went from issuing 150 cards per month to 200 cards per month in the new space
  • More neighbors are enjoying the library! – Attendance has increased by 27% compared to the previous year
  • More community members accessing the internet! – WiFi usage has increased by 27%
  • How many people use the new library on a daily average? – Old Main Street location: ~500; Temporary location: ~700, New Library: 850+, opening day: 1,897, record day: 2,400!

We are very thankful that Faber Construction could play a large part in a project that has such an impact on the community and look forward to the opportunity to do more of the same!

Ferndale Library Opening Oct 29!

Whatcom County Library System’s newest library is set to open October 29! Here’s a quick sneak peek of the new building from the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce. Save November 15 on your calendars for the Grand Opening, starting at 10am. We can’t wait to show off this beautiful library and hope you love it as […]

Work Progressing on Ferndale Library

Construction is steadily progressing at the new library.

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Ferndale Public Library Builders

Construction is already underway for the new public library in Ferndale. This building has been designed by SHKS Architectsand is situated right on main street. The library will feature a glulam skeleton frame with 8″ structurally insulated panel walls. Why does Ferndale need a new library? The Whatcom Country Library System is currently operating out of a temporary facility and needs more space as well as room for community meetings. Find out more details here.

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