Greetings and Salutations from the milky misty Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. This quiet and beautiful place is buzzing this morning…. farmers, milk maids (and milk men) cheese makers, and affineurs are all at work, racing around the Cellars at Jasper Hill and making a myriad of things happen. I have been told I can take a quick coffee break… enough time to drink a cuppa (with raw milk from the farm!) and schmear a bagel with some butterfat left over from the last make of Constant Bliss to impart some cheesy words.
I came up to this great green state for the Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival, which was held to great acclaim and great attendance yesterday at Shelburne Farm. Only the second festival of its kind, it was truly a congregation of some of the finest cheeses and finest cheese people in the country. Vermont Butter and Cheese Co. was celebrating its 25th birthday, and organized the festival in tandem to spread the lactic love to all of their cheesemaking brethren across the state, and even across the region. Folks like the Cellars at Jasper Hill, Grafton Village Cheese, and Cabot rallied with amazing support to make the festival a reality. All told, over 30 cheese makers set up shop in the historic coach barn at Shelburne, with offerings ranging from queso fresco to dulce de leche made from goats’ milk. To futher whet folks’ whistles, the fest featured wine, beer, ice cider, bread, soy, and pickles all from the state, showcasing the fact that Vermont is truly the center of a little food revolution.
For a dispatch from the cheese fest with way more of the nitty gritty, all you need do is visit the Heritage Radio Network to hear this weeks’ episode of ‘Cutting the Curd.’ We talk with Allison Hooper of Vermont Butter and Cheese, Mark Fisher of Woodcock Farm, and Alec Webb of Shelburne Farm about all the goings on at the festival and why cheese is so important (gustatorily, economically and otherwise) to Vermonters. If you missed this year’s festival, have no fear, there are plans in the works to do a sequel next fall, and my instincts tell me it’ll be even cheesier!
So, this afternoon I’ll be New York bound, my car packed to the gills with cheeses procured from various farms at the festival. Come tomorrow morning, we’ll be carving into them at the shop and would love to share a bite or two. Among the gems, we’ve gotten the first Weston Wheels of the season from Woodcock Farm, so all y’all who’ve been craving aged sheeps’ milk cheese, now’s your chance. We’ve also packed away a cache of gooey Summer Snow, a fabulous sheeps’ milk camembert from Woodcock Farm, milky sweet Goredawnzola from the Green Mountain Blue Cheese Company, and tart, tangy Lake’s Edge, one of our favorite goats from Blue Ledge Farm.
Stop by and snag a slice, practically fresh from the farm.
Till next week!