Sunday is Father’s Day! ‘Fermented Father’s Day’
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Once or twice a year, I am lucky enough to be able to jump in my car, crank up the old radio and head to one of my favorite places on earth: Vermont. On this whirlwind trip, I got to visit seven different cheese making operations in the space of five days. This week’s dispatch features bits and pieces from my cheesy sojourn and lots of pictures too! So read up, and get your fill of verdant, cheese-filled Vermont!
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The first stop on the trip was Sage Farm Goat Dairy
. Sisters Molly and Katie Pindell run the dairy together, and make deliciously delicate bloomy-rinded goat cheeses. Our favorite is called Madonna (named after a local mountain peak, not the queen of pop) and is light, lemony and tangy.
After Stowe I continued on up to the Northeast Kingdom, home to some of the finest cheesemakers around. At the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm
, we tasted through 16 batches of Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (it’s hard work, but somebody has to do it 🙂 to see which cheese might be a contender for this year’s ACS competition.
After stuffing myself with cheddar, I took a jaunt down the road toBonnieview Farm
, whose sheep are pumping out milk as we speak for their delicious range of cheeses. We ate more cheese (surprise surprise) and I took a gander at the cheeses aging away in their tiny cellar… Stay tuned! Come July, we’ll be noshing on some delicious Ben Nevis and Mossend Blue!
Friday I woke up early (for me mind you, which is still late for cheesemakers) and headed down to Hardwick to see Jasper Hill Farm’s cheesemaking outpost at the newly completed Vermont Food Venture Center
. There they are tweaking the recipe for a new Alpine-style cheese made with milk from a local dairy, Andersonville Farm. The FVC is meant to be a springboard for new cheesemakers and new cheeses, allowing cheesemakers to learn technique and cheeses to evolve flavor before launching a new business (which is a daunting and costly endeavor) With the help of the FVC, in 20 years the Northeast Kingdom will be dotted with small dairies producing cheese and sending them to the Cellars at Jasper Hill to be aged and sent out into the cheese-loving world.
By 8:00 am Friday morning, the FVC crew was done making cheese (I told you they get up early!) and I was back in my battle-scarred Prius climbing over the notch atop Mad River Glen towards the Champlain Valley. I arrived at Twig Farm
just in time to see Michael Lee and his new assistant Jana finish up a batch of Square Cheese. (Also coming soon!!) We trekked out to commune with the goats in their pasture and lunched on grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with Fuzzy Wheel and Jana’s homemade rhubarb preserves.
My next stop was Scholten Family Farm
, located just outside of Middlebury. Farmers Patty and Roger Scholten milk a herd of Dutch Belt cows, a breed rarely seen in the US and preferred by the Dutch royalty way back in the day. The Scholtens loved dairy farming, but after years of being victim to fluctuating milk prices decided they didn’t want to be tied to producing a commodity product. They met Andy and Mateo Kehler up at the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm, perfected their Weybridge cheese, and the rest is history!
The last stop was Animal Farm
in Orwell, Diane St Clair’s diminutive dairy that produces some of the world’s finest butter. Watching her handle her herd of Jersey cows, its no wonder they give such fine milk. Diane produces butter just once a week in the summer months, and ramps up production in the wintertime, when the butterfat in the milk goes off the charts. To eat her butter, one must make a reservation at Thomas Keller’s Per Se (or wait until December when we sell it for a brief time through our online shop
!), but to get her buttermilk (which her husband Al proved makes the world’s best waffles!) just come on over to the Essex Market.
Tune in to the Heritage Radio Network TONIGHT at 5:30 for a fresh episode of Cutting the Curd! We’ll be talking with Rynn Caputo of Caputo Brothers Creamery in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania about her incredible mozzarella curd. Learn what makes her mozz different, and how you can make your very own fresh mozzarella, burrata, and other favorites at home!
Got questions for Cutting the Curd? Ideas for future shows? Tell us what you want to hear! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Gotta give a gift? Send the gift of cheese to someone you love!
Visit saxelbycheese.comfor our full selection of cheesy packages, gift certificates, and more! We ship all across the country, so what are you waiting for?
Check out Saxelby Cheesemongers as featured in the New York Times!