Fall_Winter 2004 - Vermont Cheese Wins Big by bestt571


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									                  Fall 2004 • Vol. 4, Issue 2

       Vermont Cheese Wins Big
                                Two major cheese competitions were held this summer – one on
                                US soil and the other abroad. In both, Vermont cheesemakers
                                fared very well with six separate cheesemakers pulling in
                                20 awards between the two competitions. Shown at left, ACS
                                first place winner Thistle Hill’s Tarentaise. (see story page 3)

Willow Smart of Willow
Hill Cheese, winner of four
awards at the 17th World
Cheese Awards held in
September in London –
more than any other US
company entered in the

           A Great Year for Vermont
          Cheeses and Cheesemakers
            ell, it has happened again.                                 there was a “buzz” out there. And it felt

W           Summer has slipped us by, and
            the autumn leaves have all
dropped. The fresh, yellow-hued milk of
                                                                           Hopefully the winter will be just as
                                                                        fruitful. I know that I and the other
spring and summer is being replaced with                                Executive members of the VCC have
the pristine white milk of fall and winter.                             some pet projects that we are working on.
A few of us are winding down our                                        And all of us have cheese to make, age,
operations for the season, while others are                             experiment with, and hopefully
just getting theirs going. It is now time to                            somewhere in there, sell.
dawn our parkas and say hello to sunset at                                 I have been nothing but proud of what
4:30.                                                        I’ve seen being produced in this state this year. The
     Something happened in Vermont this year.                cheese makers are working as hard as ever, and it
There was this somewhat intangible “buzz” in the air         shows. Though I am somewhat new to the scene,
surrounding the cheese scene here in the state that I        making cheese for just four years now, I hope to
had not felt in recent years. Maybe I was just more          continue to be a part of this great group for many
aware of what was going on; being that this was my           years to come. The more I make, the more I enjoy
first year as the VCC President. But I would like to         the route I have taken. And I can only hope that
think that it was actually more of what my gut was           the council continues to grow in numbers and in
telling me. That people were, to a greater degree,           potential. This is a unique group of people. From
taking notice of what we’ve been doing in this little        cheese makers, to food related professionals, to
state, tucked way up here in the North East corner.          university professors, to members of Vermont’s
People were getting just as excited to try some of our       Department of Agriculture. All of us have different
cheeses as we are to make them.                              backgrounds, different stories to tell, different
   A lot has happened this year. A fine showing at           animals we milk - but we all share a similar goal. To
this years ACS awards in Milwaukee. Awards                   make the best, most individually recognizable
brought home from the World Cheese Awards in the             cheeses we can. To get people to expand what they
UK. The inception of the Vermont Institute for               know, and think they know about cheese. And to
Artisinal Cheeses (VIAC) in conjunction with the             hopefully get a few from outside the state to come
University of Vermont. The wonderful Water Buffalo           and pay a visit; see our farms, see our herds, and
cheese and yoghurts from Star Hill Dairy. New                see why we all choose to live in this rural
cheese makers in the Northeast Kingdom getting               wonderland.
National coverage on television and in newspapers.
Vermont cheese makers being invited to Italy                                  Jamie Miller, Shelburne Farms
through the folks at Slow Food USA. Various articles                          President
in food and wine related magazines. Like I said,

        Vermont Cheeses Earn Awards
          American Cheese Society and World Cheese Awards
                 number Vermonters among winners
                                     American Cheese Society Awards
      he American Cheese Society (ACS) Awards

                                                                aesthetics (e.g. flavor, aroma and texture). One hundred
      Ceremony was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in              and eleven (111) cheese making companies from the US
      July. In this competition, cheeses are judged both        and Canada entered the competition. Vermont winners
on their technical merit as well as on measures of              were:

   Company                   Award                          Category                                    Cheese
   Cabot Creamery          1st place      Monterey Jack made from Cow’s milk               Monterey Jack
                           1st place      Cheddars; flavor added                           Five Peppercorn Cheddar
                           2nd place      Aged Cheddars, all milks (12-24 months)          Private Stock Cheddar
                           3rd place      Butters                                          Whey Cream Butter
   Willow Hill Farm        2nd place      Open Category, sheep or mixed milk               Summer Tomme
                           2nd place      Cultured products made from sheep’s milk         Organic Sheep Yogurt
   Shelburne Farms         1st place      Smoked Cheddar                                   Smoked Cheddar
                           2nd place      Mature Cheddars (aged + 25 months)               25 Month Cheddar
                           3rd place      Cheese Spreads                                   Roasted Red Pepper Cheddar
   Vermont Butter &        1st place      Feta Cheese                                      Vermont Goats’ Milk Feta
   Cheese Company          2nd place      Fresh Goat Cheese; flavor added                  Vermont Chevre Herb
                           3rd place      Crème Fraiche from cow’s milk                    Vermont Crème Fraiche
                           3rd place      Quark Cheese from cow’s Milk                     Vermont Quark
   Thistle Hill Farm        1st place     Farmstead Cheese; all milks;                     Tarentaise
                                          aged longer than 90 days

                                           World Cheese Awards
  At the 17th World Cheese Awards in London in Sept-            American companies to earn medals in the Cheddar cate-
ember, US cheese makers earned 44 medals – six of them          gories, no small achievement considering the contest
by Vermonters. The contest attracted nearly 1,500 total         took place in the United Kingdom, where cheddar was
entries, including 226 from the United States. Specialty        first created more than 800 years ago. Willow Hill Farm
cheeses from the US earned 15 gold medals, 15 silvers and       took home four awards, the most of any US company
14 bronze. Cabot Creamery Cooperative was one of two            entered in the competition. Winners from Vermont were:

  Company                  Award                            Category                                    Cheese
  Cabot Creamery            Gold         Mature Winter Block Cheddar                      Clothbound Cheddar Wheel
  Willow Hill Farm          Gold         Hard or Semi Hard Ewes’ milk cheese              Autumn Oak
                            Silver       Cheese produced on a farm/dairy with output      Cobble Hill
                                         not exceeding a weekly average of 2 tonnes
                           Silver        Ewes’ milk with additives                        Summer Tomme with Herbs
                           Bronze        Soft ewes’ milk cheese plain                     Vermont Brebis
  Vermont                  Bronze        Hard or semi-hard ewes’ milk cheese              Vermont Shepherd

             A Welcome Spanish Import:
                                 Cheese Evaluation Expertise

By Carol Delaney, Small Ruminant         the technological and sensory             cheese. There, with her technical
Dairy Specialist, University of          characterization of traditional           expertise and knowledge of the
Vermont                                  Spanish cheeses. It was her job to        Italian language, she was able to
                                         collect information from cheese           transfer expertise on Mozzarella
        s Vermont grows its numbers      makers to characterize each cheese        between Italian and American cheese

A       of cheese makers, so too
        grows the need for technical
advice on cheese recipe development,
                                         and identify the sources of variability
                                         on the quality of the final product.
                                         She was also involved in promoting
                                                                                       Recently, through the generosity
                                                                                   of The John Merck Fund and an
tests for quality control, and sensory   traditional cheeses in scientific and     anonymous donor, the Northeast
evaluation training for taste.           social events, speaking as dairy          Center for Food Entrepreneurship at
Consumers will pay higher than aver-     scientist and sensory expert.             UVM created the Vermont Institute
age prices for Vermont artisanal             Through her academic and              for Artisan Cheese (VIAC) to support
cheeses but only if the product is       professional networks, Montse             and strengthen artisan cheese
consistent and the flavor is good.       learned about and eventually met          making. Montse’s position at VIAC
Most members of the Vermont              UVM dairy foods research Professor        has been secured for the next three
Cheese Council have been making          Dr. Paul Kindstedt, author of many        years to provide technical assistance
cheese for less than 10 years and are    scientific articles that had been so      and educational programs to cheese
now working to perfect their original    valuable for her Ph.D. work. She          makers, along with research
cheese recipes as well as developing     immediately started a post-doctoral       expertise in the area of sensory
new cheese products to diversify         research project with Dr. Kindstedt       analysis.
their product line. For the past three   at UVM. I will never forget when Dr.         To reach Dr. Montserrat Almena-
years, the Northeast Center for Food     Kindstedt hired me to work in his         Aliste, (“Montse”), please contact her
Entrepreneurship (NECFE) and the         lab. “When I started working with         at montse@uvm.edu.
Center for Sustainable Agriculture s     him I knew he was a expert in             Source: Cultivating Connections,
Small Ruminant Dairy Project have        Mozzarella and over these past years      Spring, 2004, Volume X, Number 2.
co-sponsored cheese workshops.           I found out that Paul is a wonderful
Now, NECFE has hired a full-time         person with an incredible knowledge
                                                                                     Available: Extra Hands
associate to work with cheese mak-       in dairy technology and a passion for
                                                                                        The University of Vermont’s
ers. Dr. Montserrat ( Montse )           Vermont and artisan cheese making,”
                                                                                     Department of Nutrition and
Almena-Aliste brings years of training   Montse said. Her two years of
                                                                                     Food Sciences has students who
and work with European cheese mak-       research focused on identifying the
                                                                                     are interested in gaining
ers to her new position in Vermont.      phenomena that determine the
                                                                                     experience outside of the
   Montse was born in Ponferrada,        functional and textural quality of
                                                                                     classroom. If you are a business
Spain, in the northwest corner of the    mozzarella and cream cheeses. She
                                                                                     or organization that could
country. She received her Master’s       was also enlisted to teach a sensory
                                                                                     provide a food science or
degree in Analytical Chemistry,          evaluation course at UVM and part of
                                                                                     nutrition-related volunteer
Nutrition and Inspection of Foods at     a cheese workshop held at NECFE to
                                                                                     opportunity or internship to an
the University of Santiago de            help cheese makers learn about
                                                                                     excited student, please contact:
Compostela in Lugo, Spain, and did       sensory evaluation of cheeses.
her a Ph.D research in Poligny,              Montse also spent time helping                    Linda Berlin
France where she studied cheese          Vermont Cheese Council member                309A Terrill Hall, 570 Main St.
texture and technology after which       and water buffalo farm in South                 University of Vermont
she returned to the University of        Woodstock, Star Hill Dairy, Inc.,             Burlington, VT 05405-0148
Santiago to direct a cheese quality      develop their recipes for plain and             802-656-0669 (phone)
project. There, she worked to refine     flavored yogurts and mozzarella                   802-656-0407 (fax)

          Top Boston Restaurant Hosts
             Vermont Cheeses and
         onsidered to be among the      cheesemakers. “For years, we have         The fixed price cost for the cheese

C        best, if not THE best
         restaurant in Boston,
L’Espalier is a chic and modern
                                        been the premiere cheese
                                        destination in Boston and we are
                                        always seeking out new cheeses and
                                                                                  dinner is $55 and that includes
                                                                                  wines paired with each course.
                                                                                      On the internet, one can find
restaurant featuring inventive New      cheesemakers. We have met some            numerous ratings of the restaurant
England-French cuisine based on         really fascinating people along the       by patrons. One, posted in October
fresh, regional ingredients. Located    way, and wanted them to be able to        of last year by Max, wrote, “My
in the heart of fashionable Back Bay,   share their stories with our guests.      favorite “special place” restaurant in
on the corner of Newbury and            This cheese series is also in line with   Boston, by far. L’Espalier is elegant,
Gloucester Streets, L’Espalier has      L’Espalier’s philosophy of using only     the menu is wonderful and the food
long been a supporter of regional       the freshest ingredients from New         is second to none. Try the cheese
artisinal cheeses and has included      England farms and farmers. We are         course or the caviar course, it’s
Hope Farm’s Tomme de Brebis and         very excited to be presenting these       different, wonderful, and certainly a
Lazy Lady Farm’s goat’s milk cheeses    cheesemakers to the Boston public,”       culinary experience that is not to be
on their cheese tray for the past few   says Risoli. Each evening in the          missed. “Of her experience as a
years.                                  cheesemakers series includes a four-      cheesemaker showcased at the
   In addition to that, Chef Frank      course dinner with a different wine       restaurant, Lazy Lady’s Laini
McClelland and fromager Louis Risoli    paired with each course. The fourth       Fondellier said it was: “incredible,
have created the New England            course is a grand cheese tasting          unbelievable, beyond all my wildest
Cheesemakers Series, as part of their   selected by the featured guest. Nick      dreams. Never eaten so well in all my
ever-popular Cheese Tuesday series,     Tranquillo, L’Espalier’s Assistant        life, I was treated like a celebrity.
which has been delighting cheese-       Maitre D’ and the restaurant’s liaison    The folks at L’Espailer were generous
loving patrons since 2002. As part of   with the cheesemakers, has brought        way beyond the call of duty, every
the New England Cheesemakers            in Mark and Gari Fischer from             plate full of food was a work of art
Series, L’Espalier has welcomed a       Woodcock Farm, John and Janine            ...on top of being totally delicious.”
number of Vermont’s finest cheese-      Putnam from Thistle Hill Farm,                Look for L’Espalier to bring more
makers to participate in a series of    Willow Smart from Willow Hill Farm        Vermont cheesemakers and their
special events centered on these        and Laini Fondiller from Lazy Lady        unique cheeses to Boston over the
distinguished, and often quirky,        Farm in Westfield so far this year.       coming months.

                                                                                                         A sampling of

            Vermont Institute for Artisan
               Cheese Offers Training
The following is excerpted from an            Doolan and Dimmick are prime          designed for huge industrial food pro-
article, Big Help for Small Cheese,        examples of the type of cheesemaker      ducers, to managing the natural vari-
by Melissa Pasanen published in the        the newly launched Vermont               ability of milk from pastured animals
Burlington Free Press on June 22,          Institute for Artisan Cheese was cre-    while delivering the consistent
2004.                                      ated to help. The institute grew out     cheese that customers expect.
                                           of the work of Catherine Donnelly        “Cheesemakers often recall that
         he new Vermont Institute for

                                           and Paul Kindstedt, internationally      when they started they were making
         Artisan Cheese located at the     recognized food scientists and long-     40 different cheeses, and they were
         University of Vermont held a      time professors in the University of     only supposed to be making one,”
daylong course this summer at the          Vermont’s nutrition and food science     Donnelly noted.
Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms              department. Funding of more than             The new institute will not only
designed to help more than a dozen         half a million dollars was secured       provide regular educational opportu-
cheesemakers refined their ability to      through the efforts of Sen. James        nities such as like the cheddar work-
distinguish good Cheddar from bad.         Jeffords, I-Vt., as well as contribu-    shop, but also help connect cheese-
    “The texture of each cheese,           tions from the John Merck Fund and       makers with experts who can assist
explained Dr. Montserrat Almena-           an anonymous donor.                      them through scientific and commer-
Aliste, a member of the institute’s           In Vermont, small cheese opera-       cial issues, and even offer “house
technical staff, must be evaluated for     tions are a bright spot in farming.      calls” for on-site technical assistance.
its elasticity, firmness, deformability,   There are more than 30 such cheese-      It is modeled after similar organiza-
friability and adhesivity.” (see related   makers across the state, many of         tions in France, Italy and Spain, but
story on Cheese Evaluation, page 4).       whom have won prestigious national       is the first institution in this country
    Kristan Doolan of Does’ Leap Farm      awards in the increasingly competi-      to focus on the needs of small cheese-
in Bakersfield held a hunk of cheese       tive domestic segment. “Ten years        makers.
to her nose and sniffed intently for a     ago here at the American Cheese              “There was a vacuum,” agreed
few moments before she wrote               Society annual awards, we evaluated      workshop attendee Jim Wallace of
“nuts” and “toasty” on her four-page       50 cheeses,” Donnelly told the group.    Shelburne Falls, Mass., who works
cheese sensory evaluation form.            “Last year in San Francisco, we had      for New England Cheesemaking
Doolan makes fresh and aged goat           589 cheeses.”                            Supply, a company that has taught
cheese. While she has no plans to             Artisan cheese, as Donnelly           small-scale cheesemaking and sold
make a Cheddar-style cheese, “you          explains it, “is typically handcrafted   equipment and materials to cheese-
can always learn something about           cheese made in the European tradi-       makers for 25 years. “Other cheese
cheese,” Doolan said.                      tion. It’s not the plastic-wrapped       science institutions in this country
    Seated a few chairs away was           commodity cheese. Often it is also       have concentrated more on the
Linda Dimmick of Neighborly Farms,         what we call farmstead cheese,           industrial cheeses,” he explained.
who is very familiar with Cheddars --      which is manufactured from a closed      “We get phone calls every day from
the focus of her family’s organic          herd and usually the cheesemaker is      all over the country looking for help.
dairy in Randolph Center.                  also the animal herdsperson, so they     It’s absolutely fabulous that this
Commenting on the first cheese sam-        know the composition of the grasses,     exists.”
ple, Dimmick said, “The bitterness         they know the animals that produce           Donnelly emphasized that “having
reminded me of the Cheddar I made          the milk. That way the milk that you     the best science available will give
in the beginning. I had this big facto-    get for cheesemaking is the highest      Vermont cheesemakers a leg up,”
ry cheese guy showing me how to do         quality.”                                and, even as the institute helps oth-
it, and he told me to add lots of cul-        Along with growing competition,       ers across the country, “It will halo
ture to speed it up — but we’re just       the challenges facing small cheese-      back on Vermont. By helping all of
small farmstead guys. We’re not in         makers are numerous: from navigat-       us, we’re helping ourselves.”
that kind of hurry.”                       ing government regulations that are

The Training Center for Farmstead
Milk Processing at Westminster
Dairy Presents Workshops
         series of two-day workshops     2005 Schedule                           April 23-24 Soft-ripened cheeses:

A        and seminars in making
         cheese and other dairy
products on the farm, taught by Peter
                                         January 15-16 Cheesemaking and
                                           Starter Culture Technology with
                                                                                   Brie, Camembert, Aged Goat
                                                                                   cheeses, French Tomme, Butter
                                                                                   and Crème Fraiche from cow and
Dixon and special guests. Through          Margaret Morris: Gouda, Aged            goat milk.
making cheese and other dairy              goat cheeses, and Tomme cheese-
products and receiving classroom           making and classroom instruction.     May 7-8 Cheeses of the
instruction at Westminster Dairy, a                                                Mediterranean: Feta, Kashkaval,
licensed Vermont farmstead,              February 12-13 Four Blue cheeses          Fresh Mozzarella, Corsican-style
certified-organic milk processor,          from goat and cow milk, including       tomme, Ricotta and Yogurt from
participants will learn the                Bleu de Gex (tomme-style).              goat, sheep and cow milk.
fundamentals of milk processing and
how to set up and improve their own      March 12-13 British cheeses:            May 21-22 Alpine cheeses: Swiss,
farmstead cheese businesses. During        Caerphilly, Colwick, Cheddar            Asiago, Tomme and Toma, Butter
the two days, we will make butter,         (cloth-bound), and Chesire from         and Sour Cream from cow and
yogurt, starter cultures, other fresh      cow milk.                               goat milk.
cultured dairy products and at least
four varieties of cheese. A simple raw
milk tomme-style cheese will be                                                                      Peter Dixon (left)
made in all the workshops. Lunches                                                                   getting “hands-
and course materials, including many                                                                 on” with novice
tried and true recipes, will be                                                                      cheesemakers.
provided. Cost is $250; a $50 deposit
is required and the remainder is
payable on arrival. Classes are from
9 am to 4 pm each day. All of the
classes will be held at the Fischers’
Woodcock Farm in Weston, VT.
   Contact Peter Dixon at 802-387-
4041 or e-mail pdixon@sover.net for
further details and to register and
receive directions.

2004 Workshop/
Seminar Schedule
                                             Goat Dairies of Distinction in Vermont
November 20 The Business and                  The Vermont division of the Northeast Dairy Farm Beautification
  Regulation of Farmstead Milk             Program chose 165 farms to receive the honor of “Dairy of Distinction”
  Processing with Greg Lockwood,           this year. These farms that apply are visited in June and their land and
  VT State Dairy Plant Inspector.          animal management are viewed to recognize those farms that maintain
                                           attractive, well-kept farmsteads to support the effort to promote a
December 4-5 Italian cheeses:              positive dairy farm image. Good manure management and good care of
  Romano, Toma, Provolone, Fresh           animals are rewarded. Among the five goat dairies to receive the award
  Mozzarella, and Ricotta from goat        was VCC member Joanne James, Lakes End Cheeses, Alburg.
  and cow milk.

                     LET’S VISIT...

                                          Hope Farm
        A marriage of ingenuity and hard work = great cheese

                                          Christopher Dale
        arbara and Harvey Levin make                                                                  barn roof for which he had to forgo

B       their home in the shadow of
        Westmore Mountain in the
Northeast Kingdom of Vermont on a
                                                                                                      his fear of heights. One of Harv’s
                                                                                                      more creative and practical building
                                                                                                      projects was the creation of a
little sheep dairy they call Hope                                                                     unique, hard plastic cheese press
Farm. There, they raise sheep for                                                                     that sits atop a work table in their
meat and milk. The milk they turn                                                                     pristine and tidy cheese room. “It
into three varieties of decidedly                                                                     cleans up well, “says Harv, an
delicious farmstead, raw sheep milk                                                                   understated, modest man. One gets
cheese. It’s a relatively small                                                                       the sense that Harv could fix or built
operation, currently yielding about                                                                   anything he set his mind to. That
1,000 pounds of cheese each year                                                                      kind of “can-do” spirit led the couple
but, along with the meat sales, it’s                                                                  into their cheesemaking business
been enough to help support the                                                                       which has proven to be both
couple and their border collie, Mac,                                                                  successful and “very gratifying”
since they walked away from                                                                           according to Barbara who also
“regular” jobs a few years ago.                                                                       weaves during the long, cold
     Though East Charleston, the                                                                      Vermont winters and “wallows” in
hamlet in which Hope Farms lays, is                                                                   the Sunday New York Times when
not exactly on the way from or to                                                                     time permits. The off-season also
anywhere in particular, it is a bucolic                                                               affords Harv a catch up around the
setting discovered by the Levins in                                                                   farm, repairing and rebuilding
2001 when they set out to make the                                                                    whatever needs work at their 100
move to Vermont. Though they came                                                                     plus year old homestead.
to Vermont from another small sheep                                                                       When spring comes around, the
farm in Chester, New Hampshire –                                                                      cheesemaking season kicks in in
where they had been raising sheep                            Barbara and Harvey Levin with            earnest. From mid-May though Fall
since 1981, their path to Hope Farm                          their border collie, Mac.                foliage you can find the Levins
was an indirect one, as is mostly the                                                                 tending their mixed flock of milkers,
case with Vermont’s artisinal cheese-                                                                 working in the cheese room or
makers.                                                      she plods along in rubber boots. She     traveling around the region to sell
                                                             looks at home. Harv, too, looks like     their wares. The Farmer’s Markets in
From Big City to the                                         the farm suits him. The couple met       Danville and St. Johnsbury have
country                                                      when Harv was a patron at a jazz bar     become regular sales venues for
    Harv and Barbara got to Vermont                          in Greenwich Village where Barbara       Hope Farm in season as have some
by way of New York City with a 23                            worked on the weekends during her        regional retailers including Newport
year stop over in rural New                                  days at Hunter College. They’ve been     Natural Foods and the Kingdom
Hampshire. In New York, Barbara                              married now for 30 years.                County Coop. Though the Levins
once earned her living as a dancer,                              Harv’s degree in mechanical          once questioned whether anyone
doing shows and concert work and,                            engineering from the Newark College      would want to buy the cheeses they
later, as a physical therapist. Walking                      of Engineering has come in very          produced, they have had no trouble
the field with her dog, her dancer’s                         handy in the farm-based lifestyle that   selling out all that they can make of
training is apparent on this particular                      he embraced years ago. He has built,     three varieties: Tomme de Brebis,
cool late summer day. She is                                 repaired or rebuilt just about           Pierce Hill and Summer Daze, and
straight, strong and graceful though                         everything on the farm including the     that includes to customers well

Christopher Dale

                                                                                                                      Hope Farm, nestled in
                                                                                                                      the shadow of
                                                                                                                      Westmore Mountain.

                                                                                                                        ultimately double their
                                                                                                                        cheese production.
                                                                                                                        With demand
                                                                                                                        continuing to grow
                                                                                                                        along with the
                                                                                                                        reputation of their
                   beyond the reach of northeastern          ever since.” (see related story on         cheese, this is a hope that should be
                   Vermont.                                  Boston Restaurant showcasing               easily realized. “Hope” remains an
                                                             Vermont cheeses.) Other customers          operative word in all that the Levins
                   Cheese Traveling                          from out of state have also                have undertaken. “When we started
                   Out of State                              discovered the cheeses of Hope             farming in New Hampshire, we
                       Through the Vermont Cheese            Farm, such as the mother of her            prefaced much of our plans with
                   Council’s web site                        neighbor who lives in Texas, had a         saying “I hope this will work or that
                   (www.vtcheese.com) and as a result        taste of Tomme on a visit once and         will work,” which led to the genesis
                   of the VCC newsletter, word has           still wants more. Barbara                  of the name of the farm,” says
                   traveled far beyond the shadow of         accommodates all she can.                  Barbara. Now, some 25 years later,
                   Westmore Mountain that there’s                As for the future, the Levins hope     they are still hoping but with a little
                   “gold in them there hills” – golden,      to transition their 30 milkers to a full   more certainty about the outcome.
                   creamy, flavorful cheese. Among           dairy breed so that they can               Hope Farm has lived up to its name.
                   their unexpected customers has been
                   the upscale restaurants L’Espalier of
                   Boston and Moxie’s of Cleveland,
                   both of which buys wheels of Hope
                   Farm’s Tomme for inclusion on their
                                                                        USDA Rural Development’s
                   cheese plates. Nick Tranquillo,                     Value-Added Producer Grants
                   Assistant Sommelier and Assistant
                   Maitre’D at L’Espalier, one of Boston’s
                                                                      ederal grants may be

                                                                                                        or for working capital operating
                   finest restaurant, tells how he
                                                                      available to assist cheese-       expenses related to the value-
                   discovered Hope Farm in a blinding
                                                                      makers with marketing or          added venture. Program
                   snow storm in December 2003 while
                                                                with the development of their           information is available online at
                   visiting friends in Northeast
                                                                products. Eligible independent          http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coo
                   Vermont. “I knew of Hope Farm from
                                                                producers, agricultural producer        ps/vadg.htm, or for more
                   the Cheese Council newsletter and
                                                                groups, farmer or rancher cooper-       information cheesemakers may
                   thought I’d make a visit while in the
                                                                atives, and majority-controlled         contact Lyn Millhiser, USDA Rural
                   area. When I finally got through the
                                                                producer-based business ventures        Development Business &
                   snow storm and arrived at the farm I
                                                                may seek funds for value-added          Cooperative Programs Specialist
                   found they only had a little piece of
                                                                economic planning activities such       in Vermont and New Hampshire at
                   cheese left from their season
                                                                as feasibility study, business plan     802-828-6069 or
                   production. But I tasted it and loved
                                                                and marketing plan development;         lyn.millhiser@vt.usda.gov.
                   it. We’ve been featuring Hope Farm’s
                   Tomme de Brebis on our cheese tray

                                    SMALL BITES
   On May 17, 2004, over 150 people
gathered around tables in the ball
room at the offices of Provisions
International Ltd. in White River Vt.,
to take part in a cheese tasting led by
Max McCalman, author of The
Cheese Plate, maitre fromager at the
Manhattan restaurant Picholine and
one of the driving forces behind the
Artisanal Cheese Center in New York.
The event was co- sponsored by the
Vermont Cheese Council. Twelve
cheeses were included in the formal
tasting, three from New England and
one, Constant Bliss, from Jasper Hill     Max McCalman, author of The Cheese Plate, at Provisions’ event.
Farm in Vermont. In addition to
these twelve, there was a large table
of 15 varieties of cheese made in                                                 Chipotle pepper, Garlic, Caraway,
Vermont. This cheese and the                                                      Cumin, Nettle and Aged. Taylor Farm
cheesemakers themselves were                 The June issues of Country Home,     strongly encourages visitors any day
available during the reception            Food and Wine, House and Garden,        of the week and still does a great
following. It was a lively, fun, and      Bon Appetit, Traditional Home and       sleigh ride business (weather
educational afternoon.                    This Old House featured full page ads   permitting) throughout the winter.
                                          highlighting the cheeses of Vermont.
                                          This was a cooperative ad between
                                          the Agency of Agriculture and the
                                          Vermont Department of Tourism and
   Vermont Butter & Cheese                Marketing. (see page 1)                    Local Vermont Arts and
Company’s cultured butter with sea                                                Humanities organizations have
salt crystals won “outstanding cheese                                             discovered the value of pairing wine
or dairy product” in June at the                                                  and cheese for non-profit, “profit”.
International Summer Fancy Food                                                   The Flynn Performing Arts Center,
Show in New York City. It was also           Jon Wright at Taylor Farm in         located in Burlington, held a fund-
written up in the New York Times,         Londonderry reports that due to a       raising Wine and Cheese festival on
Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune.        tremendous increase in retail sales     September 19 at Shelburne Farms.
                                          right at the farm, they have built an   Participating VCC members included:
                                          addition to their cheese room which     Cabot Creamery, Grafton Village
                                          will be ready at the time of this       Cheese Company, Shelburne Farms
                                          newsletter. They’ve added a 22’x40’     and Taylor Farm cheese. And on
                                          entryway/sales room, new basement       Saturday, October 9, a similar event
                                          aging room and second floor office      took place at the Kellogg-Hubbard
                                          space. Currently, Taylor Farm is        Library in Montpelier. Featured VCC
                                          milking a mixed herd of 45 Holsteins    members included: Jasper Hill
                                          and Jerseys and are down to shipping    Farm, Neighborly Farms of
                                          milk only one day/week, using the       Vermont, Thistle Hill Farm, Taylor
                                          rest in their production of gouda       Farm Cheese, and Vermont Butter
                                          style cheeses in the following          & Cheese Company along with a
                                          varieties: traditional, Maple Smoked,   dozen regional bakeries, chocolaters,
                                                                                  and wineries.

                                           Jasper Hill Farm was the focus of
                                        an article entitled “Cheese Whizzes,”
                                        that appeared in the Business section      Vermont Cheese
                                        of the Times Argus on September 30.        Council Member
                                        The article explored the relationship
                                        between the Greensboro, Vermont-            Cheesemakers
                                        based cheesemaker and the New
                                        England Culinary School, located in       Blueledge Farm, Salisbury
                                        Montpelier. A recipe for Beef             Blythedale Farm, Corinth
                                        tenderloin with mesclun greens,           Bonnieview Farm,
                                        peach vinaigrette and Bayley Hazen           Craftsbury Common
                                        Blue Cheese, accompanied the article      Cabot Creamery Cooperative,
                                        which also featured a photo of Jasper        Cabot
                                        Hill cheesemaker Victoria                 Champlain Valley Creamery,
                                        VonHessert.                                  Vergennes
                                                                                  Cobb Hill, Hartland
                                                                                  Creek Road Cheese Company,
    Green Mountain Blue Cheese                                                       Irasburg
was mentioned in a recipe/article in                                              Crowley Cheese, Healdville
September issue of Yankee magazine         Terra Madre, World Meeting of
                                                                                  Does Leap Farm, Bakersfield
titled “Harvest at Hemingway’s”         Food Communities, sponsored by
                                                                                  Franklin Foods, Enosburg Falls
(photograph by Rose McNulty)            Slow Food in Turin, Italy from
                                        October 20-23, 2004 featured VCC          Hope Farm, Charleston
                                        cheesemakers Vermont Butter &             Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton
                                        Cheese Company, Cabot Creamery,           Green Mountain Blue Cheese,
                                        Thistle Hill, Peaked Mountain                Highgate Center
   The President Calvin Coolidge        Farm, Shelburne Farms, Woodcock           Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro
State Historic Site hosted the          Farm and Grafton Village Cheese.          La Fromagerie du Royaume,
Plymouth Cheese & Harvest Festival      Terra Madre is a forum “for those            Guildhall
on Saturday, September 11. Held         who seek to grow, raise, catch, create,   Lakesend Cheeses, Alburg
annually since 1997, the festival was   distribute and promote food in ways       Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield
selected as one of Vermont’s “Top 10    that respect the environment, defend      Maryella Farm, E. Corinth
Fall Events” by the Vermont             human dignity and protect the health      Neighborly Farm, Randolph
Chamber of Commerce in 2001 &           of consumers”. Their approach to          Orb Weaver Farm, New Haven
2002. This year, Cobb Hill Cheese       food production is an alternative to
                                                                                  Peaked Mountain Farm,
was featured at the event which was     the current industrial food
attended by approximately 350           production system: one where food
                                                                                  Pomeroy Farm, Londonderry
visitors.                               quality and variety are valued, rural
                                        regions thrives, and links between        Shelburne Farms, Shelburne
                                        producers and consumers are strong.       Star Hill Dairy, S. Woodstock
                                                                                  Taylor Farm, Inc, Londonderry
                                                                                  Thistle Hill, North Pomfret
   The cheeses from Willow Hill                                                   Three Owls Sheep Dairy,
Farm were featured in the Fall 2004                                                  Granville
issue of La Vie Claire, Claire                                                    Three Shepherds of the
Murray’s new magazine                                                                Mad River Valley, Warren
                                                                                  Vermont Butter and Cheese
                                                                                     Company, Websterville
                                                                                  Vermont Shepherd, Putney
                                                                                  Westminster Dairy,
                                                                                  Willow Hill Farm, Milton
                                                                                  Woodcock Farm, Weston

VERMONT DEPARTMENT          OF   AGRICULTURE                                     NON-PROFIT ORG
Vermont Cheese Council                                                             US POSTAGE
116 State Street                                                                         PAID
Montpelier, Vermont 05620-2901                                                     PERMIT #74
                                                                                  MONTPELIER VT

         Calendar of Upcoming Events                                The Vermont Cheese Council
                                                                     Newsletter is published for
Cheese Workshops from               Hygiene and Food Safety              food professionals.
The Training Center for             in Cheesemaking                   With written permission,
Farmstead Milk Processing           December 9-10, 2004
at Westminster Dairy                Vermont Institute for Artisan     reprinting is encouraged.
November 20 The Business and        University of Vermont
  Regulation of Farmstead Milk      (802) 656-8300
  Processing                                                             THE VERMONT
December 4-5 Italian cheeses        Winter 2005                         CHEESE COUNCIL
For more information, contact       Fancy Food Show®                      116 State Street
  Peter Dixon, (802) 387-4041       January 23-25, 2005
  (pdixon@sover.net)                Moscone Center, San Francisco            Drawer 20
                                    www.specialtyfood.com/do/Home    Montpelier, VT 05620-1901


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