Vermont Cheese Council e-Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 1 January, 2010
In this issue:

Meet the Cheesemaker

Cave to Co-op

Cheese News

New Cheeses


Cheesemaking Classes

Recipe of the Month

Join the Vermont Cheese Council

...more info

"Seasons of Change"

Our 16 page, Fall / Winter print newsletter, can be read on our web site.

Vermont Cheese Trail Map
Vermont Cheese Trail Map ThumbnailThe new Vermont Cheese Trail Map has just been reprinted! Visit our web site for the latest version, or if you would like some printed copies, please send a request to

Thank you retailers and other associate members for your support of the Vermont Cheese Council!

Black River Produce

Brattleboro Food Coop

Castleton Crackers

Cheese Traders &
Wine Sellers

Dakin Farm

Equinox Resort and Spa

Hanover Coop

Harvest Market

Healthy Living

Hunger Mountain Coop

Lebanon Coop

Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op

Mountain Cheese and Wine

Mountain Greens Market and Deli

Norma's Restuarant at Topnotch Resort

Newport Specialty Foods

Peter Dixon Dairy Consulting

Provisions International

Ren Hen Cafe and Bakery

Rock Art Brewery

South Royalton Market

Stratton Mountain Provisions

Sugarbush Farm

Sweet Clover

The Cellars Group

The Cheese House

The Cheese Shop/ Wasiks

Wine and Cheese Depot

Upper Valley Food Coop

Vermont Cheesemongers

Woodstock Farmer's Market


Become a fan of the Vermont Cheese Council on Facebook!

Visit our Facebook page.

Post a comment or a photo about your favorite Vermont cheese.

Follow the Vermont Cheese Council on twitter

Cheese makes a wonderful Valentine's gift. Many of our members sell their cheese  through their web site. Visit our cheesemakers online.

Blue Ledge Farm

Blythedale Farm

Bonnieview Farm

Cabot Creamery

Champlain Valley Creamery

Cobb Hill Cheese

Consider Bardwell Farm

Crawford Family Farm

Crowley Cheese

Dancing Cow Farm

Does' Leap

Fat Toad Farm

Franklin Foods

Grafton Village Cheese

Hildene Farm Signature Cheese

Green Mountain Blue Cheese

Hope Farm

Jasper Hill Farm

Jericho Hill Farm

Lakes End Cheeses

Lazy Lady Farm

Maplebrook Farm

Mt. Mansfield Creamery

Neighborly Farms

Orb Weaver Farm

Peaked Mountain Farm

Ploughgate Creamery

Plymouth Artisan Cheese

Sage Farm

Scholten Family Farm

Shelburne Farms

Spring Brook Farm

Taylor Farm

Thistle Hill Farm

Twig Farm

Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery.

Vermont Shepherd

von Trapp Farmstead

Willow Hill Farm

West River Creamery

Woodcock Farm

Valentine's Shopping Tips
For Vermont Cheese

Vermont Cheeses make a unique and wonderful Valentine’s gift for your sweetheart.

See below for all the great places to buy or order Vermont Cheese this Valentine’s Day!

Find a Vermont Cheese Council retailer near you!

On-line/Mail Order Sales
Thistle Hill
Fat Toad Farm
Orb Weaver
Mt. Mansfield Creamery
Twig Farm
Shelburne Farms
Sugarbush Farm
Crowley Cheese
Cabot Creamery 

image1Other On-line Sites that Often Feature
and Carry Vermont Cheese

Murray's Cheese
Saxelby Cheese
Cow Girl Creamery
Artisan Made Northeast

Culture: the world of cheese: a searchable, and extensive, directory of cheese retailers who handle farmstead, artisan, specialty cheeses, etc.

Meet the Cheesemaker

Hannah Sessions of Blue Ledge Farm

How long have you been making cheese?
This August will be eight years. We remember because in August 1, 2002 we got our cheese license and our daughter was born Sept 2, 2002! So we just need to look at her to remember how long we've been making cheese. (Incidentally, though it all worked out, we advise people against starting a business AND a family within 30 days of each other).

What is your favorite goat's name?
I love the name "Ninny" because it is so close to "Nanny" which of course drives all of us goat folks crazy. I also love the names of sisters "Oaky" and "Ola". We take the first letter of the doe's name when naming her offspring. One year I named all of my doelings after ski brands, so I had "Fischer", "Rossi" and "Alpina" among others.

What is the most unique aspect of your operation?
I think we are unique because we market 90% of our cheese ourselves. We have branched out into urban distributors a little bit, but primarily stores call us up and we ship direct to them using a variety of distribution methods. It is a lot of work, but worth it. Over 50% of our cheese is sold in VT, or just over the border and we like that. Also, we are an old cow dairy with a gambrel-style barn. It has posed some challenges, but the farm is very traditional looking and I like that we kept an old barn from disintegrating and brought some new life into it.

If you weren't making cheese you would be...
Don't we all ask ourselves this fairly frequently? We think maybe we'd be painters or writers, or involved in politics in some way but let's face it: we'd be trying to figure out a way to get our hands in the dirt on some farm somewhere!

Cave to Co-op

Cave to Co-op is a program that brings together the best of New England’s artisan cheesemakers, New England’s premier cheese distributor, Provisions International Ltd. and a group of Connecticut Valley Food Co-operatives, the Neighboring Food Co-operative Association. Begun in April of last year, the program was designed to help local cheesemakers promote and sell their products, then bring these local cheeses to the general public at special pricing. The hope was that people would purchase the cheese at this discount, see how uniquely delicious it was and then continue buying it even when it was not on sale.

Since April, ten local cheeses have been featured in the program, and the response has been terrific. Through the joint effort of the cheesemakers, Provisions International and the Neighboring Food Co-operative Association, thousands of pounds of cheese have been sold and appreciated by hundreds of local consumers. Provisions provides background and marketing materials that tells the story of the cheese, including recipes from the farm, and nutritional information, as well as point of sale signage with the Cave to Coop logo. Contact Christopher at Provisions for more information.

Cheese News


The 2nd Annual Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival will be held on July 25th at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms. Look for more information at our website Last year we had over 60 volunteers and will be looking for more this year. If you are interested in volunteering contact Hilary

Grafton Village Cheese
During the 2008/2009 school year, Grafton Village Cheese donated approximately 2,400 pounds of cheese to area schools, serving approximately 5,500 students.  The cheese was used primarily in salad bars, sandwiches, and healthy snack programs.  Grafton Village Cheese is part of the nonprofit Windham Foundation of Grafton, Vermont, whose mission is to promote Vermont's rural communities through its philanthropic and educational programs.

Fat Toad Farm goat dairy is doing something a bit different this winter.  With the encouragement and guidance of Does' Leap, they are milking part of their herd through the winter, breeding them late, so that they can maintain their fresh cheese and caramel production throughout the "dark days". 
Also, they'll be offering some special Valentine's Day caramel packages: Sweets for the sweet....

Saveur: Pastoral Pleasures
“In a state as proudly rural as Vermont, farmers are a close-knit bunch, and the communities they call home are wellsprings of exceptional dairy, breads, fruits, vegetables, and meats.” Read more

New York Times:
A Whey with Words

“Vermont calls to mind some vivid associations: maple syrup, progressive politics, cheese. Laini Fondiller has brought two of the three together with Lazy Lady Farm.” Read this article about the Vermont Cheese Council President.

Chef Emeril Lagasse featured Consider Bardwell Farm's Rupert on 1/11/10 on his Emeril Green show on the Discovery's Planet Green Channel. Emeril visited the Weathersfield Inn and their cow's milk partner farmer Lisa Kaimen's of Jersey Girls Farm. He also makes a Cheddar Ale Soup while in Vermont. See more on Emeril’s Culinary Adventure in Vermont and his visits to other Vermont cheesemakers.

New Cheeses

Hildene Farm
Signature Cheese

Celebration of the New Year got an early start, when on December 27, Hildene announced that the first Hildene Farm Cheese was ready for tasting. The fresh chevre is proof positive that the three long years of planning, building and working towards the goal of cheesemaking at the Rowland Agricultural Center at Hildene Farm had been well worth the wait.  Read more

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery

will be offering a unique cheese made by Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery for their February month. The cheese is named Vermont Heart. It is an aged goat cheese with a bay leaf applied on the cheese.
Read more

Mt. Mansfield Creamery will release a bloomy rind cheese named Chapel Lane. Chapel Lane, also described as, “Love in a Mold,” is seasoned with lavender and rosemary and available in 6 or 8 oz. crottins.

Jasper Hill’s
seasonal favorite, Winnemere, is out! This cheese is washed with Hill Farmstead Brewery's Belgian Tripel. Yum!

Grafton Village Cheese
has just released a limited run of horseradish cheddar, which is now available in their two retail stores in Grafton and Brattleboro.  It is flavored with horseradish extract and aged for approximately 60 days.


On January 25th, The Skinny Pancake in Montpelier will host a Vermont cheese and wine tasting with Chris of Lincoln Peak Vineyards.  Lincoln Peak produces some of the only 100% estate grown and produced wine in the state of VT. (802) 540-0188

January 17-19, 2010
35th Winter Fancy Food Show
Moscone Center, San Franscisco

Cheesemaking Classes

Cheesemaking Class at Mt. Mansfield Creamery
April 16th and 17th
Cow and goat milk tomme. The class will feature a special chef's selection. Come learn about pairings, recipes, and properties about cave-aged products. Space is limited to only 8. Contact Mt. Mansfield Creamery.

The Vermont Institute For Artisan Cheese Classes

Feb 15, - Feb 16, 2010
Cheese Chemistry Short Course

Feb 17, 2010
Starter Cultures

Feb 18, 2010
Basic Sensory Evaluation

Mar 1- 3, 2010
Essential Principles and Practices of Cheesemaking

Mar 4, 2010
Hygiene and Food Safety in Cheesemaking

Mar 5, 2010
Quality and Chemistry of Milk

Mar 15 - 17, 2010
Artisan Cheese Practices:
Washed Rind Cheese /Ireland

Cheese Camp: 3 Day Vermont Cheese Course
March 25 - 27, 2010
Inn at the Round Barn Farm, Waitsfield, VT


Recipe of the Month

By Courtney Contos, Executive Chef for Cook Academy

Lamb Stifado with Feta Cheese
Serves 6-8

4 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch chucks
2-3 tablespoons canola
1 ¼  pounds, pearl onions or shallots, peeled
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 3/4 cups red wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup currants
7 ounces Vermont feta cheese, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Sea salt to taste

  1. Heat a large flameproof dutch-oven over medium high heat. When hot add oil and brown the lamb in batches adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a sheet tray.
  2. In the same pot over medium heat brown the onions 3-4 minutes then add garlic. Cook 2 minutes.
  3. Deglaze with wine. Add bay leaves, pepper, cinnamon stick, cumin, allspice, cloves, vinegar, tomato paste, brown sugar, and currants. Add 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and lower to a low simmer. After ½ hour add onions. Occasionally give the stifado a stir, cook covered 1 ½  hours or until meat is tender and sauce is thick. Remove cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.
  4. Season to taste. Spoon stew into warmed bowls and top with feta and parsley.

Serve with crusty bread and rosemary potatoes or rice.

Become a Friend or Associate Member of the
Vermont Cheese Council

As a Friend of the Vermont Cheese Council, we welcome your donations to assist us with our endeavors to improve the production and advancement of Vermont cheese. Your generous support helps us to continue to grow and expand our technical support for members, while providing you with delicious Vermont cheese. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a friend of the Council or sign up now!

As an Associate Member of the Vermont Cheese Council, we welcome all industry related businesses and individuals who see the value in having a strong cheese industry in Vermont. Learn more about the benefits of an Associate Membership on our web site.

For more information, you may contact our main office at: (866) 261-8595 or visit

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