Only recently, in the past 20 years or so, has the craft of Artisan Cheese making been able to compete with the Europeans. A revolution has occurred with major hotspots for cheese developing in California, Vermont, and elsewhere. The small state of Vermont hosts dozens of artisan cheese makers. With so many great cheesemakers creating a huge variety of cheeses, it’s impossible to say who’s the best. This list only reflects some of my favorites.
According to the American Cheese Society, “The word artisan or artisanal implies that a cheese is produced primarily by hand, in small batches, with particular attention paid to the tradition of the cheese maker’s art, and thus using as little mechanization as possible in the production of the cheese.”
Vermont Artisan Cheese Makers
Get ready to indulge in some of the most delicious cheeses you will ever eat and be sure to enjoy the magnificent landscapes and friendly people as you learn about the best artisan cheese makers in Vermont.
Grafton Village Cheese Company in Grafton VT -Grafton Village Cheese makes cheddar. I mean really, really good cheddar. Aged from 1 to 6 years, Grafton cheddars are full of flavor and much more complex than typical store varieties. Cheddars aged 4 to 6 years have a drier, slightly crumbly texture with strong flavors. If you’ve never tried real artisan cheddars, Grafton is a good place to start. They set the standard. Available to buy directly from their website and at some national markets like Whole Foods. Also, visit the store in Brattleboro, Vermont.
West River Creamery in Londonderry VT- The West River Creamery is located at Middletown Farm. This 200-acre functioning dairy farm currently has 40 cows and has been in existence since 1945. The creamery uses traditional methods of cheese making including stirring and cutting the curd by hand and carefully filling each mold individually.
Vermont Shepherd in Putney VT – Vermont Shepherd is the oldest sheep dairy farm in the United States and among the oldest sheep farms in Vermont. They offer a mixture of both sheep and mixed milk cheeses. The 250-acre farm is in Westminster Vermont.
Cheese ripening is done in the damp and cool cave. After the cheese is made, it is brought to the cave to be salted and ripened on wooden boards for 2-6 months. The man-made Vermont Shepherd Cheese Cave houses and ripens over 20,000 lbs. a year of artisanal farmhouse cheeses.
Taylor Farms in Londonderry VT – Visit the 180-year-old working dairy farm settled within the Green Mountains. Taylor Farms supports hormone free cows and practices sustainable agriculture. It is Vermont’s only gouda producer. Contact them to join one of their cheese making workshops today to see how they make their famous artisanal cheese, and to try your hand at it.
Woodcock Farm Cheese Company in Weston VT – Located in the Green Mountains, the Woodcock Farm Cheese Company is a small family farm that adheres to the traditions of making artisan cheeses from sheep’s milk and local, organic, 100% Jersey cow’s milk.
Consider Bardwell Farm in Pawlet VT – The 300-acre farm lay in the Champlain Valley and was founded in 1864 by Consider Stebbins Bardwell himself. I had to double check the name myself as the word consider threw me off. Consider Bardwell Farm was the first cheese-making co-op in Vermont.
Spoonwood Cabin Creamery in Jacksonville VT – Spoonwood Cabin Creamery creates artisanal French-style semi-soft cheeses that you will not find anywhere else. They age the cheese for a minimum of 60 days and use both cow and goat milk. All ingredients are certified organic.
Plymouth Artisan Cheese in Plymouth VT- The Plymouth Cheese Factory is the second oldest cheese factory in the United States. For over 125 years, the company has been producing unique, high-quality artisanal cheeses.
Maplebrook Farm in Bennington VT – Maplebrook Farm produces artisanal cheeses by hand. They offer more than 12 cheeses that they craft with old world cheese making techniques that ensure their products are of excellent quality, flavor, and texture. Their cheese contains no hormones or additives, and they only use 100% Vermont milk.
Crowley Cheese in Healdville VT – Since 1824, Crowley Cheese has been manufactured in the Green Mountains of Vermont from the same recipe, in the traditional hand-made old fashioned way with no additives or preservatives.
Cobb Hill Cheese in Hartland VT – For over 16 years, Cobb Hill Cheese has been making two types of farmstead artisan cheese. They get their milk from the Jersey cows at Cedar Mountain Farm. Following the age-old process of cheese making, they produce delicious cheeses with a distinct nutty flavor.
Hungry For Cheese Yet?
Please take some time and get to know a few of these famous artisanal cheese makers of southern Vermont. A few honorable mentions go to AlpineGlo Farm, Cabot Creamery , and Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home.
If you are a cheese connoisseur, you will notice as you discover and try new varieties, that there is a difference in how the cheese is made and the area from which it comes. The quality, taste, and cost also vary among the diverse assortments available. Happy cheese tasting!