Brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler bought Jasper Hill Farm in 1998. Jasper Hill is located in the beautiful, rolling countryside of the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont.
When they bought the farm, it was extremely run-down, but in 2003, after five years of hard work, Andy and Mateo acquired their first 15 Ayrshire heifers. The herd now numbers around 45 and, thanks to careful management and focus on building excellent genetics, they have one of the highest quality milking herds in the United States.
Ayrshire milk is particularly well-suited to cheesemaking. In terms of fat and protein, it's not as high as Jersey or Guernsey but not as low as Holstein. The way in which the fats and proteins break down are a perfect platform for the development of an excellent cheese.
Andy is largely responsible for the management of the pasture and the herd, which grazes from late spring to early fall. Over the years he has improved the grazing land at Jasper Hill by planting a wide variety of clovers, grasses and legumes to enhance the flavor of the milk.
Mateo focuses on the cheese production, and Jasper Hill's range includes Bayley Hazen Blue, Constant Bliss, Caspian, Moses Sleeper and Winnimere.
Named after a local lake, Caspian is a new creation that is based on a Robiola recipe with a lactic set. For production, milk is acidified very slowly over a period of 18 hours before being gently ladled into forms and allowed to drain naturally. This allows for a greater retention of moisture.
Cheeses are transferred to a maturing room for a period of about 20-30 days. Shortly before shipping they are wrapped in vine leaves that have been harvested from Boyden Valley Winery. the leaves have also been pre-soaked in VT Ice Cider.
Caspian has a meltingly soft and oozy paste beneath its exterior casing of leaves. Due to the short aging time there is no rind development, but the cheese takes on some of the vegetal flavors of the vine leaves as well as a hint of the alcohol.