In 2013 the people of South Woodstock joined forces to transform a defunct water buffalo dairy into the award-winning Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company. “I’ve never lived in a place where everybody was so community-focused,” says Rachel Luptak, store manager at the company’s retail arm, Vermont Farmstead Market (formerly The Cheese Board at Vermont Farmstead).
The community-owned creamery frequently incorporates Vermont-made ingredients into its cow’s milk cheeses: There’s Maple-Sriracha WindsorDale dosed with local maple syrup and wildly popular Cheddy Topper, a version of Vermont Farmstead AleHouse Cheddar produced with The Alchemist’s coveted Heady Topper brew. These creations are available at the shop, along with other wheels and wedges, jams, charcuterie, crisps (Vermont Farmstead acquired Castleton Crackers in 2012), and more from other Green Mountain State producers. An on-site kitchen dishes up wood-fired pizzas and grilled cheeses, too.
culture: What summer cheeses are you looking forward to?
Rachel Luptak: I’m excited about Vermont Farmstead’s first washed-rind cheese, Angeline [which launched in March]. Lazy Lady Farm goat cheeses are also delicious.
culture: Why is Vermont-made cheese unique?
RL: It’s the connection we have to our land. Our cows are happy and comfortable—and they sleep on waterbeds. [Editor’s note: The cows literally lie on thin waterbeds in the barn which cushion their joints and help keep them cool.] They produce good milk, and because of that, we produce good cheese.
culture: Tips for building a knockout cheese plate?
RL: Color! Fresh, seasonal ingredients add important contrast on a plate of cheeses that can all be similar shades of white or yellow. Adding a pop of red or green can help each ingredient stand out and also visually work together.
culture: What’s your favorite grilled cheese combo?
RL: Our Coulommiers-style Lillé with fig jam and sliced apples.
71 Artisans Way
Daily 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Feature Photo Credit: Heather Graham