The Vermont Cheese Council, which represents the state’s 56 artisan cheesemakers, hosted its first Vermont Cheese Summit on August 13 and 14. The trade-focused event included a day of visits to farms and creameries such as Von Trapp Farmstead, Jasper Hill Farm, and Vermont Creamery, followed by a day of educational sessions at Shelburne Farms. The Summit offered an opportunity for cheese makers to connect with buyers and network with their peers. It replaced the open-to-the-public Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, which ran for 11 years and was cancelled the last two due to the pandemic.
On Day One, the first stop was Cobb Hill Cheese in Hartland. At right: Cows happily graze on their morning meal while Kerry Gawalt of Cobb Hill shares with the group of visitors that these young cows are affectionately named by the children of the local 4H club.
Stephen Leslie, farmer at Cobb Hill Cheese.
From left: Next comes a visit to Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, where a herd of friendly cows greet the group. Production Manager Alison Dembek shows the group the current batch of housemade rennet, fondly named after the late Anne Saxelby.
From left: Jasper Hill co-owner Mateo Kehler explains the nuances of programming the cellar’s robot as Alex of Laverna’s Cheese looks on. Wheels of Jasper Hill’s award-winning, spruce-wrapped Harbison fill a vault with a hint of the Vermont forest.
In one of the aging vaults at the Cellars at Jasper Hill, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Katie Losito describes the process of hand pricking wheels of Bayley Hazen Blue.
Day Two included many visits to the sampling tent followed by lunch overlooking Lake Champlain. At left: Marisa Mauro of Ploughgate Creamery and Maplebrook Farm samples fresh ricotta, burrata, and flavored cultured butters. At right: Adeline Druart, president of Vermont Creamery, shares samples of the creamery’s celebrated goat cheeses with a young attendee.