Ever Wonder About the Cheese We Sell?
We go to great lengths to provide the best cheese selection and service around. While this is noteworthy in and of itself (and we can’t tell you the number of times we’ve heard, “You guys have the BEST cheese section in Vermont!”), what makes our Cheese Department so special is that we really put our hearts and minds into everything we do. To put it simply, we care! We care about the community in which we live, the farmers we support, the guests who shop here, and every single block, wedge, slice, sample, and package of cheese we prepare by hand.
To provide the absolute best selection, we’re always paying attention to what’s going on in the cheese world and we have fantastic connections with our amazing small, local cheesemakers. We actually get orders delivered from some of the cheesemakers themselves! (We’re particularly delighted when that happens.) Getting these top-of-the-line cheeses directly from the cheesemakers means we’re getting the best and freshest products available from people we trust. We can count on them to create gorgeous handmade cheeses using processes we know and understand, ingredients that are easily recognizable and natural, and then get them to us directly with no middle man and no long transit times! A few cheesemakers have even let us into their homes and businesses during trips to their farms (aren’t we lucky?!) where we got to watch them in action and occasionally participate in the makes ourselves!
Who are some of these amazing local producers? Here’s just a few…
Orb Weaver Farm is a very small farm in New Haven, VT (a quick 30-mile trip from here) and it’s run by two incredibly inspirational and generous women. We are one of the lucky few markets that are able to buy their cheese direct, and in fact, are one of the few markets who even get to carry their lovely farmhouse cheese. We always look forward to seeing Marjorie & Marian with their cart full cheese wheels and smiles on their faces. This is one farm we’ve been fortunate enough to visit a couple times! To read about these visits, check out these blog posts: http://www.healthylivingmarket.com/cheese-make-at-orb-weaver-farm-in-new-haven-vt/
Shelburne Farms is the geographically-closest cheesemaker we carry in our Vermont store (they’re a mere 7.5 miles away!) and they do a wonderful job of educating and promoting practices for a sustainable future. Plus, they make great cheddar! We have sent our staff to visit this farm on a number of occasions, which also tells you that they’re open-minded and have limitless patience! Here is a blog post from when our staff went to the cheesemaking operation http://www.healthylivingmarket.com/cheese-making-at-shelburne-farms/ and for more info on the farm, check out their website: http://www.shelburnefarms.org/.
Does’ Leap Farm makes lovely organic farmstead goat cheeses in Bakersfield, VT (just 40 miles from here) and we just love what they create! Their chèvre is definitely a staff favorite (within and beyond the department) and we fully support their great organic practices. Seeing George every week when he delivers and getting to say a quick “hi!” is always a pleasure. Check out this blog post we wrote about how much we love this small cheesemaker http://www.healthylivingmarket.com/hl-loves-local-does-leap-farm/ and find out more info from their website http://www.doesleap.com/farm.htm.
Neighborly Farms is an organic family farmstead cheesemaker out of Randolph Center, VT (just 60 miles away!) and we enjoy their cheese so much that we actually invested in a co-branding project with their raw milk cheddar! The friendly folks at Neighborly farms (or should we say “the neighborly folks”?) are always so kind and pleasant to work with and they are endlessly accommodating, sending us only what we need exactly when we need it. What a fantastic partnership! We wrote about why we think they’re awesome in this blog post http://www.healthylivingmarket.com/hl-loves-local-neighborly-farms/ and you can check out their website http://neighborlyfarms.com/ for more info.
Thistle Hill Farm makes one marvelous kind of cheese called Tarentaise and John & Janine, cheesemakers extraordinaire, send us wheels directly whenever we need them. Tarentaise is a farmstead organic cheese made by hand on their farm in North Pomfret (only 80 miles away) using the certified organic milk from their happy, grass-fed Jersey cows. This small and dedicated cheesemaking operation is one with whom we’re proud to have such a great relationship. Read more about why we adore them in this blog post http://www.healthylivingmarket.com/healthy-living-loves-local-thistle-hill-farm/ and get more info on their farm here http://www.vtcheese.com/members/thistle-hill-farm/.
So when you stop by our Cheese Department, you can trust that you’re in good hands because of the trust we have in our local cheesemakers. There’s nothing that can beat the quality and freshness of the local products we carry and having such close relationships with the cheesemakers themselves is a rare and very special thing indeed.