|City slickers at Jasper Hill Farm. Photo: Dimitri Saad |
The beasts behind a few of the brilliant cheeses at Vermont's family-owned Jasper Hill Farm and its extraordinary, 22,000-square-foot cheese-aging cave, built right into the earth (one of only two like it in the nation), are up on their current pop for two reasons. As sales and outreach specialist Zoe Brickley told a group of self-proclaimed dairy enthusiasts, it's both because "the barn boys like it" and because the cows do: "If cows are stressed out, their production goes down. Happy, contented cows are best for milk quality."
Jasper Hill seems intent upon making its fellow cheesemakers happy and contented too, by providing aging facilities for 10 to 12 farmers throughout New England. With their enormous cave, they have recreated an atmosphere that has been "historically used" to create cheese, which is a boon for many local cheesemakers, who traditionally had to rely essentially upon tricked-out refrigerators. Owned by two couples (brothers Mateo and Andy Kehler), Jasper Hill is helping keep artisanal cheese alive in New England, and sustaining some of the top fromagers in the country.
After the jump, how they do it and a look at the caves and aging process.