In 2009, when the owners of an 18-acre farm and creamery near Woodstock, Vermont moved to Canada and put the farm up for sale, local people were worried about the loss of its heritage, and the loss of jobs.
So 14 neighbors took a very unique initiative and bought the farm to make cheese, creating what is the first and only community-owned dairy and creamery in America. They bought a herd of Jersey, Holstein and Ayshire cows, developed cheeses inspired by English and French traditional recipes, rebuilt the creamery and within 2 years were already winning awards at national and international cheese competitions.
Today the farm overlooking the valley is a dynamic and growing enterprise, making unique farmstead and artisan cheeses.
But that’s not all: Vermont Farmstead also owns Castleton Crackers and in 2015 it opened the Cheese Board store in Windsor, a lovely specialty foods market that offers a wide selection of Vermont products, cheeses, cheese pairings (including our Cheese Companions®), cured meats, cheese boards (of course) and much more. They aim to foster local farms and feature a different Vermont cheese maker each month in their shop. You can also enjoy a nice daily grilled cheese sandwich or wood-fired pizza at their café!
Today, it is a team of experienced dairy farmers, cheese makers and specialty food marketing people who make it all happen at the helm of this thriving company:
- Kent Underwood, Chief Operating Officer, is a fifth-generation dairyman with years of experience in managing and expanding herd in various dairy facilities.
- Rick Woods, VP Creamery Operations, spent 16 years at Grafton Village Cheese Company before joining Vermont Farmstead. He has helped to develop award-winning cheeses with world-wide recognition. He is involved in all aspects of cheese production.
- Sharon Huntley, Director of Marketing, who used to be a partner in the advertising agency Digital Flannel, brings over 20 years of experience in brand marketing and advertising.
Vermont Farmstead by the Numbers
- 7: number of years in business
- 135: the number of cows at Vermont Farmstead farm
- 2,400 pounds: the quantity of milk produced each day at Vermont Farmstead farm
- 4,000-10,000: the number of pounds of cheese make each week
- 1 gallon: roughly the quantity of milk needed to make one pound of cheese. It’s also roughly the amount of milk produced by a goat daily. A cow – on the other hand – produces 8 to 10 gallons of milk a day.