It was a banner week for the Jasper Hill Farm team of Greensboro Vermont; on Wednesday it was announced that Bayley Hazen Blue took Reserve Supreme Champion at the International Cheese Awards and on Friday the cheese medaled in its entry class, along with other accolades for the cheesemaker, at the American Cheese Society Competition (ACSC).
The International Cheese Awards (ICA), held each year in Nantwich, United Kingdom, boasts over 5,000 dairy product entries from 30 countries. After initial scoring awarded Jasper Hill’s raw-milk blue a Gold, or best in its class, the cheese was advanced to the first round of trophy judging where it won out in a round-up of other non-U.K. Blue Cheese Class winners. In the next round it won The Champion Overseas among all other overseas trophy winners and advancement to the final round. Bayley Hazen Blue then took Reserve Supreme Champion, which is the second highest honor of the competition. The sterling silver trophy, en route to Northern Vermont now, hasn’t left the U.K. since the competition’s inception in 1897. Jasper Hill’s raw-milk Alpine style, Alpha Tolman, was also Very Highly Commended in its class.
During the trophy presentations on Wednesday, July 31st Michael Landis, the Ambassador for
North American Cheeses, received each of the 3 trophies and gold medal awarded to Jasper Hill Farm for their flagship Blue. He helped coordinate 200 American Artisan entries, twice as many as last year, which racked up 45 medals and 4 trophies. According to Landis, “There was a lot of excitement from the judges along with the spectators at the event. The Supreme Judges, clearly impressed with Bayley, noted that it was creamy and well balanced, that it was like silky cream, rich butter, and a had great balance of subtle spice and mushroom flavors.”
The American Cheese Society Competition, held this year in Richmond, VA, saw 1,742 entries from 257 North American cheese companies. The ACSC announced a new convention this year; only the top 15 scoring cheeses from the Best in Class winners were evaluated for the final round of judging and Best in Show Awards. Jasper Hill’s Cave Aged Cheddar was one such Best in Class and Best in Show Finalist. Alpha Tolman also won a Best in Class award. Six other Jasper Hill cheeses, including Winnimere, Little Hosmer, Calderwood, Bayley Hazen Blue, Cabot Clothbound and Hartwell, all took bronzes medals in their class for a total count of 8 awards—a record showing for the company.
Interestingly, because the judging took place during the same two-day window, the exact same batches of cheese were selected by the Jasper Hill sensory team and entered in both competitions. Bayley Hazen Blue did well with a bronze on its own turf, but very nearly won it all in the U.K. among international entries and judges. Alpha Tolman on the other hand, which got a nod from the International experts, took top honors in its class back home. And their Cave Aged Cheddar, which made the final 15 in the U.S., was not recognized in the awards overseas. It is very unusual for the same batches of cheese to be graded by different professional judging teams on the same day.
More on the Winning Company
Jasper Hill is an independently owned, working dairy farm with an on-site creamery in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Since the company’s inception in 2003 the cheesemaking operations have grown to include a second small creamery and second herd of cows. A Cropping Center, which dries hay for the cows, is responsible for maintaining 976 open acres in a 15-mile radius of Jasper Hill Farm. The Cellars at Jasper Hill, an on-site, underground aging facility, maximizes the potential of cheeses made by the creamery, as well as those made by other local producers. Jasper Hill’s mission is to be a Standard Bearer of Quality and Innovation in the Artisan Cheese Industry and an active participant in the conservation of Vermont’s Working Landscape through the production of high-quality products that reflect a regional Taste of Place.
Jasper Hill Farm is also pleased to announce a new partnership in service of their mission; Bridgman Hill Farm just welcomed its first hundred or so goats in Hardwick, Vermont, not far from Jasper Hill Farm. Jasper Hill has partnered in this operation with Ryan Andrus and Annie Rowden, who brought goat farming expertise with them as they relocated their family from California for the opportunity. Announcements are forthcoming on the launch of the first goat cheeses made by Jasper Hill’s creameries.