Our newly-redesigned cheese club offers Members exciting exclusive collections featuring at least three cheeses plus our favorite pairings, occasionally including cheese tools & other special Curd Nerd-worthy gear. These new boxes grant Club Members premier access to special release cheeses & limited availability items not otherwise accessible through our store.
This month’s collection is all about GRASS…it draws a connection between microflora, flora & fauna; between the land, our cheese, & ourselves.
As makers of Raw Milk Cheese, the quality of our milk has a direct
& significant impact on the flavor of our finished product.
One of the best ways for us to guarantee deliciousness & consistency in our
raw milk cheeses is by providing our cows with the best possible feed.
At Jasper Hill Farm, this has always meant that as soon as the grass was growing, we’d let our cows out to pasture to graze.
But a few months ago, just
as we were preparing ourselves for this much-anticipated springtime celebration, we had to make the difficult decision to relocate most of our Ayrshire herd from Jasper Hill Farm.
We moved many of our beloved Ayrshire cows to Andersonville Farm, which we purchased several years ago. This farm had replaced many of its pastures with feed corn fields, a common strategy to balance economics in a tough commodity market.
As we’ve regained our footing, we’ve been able to continue the process of transforming the fields at Andersonville back into nutritious hay & botanically diverse pasture…
…& we’ve begun transitioning some of our cows back out of the barn & onto this new pasture!
It will take time for them to adjust, and some may not be suitable for the transition, but we are thrilled to be undertaking this very uncommon reversal.
Meanwhile, we’ve been able to
‘make hay while the sun shines’
all summer long!
Our Andersonville Team has been working hard baling hay, loading it onto trucks, & transporting it to our state-of-the-art hay drier at the Randi Albert Calderwood Cropping Center just down the road.
Our hay-drying process is crucial to the overall quality of our cheese:
Because we don’t have many consecutively sunny days up here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, most farms gather & store their hay ‘wet,’ which results in fermented feed.
The microbial makeup of fermented feed can cause issues in raw-milk cheeses—& after spending years purchasing dry hay from other regions in order to maintain the quality & consistency of our product, we established the Randi Albert Calderwood Cropping Center in 2015 so that we could produce our own dry hay for ourselves.
Our hay drier, the first of its kind in the United States, is able to do the work of several days of sunshine in about six hours. This allows us to make & store enough hay for the entire year, all from our own fields.
This efficient drying process concentrates and preserves the aromas, flavors, & nutrients in the hay, allowing us to serve-up local forages to our cows any time of the year. This high-quality hay is what helps us maintain our production of high quality of milk even when our cows aren’t able to get out onto pasture.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
This month’s Cheese Club Collection focuses on three very different cheeses, all made with raw Andersonville milk, paired with three local, botanically-inspired accompaniments. Keep reading to learn more about the contents of this exclusive collection.
Calderwood is an exclusive collaboration with Saxelby Cheese, one of New York’s finest cheesemongers & small-scale distributors of American artisan cheese. Normally, you can only get Calderwood directly through Saxelby & the handful of small shops to whom she distributes. But, for the first time ever, we’re releasing a limited amount of Calderwood for Club Members Only.
(photo credit: Talbott & Arding)
The seed for Calderwood was planted while ruminating on the subject of grass-fed milk with Anne Saxelby herself. We knew one thing for certain: to make excellent cheese, one must use excellent milk, & the best milk comes from grass-fed cows—essentially,
it all starts with grass.
(photo credit: Mere’s CLT)
By grazing our cows on pasture & feeding them high quality house-dried hay, we were already infusing our products with the complex flavors of our land, carefully managing the microbiodiversity of our milk & ultimately impacting the flavor of our cheese from the inside out.
By introducing hay to the aging process, we wanted to see if we could amplify that impact from the outside in, too.
We began experimenting with different ways to incorporate our hay into the affinage of one of our cheeses. Inspired by Swiss cheeses like Heublumen, we decided that Alpine-style Alpha Tolman would be the best subject to focus our hay-fever on, & after some trial & error, we established our final process:
After a few months of brine-washing, we take finely-chopped hay from our fields & cover the entire wheel of young Alpha with it. These Alpine-inspired wheels are then ripened for several more months until a fully distinct, mixed rind develops.
The result is a brighter, more complex version of Alpha Tolman: while Alpha tends to be ultra-savory, with notes of red wine, roast beef, & caramelized onion, Calderwood is redolent with the sweet & toasty aroma of clean hay. It feels almost splashed with sunshine, as subtly fruity & floral notes dance around a more pronounced nuttiness & a warm biscuity finish.
Calderwood brings the grass-fed concept full-circle:
the already grassy, nutty, terpene-rich notes you normally find in Alpha Tolman are sweetened & amplified in Calderwood by this extra layer of affinage. In addition to its effect on the overall flavor of the cheese, the visual impact of the hay on Calderwood’s rind reinforces the connection between our land & our cheese, reminding anyone who eats it that it all starts with grass.
Highlander is still a relatively new addition to our cheese family, made with a mix of raw goat milk from Bridgman Farm & raw cow’s milk from Andersonville.
Modeled after mid-elevation European mountain cheeses, Highlander has a semi-firm texture and smooth, elastic paste. What sets Highlander apart from other cheese of the style (which tend to be quite mild unless melted) is its bold complexity & ability to hold its own as a smooth, sliceable table cheese, in addition to excellent melting properties.
The addition of goat’s milk to this traditionally cow’s milk style of cheese results in a funky, almost vanilla sweetness that plays beautifully with the more dominant pungent meaty & roasted-nut flavors that make up the backbone of its profile.
You might have thought we were finished with Winnimere for the year—but we have one special batch left that we’ve been carefully ripening just for Club Members!
Ridiculously silky & deeply savory, with notes of salty cured ham, sweet cream, & spruce, this bark-wrapped washed-rind butter-bomb beauty is made exclusively with extra-rich, raw, hay-fed milk.
WILSON HERB FARM ‘RESILIENCE’ TEA
Brendan & Lindsey, the owners of Wilson Herb Farm, believe deeply in the healing properties of plants—both medicinally & in terms of how being connected to the land can soothe one’s soul. When we asked them to create a cheese-friendly tea for us, they immediately drew the connection between our cheese & the wild herbs & flowers that grow among our pastures.
Designed to boost immunity & calm nerves, Resilience Tea is a bespoke blend of botanicals directly inspired by the fields upon which our beloved cows graze. Made with organically grown & ethically wild-harvested chamomile, echinacea, lemon balm, marshmallow root, oatstraw, & red clover, this herbal tea is naturally sweet, toasty, & grassy, with a rounded, almost creamy mouthfeel.
Not only does this gorgeous tea look remarkably like our hay, it also evokes a similar sun-soaked quality with its golden, floral aromatics. The soft sweetness of ‘Resilience,’ in tandem with the nutty, brown-butter notes in both Calderwood & Highlander creates a “milk & honey” quality, while pudding-like Winnimere cushions its bright, grassy notes beautifully.
100% of the proceeds from Wilson Farm’s Resilience Tea are being donated in support of BIPOC-led efforts to uproot racism within the food system. The movement for food sovereignty is crucial in creating racial equity in our farming communities. To learn more about the details of this partnership, reach out to Wilson Farm (@wilsonharbfarm on Instagram).
BARR HILL HONEY & JAN’S FARMHOUSE CRISPS
Barr Hill Honey is remarkably floral. With notes of clover, calendula & a cool, almost minty finish, its delicate flavor & sturdy mouthfeel make it an excellent pairing for firm, savory, & grassy cheeses like Highlander & Calderwood. This honey’s bright, botanical profile is ideal for sweetening milder herbal teas like the one included in this collection.
Jan’s Salted Almond Crispsare refreshingly simple. Made locally by hand in small batches, using clean, wholesome ingredients, these crisps are packed with almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, & flaxseed for a crackly crunch that serves as the perfect counterpoint for cheeses of all kinds. “Pure & crisp as the mountain air,” says Jan!
SIGN UP FOR OUR AUGUST COLLECTION & LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHEESE CLUB!
Memberships can be purchased in one-month increments; monthly deliveries arrive automatically, but packages can always be skipped or redirected to a different address. Anyone with an un-shipped monthly credit is considered a Club Member.
Non-Members receive this email after active Club Members have have had the opportunity to opt-out. These open spots are likely to sell out fast; for first dibs on next and future months, be sure to purchase Club Membership monthly credits in advance.
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