It’s All About the Food: Cheese

| Food For Thought, Nutrition

Cheese can be included as part of a healthy diet, and since it is so much a part of the local food scene here in Vermont, it must be recognized and appreciated. Vermont has the largest number of artisan cheesemakers per capita in the U.S., and many of these locally produced cheeses are sold at the Co-op. Unlike mass-produced cheese, artisan cheese is made in small quantities, by hand, from fresh, locally available milk from a variety of animals that include Vermont cows, sheep, goats, and buffalo.

Vermont Shepherd

June Producer of the Month

From the early 1950’s until the late 1980’s, the United States government placed a high priority on subsidizing wool because of its importance as a material for military uniforms. During this time, David Major’s family was able to raise many sheep and earn up to three dollars a pound for their wool. The industry thrived, and allowed thousands of Americans make a decent living. When the subsidies ended in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the entire wool market in the United States collapsed. Once-vibrant woolen mills in Vermont and Rhode Island became obsolete, as the business of raising sheep quickly travelled overseas due to American farmers no longer being able to survive.

Parish Hill Creamery

POM Parish Hill Creamery

The Dream— Six years ago, Peter Dixon and his wife Rachel Fritz Schaal unrolled a giant piece of paper on the big farmhouse table in their kitchen in Westminster West. They started writing out their dreams for the future, and Rachel said, “Okay, this is it, your last best cheese business. What is your heart’s desire?”