The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

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Fast-growing Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company expands marketplace to 15 states

The Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company (VFCC) has only produced cheese since January 2011, but has already generated 32 awards to date for 15 of its 17 varieties, triumphing over many more established brands. Now the start-up is expanding its distribution to cheese lovers well beyond Vermont, reaching a total of 15 states this month.

VFCC cheeses will debut in New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida and Texas.

"We were founded by neighbors banding together to save an ailing dairy farm, preventing it from being repurposed, and ultimately ensuring that it would continue as a vital part of the working Vermont landscape," said VFCC Senior Vice President Valerie Traynor. "We've been expanding quickly and gaining recognition, which has fueled broader distribution."

Created for every occasion and to suit many taste preferences, several of the award-winning VFCC cheeses include: Farmstead Cheddar, Lillé (coulommier), Governor's Cheddar, WindsorDale, Smoked Windsordale, AleHouse Cheddar, Brickhaus Tilsit and Vermont Applewood Smoked Tilsit, Blueberry WindsorDale, Hot Pepper WindsorDale, Cracked Pepper WensleyDale, Cranberry WindsorDale, Chocolate Stout, F.H. Gillingham's Woodstock Village Smoked Cheddar and  SugarHouse Edam.

Named for Vermont Governor Peter Schumlin, the Governor's Cheddar was rated the No. 1 cow's milk cheddar, aged 12 to 24 months, in the U.S. at the 2012 American Cheese Society Annual Conference and Competition, the country's most prestigious industry event.

Governor Schumlin helped to produce the cheese and has recognized the company for its success in sparking the economy through job creation and efforts to revitalize the state's declining dairy industry. Other VFCC cheeses were honored at The L.A. International Dairy Competition, The Big E Cheese Competition and the 2012 World Jersey Awards.

"Our entire team is thrilled with the positive feedback and recognition we've received," added Traynor. "Our passionate farmers and cheese-makers are brimming with creativity and skill. These awards and accolades prove that our cheeses reflect the high level of dedication and care that goes into producing them."

A lot of credit for the cheeses also goes to the cherished, prize-winning herd. Cow comfort is one of VFCC's founding principles, which is why every member of the multi-breed herd sleeps on a temperature-controlled water beds. The more comfortable and happy the cows are, the better the milk. Specially designed for dairy facilities, each large water bed mimics a soft pasture.

Stores slated to carry VFCC products include local cheese shops in many cities and towns, as well as chains such as Whole Foods, Publix, and Market Basket. An updated list of more than 200 local stores can be found on the company website

Based in South Woodstock, Vt., the farm is home to a prize-winning multi-breed herd, with an adjoining 5,500-sq. ft. production facility. The company's creative cheese-makers employ traditional and sustainable dairy farming practices in creating a line of highest-quality "old-world" cheeses with distinct Vermont authenticity and style.

Moreover, the company's mission is to foster and support the state's farming communities, having established The Vermont Dairy Foundation as a way to develop sustainable small family dairy farms in Vermont through education and business support. The Foundation was also created to help reverse the trend of declining dairy farms and boost the agricultural way of life in Vermont.