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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 JoomlaWorks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Brattleboro Food Co-op Focus on: The Cheese Department PDF Print E-mail

by John Ferrara
November 2012

As we returned from our field trip to the Jasper Hill Farm & Cellars located in Greensboro, VT, members of the Cheese Department could not contain their newly-acquired excitement and enthusiasm regarding what it means to support and promote local farmers and cheese makers. Andy & Mateo Kehler are responsible for the creation of “The Cellars.” They are busy developing systems for farming, cheese making, and cheese aging that expand well beyond their own self-interest.

As we toured their facility we were given a first hand look at sustainability, supportive ventures, risk taking for the benefit of many, cooperative industry, employee recognition, and team effort. We came away with an understanding of affinage, the art & science of caring for and aging cheese; terroir, the effect of landscape on the quality of product; taste profile charts, a way to determine and describe the effects of affinage and terroir. We learned about green water-waste recovery systems. We witnessed the production of hot water being assisted by the heat generated by the compost pile. We were introduced to the study of microbial biology. We sampled incredibly delicious cheeses.
As we drove back to Brattleboro, the chatter allowed us to share what we each remembered about our visit. What became the obvious common denominator was that we each felt empowered to return to the cheese counter with our newly-acquired knowledge and “sell” these cheeses to our customers with confidence about our opinions and descriptions. We discussed the ways we might be able to translate the experience of standing in a vault with 6000 wheels of aging Cabot Clothbound Cheddar into the single slice we were offering up to a customer for tasting. We asked one another how to explain the effects of temperature, humidity, cheese mites, airflow, etc., without overwhelming a cheese customer. We asked these questions because of our commitment to being the best customer-oriented cheese counter that we can. We’re always working on that!