By Tom Bivins, Vermont Cheese Council
The Vermont Cheese Council (VCC) has announced that Vermont took home 46 ribbons from 20 cheesemakers at the 32nd annual American Cheese Society competition in Providence, RI. Notable awards include a third place Best In Show designation for Cellars at Jasper Hill’s (Greensboro) Harbison, and ribbons by brand new VCC members Fairy Tale Farm Cheese (Bridport) and Sweet Rowen Farmstead (West Glover).
The American Cheese Society (ACS) is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation and promotion of farmstead, artisan and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas. Since its founding in 1983, ACS hosts North America’s foremost annual educational conference and world-renowned cheese judging and competition. This year’s competition included 1,779 entries from 267 companies across North America.
Caption: Vermont’s Commissioner of Tourism, Megan Smith (left) samples Vermont’s own Plymouth Artisan Cheese Photo by: Alison Kosakowski
Last year’s record number (23) of Vermont cheesemakers in the competition was beat again this year, as 27 of the state’s artisan cheesemakers submitted cheeses to be judged at the ACS. The number due in part is due to the VCC’s new sponsorship program, which sponsors some of Vermont cheesemakers’ ACS entry fees to support their efforts in showcasing their cheese in a competition setting.
Vermont was represented with a third place Best in Show award for Cellars at Jasper Hill’s Harbison, a soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese with a rustic, bloomy rind. The cheese is wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree's inner bark layer, harvested from the woodlands of Jasper Hill.
“The strength and respect of Vermont cheese continues to grow, which was evident tonight at the American Cheese Society awards,” said Tom Bivins, Vermont Cheese Council executive director. “Twenty of our entered 27 cheesemakers took home 46 ribbons for their cheese, butter or yogurt. Winners included long-standing members and brand new members, showing that this category of artisan food for Vermont continues to shine.”
Winning Cheeses from Vermont
- Cellars at Jasper Hill, Greensboro: Third Place-Best in Show for Harbison.
- Boston Post Dairy, Enosburg Falls: Gisele, Smoking Goud, third place
- Bonneview Farm, Craftsbury Common: Nevis, second place;
- Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Cabot: Cabot Old School Cheddar, first; Jalapeno Lite Cheddar, Plain Greek Style Yogurt, second;
- Cellars at Jasper Hill, Greensboro: Harbison, first place and third place-best in show; Winnemere, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Select – first place; and ; Alpha Tolman and Willoughby, second place
- Consider Bardwell Farm, West Pawlet: Pawlet, first; Rupert Reserve, second; Manchester, third
- Fairy Tale Farm Cheese, Bridport: Will O’ Wisp, third
- Franklin Foods, Enosburg Falls: Hahn’s Cultured Cream Cheese, first place
- Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton: Vermont Clothbound Cheddar, second place
- Maplebrook Farm, Bennington: Burrata, Whole Milk Block Feta, second place; Smoked Handmade Mozzarella, third place
- Mount Mansfield Creamery, Morrisville: Forerunner, second; Sunrise, third place
- Parish Hill Creamery, Westminster West: Vermont Herdsman at Crown Finish Caves, first; Suffolk Punch, third
- Plymouth Artisan Cheese, Plymouth: Hot Pepper, second; Sage & Herb, third
- Sage Farm Goat Dairy, Stowe: Fresh Chevre, third place
- Shelburne Farms, Shelburne: Barnhouse Smoked Cheddar, third
- Spring Brook Farm/Farms for City Kids, Reading: Reading, first place; Tarentaise Reserve and Tarentaise, third place
- Sweet Rowen Farmstead, West Glover: Nettle Farmers Cheese, first
- Twig Farm, Cornwall: Washed Rind Wheel, third
- Vermont Creamery, Websterville: Bijou, Sea Salt and Maple Butter, first place; Bonne Bouche, Goat Feta and 1916 Wegman’s Chevre, second place; Fresh Crottin, Culture Butter Unsalted, third
- Vermont Shepherd, Putney: Verano, first; 2 Year Old Invierno, third place
- Woodcock Farm, Dorset: Summer Snow, second
For a comprehensive list of all the 2015 American Cheese Society winners, visit CheeseJudging.org
The state of Vermont, celebrated for its focus on farm-to-table lifestyle and Vermont-made products, including cheese, boasts more cheese companies per capita than any other state in the nation.
The Vermont Cheese Council was the Marquee Sponsor of this year’s ACS. Guests of the conference were treated to a pancake breakfast with real Vermont maple syrup, courtesy of the Vermont Cheese Council, and a Vermont-themed opening reception. The sponsorship enabled greater visibility for Vermont cheeses and the Vermont brand among the epicures and wholesale buyers attending ACS.
“Vermont was front-and-center at ACS this year – our cheeses took top honors, and guests were able to experience some Vermont traditions at our maple breakfast and opening reception,” said Alison Kosakowski, Communications Director for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. “Everyone who attended ACS this year got a taste of Vermont quality and authenticity! We made our mark!”
The Vermont Cheese Council is a statewide membership based organization with 50 principal cheese producing members and over 100 associate members. The VCC is committed to promoting the advancement and quality of Vermont cheese through promotion, education and strong peer to peer support. The organization has been in existence since 1992. For more information, please contact: Tom Bivins, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail) or call 802-451-8564 (link is external) or visit the Vermont Cheese Council website at www.vtcheese.com