As we reflect on American Cheese Month, I can’t help but feel immense gratitude for the many pioneers responsible for building our now thriving industry, from the ground up.
34 years ago, when Bob Reese and Allison Hooper set out to introduce European-style cheeses to the American palate, they could not have fathomed the growth of their business or the industry.
Growing Vermont Creamery from a leap of faith to where we are today would have been impossible without the collegial, symbiotic relationships we’ve built with our farmers, employees, fellow makers, retailers, mongers, distributors and importantly, our critics.
At a time when Americans knew little about soft-ripened cheeses, cultured butter or goat cheese, we set out to craft products that would stand up to the European imports, hoping that people would give a new kind of American cheese a try.
Now, many years later, the artisan cheese industry flourishes to the benefit of both artisan producers and consumers.
As makers, we are passionate about cultivating relationships with the mongers, our heroes on the front lines, who educate future artisan cheese lovers from behind the counter. It takes a village, but the cheese community is growing and there is room for everybody.
Everyone deserves access to good food. We believe that great cheese is no longer for the fancy few, or the elite epicureans. Whether it’s sharing Coupole on Friday night or embracing crumbled goat cheese as a family staple, our goal has always been to deliver consciously-crafted, delicious dairy to all.
For us, our growth and the growth of our industry means greater access to great cheese, and that has us excited for the future.
Growth also means that we are doubling down on our commitment to our mission, our people, our community and our impact. For us, cheese and butter are the vehicle for something bigger, that is to use business as a force for good.
That’s why we became a certified B Corp in 2014, to cement our mission and future path. We will continue to pay a livable wage and offer comprehensive benefits; we’ll keep reducing our carbon footprint, transition our packaging to more sustainable materials—that and so much more.
As cheesemakers, we have an obligation to support our farmers.
We know that great cheese comes from great milk, and great milk comes from healthy animals and prosperous farmers. At a time when dairy farming industry is under extreme pressure, adding value to milk by crafting artisan cheese and butter is essential to its survival.
That is our role in this effort. Adding value, as we nurture and protect our vital connections to our farmers and the land they depend upon.
We have a unique opportunity change the way people eat, by continuing to lead the growth of the artisan cheese movement. At the end of the day, our job is pretty simple.
We take nature’s most unpretentious ingredient, fresh milk, and through a mix of science, art and passion, create delicious cheeses and butter. Our process has purpose, and that purpose is our passion.