on good and the good food awards
January 09, 2015 // by Allison Hooper
On January 8th, 2015, in San Francisco, Vermont Creamery earned three Good Food Awards for our aged goat cheese, Bonne Bouche, Cremont and Coupole. In its 5th year, the Good Food Awards recognize food producers who work for social good. Vermont Creamery was amongst 17 American cheesemakers recognized at this years' awards ceremony. Here, Creamery co-founder, Allison Hooper, reflects on these awards.
We’ve never entered our cheese in the Good Food Awards before. Suffice to say, we love our cheese - and think they’re all winners. And while we certainly are proud of the awards we receive, the Good Food Awards stand for something a bit different - dare I say, something more? These awards go beyond the traditional measures of a winning cheese (taste, texture, smell, etc.), to recognize “exceptionally delicious food that supports social good” - their words, not ours.
Most cheese competitions ask for basic information about the entries - where it’s from, what kind of milk, the style. Not the Good Food Awards. Their questions are unlike anything we’ve seen before - questions about where the milk comes from, how the animals are treated and how their feed is produced. When you answer these questions honestly, there’s nothing left to hide.
Truthfully, we’ve never entered these awards before because we didn’t think we’d stand a chance. Yes, we work hard everyday to make the right choices - choices that are good for our goats, for Vermont’s agricultural landscape, for our team members and for our community. But we tend to focus on the work that is left to do - not the work we’ve already done. These awards grant us a moment of reflection. They remind us that the good we do today is not outweighed by the good we still need to do tomorrow.
One year ago, we earned B Corp certification. The rigorous assessment highlighted as much about what we still need to improve as it did about what we are currently doing well. In joining a group of incredible businesses committed to delivering more than just a profit, we found ourselves both excited and inspired. Like the Good Food Awards, B Corp certification emphasizes that the products we enjoy are created by communities, people and places. And that businesses have the power to deliver more than just a great product. Both B Corp certification and the Good Food Awards remind us that there will always be more good to do and better to strive for.
It’s so exciting to be a cheesemaker at this point in our food history. Americans don’t just want cheese that tastes great. They tell us everyday that how our cheese is made matters as much as how it tastes. This excites us. It challenges us. But, challenge is opportunity and we’re up to the task.