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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Vermont Farm Tour 7I had really wanted to attend this year’s Vermont Cheese Festival but we were going to be in Vermont the week after. So the next best thing would be a Vermont Farm Tour. I looked up the company and contacted Chris Howell, the owner. We made plans to meet on Friday in Middlebury. Tours are $400 for a full day and  $250 for a half day (up to three guests). M and I took the scenic route to get to Middlebury, and there were moments when we thought we weren’t going the right way. We met at Champlain Valley Creamery and headed out to our first farm. Nicky Foster and Julie Danyew run Bridport Creamery. They make the cheese from Nicky’s family dairy, Iroquois Acres. Julie has a goat herd and makes fresh and aged goats milk cheeses.

Vermont Farm Tour 2The young cows are kept separately from the rest of the adult cows for their own safety.

Vermont Farm Tour 3Nicky talked to us about organic vs. non organic cows – how with organic cows if your cow gets sick, you can’t give it medicine.

Vermont Farm Tour 4Here at Iroquois Acres, they treat their cows well. On hot days they circulate into covered areas where they are misted with water and fans to keep cool.

Vermont Farm Tour 5In addition to growing up on a dairy farm, Nicky married a dairy farmer. Her husband’s farm is one of the largest in the state.

Vermont Farm Tour 6Look at this face!!!!

Vermont Farm Tour 8We were able to step inside Nicky’s cheese cave and check out what was inside! In addition the cheese curds they also make:

  • Swisserella – a mild, great melting cheese in plain and herbed
  • Danz Ahn Farm Feta – a variation on a classic
  • Champlain Valley Tomme – Bridgeport Creamery’s aged cow milk tomme with a mild and nutty finish
  • Tango – a sightly sharp, aged goat milk tomme

Vermont Farm Tour 9We had the chance to buy cheese from all of the stops during the day. Chris brought a cooler so that the cheese would stay cool in the car. It was here that I tried my first cheese curd. AMAZING! We bought some to take home with us. Nicky sells her cheese to many local businesses and her cheese curds to restaurants like the Skinny Pancake in Burlington where they make deep fried cheese curds! YUM!!

Vermont Farm Tour 23Next on our tour was Trevin Farms. Troy and Kevin run a B&B on their working farm. Originally from Cambridge, they moved up to Vermont a decade ago not knowing much about farming. When they bought the property, there was only the house. They cleared the rest of the land themselves – 14 acres!

Vermont Farm Tour 14We are greeted by Troy and about 20 baby goats! He’s like the goat whisperer. Troy told us that they bottle feed all the goats inside the house, 7 times a day until they are weaned.

Vermont Farm Tour 10These are Nubian goats known for their long ears and “Roman” noses.

Vermont Farm Tour 11They couldn’t have been more friendly and curious….and vocal.

Vermont Farm Tour 12The goats were playful – running all about, while never getting too far from Troy.

Vermont Farm Tour 13Troy tells is that these goats prefer to eat things that are higher up off the ground, so it is very natural for them to get on their hind legs and eat off tall branches. This adorable spotted guy will be the father of the next round of baby goats.

Vermont Farm Tour 15In addition to goats they also have chickens. Troy and Kevin use the fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning for guests. They have an amazing garden where they grow veggies for the guest’s meals. Kevin let us in on the secret to growing enormous pumpkins….you inject the vine with goat’s milk.

Vermont Farm Tour 16And they have horses – this guy helped clear some of their land.

Vermont Farm Tour 17Look at that face!

Vermont Farm Tour 18They hand milk all of the goats. Troy and Kevin keep all of the female goats and sell off the males – so they only have two males on the property.

Vermont Farm Tour 19All the goats are named after cities.

Vermont Farm Tour 20We have lunch at the farm. Chris has picked up a variety of sandwiches and creme brulee from City Market in Burlington, one of my favorite markets. We eat and taste Trevin Farms’ fresh goat cheese. I’m not generally a goat cheese kind of gal, it’s just too…goaty. But this was so fresh and so light, really quite lovely. It really makes a difference to have cheese that was made just the other day. We also tried raw goat’s milk. I can’t even remember the last time I had a glass of milk…and as I mentioned before, I was hesitant as I don’t love really the goaty flavor. But this milk, from this morning, was light and clean, really not goaty at all. Goat’s milk is also supposed to be good for people who are lactose intolerant and raw milk is supposedly easier to digest.

Vermont Farm Tour 21Our lunch companions.

Vermont Farm Tour 22Kevin told us that Troy does the cooking and he looks after the goats and the garden. They used to try and do things together, but it works out better if they each do their own thing. Kevin delivers all of the baby goats and in addition to all of the hand milking and the care involved with these amazing animals, he also has a full time job! We had such a lovely afternoon here, Troy and Kevin were gracious hosts and really wonderful to be around. As I mentioned, they have a B&B with 3 bedrooms, and you can even do a package where you can make your own goat cheese!

Vermont Farm Tour 1While we are waiting for Carlton to arrive and show us around Champlain Valley Creamery, we stop in upstairs at Appalachian Gap Distillery for a little booze tasting! A whiskey, a rum, and two coffee liqueurs.

Vermont Farm Tour 29Our final stop is Champlain Valley Creamery – above is our guide Chris Howell (left) and Carleton Yoder (right) owner of Champlain Valley Creamery, and head cheesemaker.

Vermont Farm Tour 24Carleton takes us through the cheese making process. Once the cheese has been mixed it is hand ladled into these plastic cups where they sit and drain.

Vermont Farm Tour 25They make an ash ripened pyramid cheese – here they are fresh out of their molds – they will be salted and left to ripen in the cheese cave.

Vermont Farm Tour 26When the cheese has been in the cave for enough time, it will be covered with a layer of ash.

Vermont Farm Tour 27

Organic Champlain Triple – Silver Medal Winner, 2007 American Cheese Society, Burlington VT

Organic Champlain Triple is a beautiful soft ripened triple crème cheese with a bloomy white rind. Produced from cultured whole milk and cream, Champlain Triple is hand ladeled into traditional crottin molds and aged approximately 10 days. It has a rich, creamy interior flavor that is offset by a delicious earthy rind with hints of mushroom. Champlain Triple is a must-have for any cheese plate.

Vermont Farm Tour 28In addition to these cheeses, they also make an old fashioned cream cheese, a queso fresco, and a queso anejo. If you can’t make it up to VT to try Champlain Valley Creamery’s cheese, don’t worry, you can find it at Formaggio Kitchen.

Vermont Farm Tours

Chris Howell

278 North Street, Winooski, VT

www.vermontfarmtours.com

Bridgeport Valley Creamery

Nicky Foster and Julie Danyew

3284 Lake Street, Bridport, VT

www.bridportcreamery.com

Trevin Farm

Troy Peabody and Kevin McNaught

901 Willowbrooke Road, Sudbury, VT

www.trevinfarms.com

Champlain Valley Creamery

Carleton Yoder

88 Mainelli Road, Suite 3, Middlebury, VT

www.cvcream.com

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