Made Using Raw Milk
Let’s face it; the good folks of Vermont, for the most part, travel to the beat of a different drum. Despite their unbridled sense of independence, Vermont citizens also possess a great responsibility to each other and the land they call “The Kingdom of Vermont”. .. This attitude has also spilled over to my fellow observers who watch over that Quadrant in the NE United States and SE Canada. The Brain constantly finds himself spending precious time whipping those pesky, independently-thinking felines into line… not unlike herding cats… but I digress…
In the mid-1990s, Andy and Mateo Kehler, just out of college, headed to Vermont, land of many pleasant summer childhood memories spent at their grandparents’ home, with just one dream… to grow hops and make beer. What newly-graduated college guys don’t dream of making beer? In my younger days, I dreamt of my own endless fields of catnip, organically grown using sustainable farming practices… ah the good ole days…
The Brothers Kehler bought two hundred acres of farmland near Greensboro, Vermont and began studying the practicality of making beer. It just wasn’t there. Then came tofu; again it was a no go. They looked around and bam!! The light went on; they were in the middle of Dairyland. So… what do you do in the middle of Dairyland? You buy cows and become dairy farmers. Luckily for cheese lovers everywhere, that’s just what they did.
In 1998, Jasper Hills Farm was born and the brothers began to educate themselves on sustainable farming. Mateo, who had a degree in economic development, spent three years working with farmstead cheesemakers in the U.S., England, France and Spain. One of those years was spent working at Neal’s Yard Dairy in England. He also began to develop recipes for making cheeses appropriate for their dairy in the Northeast corner of the Kingdom of Vermont.
Andy has a degree in poli sci and philosophy… philosophy, now I finally know how you use a degree in philosophy… you make cheese… did I say that out loud??? (Andy, no disrespect… please forgive my free association… J) In 1993, Andy worked on a sustainable agriculture project in Chile, which included dairy operations. He is a building inspector and contractor which provided him with the knowledge and skills to design and build a state of the art dairy facility. And that’s exactly what he has done.
In 2002, the brothers bought a herd of 15 Ayrshire heifers and began their adventure making some great cheeses. And then another dream became reality… The Cellars at Jasper Hills… state of the art aging caves where the brothers take the young cheeses of their fellow cheesemakers, age them and prepare them for the consumer.
The Lady and I greatly admire the accomplishments of these two brothers who truly care for the land, the animals and also for other dairy farmers.
The brothers make two cheeses and one is Bayley Hazen Blue. This natural rind blue cheese, made from whole raw Ayrshire milk, primarily uses morning milk with less fat.
The Lady, The Man and I love this cheese. Because it is made with raw milk, the tastes of grass and hints of nuts are stronger than the blue mold making a well-balanced cheese. You get the best of both worlds; raw milk delight and kick from the blue. This cheese is a little drier than many blues and crumbles well. Your next cheese plate should finish with Bayley Hazen Blue.
Serving Suggestions: Even though it crumbles well, I would be reluctant to “waste” this wonderful cheese on a salad… of course, that being said, you’d be talking a superior salad. The Lady served it naked with a warm baguette. The Man swooned and while he was swooning I pawed off an extra serving for myself. The Lady noticed the paw marks but thankfully she was still feeling guilt at leaving me home while she was gallivanting in New York… so she merely smiled… You might drizzle a little honey on this cheese and serve with hazelnuts.
Wine Pairing: Tawny Port or a sweet, chilled dessert wine.
Beer Pairing: A chocolate stout would pair well with Bayley Hazen Blue.
Awards: 2007 ACS 2nd Place in the Open Farmstead Category.
Trivia: Bayley Hazen is an old military road that traverses Northern Vermont. Our first U.S. President, still a General, commissioned the road to carry troops to fight the British on the Canadian front, should one open up. No battle ever took place, but the road carried the first settlers into the Greensboro, Vermont area. The road is still used today.