The Cheesemakers of Vermont

Episode 5, from Season 8

The foundations of farmstead cheese-making in the United States were laid by the Puritan colonists of New England almost three centuries ago.

But in 1851 traditional cheese making was changed forever when dairy farmer Jesse Williams and his son George built the first cooperative dairy in New York State. Its stellar success was quickly copied on a large industrial scale and within a few decades small dairies became extinct.

But in recent years, Vermont has revived this link to the past by leading an exciting renaissance in American artisan cheese. Will returns to the region with his daughter to see what’s changed since he filmed here a decade ago. The first stop is the iconic Jasper Hill Farm, where brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler have constructed a spectacular underground facility to mature Cabot clothbound cheddar. After looking at how their unique collaboration with a local cooperative has contributed to this success, the brothers describe some of the challenges the dairy has faced with the federal authorities.

Will catches up with cheese maker Allison Hooper at Vermont Creamery to tour her new state-of-the-art goat cheese dairy and sample her award-winning cheese.

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