Jasper Hill Farm, in Greensboro, Vermont, is owned and operated by brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler, with help from their families and a dedicated staff of around 40. The brothers were driven by the desire to, as they put it, create a business that provided “meaningful work in a place that we love”. That place is a little corner of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom, where the Kehlers spent their summers as children.
They currently milk about 45 Ayrshire cows, grazing them on pasture from May-Oct, and feeding them dry hay and some grain in the winter. All of that milk is brought over to a purpose-built creamery adjacent to the cow barn, where it is transformed into some of Jasper Hill’s cheeses. The farm recently acquired a second creamery space at the Vermont Food Venture Center, a non-profit facility dedicated to incubating local food businesses. Along with herd management and cheesemaking, another integral facet of the business is the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The Cellars is Jasper Hill’s much-vaunted, state of the art affinage facility, where both their own cheeses and those of other regional creameries are matured. These cheeses are then distributed under the Jasper Hill label to retailers across the country.
Local History and Innovation combine in Jasper Hill’s Cheeses
Jasper Hill began producing cheese in 2003, and in the years since have enjoyed major successes with their line. Multiple ACS award wins, including two Best In Shows, are a testament to the level of care and attention the Jasper Hill team pays at every step of the process.
Alpha Tolman – 2nd Place Winner, American Cheese Society 2014
Named after a philanthropic dairy farmer responsible for building Jasper Hill’s local library in 1900, Alpha Tolman is a raw, Alpine-style cheese made in Jasper Hill’s satellite creamery at the VT Food Venture Center. With a dense, supple paste and a dried mushroom aroma, it develops notes of cooked leeks and a finish reminiscent of roasted cashews after an aging period of about 8-11 months. The milk for this cheese is sourced from the all-Holstein herd of another local partner: Andersonville Farm in Glover, VT. Set out a wedge of Alpha Tolman with a basket of crusty bread, some saucisson sec, and a side of cornichons for a simple, wholesome lunch.
Harbison – 1st Place Winner, American Cheese Society 2014
A strip of soft spruce bark harvested from Jasper Hill’s property encircles this bloomy-rinded, soft-ripened little wheel. Rich and spoonable when ripe, the paste takes on a woodsy complexity from the direct contact with its binding. This luscious cheese’s namesake is another Greensboro native – Anne Harbison, an active and engaged local community member. To enhance Harbison’s sweet cream notes, we recommend serving it with a drizzle of Valier’s Green Walnut Syrup. For a heartier, saltier kick, slather some multigrain bread with a thin layer of Skillet’s Fennel & Black Pepper Bacon Spread, then top off with a dollop of ripe and runny Harbison.
Jasper Hill recently added an onsite microbiology lab to the Cellars. They hope to study, identify and eventually cultivate the native bacteria and fungi that contribute to the Jasper Hill ’taste of place’.