Our March selection was inspired by International Women’s Day, and my admiration for women in cheesemaking! Women have been the driving force in much of farmstead cheesemaking for centuries, and this month I’m highlighting cheeses made by award-winning, tenacious cheesemakers – all of whom happen to be women!
Boston Post Dairy
Enosburg Falls, Vermont
Goat’s Milk, Pasteurized / $30/lb
Boston Post Dairy started as a business partnership between four sisters: Anne, Susan, Theresa, and Annette Gervais. Together with their families, they raise their own animals and make several varieties of award-winning cheeses on their farm in far nothern Vermont. An aged gouda, Tres Bonne was named by their inspirational mother Gisele, who, upon tasting the first batch of this cheese, proclaimed it “Tres Bonne”. The sisters chose to use the feminine “Bonne” instead of the more traditional masculine “Bon”, because as they see it, the cheese is made by women, and aged by women! The wheel we have in stock at Valente’s is firm in texture and gentle in flavour, with notes of wildflower honey. An ideal breakfast cheese, in my estimation!
Marieke Overjarige Extra-Aged Gouda
Holland’s Family Cheese
Cow’s Milk, Raw / $34/lb
Unable to afford to buy farmland in their native Netherlands, cheesemaker Marieke Penterman and her dairy farmer husband emigrated to Wisconsin to start their own cow dairy operation. Missing the cheeses of her homeland, she decided to make Dutch-style cheeses with her family’s milk. Barely a dozen years later, her line of cheeses has won multiple awards in national competitions. We have many aged gouda fans among our customers, so given this month’s theme and the fact that Marieke is an immigrant woman with an entrepreneuship dream, I just had to bring in this extra special cheese. At almost three years old, our wheel is full of the characteristic crystals you’d expect in a gouda of this age – yet with a creamy mouthfeel that belies its crumbly appearance.
Lazy Lady Farm
Cow Milk, Pasteurized / $34/lb
Tucked away in northern Vermont, up near the Canadian border, is Lazy Lady Farm – helmed by the indomitable Laini Fondillier. Ask anyone in the biz, and they’ll confirm that Laini is a veritable legend of American artisan cheesemaking. One of a small group of pioneering goat cheese producers who started in the 1980s, she keeps her own herd of goats and is famous for making a range of highly-regarded small format cheeses. Quadrata is a washed rind cow’s milk cheese with a semi-soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I’d enjoy it with a gruner veltliner, or keep it local and pair with a Vermont cider!