Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont
Here in the northeast, we are lucky enough to have access to some of the best artisan cheeses made in America. Sure Wisconsin and California have us beat on sheer volume, but cheesemakers in Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and elsewhere are definitely holding their own. One such relative newcomer is Consider Bardwell Farm, the West Pawlet-based brainchild of Russell Glover and Angela Miller. Along with cheesemaker Peter Dixon, they are making some of the best American artisan cheeses available.
The farm makes several goat cheeses using milk from their herd of Oberhasli goats, a Swiss dairy breed. The goats are allowed to graze rotationally on pesticide-free grasses, a process in which the animals are only given access to grasses that are at their peak growth and ripeness. This means they don't make any goat cheese in the winter, although they do make cow's milk cheeses during that season. And what about their cheeses? I recently had a chance to taste a few of their offerings, and I have to say each one was better than the next.
Pawlet, which I assume is named after the town the farm is located in, is a semi-firm tomme-style cheese, made with Jersey cow's milk. It's mild but has a nice sweet tang to it, with some flavors reminiscent of Swiss alpine cheeses.
Dorset is another cow's milk cheese with a beautifully orange washed rind. According to the farm's website, the cheese is similar to Taleggio, but I found it less mushroomy and sweeter than that famous Italian cheese.
This one was my favorite of the bunch; it's a tomme-style, semi-firm cheese made from raw goat's milk. It has incredible depth of flavor, very earthy, very bold. This is the cheese to give someone who thinks goat cheese always has to be fresh "chèvre."
The cheesemaker, Peter Dixon, is actually a well-known consultant to many dairy farms in the northeast, and is also a contributor to the book American Farmstead Cheese, a must-have for serious curd nerds.
Consider Bardwell Farm cheeses are available at the Tribeca and Tompkins Square Greenmarkets in New York City, as well as speciality cheese stores throughout the Northeast US.