Michael Claypool and Sasha Davies started Cheese By Hand way back in the spring of 2006 with the mission of visiting American cheesemakers large and small and conducting audio interviews with them about "their craft and their lives." Over the course of that summer they took a cross-country trip starting in Vermont, posting a ton of blog entries and some rough audio files about such esteemed American cheesemakers as Rogue Creamery in Oregon and Crave Brothers in Wisconsin. Yesterday they posted the first completed interview, a conversation with Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont.
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The interview with Kehler is about 11 minutes long and touches upon issues of sustainability (both environmental and economic), terroir, raw milk, and the "real" costs of cheese production. Jasper Hill is one of the success stories of American farmstead cheese, and if you've ever tried its Bayley Hazen Blue or Constant Bliss (the only bloomy-rind raw milk cheese made in the U.S.), you will know why. Jasper Hill is also experimenting with unique business models: It recently built a huge aging cave where it will age not only its own cheeses but also cheeses from many different area farms as well.
Claypool and Davies plan to publish a new podcast every 10 to 14 days, available on the Cheese By Hand site, or on iTunes. The next interview they will publish will be with Michael Lee from Twig Farm in West Cornwall, Vermont.