Award-winning cheese from down on the farm - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Award-winning cheese from down on the farm

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SOUTH WOODSTOCK, Vt. -

On a rainy day the activity outside this South Woodstock farm slows down. But inside the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company it's a different story -- It's raining cheese.

The mixed herd dairy farm is producing a line of farmstead cheeses -- meaning the cheese is made from milk produced on the farm. "We're making our milk right across the way. Not many dairy people can look out the window to see the herd that's creating the milk for these fantastic cheeses," said Cheesemaker Rick Woods.

They are cheeses that are winning awards left and right. Thirteen of it's 17 varieties were recognized for excellence this year. Those accolades are impressive on their own, but perhaps even more so because the company was started just two years ago.

"It's kind of like the modern day Vermont success story, if you will," said the company's co-founder, Kyle Thygesen. He says it all began as an effort to save another Vermont dairy farm on the brink of closing. "Hey, we don't want houses put up. We want to make sure we preserve an opportunity to have a dairy farm in South Woodstock," he said.

So a group of community members and investors joined forces and opened the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company -- making old world style cheeses with a new Vermont twist.

"The coolest thing about our company is we're not a specific cheese company. We have a full line of cheese," he said.

Farmstead sold 85-thousand pounds of cheese last year -- from blueberry and cranberry WindsorDales, to Lille' -- a brie style white mold cheese.

But something special is on tap this day. "My two greatest passions will be here in one vat -- beer and cheese," Rick Woods said. It's called Alehouse Cheddar. The cheese curds are soaking up another premium Vermont product -- Harpoon Beer.

"We really feel Vermont is a cornerstone to how we grow our business, because we couldn't do this other than in the State of Vermont," Thygesen said.

It's all about diversifying a traditional Vermont product -- it's sustainable, unique, and it's Made in Vermont.

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