The most persistent defenders of raw-milk cheese are, in my view, the cheesemakers of Switzerland. “They see pasteurizing milk as a risk,” says Joe Salonia, a U.S. marketer of fine cheeses from Switzerland. “Why would you do that? Why would you hurt the most precious part of your milk?” With Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day approaching (on April 20), I’ve been thinking about why it’s so critical to defend the right of cheesemakers to work with raw milk. Making the argument for me are the phenomenal cheeses from Gourmino, a Swiss marketing co-op that represents exclusively raw-milk cheeses. You don’t need to know the name Gourmino, but you do need to know its cheeses.Read More
The number of American creameries making raw-milk cheese from their own grass-fed animals is minuscule and not likely to climb. It’s a risky business model given the unpredictability of the FDA and its rule-making around raw-milk cheese. Plus, there aren’t that many places in the U.S. where livestock can be outside, eating grass, all year. So you have to applaud those who still take this traditional path and (the “and” is important) consistently produce distinctive, well-made cheeses. In that light, it’s time for a shout-out to Georgia’s Sweet Grass Dairy and its newest creation, Griffin, a recent Good Food Award winner.Read More
My brother Andy and I started making cheese in Greensboro, Vermont, in the spring of 2003. We wanted to satisfy three fundamental needs: meaningful work, in a place that we love, with people we love.
We set about developing a business built around a collection of cheeses that would serve as the economic mechanism we would leverage to protect the working landscape in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.Read More
When a friend needs your help, you show up, right? That’s how I feel about raw-milk cheese. If you believe cheesemakers should be allowed—even encouraged—to make cheese according to time-honored methods, then find a Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day event in your community and be there on Saturday, April 21.Read More
A-may-zing. A terrific aged raw-milk cheese from Switzerland for $20 a pound. If you’re accustomed to paying at least half-again as much for the best Swiss cheeses, you may be asking yourself, “How do they do that?” I know I am. I asked the importer, who had one answer, but he also warned me that the price would likely climb. So now’s your chance.Read More
Thank you, cheese fans, for keeping the faith. You get it. You haven’t abandoned raw-milk cheeses despite the recent tragic incident traced to Vulto Creamery. Raw-milk cheesemakers like John Shuman at Cascadia Creamery feared a sales plunge, but it hasn’t materialized. You didn’t panic. Reassured, Shuman has resumed production of Sawtooth (above) after a self-imposed pause. That has to be a relief for this small family business and it’s welcome news for us. When a cheese this good is a casualty, everyone loses.Read More
Spinach. Melons. Burgers. Chicken. Eggs. Peanuts. Is anything safe to eat any more? All of these foods (and others) have been implicated in outbreaks of food-borne illness. Recently, a domestic raw-milk cheese joined the list. Authorities say it sickened six people, two of whom died. That’s tragic—no other word for it. But should you cross raw-milk cheese off your shopping list?Read More