The Cheesemonger: Consider the Local

This month at the Kitchn, as we focus on the harvest, we have the opportunity to examine where we spend our dollars and who we choose to support. And now, more than ever, it's even more critical to get behind our local, small production farmers, not only because in most cases their products are better, but also because it's the small farms bearing the massive brunt of our dwindling economy.

Cheese-wise, we are pleased to highlight an impeccably made product where we'd gladly dole our dollars. Plus, it's small batch and handmade, made only with all natural ingredients from antibiotic- and hormone-free milk. And if you're in the Northeast, consider it local. Now consider this...

It's Consider Bardwell Farm, and their cheese to eat now is Dorset.

They're a 300-acre farm located only a few miles from the New York state border in West Pawlet, Vermont. It was the very first cheesemaking cooperative in Vermont, founded by (you guessed it) Consider Bardwell, a skilled dairy farmer and cheesemaker.

Angela Miller and Russel Glover bought the farmhouse in 2001, when they decided to revive the farm's cheesemaking legacy. Their first batch of cheese was in 2003 from their herd of Oberhasli goats.

For some cheeses, like Dorset, they purchase Jersey cow milk from the neighboring Jersey Girl dairy farm. Think of Dorset like the Lombardian washed rind great, Taleggio. But unlike Taleggio, Dorset is made with raw milk from cows out on pasture, while Taleggio is pasteurized and industrial, made with the milk from grain-fed animals. It's aged a bit longer, too, from three to six months, which promotes a hefty but balanced pungency.

Expect the stink that a washed rind would warrant, but one that's tempered, not intensified, with age. We love its forward, buttery flavors and smooth, mouthcoating texture. You'll understand why Dorset was a 2008 award winner at The American Cheese Society conference. The interior is a deep, golden yellow, with salty and eggy flavors and a meatiness that rivals the best raclette. Try it in its place. Or at least consider it.

Consider Bardwell cheese is available on Saturdays at McCarren Park, Tribeca, and Ft. Greene Greenmarkets, and on Sundays at Tompkins Square Greenmarket, and at Rutland, Londonderry and Dorset, Vermont farmers markets. You can also find Consider Bardwell cheese at Murray's Cheese, Saxelby Cheesemongers, Stinky, and at Bedford Cheese Shop.

Related
Harvest Spotlight: Local Goat Feta Cheese

The Cheesemonger: Cato Corner Farm's "Hooligan"

The Cheesemonger: Taleggio

(Image: sassyradish.com, licensed under Creative Commons)

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Nora Singley used to be a cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop. Until recently she was a TV Chef on The Martha Stewart Show. She is currently a freelance food stylist and recipe developer in New York.