The Cheesemonger: The Cellars at Jasper Hill

Last Sunday, we visited The Unfancy Food Show, the second annual Brooklyn fest that celebrates local and small food producers, coinciding with The Fancy Food Show taking place at the Javits Center this week, in semi-defiance of commercialism and big brandism.

Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont was there, and we had the chance to speak with him about his $3 million project that's doing nothing short of changing the face of American small-scale cheese production as we know it. You'll be hearing about it, if you haven't already.

It's a 22,000-square-foot cheese aging cellar located on Jasper Hill Farm in Greenboro, Vermont, designed to house cheeses from 30 to 40 different producers in the area. The design is sprawling and leggy, with seven arched underground caverns radiating around a central hub, boasting 12,000 square feet of underground aging space. The Cellars are inspired partly by the architecture of some French affinage facilities, and are slated to produce some cheeses that will rival the world's best.

With specific humidity and temperature regulation for each cave, they'll be able to traffic cheeses from all styles in the proper environment, like their praiseworthy bloomy Constant Bliss and the award-winning Cabot clothbound cheddar (shown here) that's garnering some of the highest acclaim in the cheese world these days.

The facility gives cheesemakers the opportunity to send their cheeses to the Cellars for aging, allowing them to focus their efforts on their own cheese development. This spares them the cost and effort of aging cheese themselves, an art form in and of itself which requires daily care to each cheese and enormous financial dedication for costly walk-in coolers or other temperature controlled facilities. Jasper Hill is also offering technical support and sales, marketing, and distribution services to their cheesemakers.

Stay tuned for more info on the very first American facility dedicated to affinage, when The Cheesemonger visits Jasper Hill Farm in just a few weeks.

(Image: Flickr user sisterbeer licensed under Creative Commons.

Related: The Cheesemonger: Bartlett Blue

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Shopping, Cheese, The Cheesemonger

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.