March Cheese Deals

Every month, we feature a number of excellent deals and savings on a variety of cheeses.

Member-owners can always find great cheese deals in our monthly specials for members only. Two of the sale cheeses come from a local mission driven cheesemaker who proudly supports Vermont’s rural communities, Grafton Village Cheese. Their Smoked Cheddar will be on sale at $1.00 off and their Maple Smoked Cheddar will be at $1.50 off. Another local dairy, Neighborly Farms in Randolph Center, is featured, with their flavorful Extra Sharp Raw Cheddar at $3.00 off. Vermont Creamery’s Crème fraîche is a versatile French-style cultured cream that can be used in soups and sauces, on pies or fresh fruits, or in a wide variety of recipes, and will be on sale at $1.00 off.

Cheese deals are also included in our sales for everyone. Through March 12, sales for all include Grafton Village’s Shallot & White Pepper Cheddar, made with raw cow’s milk, salt, white pepper, and shallots, at $2.00 off; and Sun-Ni Cheese’s Armenian Braided String Cheese, seasoned with mahleb and nigella seeds, giving it a distinctive and savory flavor, at $1.50 off. Starting March 13 through April 2, Kerrygold’s sharp and flavorful Reserve Cheddar, which is aged for over two years, will be on sale at $1.50 off.

Every Monday, regardless of the month, we feature Cabot Creamery cheeses on sale. Eight ounce shredded cheeses and bars, and select six ounce bars, are 2 for $5.00, and sliced cheeses are 2 for $6.00. When you buy products from Cabot, you are supporting a cooperative business made up of 1,000 northeast dairy farms who source their milk locally and all share in common beliefs, including “making milk with our families is at the heart of our commitment to our communities” and “co-ops ensure a better world now and for the future of all our communities.”

Some of our great deals happen in collaboration with Provisions International, New England cheesemakers, and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, as a way to highlight two regional artisanal cheese producers each month. One of those programs is called Farm Focus, which aims to really highlight a locally produced cheese. Our Farm Focus this month is Winnimere from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, VT.

Jasper Hill is a working dairy farm with an on-site creamery in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. An underground aging facility maximizes the potential of cheeses made by the creamery, as well as those made by other local producers. Leftover whey from the cheesemaking process is fed to heritage breed pigs, roaming the woodlands beyond the cows’ pasture. Jasper Hill’s mission is to make the highest possible quality products in a way that supports Vermont’s working landscape. The team at Jasper Hill is driven to be the standard bearer of quality and innovation in the artisan cheese industry while promoting their regional taste of place.

Winnimere is a take on Jura Mountain classics like Vacherin Mont d’Or or Försterkäse. In keeping with tradition, this decadent cheese is made only during winter months when Jasper Hill’s Ayrshire cows are giving rich, hay-fed raw milk.  When young, this cheese is wrapped in strips of spruce cambium, the tree’s flexible inner bark layer, harvested from Jasper Hill Farm’s woodlands. During aging, the cheese is washed in a cultured salt brine to help even rind development. At 60 days, the cheese is spoonably soft and tastes of bacon, sweet cream, and spruce.

Another way our collaboration with Provisions International, New England cheesemakers, and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association provides a great deal is through the Cave-to-Co-op program. According to the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, the goal of the program is “to contribute to a stronger regional food system by introducing local cheesemakers to consumers and encouraging them to try their products.” The Cave to Co-op cheese this month is Sugar Slalom from Mt. Mansfield Creamery in Morrisville, VT.

Mt. Mansfield Creamery is located four miles from the farm where the cows live. Cheesemaker Stan Bisini transports their milk to the creamery on cheese making days, and Debora Bisini milks the cows, shipping extra milk to the St. Albans Cooperative. Small batches of cheese are made only 8 to 12 times per month, with increasing production according to demand. They milk registered Holstein and Brown Swiss cows which are on rotational grazing in the summer months and are fed grain and hay during the winter.

Mt. Mansfield Creamery started in June of 2009 and produces cheese year around. Debora milks about 30 cows per day and has received awards for the quality of milk she produces. Stan, a graduate of Paul Smith’s College, has put his chef days behind him to concentrate on their recipes for cheese.

The cheese facility is in the heart of Morrisville, in the old United Farmers Creamery building. Stan and Debora renovated the building and built their own cheese cave in the basement. They wash and brush the rinds to keep them thin to ensure that all the cheese is 100 percent edible!

Sugar Slalom is an aged natural rind cheese, made with raw Vermont cow’s milk and Maple Liqueur, from Green Mountain Distillers in Morristown, Vermont, which is added to the curd.  The cheese is great on its own, or try it in the recipe below.

Sugar Slalom Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
serves 6

3 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup walnut halves
4 oz. Sugar Slalom cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, transfer to the baking sheet, and bake until fork-tender, about 1 hour, turning halfway through. Let cool slightly. Combine 3 tablespoons of the maple syrup, 1/8 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small skillet. Add the walnuts and stir to coat. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the walnuts begin to darken, about 2 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool, and then chop coarsely. Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and scrape most of the flesh into a large bowl, leaving 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch of it in the skins. Set the skins aside on the baking sheet. To the flesh, add half of the cheese, the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Blend with a fork or potato masher until smooth. Divide the mixture evenly among the skins, and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and the nuts, and serve.