The Vermont Cynic

UVM hosts local producers for Cheese and Dairy Fest

Bridget Higdon, Culture Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Image Source: UVM
UVM Dining hosted its annual Cheese and Dairy Fest Feb. 19 in the Davis Center Atrium. The event was designed to promote cheese and dairy producers in the state of Vermont.

The sweet aromas of cheese and freshly-scooped ice cream gave busy students a reason to pause last week.

UVM hosted its annual Cheese and Dairy Fest Feb. 19 in the Davis Center Atrium. Sponsored by UVM Dining, the event’s aim was to promote cheese and dairy producers in the state of Vermont.

In 2018, the dairy industry in Vermont saw the closing of farms due to milk prices falling below the cost of production for the fourth year in a row, according to a January 2019 report by the Vermont State Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

Senior Noah Lindeman said he loved the Cheese and Dairy Fest. With a cup of Wilcox Specialty ice cream in hand, he said UVM should be hosting more of these types of events.  

“It made me feel like I was back at my hometown farmers market,” he said.

Maplebrook Farms from North Bennington, Vermont, provided samples of their handmade mozzarella and feta cheeses.

Renata Pilato, a member of Maplebrook’s sales and marketing team, said the farm was asked to the event by Black River Produce, a Vermont-based food distributor that works with UVM Dining.

“Maplebrook Farms supports community outreach,” she said.

The farm employs over 50 people and also runs an apprenticeship program which teaches people how to make handmade mozzarella, Pilato said.

I want students to see that there is wonderful, healthy food right here,”

— Becky Loftus

At a table nearby, Wendy Brewer ’80 spread samples of Grafton Village’s smoked chili and maple cheddar cheeses on a red and white-checkered tablecloth.

Brewer said she has worked at Grafton Village for over 15 years.  

“I studied dietetics at UVM, so I always knew I wanted to do something with food,” she said.

The company smokes their cheddar in small batches in ovens located in Grafton and Brattleboro, Vermont, Brewer said.

After opening in 1892, Grafton was revitalized in the 1960s by the Windham Foundation, a non-profit that works to protect and enhance Vermont’s rural communities, according to its website.

“UVM and Sodexo support local,” Brewer said. “It’s important to educate students on local producers.”

Marissa Watson, UVM Dining’s Sustainability Manager, said 21% of campus food is sourced from local producers.

Cathy Vadnais was at Cheese Fest representing Hillside Creamery. She brought with her samples of the company’s milk and yogurt.

“The blueberry yogurt is my favorite,” Vadnais said. “But sometimes the lemon really hits the spot.”

Hillside Creamery is located in Milton, Vermont. and all of their products come from two Holstein cows.

“Their names are Abby and Addy,” Vadnais said.

Milk and yogurt by Hillside Creamery is available for purchase on campus in the University Marche.

Becky Loftus, the owner and cheese maker at Blythedale Farm, smiled as she offered wedges of brie and Camembert cheese to students.

“We have the best soft cheese in Vermont,” she said. “At least we think so.”

Based in Corinth, Vermont, Blythedale is a 750-acre dairy farm.

“Usually we only do events with people in the industry, with foodies and retailers,” Loftus said. “So it’s nice to come here and see the enthusiasm in the students.”

Loftus and her husband Tom bought the farm in 2004, according to a March 2014 Stowe Today article.

“I want students to see that there is wonderful, healthy food right here,” Loftus said.

Sophomore Chloe Moulin said Blythedale Farm’s Camembert cheese was her favorite.

“It really surprised me,” she said. “My family is from France, and we usually can’t find good French cheese here,” she said.

About the Writer
Bridget Higdon, Culture Editor

Bridget Higdon is a junior English major who joined the Cynic in September 2016. She was previously the Arts Editor before she launched the first Culture...

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
UVM hosts local producers for Cheese and Dairy Fest