June 1, 2015- The Vermont Cheese Council (VCC), a non-profit trade association committed to the promotion and advancement of quality cheese production in Vermont, signed its 50th principal member to its membership roster.
“It's a great milestone with a lot of history behind it,” said Jeremy Stevenson, cheesemaker at Spring Brook Farm/Farms for City Kids and former VCC president. “It is very encouraging to see the VCC growing with the community of cheesemakers and working with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to facilitate growth and stability into the future.”
Founded in 1996 with 19 original members, the Vermont Cheese Council helped to establish the Vermont brand in the cheese industry through quality production, safety training and the promotion of Vermont cheesemakers.
Allison Hooper, owner of Vermont Creamery and past VCC president added, “In 1997 the Vermont Cheese Industry was comprised of about 19 cheesemakers but we were invisible. Forming the Council changed that and even attracted people to Vermont to make cheese.”
“The VCC is a huge success story,” commented Laini Fondiller, cheesemaker at Lazy Lady Farm and past president of the organization. “It has done all that it set out to do and then expanded into having the ability to provide even more through the annual cheese festival and has now garnered world-wide acclaim with its great cheese,”
Since its creation, Vermont cheesemakers have earned hundreds of awards and accolades for their world-class cheeses. “I congratulate the Vermont Cheese Council on their 50th member,” said Chuck Ross, Vermont’s Secretary of Agriculture. “Our state is well known for producing world-class cheeses, thanks in part to the critical role the Vermont Cheese Council plays in supporting our cheesemakers. The growth of the cheese production in our state benefits our working landscape, our economy, and helps build Vermont’s reputation as producer of outstanding artisanal foods.”
Rachel Fritz Schaal, current president of the Vermont Cheese Council and co-owner of Parish Hill Creamery added, “We are excited to welcome our 50th cheesemaker to the council. Vermont has a vital community of producers who continue to support one another and thereby strengthen the group as a whole. The results are evident, and delicious.”
Through collaboration and marketing for all cheesemakers of all sizes, and with the added strength of Vermont’s agricultural brand, Vermont cheesemakers have made significant in-roads into the artisan, farmstead and large-scale commercial cheese industries. “Vermont cheesemakers have worked hard to develop a reputation for quality, safety and consistency whether in artisan or large- scale cheesemaking,” said Tom Bivins, the Cheese Council executive director. “I am very proud of our cheesemakers whose work supports Vermont’s dairy farming families and our working landscape.”
The Vermont Cheese Council’s primary mission is to promote and advance the production of quality cheese. The council coordinates The Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, named a “Top Ten Summer Food Festival in the US" by Fodors in 2014, and publishes The Vermont Cheese Trail Map. More information about the Council and its members can be found at vtcheese.com. Information on the Seventh Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, to be held July 19, can be found at vtcheesefest.com.