Butter

Spotlight on Vermont Creamery

With National Dairy Month in mind, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Vermont Creamery and reminding member-owners that they can enjoy 20% off their decadent dairy products From June 7th – 13th. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a state with the highest number of artisanal cheesemakers per capita, and Vermont Creamery ranks high among them. Their cheeses, creme fraiche, mascarpone, and cultured butter have garnered awards locally, nationally, and globally, creating quite a reputation for this incredible creamery with such humble roots. Read on to learn more about how the creamery began, their model for being a sustainable mission-driven business, and what keeps them inspired to produce their world-renowned products:

Our Story:

Vermont Creamery was started by two young visionaries devoted to new and non-traditional agriculture, Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. As a college student, Allison spent a summer traveling in France. She worked on a small family farm in Brittany, earning room and board while learning how to make all of the essentials of what was to become her life passion: cheesemaking. Bob always thought he would one day take over his grandparents’ dairy farm. Unfortunately, by the time he finished his degree in Agriculture, they’d sold the farm. Appropriately enough, the improbable run as long-term business partners began in 1984 during a dinner celebrating Vermont agricultural products. Bob was in charge of the dinner and desperately needed a locally made goat cheese for the French chef’s signature lamb dish. He reached out to Allison, who was then working at a dairy lab and milking goats in Brookfield. Allison made the chèvre on the farm, Bob delivered it to the chef– the dinner was a success and Vermont Creamery was born.
As they say, “time flies when you’re having fun”. And what a fun wild ride we’ve had. A quarter-century ago, $2,000 of savings and a $4,000 loan from an ag-minded Vermont church made possible our first nervous debut of fresh chèvre in the milk house on the farm in Brookfield. We sold first at farmers’ markets, then to food co-ops and French chefs. Back then, fresh chèvre, so popular today, was a dazzling exotic foreign delicacy for American palates. Today, almost 30 years later, 20 Vermont goat farms ship their milk to Vermont Creamery. We are humbled and proud to have won more than 100 national and international awards. Our butter and cheeses populate some of the most prestigious cheese boards in America. But what makes us proudest perhaps is that we have sustained a team of family farms and creamery artisans. Together we thrive making simply great cheese for discerning, appreciative eaters, home cooks and discriminating chefs alike.

Co-Founders Allison Hooper and Bob Reese

 

Our Mission:

At Vermont Creamery, we strive to produce the highest quality cheeses and dairy products using local ingredients while supporting and developing family farms. We aim to exemplify sustainability by being profitable, engaging our staff in the business, and living our mission every day in the creamery.

Our mission is founded on five principles:

  • The farms: Improve our rural communities by supporting family farms which have best management practices that are sustainable and environmentally sound.
  • A culture of continuous improvement: Invigorate and challenge our creamery community to maintain the highest product quality, excel at customer service and care for our consumers by inviting them to be part of our family.
  • The value of cheese: Promotes a life of good health and meaningful connection through the preparation and sharing of good food with others.
  • A responsible manufacturer: Add value to milk while minimizing our impact on clean and plentiful water, clean air, and land.
  • The Team: Accountability and responsibility allows every team member to create a profitable, meaningful and fun workplace where he/she is challenged empowered and motivated by his/her contribution.
  • A workplace that thinks globally and acts locally: Fostering mutual respect and tolerance in pursuit of a better life for everyone resonates within the creamery, into the community, and beyond

Click HERE to read Vermont Creamery’s 2017 Mission Report

Our Culture:

In 2014, Vermont Creamery became B Corp certified. B Corps are a new type of company that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. This designation reflects the values upon which our company was founded and our operating philosophies today. We became B Corp because capitalism affects change when it is mindful of doing what is right at the expense of profits. The B Corp Impact Assessment reflects not only what we currently do, but applies rigor to and accountability for our mission.

Our Recipe for Making a Difference-

  • 100% of our company utilizes open book management
  • 100% of Creamery employees participate in profit sharing
  • 100% of our milk comes from small-scale suppliers/farms
  • Our conservation partnership with the Ayers Brook Goat Dairy trains future Vermont farmers
  • 1% of profits are given to support non-profit and community work
  • Cut water consumption by 1/3 even as our business grew
  • 50% of the management team are women
  • 5 days paid maternity and paternity leave per year
  • Carpooling and bike-to-work incentive programs
  • More than 70% of heath insurance premium cost covered by the company

Meet the Goats:

 

Spotlight on Kimball Brook Farm

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Kimball Brook Farm! Their full line of products are 20% off for member-owners from March 8th – 14th. Read on to learn more about one of Vermont’s finest family-owned organic dairy farms:

History

Kimball Brook Farm was first settled by Daniel Kimball in the late 1700s. Daniel and his sons continued running the farm until it was purchased by Edward Danyow in 1960.

The DeVos family purchased the farm in 1967 and on June 1, 1968, John De Vos Sr. and his son John De Vos Jr. moved their complete herd (50 cows), machinery and households from Monroe, New York to the Kimball Brook farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

John De Vos Jr. and his wife Sue operated the farm for over 30 years raising three sons and one daughter on the farm. The eldest son, John De Vos III (JD) and his wife Cheryl took over the business in 2001, expanding the herd from 80 cows to 200 and added a milking parlor.

In 2003, JD and Cheryl began transitioning the 220 cow farm to an organic operation and  Kimball Brook Farm became one of the largest certified organic dairy operations in the State of Vermont. The first shipment of organic milk was in September 2005. In 2010, they began the process of pursuing another dream of opening their own creamery in the former Saputo Cheese plant in Hinesburg. This would allow them to assemble, bottle, and package all of their own products. In June of 2011, they were awarded the VT Dairy Farm of the Year award and by May of 2012, they were celebrating the official opening of Green Mountain Organic Creamery.

At the Co-op, you can find a broad selection of Kimball Brook Farm’s organic products including Whole Milk, Cream, Chocolate Milk, Maple Milk, Mocha & Coffee Flavored Iced Cappuccino, Butter and Iced Teas. Also be sure to check out their newest addition to the lineup:  CBD Tea!

The Herd

The herd at Kimball Brook Farm consists of Holsteins, Jerseys and Jersey/Holstein crosses. During the growing season, their cows and heifers(teenagers) can be found happily grazing on the lush grasses their pastures provide. The cows that are being actively milked also get some mixed legumes and grains at the barn to provide them with the extra energy they need to produce rich, organic milk.

The Devos family believes that by maintaining the health of the land and the health of the cows, they can provide a fantastic organic milk free of Growth Hormones, GMO’s, Pesticides, Herbicides and Antibiotics for consumers to enjoy.

Check out this fun video showing how Kimball Brook Farm milk gets from the cow to your kitchen table:

 

Investing in Local Organic Dairy

You eat local and you drink local, but what about Investing local? Kimball Brook Farm has an offer for those looking to make a deeper commitment by investing in their organic dairy farm and creamery. This offer is for Vermont residents only. Click here to read more about it.

A polyculture of corn & sunflowers grown as food for the herd at KBF

© Copyright 2016 - Middlebury Food Co-op