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A Q&A With Consider Bardwell Farm's Cheesemaker and Creamery Director Leslie Goff

A Q&A With Consider Bardwell Farm's Cheesemaker and Creamery Director Leslie Goff


WEST PAWLET, VT
Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Consider Bardwell Farm enjoys an outsized reputation, among turophiles and tradespeople alike, for raw milk cheeses in the tradition of some of the world’s greatest. With modern classics in the making like Rupert, Slyboro, and Goatlet, the company has earned many of the most prestigious accolades in cheese—including World Championship Cheese Contest, Good Food, and American Cheese Society awards.

I recently had the chance to touch base with Cheesemaker and Creamery Director Leslie Goff to learn more about the company, its cheeses, and the processes whereby a pasture, a herd, an ethos, and dedication can collude to produce truly exceptional cheese.


Robert Schaulis: Tell me a little bit about yourself: How did you come to cheesemaking and to Consider Bardwell Farm?

Leslie Goff, Cheesemaker and Creamery Director, Consider Bardwell Farm (photo credit: Brian Jenkins) Leslie Goff: I’ve been at Consider Bardwell Farm since I was 15. I started on the farm side milking the goats and doing farm chores days after school and weekends. After working the farm for a year or so, help was needed in the creamery, where I began working with Peter Dixon and fell in love with cheesemaking and affinage. It is very gratifying taking a raw ingredient such as milk and turning it into something for people to enjoy. The cheeses here have received a lot of national attention at Cheese Competitions around the country which has been an honor.

RS: How would you describe the ethos behind Consider Bardwell Farm’s approach to cheesemaking and affinage? What would you say is the common thread that makes Consider Bardwell Farm’s cheeses unique?

LG: Consider Bardwell Farm has always believed in order to make the best raw milk cheese you need to start with the best raw milk. We work very closely with two partner cow dairies, which are small herds, about 35 cows each, located one mile from the creamery. These cows are fed a strict grass and dry hay diet. This type of diet is extremely hard to sell on farmers as it becomes a more pricey way to produce milk. We also have our own farmstead goat herd. Our goats are on an intense rotational grazing program, in which they graze a specific pasture for 12 hours and are then moved. They do not go back to any given pasture for 3 months to help support a healthy immune system. I think the milk we receive and our drive to make consistent cheeses makes our cheeses unique. We are very aware of what is going on with our milk and farmers on a daily basis.

Consider Bardwell Cheese works very closely with two partner cow dairies, which are small herds, about 35 cows each, located one mile from the creamery.

RS: How does the terroir of the company’s Southern Vermont location color Consider Bardwell Farm’s products?

LG: As I said before we work with two small cow diaries located one mile from the farm. These farms are milking Jersey cows, who graze the pastures of southern Vermont. Throughout the seasons one can taste and see the subtle changes in the cheeses. When the cows are on grass there is much more bright flavor and a beautiful hue to the cheese.

RS: Can you give me a brief account of what goes into making a cheese like Rupert Reserve? How do some of the world’s most illustrious cheese tradition—traditions around Gruyère and Comté—inform that process?

LG: A cheese like Rupert Reserve starts off with of course the best raw milk possible! One of the most traditional aspects of Rupert that is similar to a Gruyere or Comte is the cheese cloth. At Consider Bardwell Farm, we use Beaufort cloths to give Rupert its unique appearance to the rind. Rupert is a classic alpine-style cheese with butter scotch and pineapple flavors. Rupert is also made with milk from cows only fed grass and dry hay. We do not use any milk made with silage feed.

Rupert is a classic alpine-style cheese with butter scotch and pineapple flavors.

RS: How does an operation like Consider Bardwell Farm balance tradition and innovation?

LG: Consider Bardwell is very traditional in every aspect. We are a small creamery, taking milk from the local valley where we are located. Consider Bardwell Farm focuses on raw milk cheese, in small handmade batches. Consider Bardwell is a true handmade, artisanal producer.


For more features on all things specialty cheese, keep reading Deli Market News.

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