We now carry French-style Tarentaise cheese and Reading cheese from Spring Brook Farm in Reading, Vermont. In addition to being delicious and award-winning cheeses, Tarentaise and Reading sales support the Farms for City Kids Foundation.
About the Farm
Spring Brook Farm is a traditional dairy farm of over 1,000 acres. In addition to its 100 plus Jersey cows, 42 of which are milked, the farm has goats, chickens, roosters, pigs, and turkeys. The cows produce over 600,000 pounds of milk each year. The farm sells hay, sweet corn, eggs, meat, and chickens and turkeys seasonally. The income from these activities is used to sustain the farm’s educational program. The farm also has vegetable gardens, a greenhouse, raspberry and blueberry bushes, grapevines, and a small apple orchard, as well as its own honey bees to pollinate the farm and produce honey. Cheese-making began at Spring Brook Farm in 2008.
Farms For City Kids has been in operation since 1994. Groups of urban children aged 8 through 12 come to the farm for a week at a time to experience a farm-based curriculum that combines classroom studies with firsthand farm experience. They help take care of animals, work in the greenhouse and gardens, and watch cheese production through the viewing windows in the cheese house. Cheese-making provides a framework for the students to study economics, chemistry, microbiology, food preservation, health, and nutrition. Students work in groups to unlock character strengths‚ develop teamwork skills, and strengthen core values such as hard work‚ leadership‚ respect‚ self-confidence, and responsibility. The program challenges them to overcome fears and accomplish more than they thought possible.
The farm raises funds so that children can participate in the program at no cost. All funds from the sale of cheese go to support the Farms For City Kids Foundation.
About the Cheese
Spring Brook Farm named Tarentaise after the French region that inspired it. They installed state of the art French alpine cheese making equipment with copper vats. A French cheese maker helped the farm start production, using a centuries-old traditional method, but the Vermont Tarentaise has its own distinct flavor.
Tarentaise begins with fresh, raw milk from the farm’s Jersey cows. Through the ten-month aging process, no preservatives, synthetic flavors, additives, or wax is used. The cheese makers encourage the development of beneficial live cultures to add to the cheese’s complex flavor and to color its rind. Each wheel of cheese is turned and washed at least 60 times before it’s ready. Since its inception, Tarentaise has won numerous awards including 2011 Best North American Cheese at the North American Jersey Cheese Awards and 2011 Best of Class at the US Championship Cheese Contest.
The Reading is a semi-soft washed rind cheese named after the town in which it is made. Because all of Spring Brook Farm's milk goes to Tarentaise production, they partner with other local dairy farmers who agree to abide by their standards in exchange for a fair, steady milk price. The local farms work hard to store enough hay to feed the cows through a long Vermont winter. Reading has won awards including first place in its category at the 2013 US Cheese Championships and silver medals in worldwide cheese competitions in 2012 and 2011.
Learn more about Spring Brook Farm at their website, http://farmsforcitykids.org. Watch a video about the farm on the Vermont Cheese Council's Youtube channel or on our Youtube channel.