Stowe Mountain Lodge Blog
Stowe Mountain Lodge's resident fromager, Tom Damerell recently visited the farm of one of the most popular cheeses served at Solstice on our signature cheese menu. The Major farm is renowned for their Vermont artisan cheese, and Tom had the opportunity to spend the day on their farm, celebrating why Vermont cheese is so authentically special.
It all started twenty five years ago on the lush rolling hills of the Major family farm, between Westminster and Putney, Vermont. When the wool and lamb markets shifted overseas, David Major made new use of his sheep. He began milking them and making cheese.
With few other artisan cheese makers un the U.S., David looked to Europe for guidance. He embarked on a tour in southern France just outside the Basque region. David visited family farms that had been making a cheese similar to his for centuries. Through their generosity, David learned the nuances of making and aging cheese.
Upon returning to his farm, David built the first cheese cave in the state of Vermont and began ripening his cheese in the European tradition. Over the years, David has honed his skills and developed a loyal following.
Vermont Shepherd Cheese took it's first medal at the 1993 ACS Competition and medaled every time it has been entered. David sells out of his original Vermont Shepherd cheese(now known as Verano) every year.
Four years ago, David began making Invierno in order to utilize the late season milk which has a higher fat content and cannot be made into cheese by itself. David mixes one part sheep's milk with two parts cow's milk from his neighbors at Live Water Farm. After a full day's work making the cheese, the wheels are taken to the cave where they are brined for two days and then placed on Ash planks for four to eight months.
David also makes ricotta and yogurt in very small quantities on his 100% solar powered farm. He keeps 190 Dorset-cross sheep which he milks twice daily and rotates among pastures. David has had an impressive influence on artisan cheese making. Over the years, cheese makers have come from all over the country to study his work. I am grateful for the hospitality David showed me and am privileged to have his exceptional cheese on my cheese menu at Stowe Mountain Lodge.