At Blue Ledge Farm we believe in a food system that is based on a cornerstone of respect for the land, the animals and the consumer as well as our local community. We celebrate the opportunity to raise healthy, contented animals and make great cheese!
Blue Ledge Farm began as a dream in Florence, Italy where Greg and Hannah met while studying the art and culture of Europe. In 2000, at the tender age of 23, the two began the work of transforming an old cow dairy farm back into production with goats. The barn which once housed seventy Holstein cows would now be home to their Alpine and LaMancha dairy goats. We began milking four goats at Blue Ledge Farm, and began processing cheese two years later. Today we milk over one hundred goats and produce eleven types of cheese (described on our Cheese page), from very fresh to semi-aged bloomy rind cheeses, to harder cheeses aged three months. True to our mission, our focus is always on sustaining a high-quality, consistent product with lots of attention and gentle handling.
The 150 acres of Blue Ledge Farm consist of woods, hayland, pasture and wetland. In 2004 we financed our cheeseroom construction by selling our development rights to the Vermont Land Trust, thereby ensuring that our land will always be open and never developed. In 2009, wetlands were identified as one of our great natural resources and so we agreed to conserve our fifty acres of wetland and return them to their natural state as a valuable part of our ecosystem. Our goats spend their spring, summer and fall days browsing in the woods, return to the barn for 4 pm milking and lounge around in a grass pasture as evening sets. Our goats live a life of luxury and as we run from job to job across the farm we sometimes wonder who works for who!
When Greg and Hannah aren't milking goats or making cheese they can be found in their painting studio. Check out their oil paintings at Blue Ledge Gallery.
Milking happens in the parlor, where 16 goats come up at a time to be milked while enjoying their sweet pellet feed. We milk 125 goats twice a day.
Sustainable farming practices are at the top of our priority list when making any decision on our farm. We compost our bed-pack manure and apply to our fields, thereby completing the nutrient cycle from grass to goat and back to grass. We allow our goats to graze and forage throughout most of the year, which is healthy for them, the consumer as well as the environment. In 2008 we built an underground aging facility, or "cave". Storing cheese underground is beneficial as it is naturally cool and moist, conditions that the cheese likes, and being underground it takes less energy to keep the temperature and humidity at desirable levels. We have partnered with our friends at Efficiency Vermont on several projects over the years, from a variable-speed efficient milking machine, to more efficient cooling compressors, to newer fluorescent light bulbs, all in an effort to lower our impact on our environment. At the heart of our operation is our clean-burning EPA-Approved bio-mass furnace. We heat our home, cheese-house and barn, as well as all of the hot water used in our cheese plant, with locally-produced wood pellets! Got Solar? In 2015 we covered the south facing roof of our barn with solar panels which provide nearly half of the farm's electricity usage all summer long!
In 2016 we were certified as an Animal Welfare Approved farm. As such, we are inspected annually to ensure that our animals have adequate space, comfort and access outside.
The milk for our cow's milk cheeses comes from a farm just four miles away in the neighboring town of Whiting. Cindy and Kurt at Scapeland Farm milk Ayrshire cows, a breed known for having superior milk for cheese-making. Twice a week we get their fresh milk delivered and it is immediately processed into Middlebury Blue or Camembrie. We are very fortunate to have Cindy and Kurt, and their lovely award-winning cows, right in the neighborhood!