Four Cheeses and a Farm Full of Kids
First, the cheese. Fresh Vermont milk from Jersey cows turned into rich, flavorful European-style cheese. Yes--it’s as good as it sounds.
In 2012, Spring Brook Farm’s Tarentaise (Alpine-style semi-hard made with raw milk) won a gold medal at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Birmingham, England. In 2017, Tarentaise Reserve won Best in Show at the American Cheese Society in Denver, Colorado. (Note to self: perhaps a good place to work?) Those awards are well deserved; this cheese has a wonderful nutty flavor with hints of sharpness that make it ideal for nibbling with crackers.
Spring Brook’s three other cheeses are just as deserving of praise, from the Raclette-style Reading to the tangy, semi-soft Windsor County Tomme and the Morbier-style Ashbrook with a lovely thin line of vegetable ash.
Now, the kids. All profits from the sale of Spring Brook Farm cheeses are used to support the Farms for City Kids Foundation, which brings 750 kids to the 1,000-acre farm in Reading each year. There’s no charge to schools or parents for the one-week program that combines classroom and hands-on farming tasks.
The farm’s staff includes educated professionals who integrate math, social studies, and natural science into everyday farm activities. The kids understandably go crazy for the gorgeous Jersey cows, goats, chickens, and other farm animals. Oh, and the view isn’t bad, either.
Applebutter guests are invited to tour the farm, including viewing the cheesemaking room and the dairy operation, provided we call ahead to make arrangements. It’s a lovely short dive (you might want to stop at the South Woodstock Country Store for snacks or homemade soup). You can purchase cheese at the farm, and several Woodstock-area stores also carry it.