Life as an artisanal cheese-maker at Friday Night Dialogues

Goats at Consider Barnwell Farm in Vermont. (Courtesy photo)

Goats at Consider Barnwell Farm in Vermont. (Courtesy photo)

“Cheese — milk’s leap to immortality,” wrote Clifton Fadmian, the late American author, editor and radio host. If Mr. Fadiman had been around in 2016, he most certainly would have declared the cheeses from Consider Bardwell Farm a leap and a bound towards immortality. 

On July 1, the Shelter Island Public Library is pleased to present Consider Bardwell Farm’s Russell Glover, who will provide insights into the life of an artisanal cheese maker, at Friday Night Dialogues at 7 p.m.

Consider Stebbins Bardwell founded Vermont’s first cheese-making co-op in West Pawlett, Vermont in 1864. The farm remained a cheese-making operation until 1932 and then operated as a dairy farm until 1994. Today, the 300 acre farm is run by former Shelter Islanders Angela Miller and Russell Glover, who escaped to the Green Mountains in 2001. They spent two years educating themselves about farming and cheese-making and hiring a team. Now, 12 years after starting the operation, the couple’s “weekend retreat” produces about 100,000 pounds of cheese a year.

Sylvester Manor’s farmstand on Manwaring Road is the local source for their cheeses, each of which is named for a nearby town: Dorset, Danby, Manchester, Pawlett and Rupert, Vermont and Rybert, New York.

There is a  small but delicious array of goats’ and cows’ milk cheeses made from the milk of their 150 resident Oberhaslis, French alpine and Nubian goats; Jersey cows from neighboring partner farms provide the cows’ milk. The cheeses are made by hand in small batches from whole, fresh milk that is antibiotic and hormone free, and the farm is in the process of transitioning to non-GMO status. All cheeses are aged on the farm in a series of cheese caves designed and built by Mr. Glover, an architect and engineer.

Ms. Miller, a literary agent in Manhattan, chronicled  their experiences in a 2010 memoir, “Hay Fever: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life.” In it she wrote “It didn’t take much to talk myself into believing that cheese was part of my karma. When I was a child, my mother often called me ‘Mouse’ because I liked cheese so much.”

For more information contact the library at 749-0042. Friday Night Dialogues are open to all and are free, though donations are greatly appreciated.

Next up: On July 22 Friday Night Dialogues presents “The Poetry of Cooking” with Chef John Ross, including cooking tips and samples from his new cookbook.