Cabot “Award Winning” Cheese is Owned by Farm Families in New York and Vermont

June 19, 2013 — Leave a comment

Cabot Creamery is a 1,200+ farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate New York producing all natural, award-winning cheeses, including the “World’s Best Cheddar”, as well as a variety of flavored cheddars. Cabot Creamery Cooperative was founded in 1919. In 1919, the cost of farming was low and most farmers produced far more milk than they could market. Cabot area farmers figured if they joined forces, they could turn their excess milk into butter and market it through New England.

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Ninety-four farmers joined the original cooperative at the cost of $5 per cow, plus a cord of wood to fuel the boiler. It turned out to be a great investment. The entrepreneurial 94 purchased the village creamery and began producing butter under the Rosedale brand name.  Over the next two decades, as the nation’s population flocked to urban areas, Cabot’s farmer-owners thrived by shipping their milk and butter south. While the national economy shifted away from agriculture, the Vermont economy was still largely based on dairy farming.

In fact, in 1930 cows outnumbered people in Vermont, 421,000 to 359,000. It was at this time that the company hired its first cheesemaker and cheddar cheese entered the product line for the first time. By 1960, Cabot’s membership reached 600 farm families, though the total number of operating farms around the nation was already in rapid decline.

The trend continued into the 1980s when the total number of farms in Vermont sank below 2,000, less than one fifth of what it had been just a few decades earlier. By this time, Cabot had dropped the Rosedale name and was marketing high-quality cheeses and butter under the Cabot brand.

The company also began entering its cheddar in national competitions and in 1989 took first place in the cheddar category at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest held in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Wine Spectator magazine listed Cabot cloth-bound cheddar as one of “100 great cheeses” of the world in 2008. Also in 2008, Cabot Monterey Jack received an award from the American Cheese Society.

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As a co-op, Cabot is owned and operated by the members, which are farmers and their families. As a cooperative, they honor the Rochdale Cooperative Principles which are the basis that cooperatives operate on. Cabot values community, quality, democracy and local ownership.

Cabot is a very strong regional brand that is well know in New England and upstate New York for their award winning cheeses. They are also, and have been since their inception in 1919, champions of all things Vermont. To this day, Cabot partners with and supports organizations like: Ski Vermont; Vermont Quality Wood Products; Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation; Official State Tourism of Vermont; The Best of Vermont Showcase and the Vermont Mountain Bike Association.

Cabot has learned that one of the best ways to win consumers is by encouraging trial and sampling. The cooperative has opened three retail stores in Vermont where visitors can sample about 25 flavors, including chipotle, chili and lime, horseradish, and Tuscan-rubbed cheddar.

Sustainability is an important strategy for Cabot. Cabot Creamery is the first dairy cooperative to achieve B Corporation Certification. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet rigorous and independent standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Today, Cabot’s future looks bright. The company blends state-of-the-art facilities and a savvy entrepreneurial spirit, with the timeless values and a personal commitment to quality that comes from being 100% owned by farm families.

I was not aware of Cabot until the story was shared with me by two fellow AMA Board Members. Thanks for the insight.

Have you tried Cabot’s Cheeses?

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