Artisanal Cheese Makers
Willow Hill Farm creates a wide variety of cheeses, ranging from their Alderbrook, a soft and buttery cheese, to the Mountain Tomme, a blend of sheep’s milk from the Willow Hill sheep and cow’s milk from a neighbor’s farm. In total, Willow Hill Farm produces nine distinct cheeses, six of which have won awards for their excellence.
Sunset is not the end of the workday for Kristan Doolan and George vanVlaanderen, the owners of Does’ Leap farm; it’s the beginning of evening chores. When George walks in the door after his day job teaching at the nearby high school, Kristan hands over their two small children so she can begin the nightly milking. With a fledgling farm, George’s day job is a necessary one, since he and Kristan are still trying to find a niche for their impeccably fresh goat’s cheese.
The couple began making cheese in 1999, and their small operation still presents plenty of challenges. They own one of the few certified organic goat dairies in Vermont. During peak times, the dairy produces more than 100 pounds of cheese a week, including a fresh chèvre, a soft-ripened caprella, a feta, and an aged tomme.
Their small-scale operation has Kristan and George milking 44 Nubian and Alpine does, with a good deal of the cheese going to local restaurants and shareholders in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms.