Author: Laura Carbonneau
When we think of Vermont-made foods, dairy immediately comes to mind. And in what better form than delicious, raw-milk, hand-made cheese. That’s where Parish Hill Creamery comes in. Located in Westminster, Vermont, Parish Hill Creamery is one of our newer cheese producers and we are so excited to have their family be part of the Food Connects family! Peter Dixon and Rachel Fritz Schaal answered some of our questions we had about their creamery and their amazing cheese!
How long have you been making cheese? And what inspired you to do so?
Peter made his first batches of cheese in 1983 at the Guilford Cheese Co., his family’s cheese business in Guilford, VT. Rachel started making cheese when she and Peter started Parish Hill Creamery in 2013.
What makes your produce/products unique?
At Parish Hill Creamery, we make natural cheese. Raw milk—exclusively from grazing cows, traditional rennet, sea salt from Maine, and our own autochthonous cultures—propagated continuously with milk from Elm Lea Farm. Keeping to natural cheesemaking methods means making choices that inherently limit the scale of our production but also prevent the use of shortcuts and efficiencies that would deny the expression of our terroir.
What is your favorite pairing with your cheeses?
Reverie with pickles and rye crackers. Humble with quince paste. Jack’s Blue with port or milk stout, or a drizzle of maple syrup. VT Herdsman melted in our fondue.
Why is selling locally and the local food movement is important to you?
Buying and selling locally means supporting our neighbors, knowing that land and water are being protected from extractive practices, supporting good jobs, and receiving and providing nutritious foods. Our milk comes from Elm Lea Farm, where the cows graze hill farm pastures. The apples that we press into hard cider to wash Humble come from Green Mountain Orchards. We get the beer to wash the Hermit from Hermit Thrush Brewery.
How does working with Food Connects help your business/what are you excited about in this partnership?
It has been exciting to see our wheels and wedges in restaurants and farm shops in our area—and hearing from friends that they have been able to pick up a few wedges at their local farm shops.
Any events coming up or fun facts about your business/products?
Because we are seasonal, we won’t be back at the vat until next May when (we hope!) the pastures will be lush with spring grass. We’ll spend the winter making sales calls (virtually this year), working on the websites, and developing online workshops, and hopefully, Peter will finish up his memoir!
We are happy to hold Zoom meetings with any retailer or restauranteur interested in hearing more about what we do or wanting to do a virtual tasting of the cheeses.
This story by Food Connects originally appeared at https://www.foodconnects.org/fh-news-hub/2020/12/3/producer-spotlight-parish-hill-creamery