Rene Redzepi and David Zelber’s The Noma Guide to Fermentation Garrett Oliver Shorts: Tom Mylan on Superiority Burger Cookbook and Edward Behr on The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste; Cheese, Beer, Wine, Cider; and Let’s Eat France
Letter from the Editor
The ongoing AoE theme of fermentation led me, here in Vermont, to the new sausage plant of Jasper Hill Farm, which is famous for its cheeses, the ones it makes and the ones it ages for others. When I wrote about Jasper Hill and cheddar a dozen years ago, large new underground cellars were under construction. The goal of Mateo and Andy Kehler, who run Jasper Hill, was to save and even increase the number of dairy farms in the region. Farmers, selling milk at commodity prices, were steadily being forced out of business, a process that continues. The brothers’ rough model was the Comté appellation in France, where cheeses are gathered from village plants and aged especially in two vast central facilities. The Kehlers wanted to reduce the startup costs for new farm cheesemakers by buying their young cheeses and handling the aging, marketing, and distribution, so the farmers could concentrate on producing milk and making cheese, which are sufficiently expensive and complex in themselves. I knew that even with all the success of the cheese it hadn’t been a straightforward path, and recently I asked Mateo whether the vision had changed.
“We are still dreamy and optimistic over here,” he answered. “We have shifted our focus to purchasing milk from the neighborhood as the most efficient way of keeping farms around here working. We are currently purchasing milk from three farms in Greensboro.” Jasper Hill pays the farmers a premium for their milk, especially when the cows eat just pasture and hay (no silage), so the milk can be used to make raw-milk cheese. That allows the farmer to make a decent living.
“We are looking to plug as many acres in a 15-mile radius into the market we are building,” Mateo said. With the cellars more or less at capacity, he and Andy feel they “are just beginning to have an impact.” An important new project is building more cellars in a nearby town. Another project is to create new cheeses for a supply of goat’s milk coming this spring from a new farm Jasper Hill purchased together with partners who will do the farming. And it’s likely Jasper Hill will be working with another farm that plans a new raw-milk cheddar. Mateo said, “It feels like we are just getting going!”
Nancy Harmon Jenkins (“Il Mondo di Salvatore”) is the author of more than half a dozen books about food, including The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook and, with her daughter, Sara Jenkins, The Four Seasons of Pasta. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times and many other publications.
Sara Jenkins (Restaurants: Sammy’s Deluxe) is chef-owner of Ristorante Porsena and the Extra Bar, in New York City, and of Nīna June Restaurant in Rockport, Maine. She is the co-author, with Mindy Fox, of Olives & Oranges and, with her mother Nancy Harmon Jenkins, of The Four Seasons of Pasta.
Garrett Oliver(Books: The Noma Guide to Fermentation) is brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, author of The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, and editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer. He has hosted more than 900 beer tastings, dinners, and cooking demonstrations in 15 countries.
Henry Rathvon (“Ode on a Coffee Urn”) creates crossword puzzles for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal with his partner Emily Cox. He is working on a collection of poems about food.