Each month, your Neighboring Food Co-ops feature our region’s artisan cheesemakers by offering a specially selected cheese at great price. Look for the “Cave to Co-op” sign in the cheese section at your local food co-op. To find one near you, visit www.nfca.coop/members.
This month’s special cheese is BUTTER CHEDDAR, BILLINGS FARM, WOODSTOCK, VT
A raw Jersey cow milk cheese, mild, creamy, delicate.
Billings Farm was established in 1871 by Frederick Billings, a native Vermonter known for his work as a lawyer, railroad builder, and pioneer in scientific farm management and reforestation. Billings set out to make his 270-acre Woodstock farm a model dairy operation for farmers in the region, founded on the principles of efficiency, sustainability, and responsible land use. Now owned and operated by The Woodstock Foundation, Inc., a non-profit educational institution founded by Laurance and Mary Rockefeller in 1968, the Billings Farm & Museum was established in 1983 to preserve the historic Billings Farm as well as the character and heritage of rural Vermont.
After an interval of almost 70 years, Billings Farm is once again drawing upon their 150-year tradition of dairy excellence. Billings Farm Cheddar is made from 100% raw milk exclusively from the Billings herd of over 40 purebred registered Jersey cows, with no additives, preservatives, or artificial coloring.
Caring for Billings’ herd is a family affair; Farm Manager Chuck leads the team followed by his son Matt who is the Assistant Farm Manager who is in charge of genetics and milk Production. Daughter Emily is the lead milker, youngest son Brian cares for all the young animals, and Chuck’s wife Amy is the farm’s teamster.
Making cheese is one of the few things that Billings Farm does not do on site, instead once a month milk is brought to Grafton Village Cheese where it is made into cheddar using Billings’ recipe. The milk not made into cheese is sold to the Cabot Co-op and as fluid milk on the farm.
Butter Cheddar, also known as Butterkäse, is mild and creamy with a slightly salty or acidic taste reminiscent of Muenster or Gouda cheeses. Known for its delicate flavor, it literally melts in your mouth.
Butter Cheddar is a very child-friendly cheese that is also well suited to classics such as grilled cheese and mac n’ cheese. Try one of these recipes to see how versatile Butter Cheddar can be in the kitchen.
Amish Breakfast Casserole
- 1 pound sliced bacon, diced
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
- 2 cups shredded Billings Butter Cheddar
- 1-1/2 cups 4% cottage cheese
- 1-1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat
until bacon is crisp; drain. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; stir in
bacon mixture. Transfer to a greased 13×9-in. baking dish.
2. Bake, uncovered, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40
minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
3. Tip! Create a pretty burst of color and fresh flavor by adding a pinch of minced
herbs to the egg mixture. Thyme and parsley are perfect candidates; try 1
teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried.
Easy Cheesey Potato Gratin
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 2 cups 2% milk
• 1 cup shredded Billings Butter Cheddar
• 5 cups thinly sliced peeled potatoes (we recommend Russets)
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• Additional pepper, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add potatoes and onion.
2. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake 1 hour. Uncover; bake 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. If desired, top with additional pepper.
See more recipes using Butter Cheddar here.
Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provision International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. The NFCA is a network of more than 40 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. For more information, please visit www.nfca.coop.