Cave to Co-op, September, 2023

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

This month’s special cheese is Hermit, Parish Hill Creamery, Westminster West, Vermont

a raw cow-milk, beer-washed rind cheese

Parish Hill Creamery produces seasonal, hand made, raw milk cheeses inspired by the traditional cheeses of Italy. Peter Dixon brings over 30 years of cheesemaking experience and he is joined by his wife Rachel Schaal and sister Alex Schaal. The creamery is the culmination of Peter’s years making cheese, teaching classes, solving problems, and imagining possibilities.

Peter, Rachel and Alex love making cheese. They make cheese traditionally, simply, as near to home as possible, and with the highest quality ingredients and results as can be had.

Parish Hill gets milk from Elm Lea Farm at the Putney School, just up the road from the creamery, and the milk is the result of healthy animals grazing lush pastures. Protein and fat are balanced ideally for the cheeses produced, and the cheese changes subtly throughout the season, reflecting the growth and maturation of various pasture plants.

Their starter cultures are made from the milk of 4 individual cows. Helga, Abigail, Clothilda, and Sonia were chosen for their health, their components, and their disposition. As a result Parish Hill makes mother cultures that are truly an articulation of their milk and the resulting cheese is a revelation of that milk, the cows, the pastures, the water and the land.

Hermit is a larger format, beer-washed Tomme. Rowdy Monk ale, used as the rind wash, is a barrel aged sour brown quadrupel ale, fermented with mixed culture and aged in red wine barrels and scotch barrels for 12-18 months until tart and very dry by the folks at Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro, Vermont. Hermit’s large format wheels are aged at least three months resulting in a Tomme style cheese with a rustic, natural rind.

Baked Hermit
• 11⁄2 pounds Hermit, rind removed and 1-inch-diced
• 1⁄4 cup good olive oil
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh
thyme leaves
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh
rosemary leaves
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black
• 1 crusty French baguette
Preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.
Distribute the cubes of Hermit evenly in a 12-inch cast-iron pan. Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.
Serve family-style—right out of the oven in the pan with crusty chunks of bread.

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