Going non-GMO with our Cheddar

Have you seen the butterfly on our label? In the spring of 2016, we became Vermont’s first third-party verified non-GMO cheesemaker (by non-GMO Verification Project™), and one of the first farmstead producers of GMO-free cheese in the nation.  That means we now offer non-GMO verified raw milk cheddar cheese!

Since June of 2015, we have fed our dairy herd a non-GMO grain blend that we purchase to supplement our own pasture, hay, and haylage (fermented hay). It isn’t enough to simply claim that our products or ingredients (raw milk, salt, calf rennet, and starter culture) are GMO-free; we want to assure you of the same.

While the debate on the science and ethics of genetically modified organisms is ongoing, the rigorous non-GMO verification process has helped us understand our inputs at the most essential level. (Unlike organic certification, which is based on evaluating farming practices, non-GMO verification is based on testing the actual inputs.) The process entailed assessing our pastures and purchased grain, and even included testing the genetic makeup of alfalfa seed planted years ago in our hay fields. Seeking non-GMO verification has deepened our understanding of our cheese ingredients, and that makes us better stewards of the process and of the land.

Look for the butterfly on our Six Month, Smoked, One Year, and Clothbound Cheddar this holiday season. All of our other cheeses will be verified as they age to market.

Learn more about non-GMO cheese on this VPR Cafe story with Seven Days Food Writer Hannah Palmer Egan.

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