Located in: Cabot, Vermont
Supplies Middlebury College with: cottage cheese, sour cream, and cheddar slices
Separating curds and whey at the creamery
Cabot/Agri-Mark is a small company that manufactures 80 million pounds of cheese per year, something that Kraft can do in 4 days.
The Cabot Cooperative was established in 1919. Since then, it has grown to include 1500 New England & NY farms (440 from VT) that supply three plants with milk for cheese and other specialty products.
In 1990, Cabot merged with Agri-Mark, the largest cooperative in the northeast. The partnership between Cabot and Agri-Mark is an important way for farmers to get their milk to consumers like Middlebury College, while guaranteeing farmers competitive milk prices and sharing profits at the end of the year. Without such cooperatives, dairy farmers do not know how much money they will make until the day they are paid.
The milk for Cabot's butter and cheese products comes from local cooperative farms within a 20-50 mile radius, such as Pine Valley Farm in Shrewsbury, Maple Hill Farm in Berkshire, High Meadow Farm in Barnet, and Hillandale Farm in Irasburg.
Trucks carrying 50,000 lbs. of milk arrive at Cabot's 3 plants everyday. Milk is tested, pasteurized, and stored in milk silos until cheese making begins. Milk is heated in vats and cheese cultures are added. Curds are drained of water and whey and compressed into cheddar.
In 1998, Cabot competed with 1200 other cheeses to win the award for World's Best Cheddar.