Thank you for the coveted induction into the Academy of Cheese as a “Pioneer of Goat Cheese.” It is truly a great honor to be in the company of such iconic cheesemakers. While I appreciate the acknowledgement, I must etch Bob Reese’s name into my prized, glass cheese wedge. I may be the founding cheesemaker of Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, and the face of the business, but without Bob, I would never have been able to live my dream of making goat cheese in Vermont for the American market. Bob cares about the farmers who sell us milk, takes care of our employees, is the steady-as-we-go CFO who digests my audacious ideas and makes them work. While I spent six years on the ACS Board, three as President and five years launching the Vermont Cheese Council, Bob was running the business. He didn’t have the quixotic good fortune of working on a farm in France with all of the romance and storytelling. He was busy in graduate school getting an MBA. Yet, in spite of the career opportunities before him, he opted to jump off the “goat cheese cliff” with me into an abyss of creating a market for a cheese that nobody ate, a profitable creamery with no capital, and a legacy for Vermont. I thank and admire Bob for being the pioneer that he is.
Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery