where cows come home

august 22
stowe, vermont

Burlington, VT

I suppose the title of this post is actually a misnomer. Stowe, VT isn’t where cows come home home; that honor belongs to Burlington, Vermont’s largest city. Ironically, Burlington is also the nation’s smallest city that happens to be a state’s largest city, which isn’t really much a surprise once you consider that Vermont is the nation’s second least populous state (behind Rhode Island, of course). But oh, the city is just adorable. It’s basically a glorified college town that sits on the eastern side of Lake Champlain and reminds me of a much, much smaller Boston. Hutch and I spent an afternoon here as part of our trip exploring Vermont (and eating ice cream!). We ended up taking a lakeside drive, ended up in NY. Unfortunately we weren’t able to hop the border because neither of us had our passports on hand. But I digress.

More cows at the B&J factory

Burlington certainly is not the only place in Vermont that makes nice use of its cows; in fact the point of the trip was to go to the Ben and Jerry’s Waterbury Factory, located just outside of Stowe. Ever since I discovered freshman year that Ben and Jerry’s original factory was located in VT, I had wanted to go. And seeing as this weekend was my last full weekend before going back to DC and then onto France, there was no better time to go! The tour itself wasn’t nearly as exciting as being at the factory, which was mildly disappointing. It was really difficult to see any of the machines because we were pretty high up, and no production was happening on the weekend.  Ah well. We got a delicious sample and got a large scoop of ice cream as well 🙂

A cheese mixer

Finally, Hutch and I ended up doing a part of the Vermont Cheese Trail as well. We spontaneously decided to visit the Cabot Cheese Coop in Cabot, VT, where we tasted delicious cheddar and actually got to see cheese being produced! Apparently the cheese factory is a true co-op where local dairy farmers give the milk to the factory to make the cheese, and then they all split the profits. The factory also produces cheeses every day, so we had the pleasure of actually seeing stuff like the cheese mixer and the packaging of the cheese taking place. The tour guide was clearly very knowledgeable about the entire process, but I’m afraid I can’t really tell you how to make cheese, it all seems very complicated and technical.

Part of the cheesemaking process

What I can tell you is that the most delicious cheese I tasted was the aged sharp cheddar, which apparently is packaged and just left in a storage room for months to properly age and become tasty. I would have loved to go to other factories on the VT cheese trail, but time restraints forced us out of the idyllic pastures of cow-land. No, seriously, there were SO MANY cow farms in Vermont. So many.

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