Cheese in the 21st Century : Overview
The beginning of the 21st Century was really the beginning of this Vermont artisan cheese period. The Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, with the mission of "strengthening and enhancing artisan cheesemaking though scientific research, professional and public education, and technology transfer," was established in 2004. At the time, the FDA was trying to outlaw making cheese with raw milk. The VIAC’s vision was to "promote and sustain Vermont's rural working landscape." This new era of artisan cheese—value added cheese—was a result of Vermont not being able to compete in the commodity cheese market. The “big” farms in VT can’t compete with the even bigger farms in other states. The solution: add value to the product, make it artisan. The number of farms with 1-29 cows is increasing because of this new artisan cheese era. People’s food values are changing. Flavor, wholesomeness, sustainability, and local support are important to the consumers of artisan cheese.