APRIL 2024 Cave to Co-op: Riley’s 2×4 from Blue Ledge Farm, Salisbury, VT

Our Cave to Co-op for April 2024 is Riley’s 2×4—a cow and goat milk blend—from Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont.

Rileys 2×4 is a raw milk Blue Ledge Farm original, named for “Riley” their herding dog, is a blend of MoSe Farm Ayrshire cow milk and their goat’s milk, hand-made and pressed into 6 lb wheels and cave-aged 3 months.  It is nutty, smooth, and full-bodied, matched with a finish of sweetness.

Hannah and Greg believe in a food system based on a cornerstone of respect for the land, the animals, the consumer, and the local community. They both celebrate the opportunity to raise healthy, contented animals and make great cheese! Blue Ledge Farm began as a dream in Florence, Italy, where Greg and Hannah met while studying the art and culture of Europe. In 2000, the two began transforming an old cow dairy farm back into production with goats. The barn, which once housed seventy Holstein cows, would now be home to Alpine and La Mancha dairy goats. They began milking four goats at Blue Ledge Farm and processing cheese two years later. Today, Hannah and Greg milk over one hundred goats and produce eleven types of cheese, from very fresh to semi-aged bloomy rinds and harder cheeses aged three months. True to their mission, their focus is always on sustaining a high-quality, consistent product with lots of attention and gentle handling.

The 150 acres of Blue Ledge Farm consist of woods, hayland, pasture, and wetland. In 2004, they financed the cheese room construction by selling development rights to the Vermont Land Trust, ensuring the land would always be open and never developed. In 2009, wetlands were identified as one of the farm’s incredible natural resources. So they agreed to conserve those fifty acres of wetland and return them to their natural state as a valuable part of the local ecosystem. The goats spend their spring, summer, and fall days browsing in the woods, returning to the barn for their 4 pm milking, and then lounging around in a grass pasture as evening sets.

Blue Ledge Farm notes that 2023 was a big year for Riley’s 2×4. It has been a staff favorite for years. Thanks to the collaboration of cows and goats, they hope for continued growth of this cheese, serving as a model of sustainable dairy farming and supporting Vermont’s family farms and rural communities.