July 2021 Cave to Co-op: Mixed Signal from Grafton Village Cheese & Crown Finish Caves

Our Cave to Co-op for July 2021 is Mixed Signal from Grafton Village Cheese in Grafton, VT and Crown Finish Caves in Brooklyn, NY — a raw Jersey cow-milk and raw sheep-milk cheese.

The Grafton Village Cheese Company was founded in 1892 as the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company to convert surplus milk from local dairy farmers into cheese. In 1912, the cheesemaking factory burned down, and the community had no cheese facility until 1962 when the Windham Foundation restored the factory and brought cheesemaking back to the community. The Foundation is dedicated to promoting the rural communities of Vermont. The profits from Grafton Village Cheese go back into the Foundation to further its commitment to keep rural Vermont alive and thriving. Today, quality and taste are still the hallmarks of the company’s products.

Mixed Signal (and its sister cheese, Smoke Signals) was created at the beginning of October 2019, when two Vermont dairy farms unexpectedly found themselves without a buyer for their milk. Wayward Goose Farm and Indian River Farm produce high-quality, protein-rich milk specializing in cheese making and is becoming increasingly rare. Grafton Village Cheese Company heard the call, and production began shortly thereafter. Mixed Signal uses the milk from Wayward Goose and Indian River and sheep milk from an Amish community in New York.

The sixteen-pound wheels are smoked at Grafton before being sent down to Crown Finish, where they get larded and aged for at least five months.

Crown Finish Caves is a cheese aging facility, and NYS licensed dairy plant located in the former lagering tunnels of the Nassau Brewery in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Thirty feet below the street, the caves were originally designed for fermenting beer. With an average year-round temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they provide the perfect environment for aging cheese. Crown Finish receives “green cheese,” or cheese around one week old that hasn’t developed a rind yet, from mostly local, artisan producers. The main tunnel currently holds 28,000 pounds of cheese, and it’s almost full.

Crown Finish first opened to help small farms keep up with their milk production by selling “green” cheese to them, which they would then distribute and market as a cheese made by both Crown Finish and the cheese farm. Crown Finish Caves markets all of their cheeses that way, working with a wide variety of creameries of all sizes and styles.

The aging of Mixed Signals in Crown Finish’s unique caves transforms a hint of smokiness at the rind into an umami meatiness that permeates the paste, reminiscent of your favorite aged salami.

Monte Cristo Sandwich w/Mixed Signal Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches


2 eggs
salt and pepper
4 slices thick white bread
2 tsp of your favorite mustard
½ lb thick-sliced baked ham
¼ lb shredded Mixed Signal cheese
2 T butter


1.Beat eggs with a dash of salt and pepper in a dish large enough to hold a slice of the bread. Set aside.

2.Make sandwiches, spreading the mustard, and layering the ham and cheese. Press slightly to compress each sandwich. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter to melt.

3.Dip and coat each sandwich in the egg mixture and place in the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden and melty inside.

4.Serve with a shake of powdered sugar, jam, or honey.