Perfectly ripe local blueberries alongside a piece of warm toast with fresh maple butter on it… yumm! That’s my breakfast today and it definitely sets the stage for a proper Vermont visit. It is a dream come true for Marisa Mauro, the woman behind Vermont’s Ploughgate Creamery whom I had the pleasure of meeting. Marisa has a knack for crafting flavors that people love, a skill bourne from her decade-long career in artisan cheese-making. The cultured butter she produces is tangier and richer than your everyday stick of butter, with a taste reminiscent of cheese. Sought-after by restaurants across New York, Boston and even California, her butter is churned right here on the farm, molded and packaged each week. I was gifted with some and I can’t imagine a better souvenir.
Marisa’s is an inspiring story and hearing her tell it is fascinating. It has become clear to me that she came this far because of her unwavering ambition; sure she’s had a lot of help from family, friends and to my surprise other Vermont dairy farmers, but she alone has always been the driving force. After a fire took down her cheese-making facility she wanted to give up—but in 2014 she took part in a competition organized by The Vermont Land Trust whereby she pitched her business plan and was awarded the chance to buy the historic Bragg Farm land at an affordable price. It’s on that farm she now crafts small-batch, cultured butter from fresh Vermont cream. She later learned the Bragg family had also made butter there a century earlier, so she happily carries forward tradition. How great is that?!
The farm sits high-up in the town of Fayston overlooking one of Vermont’s most scenic valleys. Marisa has a small garden where she grows edible flowers, and nearby a pen for her pigs who dine on the buttermilk leftover from butter churning. This place is seriously tugging the heartstrings of my inner farm girl.
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