Located near Colchester in Connecticut, Cato Corner Farm is owned by mother and son partnership, Elizabeth MacAlistair and Mark Gillman.
Having owned the farm for a number of years, Elizabeth started milking cows and experimenting with cheesemaking in 1997 with a view to keeping the farm alive and sustainable. Two years later in 1999, Mark left his job to join her and, after they had each taken several workshops and courses, they were able to begin cheese production in earnest.
The farm is home to a mixed herd of forty Jersey and Brown Swiss cows that graze outside from May to the end of October. During the winter months they eat only natural fodder and supplements.
Mark is the primary cheesemaker at Cato Corner and is also responsible for the cheese aging. Elizabeth manages the farm and milking.
All the cheeses are made by hand in small batches from raw milk. Mark makes a variety of cheeses, the style of each type being suited to the seasonal components and characteristics of the milk.
One of the cheeses, called Hooligan, lives up to its name in that it's a particularly stinky washed rind cheese.
The interior has a high moisture content when young and a slightly chalky center with a tendency for the paste to break down and become softer just under the rind. Flavors at this point are pleasingly grassy, savory and vegetal.
With age, these characteristics are accentuated. The paste becomes much more runny, and the flavors of the cheese become more assertive - at their height they are not for the faint hearted!