Located in the beautiful, rolling countryside of the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont, Jasper Hill Farm was bought by brothers Andy and Mateo Kehler in 1998. When the farm came into their possession, it was extremely run-down, but by 2003, after five years of hard work, Andy and Mateo acquired their first 15 Ayrshire heifers. The herd now numbers around 45 and, thanks to careful management and focus on building excellent genetics, they have one of the highest quality milking herds in the United States. Ayrshire milk is particularly well-suited to cheesemaking. In terms of fat and protein, it's not as high as Jersey or Guernsey but not as low as Holstein. The way in which the fats and proteins break down are a perfect platform for the development of an excellent cheese. The herd grazes from late spring to early fall and over successive years the grazing land at Jasper Hill has been improved by planting a wide variety of clovers, grasses and legumes to enhance the flavor of the milk. In addition to the farm and cheesemaking, the brothers have also developed another arm of the business, The Cellars at Jasper Hill. The Cellars, which comprise of 22,000 square feet of cheese maturing caves were designed and built not only to house Jasper Hill's own cheeses but also to mature the cheeses of several other Vermont based producers. Jasper Hill's own range of cheeses includes Alpha Tolman, Bayley Hazen Blue, Constant Bliss, Harbison, Moses Sleeper and Winnimere.
Bayley Hazen is named for an old military road that traverses the Northeast Kingdom. The road was commissioned by George Washington and built to carry troops to fight the English on the Canadian front. Though no battle ever took place, the road brought the first settlers to Greensboro and continues to be used today.
Bayley Hazen Blue is a buttery, natural-rinded cow's milk blue cheese, made primarily with morning milk, which tends to be lower in fat. Production takes place every other day. Mateo developed the recipe by starting with a Devon Blue recipe from England, changing its shape, and altering the aging process to end up with a stable rind that will hold up under typical retail conditions.
The texture of Bayley Hazen is firm and slightly drier than many blues. The interior paste is cream colored and punctuated by blue-green pockets and veins.
Flavors are complex and multi-layered. The typical tang of the blue mold, Penicillium Roqueforti, takes a back seat to a wide array of flavors that include butter, chocolate, and occasionally licorice.