It took me ages to write this blog post. Every time I sat down to write about Cato Corner Farm and their incredible, “happy cow” cheese, all I wanted to do was leave my computer, go to my kitchen, and… eat some cheese. Great for cheese-writing inspiration, maybe, but great for the productivity of blogging? Not so much.
I visited Cato Corner last fall, and clearly the experience has stayed with me. Located in Colchester, CT, the farm is a mere 30 minute drive from the Bon Appétit cafés at Wesleyan University, where Cato Corner cheeses are purchased by our chefs and sold in our cafés. As for the students at Wesleyan — well, let’s just say more than one student was tempted to skip class and accompany me when I told them I was going for a visit later that week!
Once at Cato Corner, it wasn’t hard to see where their popularity comes from. Upon arrival I was immediately greeted by a boisterous group of dogs. But once I managed to get past the furry welcome party, I took in the stunning scenery surrounding Cato Corner. The cows munching away on green pasture…it all seemed highly idyllic. Combine this idyllic scene with a delectable end product, and it’s no wonder the Wesleyan students were jealous when I told them where I was going.
Over 30 years ago, Elizabeth MacAlister began milking cows, learned how to make cheese, and Cato Corner Farm was born. Years later, her son Mark decided that a life spent teaching 7th grade English just wasn’t for him. A few cheesemaking classes and much experimentation later, Mark took over the cheese side of his mother’s operation.
Ever since, it seems like this mother-son team has been unstoppable. In 2005 theirs was selected as one of America’s Top Cheeses by Saveur magazine, in 2006 the farm won the Gallo Family Vineyards’ “Never Stop Growing Award,” and their Black Ledge Blue, Brigid’s Abbey, Bloomsday, and Dairyere cheeses have all been recipients of various food awards, including the prestigious American Cheese Society Awards (3rd place in 2010 and 2011 for their Dairyere).
Personally, I am partial to their aged Bloomsday. Mmm.
Learn more about Cato Corner’s hand-crafted cheese here.