Workers process yogurt at Star Hill Dairy near Woodstock, Vermont.
Unlike most dairy farms, Star Hill Dairy deals exclusively with water buffalo instead of cows. We tasted some of their yogurt, which is much thicker and creamier than cow yogurt without the unusual taste you might associate with goat or sheep milk.
Our next stop was Sugarbush Farm. They weren't boiling maple syrup today because it was too warm out, but we still visited the sugar shack here and looked at the evaporator.
Sampling cheese at Sugarbush farm.
These are the bins of hot wax used to coat the homemade cheese after it's made.
Cheddar cheese, after being waxed.
Sugarbush, like most sugar maple farms, uses rubber tubing to connect the sugar maples that have been tapped in order to collect the sap at a central location.
The rubber tubing ends at this basin where sap is collected to be taken to the sugar shack.
We crossed the beautiful Taftsville covered bridge, one of the oldest in Vermont, as we left Sugarbush Farm.
After reaching Montpelier, Vermont, we visited Bragg Farm, where maple syrup was being boiled! Here is their evaporator.
Mmmm, boiling sap.... Making maple syrup simply involves collecting the sap from the sugar maple trees and then boiling it down to about one twentieth the volume, which makes a nice syrup.
Unusually, Bragg Farm still uses old fashioned buckets for its sap collection.
The courthouse in downtown Montpelier, America's smallest state capital city.
The Vermont capital building in Montpelier.
Next, we visited Cabot Creamery, a farm cooperative that makes a lot of cheese sold throughout New England.
Before being used for making cheese, incoming milk is checked for quality in this laboratory.
Making cheese is a complicated process. After being pasturized, the hot milk flows into this vat where enzymes are added. The curd and the whey begin to separate as seen here.
After the curd and whey separate more completely, the whey is drained away and used for other products. The remaining curd is gathered to be compressed into cheese.
The curd is either compressed into cheese and wrapped automatically by a machine, seen in the back, or it is compressed over a longer period of time into wheel cheese by the large presses seen in front.
The cheese is then stacked onto pallets by this robot, and then sent to a warehouse to be aged for several months before sale. The aging gives the Cheddar its "sharpness."
Cabot had plenty of finished product available for sampling at the end of the tour.
Finally, we went to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in Waterbury, Vermont, for their factory tour. Since photos weren't allowed on the tour, this is all you'll see!