Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 5 : Summer 2010 - Page 20

in unpasteurized milk that is responsible for Europeanstyle depth of flavor and quality of raw milk cheese. Robert observes, “Making cheese is an extremely fascinating art. I am only one of God’s little players, carefully shepherding a live process, with the end result being a food packed full of vitamins, enzymes, and a host of nutrients.” Robert is one of a growing number of cheesemakers in the Northeast. There are at least 70 cheesemakers in the dairy state of Vermont alone and 30 in Maine. Robert feels that his greatest competitor for quality is the cheese imported from Europe. His cheeses carve out a niche with raw milk cheeses produced from small herds of cows that have plenty of fresh, green pasture to graze on. In addition to old-world texture and flavor, grass-fed raw milk cheese is thought to have considerably more health benefits than pasteurized milk cheese: higher levels of carotene and vitamins A, D and E, a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats, and CLA, a potent cancer-fighter. Robert sells all of the cheese he makes, about 24,000 lbs. a year. Lucinda shares his excitement for cheesemaking, though she rarely has the opportunity to spend much time in the dairy with her three small children and household duties to look after. Robert’s business plan is simple: he would like to double his production and the size of his market, which would enable him to bring in a trained helper and eventually free him to do other tasks on the farm. As the visitor leaves, three teenage girls are cycling along the road, wearing long dresses and bonnets. Shades of dark blue, rose and lavender flash past as they sail on down the road. They are followed by a young male cyclist in dark clothing and a black hat, and an open horse-drawn buggy with two passengers. Several of the young people are laughing, and they graciously smile and wave as they pedal by. It is, indeed, a sunny valley.