MIDDLEBBURY, VT. – Handmade, organic cheese maker Champlain Valley Creamery, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, announced the launch of its first blue cheese.

Owner and head cheesemaker Carleton Yoder said he always wanted to make the product, called Bleu de Champlain. Yoder said he worked on the recipe and aging process for Champlain Valley’s debut blue cheese during the pandemic and noted it was created to stand out with a creamy and crumbly texture, a healthy dose of salt and natural rind.

When Yoder and his wife, Moira Cook, founded the company, he said the presence of other “delicious” Vermont-made blue cheeses in the market meant they took another direction initially.

“I’d been making fresh cream cheese on my home stovetop and realized there were only a few other stabilizer-free cream cheeses on the market in the US,” Yoder said. “As a cash-strapped startup, releasing cream cheese as our first product also meant we didn’t need to age our cheese.”

Champlain Valley’s line of products now includes such options as an ash-ripened triple cream called Pyramid Scheme, Organic Smoked Queso, Organic Queso Fresco, Pepper Queso, and Organic Champlain Triple.

The creamery sources grass-fed, certified organic milk from nearby Severy Farm to make its cheeses. Yoder also credited the chefs, retailers and distributors with which the creamery has worked for their support.