Cave to Co-op, September 2021

This Month’s Selection:


A raw, cow-milk, clothbound natural rind cheddar cheese.


The Grafton Village Cheese Company was founded in 1892 as the Grafton Co-operative Cheese Company, to convert surplus milk from local dairy farmers into cheese. In 1912, the cheesemaking factory burned down and the community had no cheese facility until 1962, when the Windham Foundation restored the factory and brought cheesemaking back to the community. The Foundation is dedicated to promoting the rural communities of Vermont. The profits from Grafton Village Cheese go back into the Foundation to further its commitment to keep rural Vermont alive and thriving. Today, quality and taste are still the hallmarks of the company’s products.

The Grafton Cave Aged line of fine cheeses takes Grafton beyond its roots in Vermont Cheddar cheese. The cheese is carefully matured in Grafton’s own cave aging facility,  using raw milk from small Vermont family farms that is thermalized and contains no artificial hormones. The rennet used is non-GMO microbial rennet, which is suitable for vegetarians.

Clothbound Cheddar is classic milled curd cow milk cheddar wrapped in cheesecloth while it ages slowly in Grafton’s caves for a minimum of six months. Grafton Clothbound delivers a very bold cheese with nut and mushroom notes.

Grafton Clothbound is delicious any time of year on a cheese plate or in a sandwich or just eaten out of hand! Here are a few recipes for you to try, as well.


Grafton Clothbound Cheddar Soup with Kielbasa

serves 6 – 8

  • 2 tbsp. and 2 tsp. neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 12 oz. beer or ale
  • ½ cup cream
  • 8 oz. Grafton Clothbound Cheddar, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa sausage, sliced thin
  • paprika to taste

  1. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.

  2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft (but not browned), about 8 – 10 minutes.

  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add butter and stir until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until it begins to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes.

  5. Whisk in the broth, beer and cream, then bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally until thickened (10 – 15 minutes).

  6. Reduce heat to low and whisk in cheese a handful at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes to ensure the cheese is melted.

  7. Use an immersion blender directly in the pot to purée the soup until it is smooth.

  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Cook sausage pieces in a skillet with 1 tsp. of oil, turning occasionally until crisp and golden.

  10. Divide soup between bowls and top with sausage and a dash of paprika.


Cheddar Salad with Grafton Clothbound and Heirloom Apples

serves 4

  • 6 heirloom apples
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup pecans or hazelnuts, toasted
  • 8 oz. Grafton Clothbound Cheddar, shaved
  • 2 cups arugula, washed and dried
  • ¼ cup homemade vinaigrette

  1. Core and cube the apples (or peel if you wish).

  2. Place the apples in a medium bowl, then add the raisins, nuts and shaved Grafton Clothbound Cheddar.

  3. Gently fold in the vinaigrette.

  4. Refrigerate for at least one hour, then toss in the arugula just before serving.


Grafton Clothbound Cheddar Polenta Croquettes

serves 6 – 8

  • 6 – 8 cups water
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup grated Grafton Clothbound Cheddar
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • olive oil (for frying)

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil and then whisk in the cornmeal in a slow stream to prevent lumping.

  2. Add the salt, then turn up the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until the cornmeal is soft and polenta is quite firm/pulling away from the sides of the pot (if the cornmeal is not yet soft, add water as necessary).

  3. Add the cheddar, scallions and parsley, stir well to combine, then pour the polenta onto a baking sheet to cool and set up.

  4. Once the polenta is cooled and firm, cut it into 3-inch squares or circles (each should be about ½-inch thick).

  5. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small bowl and spread the breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip each polenta croquette into the egg mixture, then add the breadcrumbs.

  6. Heat the olive oil over high heat until it is almost smoking, then carefully add the croquettes, cooking them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.

  7. Cook until golden and crisp, or about 3 minutes, then flip carefully to cook the other sides.

  8. Drain each completed batch on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven while cooking the remaining croquettes.
  9. Serve with sprinkled parsley.


Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provision International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers.  The NFCA is a network of more than 35 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise.  For more information, please visit