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Crowley Cheese

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Crowley Cheese is a raw milk cheese produced by hand in a historic factory in Healdville, Vermont. Called “one of American’s most important cheeses” and “an American Treasure,”[1] Crowley is the oldest cheese manufacturer in the United States. It has won honors in competition from the American Cheese Society.[2] Its recipe dates to 1824, and its factory to 1882. It is still produced entirely by hand according to its heritage recipe.[3] Visitors can tour the factory, observe the cheesemaking process, and sample the cheese.


The Crowley family began making cheese in Healdville, Vermont in 1824[4]. The cheese was produced in the Crowley family farmhouse until 1882, when A. Winfield Crowley completed the current factory building. At the time, many small cheese factories were opening in the Champlain Valley of Vermont and shipping their cheese to Boston and New York.[5] In the period 1901-1950 nearly all these factories closed; however, the Crowley Cheese factory has operated continuously since its inception.[6] The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[7] Between 1882 and 1962 only Winfield Crowley and his son George Crowely led the cheesemaking at Crowley. The Crowley family continued to operate the company under the leadership of Robert Crowley beginning in 1962, but his untimely death in the factory in 1966 led to the sale of Crowley Cheese to Randolph Smith and his family. The company has been owned and operated by Galen and Jill Jones since 2009.[8] The cheese is still manufactured by hand in the same factory A. Winfield Crowley built.

Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Harlan F. Stone favored Crowley Cheese.[9] Justice Stone enjoyed Crowley Cheese with wine, but in wine tastings he did not like to eat it "because he found Crowley Cheese made red wine taste too good."[10]

Sage cheese, one of the varieties produced by Crowley Cheese, has been called “one of the really indigenous and best native Vermont products”; Crowley has been the only producer of this “green” cheese at various times.[11]

Crowley Cheese is a member of the Vermont Cheese Council.


Crowley cheese is made according to a unique recipe. It falls in the Cheddar family, but unlike a Cheddar it doesn’t go through the cheddaring process.[12] Instead, the production adds a rinse step that reduces the amount of whey in the cheese. This step is somewhat similar to the wash step used in Colby.[13] As a result, Crowley has a moisture content that falls in between a traditional Cheddar and a Colby. This means it is less acidic than Cheddar and can be eaten younger; because it is more moist, it also melts more evenly than Cheddar. Crowley is a raw milk cheese (not Pasteurized or heat-treated) and its minimum aging is governed by the “Golden rule” for raw milk cheese. However, it ages very well, and has the advantage compared to a conventional Cheddar of sharpening more rapidly, making Crowley’s sharpest cheese commercially viable. The milk for Crowley cheese is sourced from two local dairies, one with a Holstein herd and the other with a Jersey herd. Crowley is made from Holstein milk, while the A2 Crowley is made with Jersey milk.

Crowley cheese is produced entirely by hand in small batches of a few hundred pounds at a time.[14]

See also[edit]

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  • List of National Historic Landmarks in Vermont
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Rutland County, Vermont
  • List of food companies


  1. Steven Jenkins, The Cheese Primer (New York: Workman, 1996), 423. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Cheese_Primer/TmRuoa40mQgC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=crowley+cheese&pg=PA423&printsec=frontcover; Henry Tewksbury, The Cheeses of Vermont (New York: Countryman, 2002), 56.
  2. https://www.cheesesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/2005-Awards-Brochure.pdf
  3. http://archive.boston.com/travel/explorene/vermont/articles/2006/12/24/curds_and_whey_become_an_american_original_in_a_process_that_eschews_machines/
  4. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/14/travel/fare-of-the-country-sampling-the-oldfashioned-cheeses-of-vermont.html
  5. Loyal Durand, “The Migration of Cheese Manufacture in the United States” Annals of the Asssociation of American Geographers vol. XLII (1952): 263-282.
  6. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/84285709 ; https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Atlas_of_American_Artisan_Cheese/advHAgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=crowley+cheese&pg=PA66&printsec=frontcover; Laura Werlin, The New American Cheese, Profiles of America’s Great Cheesemakers and Recipes for Cooking with Cheese (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2000), 12.
  7. https://www.nps.gov/maps/full.html?mapId=7ad17cc9-b808-4ff8-a2f9-a99909164466 ; Property ID 79000226
  8. https://www.rutlandherald.com/news/business_vermont/crowley-cheese-factory-resumes-production/article_b05787a1-418c-58b2-a727-6ccbd3888323.html
  9. http://web.archive.org/web/20070720184901/www.courthousenews.com/editorials/kahn/coyote200.htm
  10. Clare Cushman, Table for 9: Supreme Court Food Traditions & Recipes (Washington, DC: Supreme Court Historical Society, 2009), 79.
  11. Bob Brown, The Complete Book of Cheese (New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, 1955), ch. 4. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/14293/14293-h/14293-h.htm#Page_37
  12. https://www.cheesesociety.org/acs-competition-cheese-categories/
  13. Jeffrey P. Roberts, The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2007), 66. https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Atlas_of_American_Artisan_Cheese/advHAgAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=crowley+cheese&pg=PA66&printsec=frontcover
  14. http://www.cheesereporter.com/archive/Crowley%20Cheese.pdf

External Links[edit]

Category:Dairy products companies of the United States Category:Food and drink companies based in Vermont Category:National Historic Landmarks in Vermont Category:Vermont culture

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