July 2017 Newsletter
Summer is in full swing and so are many of our area festivals and events! There is so much happening in the Cohase region and it is exciting to see residents and visitors alike enjoying the great outdoors and the beauty of our villages. The Chamber recently hosted one of our most successful Garden Tours with over 120 participants.  Tour attendees visited gardens around the Cohase region and enjoyed a delightful tea hosted by Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall in Haverhill Corner, NH.  We also recently held a fun Business After Hours hosted by the Wells River Action Program (WRAP) in Wells River, VT, attended by about 30 people with great food, conversation and prizes!

We are looking forward to our Annual Cohase Farm Tour on Sunday, August 13 as well as our 48 Hour Film Slam approaching soon on the weekend of September 8-10.  Area businesses will have two additional Business After Hours to enjoy this year as well on Thursday, August 17 at Copeland Furniture in Bradford, VT and on Thursday, September 28 at An Affair To Remember/Everything But the Cook in Woodsville, NH.

For more information about these events and others, be sure to visit our WEB site at www.cohase.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cohasechamber/!


Erik Volk
Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Please visit our WEB page at www.cohase.org for more details on any of these events and a listing of other events in our area. Details of the Featured Events listed below appear at the bottom of our WEB page.

July 25 - Prydein Concert, Fairlee Town Common, Fairlee, VT
July 26-30 - North Haverhill Fair, North Haverhill, NH
August 1 - Starline Rhythm Boys Concert, Fairlee Town Common, Fairlee, VT
August 3 -  Music On Main Street feat, Brian Carroll, Bradford, VT
August 5-6 - 41st Annual Orford Flea Market, Orford Common, Orford, NH
August 6 - North Country Chamber Players, Court Street Arts, Haverhill Corner, NH
August 8 - Lyme Town Band Ice Cream Social, Fairlee Town Common, Fairlee, VT
August 10 - Music on Main Street feat. Jacqueline Rose, Bradford, VT
August 11-20 - Mad Gravity, Old Church Theater, Bradford, VT
August 13 - Cohase Chamber Annual Farm Tour
August 15 - Ray Vega Quintet, Fairlee Town Common, Fairlee, VT
August 17 - Cohase Chamber Business After Hours, Copeland Furniture, Bradford, VT
August 27 - The UnCommon Jam,  Newbury Common, Newbury, VT

Member Moment - Blythedale Farm
This month we were pleased to speak with Becky Loftus of Blythedale Farm in Corinth, VT.   Blythedale Farm is a small, family-owned and operated dairy farm. Since 2004, they have produced an award-winning line of soft and hard artisan cheese by hand, in small batches, from the sweet milk of their Jersey cows.  Blythedale Farm cheeses can be found at quality specialty shops, grocers and cooperatives up and down the east coast from Maine to Georgia.  Visit them online blythedalecheese.com and on Facebook.  You can also contact them by phone at (802) 439-6575 or by email at blythedalecheese@gmail.com

How did you get started in the cheese business?  
My husband Tom and I started making cheese in New York as a hobby.  One day we saw a small advertisement in Hoard’s Dairyman magazine advertising the sale of Blythedale Farm.  We were looking for a change although we didn’t really know what that change would be.  We came to visit the farm on Columbus Day weekend of 2003.  It was a beautiful weekend and the countryside was neon with color.  Soon after that, we quit our jobs, packed up our house and moved to Vermont.  The previous owners made cheese on a small scale and we picked up where they left off and then grew the business.  We originally thought if we did this for three to five years, we’d be happy.  It’s now thirteen years later and we are still at it and still having fun.

Did you and your husband grown up on dairy farms?
No. We are not farmers by heritage.  We grew up in the small village of Scottsville, New York, outside of Rochester.  We decided later in life that we wanted this sort of lifestyle.  Tom was an English teacher and I was an administrative assistant at the district office of our high school in the Special Education department.  One of the big reasons we got into education was because we wanted the summers off.  We lived in the city of Rochester, New York and decided we wanted to get back to the country and moved back to Scottsville.  We wanted to have a big garden, animals and that country style of life.  We did hobby farming on the side and got some goats.  The goats multiplied and we ended up with A LOT of goat milk.  We started making chèvre (goat cheese) and found that we were very successful, time after time and enjoyed doing it. 

What makes your cheese special and is the industry very competitive? 
We grow all of our own hay and our cows don’t eat corn.  Our cheeses are considered a “Farmstead” product because we use all the milk from our own closed herd to produce our own cheeses.  We have total quality control over what we feed our herd, how we milk them and we believe that adds to the goodness of our product.  Our herd is also all Jersey cows and the milk from the Jersey breed is very high in fat, which we feel adds to the luxuriousness of our cheese.  Our soft cheeses like the Camembert and the Brie are our best sellers.  However, we also produce three hard raw milk cheeses as well.  When we started there were 25 cheese makers in the Vermont Cheese Council and now there are 50.  We have an advantage in the market since we primarily focus on soft cheeses.  Making soft cheese is much harder because it only lasts 8 weeks.  We have been continually complimented on the consistency of our product which we are always pleased to hear.  

How many people does the farm employ and how large is your herd?
Well, we have about 60 cows in our herd and we are milking about 42 cows a day on average.  We are busier in the summer than in the winter but we do produce cheese year round.  Depending on the time of year, we’ve usually got about 8-10 employees.  All of our employees are local people.  We pride ourselves on trying to hire local people.

Where can local people buy or find your cheese?
We don’t sell our cheese directly at the farm but with our local distributors, we are pretty much available throughout Vermont.  In addition to local grocery stores and specialty stores, you can find us in almost 100% of the food coops in Vermont.  You can also find our cheese on the menus of the finest restaurants. 

Another Great Year for the Cohase Garden Tour

Over 120 guests attended the 6th Annual Cohase Garden Tour & Tea on Sunday, July 16, making it one of our most successful years yet hosting this annual event!

Attendees visited up to six gardens located in Lyme, Newbury, Fairlee, Piermont and Haverhill and attended a delightful tea hosted by Court Street Arts at Alumni Hall in Haverhill Corner, NH.  Feedback was wonderful and our Garden Tour is fast becoming one of the most sought after and well-attended garden events in the Northeast!  

We would like to thank our garden hosts for opening their beautiful properties to the public.  Our hosts included Jeanie Stevenson, Amy Cramer, Mary & Bill Emig, Janene Robie, and Shawn Gonyaw.  Many thanks to all our volunteers and especially to Anne Dall, who has provided the guidance,, leadership and many hours of time to make this event a success every year.

To see photos from the event, please visit our WEB site or simply click here.

This event was made possible through the generous support of Odell Insurance, Wells River Savings Bank, Wells River Chevrolet, Blackmount Equipment, North Haverhill Agway, North Country Organics and Bank of New Hampshire.

Farm Tour Scheduled for Sunday, August 13
The Chamber is actively preparing for our Annual Farm Tour to be held on Sunday, August 13 from 10 AM-3 PM. The Farm Tour is a great chance for residents and visitors to experience the agricultural diversity of our region.  This year promises to offer a great assortment of farms including a dairy farm, a commercial flower farm, a herb farm, vegetable farms as well as other unique farms featuring a variety of animals, products and services.

We are still finalizing our list of farms but our current participants include Tullando Farm (Orford), Cottonstone Farm (Orford), Zen Mountain Herb Farm (Vershire), Crossmolina Farm (West Corinth), Peaked Moon Farm (Piermont), Root 5 Farm (Fairlee), McWilham Farm (Bradford) and The Farm Studio (Haverhill.)

Since our planned farm participants could change, please be sure to check our WEB site prior to the event for a current list of participating farms as well as a downloadable Farm Tour Guide & Map.  We anticipate the brochure should be ready to download by Friday, July 28.  To go directly to the Farm Tour Event Details page, click here.

The Farm Tour is made possible through the generous support of Housewright Construction, Wells River Chevrolet, Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank, Tilden Electric, Blackmount Equipment and Valley Floors.
Cottage Hospital Seeks Business Sponsors for Summer Lunch Program
Cottage Hospital and the Cottage Hospital Auxiliary are the organizing sponsors of a new pilot program
targeted to help improve the health and nutrition of our community's kids during the summer months
when the school lunch program is not available.
During the summer months, many of the kids face food and nutritional challenges. When school is in
session most of these challenges are met, but food and nutritional challenges don't take a break during
the summer.

They are seeking to partner with area businesses and organizations to join them as sponsors for the Kids Summer Fun Lunch Days and Weekend Nutrition Program. The next pilot program will be offered  on Friday, August 18th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Woodsville Elementary School. The program will provide the kids and teens with a nutritional lunch and a weekend food backpack to take home, coupled with some fun and games. They are asking area businesses and organizations to become a program sponsor by making a donation of $1,000, $750 or $500 to help pay for the food items for the weekend backpacks.

For more information, please contact Maryanne Aldrich at (603) 747-9707.  You can download a donation form by clicking here.

Member News
  • Little Rivers Health Care in Bradford, Vermont is seeking a new Director of HR/Community Relations. Ideal applicants will possess a Bachelor's Degree, a minimum of 2 years HR experience and excellent interpersonal and communication skills.  For a full job description, please click here.
  • MyFarmersMarket in South Ryegate, VT has started a fundraising campaign to expand their offerings and to make a commercial kitchen available to their vendors as well as other exciting efforts.  Their plan is to purchase Brown's Market Bistro in Groton, VT.  To learn more about their efforts and/or to contribute, visit their fundraising page by clicking here.
  • The Bradford Veterinary Clinic in Bradford, VT will be holding a fundraising flea market on August 5 for Pets in Transition.  They are accepting donations of gently used household goods and are looking for people who would like to rent a space at the event for $10 as well as volunteers.  For more information, call (802) 222-4903 or email Cassie at bvcofficemanager@gmail.com.
  • Congratulations to Hatchland Farm in North, Haverhill, NH for coming in 5th place among WMUR's Viewers Choice for Best Ice Cream!  Votes were tabulated from thousands of viewer entries.  Other area ice cream vendors on the list included Moose Scoops in Warren (7th place) and Slicks in Woodsville (11th place.)
  • Odell Insurance in Bradford, VT is be hosting a free Car Seat Safety Check event on August 18 from 10-1.  Please join them to assure that your little ones are correctly protected in their car seats!
  • Trendy Threads in Woodsville, NH would like to remind their customer that they will be closed Wednesday, August 9th through Saturday, August 12.  The store will reopen on Wednesday, August 16 at 9:30 AM.
  • Vital Communities would like to remind folks that their Valley Quest is an excellent way to explore the Cohase region and beyond!  Valley Quest is an award-winning, place-based education program that uses treasure hunts to celebrate community, natural history, cultural sites, stories, and special places. Quests are available in both NH and VT and include all of the core communities the Cohase Chamber serves.  For more information,visit them at vitalcommunities.org/valleyquest/