Westfield Hubbardston Blue – American Cheese Society, Best of Show 1987 & 1993

Hubbardston Blue - Westfield Farm Although they are not present at many cheese community functions these days, Lettie and Bob Kilmoyer are pioneers of the American artisan cheese industry. Since their first Roquefort experiments in the living room of their central Massachusetts farmhouse up until the time they sold their Westfield Farm business to current owners Bob and Debby Stetson, the Kilmoyers made an indelible print on the American cheese landscape. In 1987, their hard work paid off with their first American Cheese Society Best of Show win for Westfield Hubbardston Blue at the 5th Annual American Cheese Society conference in Boston.

Hubbardston Blue - Westfield Farm

Surface ripened cheeses have a soft, white rind which is edible if desired.

Like many of the pioneers of the American artisan cheese movement, the Kilmoyers fell into the cheesemaking business largely by accident. In 1971, with a strong interest in cheese but very little knowledge of the cheesemaking process, the couple decided to try their hand at goat cheese. Using milk from a small herd of goats they had acquired by happenstance, with no formal training, it took years of trial and error before their goat cheeses found the renown they deserved. Throughout their tenure at Westfield, the Kilmoyers remained committed to raising their own animals as well as making their own cheese. The couple’s dedication to the process was never more evident than in the fact that they insisted the employees in their small operation move into the farmhouse with them, creating a 24-hour community of cheesemaking activity. Westfield Hubbardston Blue is a surface ripened goat cheese that, when first introduced, defied classification. In fact, it wasn’t until a separate “surface ripened” category was created that the cheese even had a chance at winning. Previously in formal cheese competitions, blue cheese was docked points if it had no veins. The Killmoyers cheese was this way by design. When the surface ripened category was introduced, the cheese was able to shine. And shine it did – winning Best of Show in 1987 and again in 1993. (For more on the Killmoyers, check out this fantastic interview from Cheese Reporter.)

http://vimeo.com/68441288
Today, judges, chefs, and connoisseurs continue to appreciate its beauty as well as the depth of its flavor. The diminuitive size is perfect for a small party and can be eaten when young and firm or left to ripen until the paste begins to soften and ooze a bit. Hubbardston Blue is inoculated with Penicilium Roqueforti while it is still in milk form, setting it apart from many other blue cheeses. It is then aged for 30 days, developing a powdery, blue-gray rind in the process. Inside of that rind is a rich, creamy cheese with earthy flavors of mushrooms and truffles. This unique blue goat cheese pairs beautifully with dried fruits and crusty bread and can be particularly nice with a strong Syrah.

Hubbarston Blue with Virginia Chutney Fig and Daelia’s Biscuits with Hazelnuts.

Today, Westfield Farms still makes award-winning cheeses, including the original Hubbardston Blue and a cow’s milk version known as Hubbardston Blue Cow. For the photos, the cheese is paired with Virginia Chutney Co. Fig and Daelia’s Biscuits for Cheese Hazelnut. Thank you to both companies for supporting this project with product donations! Westfield Farm owners Bob and Debby Stetson have made an indelible mark on the company, growing production and distribution and introducing new products while being careful stewards of the original recipes. The farm now sources milk from five local dairies, all of which have an expressed a commitment to all-natural farming practices. With such talent and passion – not to mention history – behind their cheeses, it is unlikely that Westfield Farm will ever fall far out of favor at ACS.

Cheese Quiz: Hubbardston Blue is not the only Best of Show winner from Westfield Farm. Can you name the other Westfield blue to take the top title?

** The first person to leave the correct answer on the blog will receive a copy of the ACS Best of Show poster when it is printed in mid-July**