Welcome to the Equal Exchange Small Farmers Cheese Program
Now it's possible for you and your community to enjoy delicious artisan cheese while supporting small-scale dairy farmers. Equal Exchange is excited to announce that we're entering the world of domestic fair trade by partnering with farmers who use humane and sustainable practices to produce cheese of exceptional quality.
We're proud to stand with Neighborly Farms of Vermont and Red Barn Farms of Wisconsin, two groups that have created a culture of cooperation and innovation to bring people together. You can be a part of their work!
Cheese is perishable and challenging to ship, so we're selling it by the case — that means you'll have plenty to share with neighbors, friends and officemates.
We've decided to enter the cheese market because of a crisis in the U.S. dairy industry that's grown to epidemic proportions. Family dairy farmers are being forced out as corporate consolidation and technology push the price they receive for milk below the cost of production.
What are the challenges for modern American dairy farmers? Jim Goodman ran a small-scale organic farm in Wisconsin until he sold his herd in the summer of 2018. He wrote about the trends that drove him out of the business.
How to Place A Cheese Order
There are 6 blocks per case for Neighborly Farms Organic Extra-Sharp Cheddar and 6 blocks per case for Red Barn of Heritage 1 year Cheddar. Due to warm weather and perishability issues, this product only ships to states within a 3 day shipping area from Massachusetts: AL, CT, DL, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV. Feel free to shop on our webstore or call customer service at 774-776-7366 to confirm whether your zip code is included. Cheese has the same shipping as other Equal Exchange orders with a $9.50 fee for orders below $135 and free shipping on orders above $135. All orders winter or summer will be shipped with a cooler pack. Boxes of cheese must be received and refrigerated within 24 hours. Order for cheese must be placed on Mondays and Tuesdays so that may arrive by Friday to their destinations since UPS does not deliver over the weekend. Plan ahead by designating a person who will be responsible for receiving and refrigerating the cheese.
Available Cheeses and Price List
From Neighborly Farms
Organic Extra Sharp Cheddar
Aged for at least 18 months, has a nutty flavor with a little bit of a tang.
- Item # 66003
- 12 pieces, approx. 7 oz. each
From Red Barn Farms
Heritage 1 Year Cheddar
Aged for at least 1 year, a white cheddar that is sweet, nutty, and earthy.
- Item # 66021
- 16 pieces, approx. 6 oz. each
In order to remain profitable, some family farms are turning their high-quality milk into artisan cheese. But because they are small businesses, they've struggled to access markets. That's where we come in!
Equal Exchange has initiated partnerships with small-scale dairy farmers in Vermont and Wisconsin (with other partnerships on the way!) These partners share a commitment to animal welfare, to ecologically responsible practices, and to the maintenance of rural communities. If they hire workers outside the immediate family, they treat those workers respectfully and pay them fairly.
Red Barn of Wisconsin
Red Barn is a network of 10 small family farms in Wisconsin. The network was started by a veterinarian, so there's a special emphasis on treating the animals humanely and giving high priority to their health. Each Red Barn farm has 75 or fewer dairy cows, a scale that allows each farming family to care for a herd with minimal outside labor, and treat each cow as an individual!
Pictured: Mark, Matthew and Caleb Beyer from Red Barn, the 4th, 5th and 6th generations to live on the farm that has been in their family since 1874.
Neighborly Farms of Vermont
Neighborly Farms is a third generation farm owned by the Dimmick family. It's an organic small-scale dairy with an on-site creamery. The sixty-head herd lives in an open barn, with access to pasture, and the milking is done by a high-tech robot. A few times a day — on their own! — each cow enters the stall, gets some food, gets cleaned, and is automatically milked.
Pictured: Life on the farm with Bobby, Brooke, and baby Emily.