Cabot Creamery is a certified B corps that is committed to creating quality dairy products for many generations. The co-op began in 1919 in Cabot Vermont and now includes 800 farmer families from all over the Northeast. Cabot uses simple ingredients, a detailed production process, and has recently implemented new sustainable practices. Although Cabot continually updates its farming practices to be more sustainable, it is important that as consumers we continue to reduce our dairy intake.
The ingredients of Cabot Creamery cheeses are kept simple. The co-cop is dedicated to producing quality dairy products The ingredient list of a typical cheese includes pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, and annatto (if colored). Their cheeses are naturally lactose-free, gluten free, halal, and have no artificial growth hormones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that raw milk can contain dangerous bacteria that cause serious health risks. The process of pasteurization involves heating milk, which kills any harmful bacteria. The enzyme that Cabot uses is called rennet. Animal rennet comes from calf stomachs and is used to curdle milk for easier digestion. In cheese production, rennet is added to trigger coagulation, which is the process of a liquid changing to a solid. Cabot skips artificial food colorings and uses annatto instead. Annatto is an orange-red food coloring made from seeds of the achiote tree that grows in the tropical regions of South and Central America. Although it is clear that Cabot cares about what goes into their dairy products, they must be more transparent on where they come from and the carbon footprint of each ingredient.
At Cabot they recognize their impact from cow-to-creamery-to-customer. They state that they care about the life cycle assessments of their products on both farm and facilities sides. However, instead of explaining these assessments they simply state that they “hope to better understand and learn more about” the life cycle assessments of milk and cheese and the carbon footprints of cheese and dairy in the United States. Instead of stating that these are important factors of their cheese operations, Cabot must provide a more detailed view of what their own carbon footprint and life cycle of assessments are.
Cabot has their cheese production process down to a science. After the milk is gathered, it is pasteurized through pouring the milk into a temperature-controlled vat. Pasteurization consists of partial sterilization of a product through heat-treatment, so that pathogenic microorganisms are destroyed and the product is safe for consumption. After the milk has been pasteurized, a culture of bacteria and rennet, an enzyme that helps milk turn into cheese, is added. Following this curd is packaged under pressure, salt is added, the whey is drained off, and the cheese is cut into small cubes then placed in a temperature-controlled facility
Two sustainable efforts that Cabot has made in the last decade include implementing their first solar-powered waste compactor and upcycling 50% of the water from milk at their Cabot plant. Cabot partnered with Casella Waste Systems to power a compactor through traditional electricity and renewable solar energy panels. Cabot states that on a typical sunny day, the solar panels can absorb energy to power the compactor for five days. In addition, in 2014 Cabot began upcycling water from its milk. This has resulted in a reduced groundwater consumption, decrease in fuels and labor needed, less cleaning chemicals required, saving in energy needed for heating, and reduction in municipal portable water usage by 277,400 gallons annually. Although these are great initiatives, Cabot presents this information as if all their facilities are using these practices, while in reality only their facility in Cabot, Vermont is using these sustainable practices. In reality, Cabot cheese is produced on many farms around New England and each farm must be held accountable for implementing these practices.
Cabot Creamery is a co-op, which is a member-owned and member-controlled business. Each member has a powerful love for what they do. In 1919, 94 families from Cabot, Vermont came together to form Cabot. Cabot is now owned by 800 farm families in the Northeast. The company has a Agri-Mark Board of Directors that is made up of 14 dairy farmers. The job of the board directors is to review and approve the decisions of the co-op. The board is made up of farmers from each region of New England or New York. The members vote democratically with one vote each to determine decisions of the company. Cabot Creamery proudly returns 100% of their profits back to the farm family owners. This allows for fair wage employment to hundreds of workers, care for their cows, and the continuation of quality dairy products.