Calderwood is a rich and robust wheel of Gruyere-style raw cows’ milk cheese coated in finely chopped fibers of hay. The wheels are washed with brine for six months in the Cellars at Jasper Hill before being coated in hay and sealed in Cryovac. After an additional four months of aging, the Cryovac is removed and the cheeses are left to dry and form a natural rind in the cellars. The finished wheels of cheese are firm nutty and complex, with hints of earth, caramel, chestnut honey, and tropical fruit.
The hay used to make Calderwood cheese is harvested from pastures surrounding Jasper Hill Farm and dried in a special hay drying machine. The Calderwood Cropping Center, the first machine of its kind in the United States, can dry hay in a matter of a few hours, where it would take 3-4 days to dry in a sunny field.
Jasper Hill Farm's founders, Andy and Mateo Kehler, observed a hay dryer in action in Parma, Italy—a region whose cheese calls for grass-fed milk, but whose climate is a bit too rainy for making consistent dry hay—and were inspired to bring the Italian technology stateside. The Cropping Center allows them to make high quality dry hay for feed that lasts the whole year, which is paramount to their quality standards as cheesemakers. Many of Jasper Hill's award-winning artisan cheeses are crafted from raw milk. Good quality hay is a key ingredient in the cheesemaking process, ensuring the microbiology of the cows' digestive systems and the milk itself is at an optimal place for cheesemaking.