UVM Alumna Helps Pioneering Cheesemakers Look to the Future

By Melissa Pasanen
Seven Days 

Shelburne Farms Head Cheesemaker Kate Turcotte 1 Vera Chang

On a sunny morning in early May, Marjorie Susman walked by bright tulips and daffodils, past the greenhouse, and down the stone stairway to the Orb Weaver Farm cheese room to start the season’s penultimate Monday batch.

It is normal for the Monkton dairy to wind down its annual cheesemaking routine in May. But this year was different: The Monday batch was one of the last three that Susman, 63, and her life partner, Marian Pollack, 70, would make before handing the reins over to Kate Turcotte ’09 and her husband, Zack Munzer, both 31.

By the end of June, after more than two years of relationship building and business planning, the four expect to finalize a three-year lease on the 101-acre farm and on-site cheese operation.

Under the agreement, Turcotte and Munzer will establish Orb Weaver Creamery, distinct from Orb Weaver Farm. At the end of the lease, they aim to buy the conserved farm at its agricultural value. Susman and Pollack will continue to live in the cozy butter-yellow farmhouse with slate blue trim and run their small organic market garden for as long as they want.

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