The history of the von Trapp Family Farm goes back to Vermont in 1959, when Werner and Erika (Oma) von Trapp moved from Stowe to Waitsfield to raise their five children and buy a small dairy farm. Twenty years later, in 1979, their son Martin and his wife Kelly took over the farm, where they raised their three children: Sebastian, Dan, and Georgia. Thirty years later, in 2009, sons Sebastian (pictured above) and Dan officially joined the farm business, completing the construction of a cheese house onsite and creating von Trapp Farmstead LLC, a value-added business buying organic milk and producing artisan cheeses.
Von Trapp Family Farm is truly a “farmstead” cheese operation with milk from their cows being produced in a building adjacent to the cheesemaking facility. Committed to making the highest-quality cheese with the best milk possible, the farm uses traditional methods of small-scale production and continually strives to improve.
The von Trapps milk a herd of certified organic mixed-breed cows of Jersey, Ayrshire, and Normande crosses and believe that these breeds paired with an organic lifestyle consisting of mainly a grassfed diet and plenty of exercise yields the best cheesemaking milk possible. Currently run by Martin, Kelly, Sebastian, and the help of three full-time employees, the farm and cheesemaking operation has set out to be part of the solution to Vermont’s declining dairy economy and working landscape. With artisan cheesemaking on a 50-cow family farm the vehicle to sustainability, its mission is to be an example of how to make a small family farm in Vermont economically viable by producing delicious organic small-batch cheeses.
The farm and cheesemaking business operates year-round, producing four distinct styles of cheese. “Oma,” the first cheese developed and probably most well known, is a washed rind/ tomme style made in partnership with the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The Cellars at Jasper Hill receives Oma when it is young and ages it for two-to-three months and then markets and distributes it with a co-branded label. “Savage,” an Alpine-style cheese is also aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. “Mt. Alice,” a bloomy Camembert style and “Mad River Blue” are aged entirely at the farm. Look for these cheeses at many co-ops around Vermont, specialty cheese counters, local farmers markets, and restaurants nationwide.