t goes without saying the company that makes the world's best naturally aged cheddar would have undergone some aging of its own.
The Cabot story reaches back to the beginning of the 20th century. In those days, the cost of farming was low and most farmers produced far more milk than they could market. So in 1919, farmers from the Cabot area figured that if they joined forces, they could turn their excess milk into butter and market it throughout New England. Ninety-four farmers all jumped on board - at the cost of $5 per cow, plus a cord of wood to fuel the boiler. The intrepid 94 purchased the village creamery (built in 1893) and began producing butter under the Rosedale brand name.
Over the next two decades, as the nation's population flocked to urban areas, Cabot's farmer-owners thrived by shipping their milk and butter south. While the national economy shifted away from agriculture, the Vermont economy was still largely based on dairy farming. In fact, in 1930 cows outnumbered people, 421,000 to 359,000. It was at this time that the company hired its first cheesemaker and cheddar cheese entered the product line for the first time.
By 1960, Cabot's membership reached 600 farm families, though the total number of operating farms around the nation was already in rapid decline. The trend continued into the 1980s when the total number of farms in Vermont sank below 2,000, less than one fifth of what it had been just a few decades earlier. By this time, Cabot had dropped the Rosedale name and was marketing high-quality cheeses and butter under the Cabot brand. The company also began entering its cheddar in national competitions and in 1989 took first place in the cheddar category at the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest held in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
1992 was a pivotal year in the company's history as Cabot's farmer-owners merged with the 1,800 farm families of Agri-mark, a southern New England co-op dating back to 1918. Together, the combined companies boasted more than 1,500 farms, four processing plants and a large product line. Meanwhile, Cabot cheddars began an impressive run in awards competitions, winning every major award for taste over the next few years.
Today, Cabot's future looks bright. Our company blends state-of-the-art facilities and a savvy entrepreneurial spirit, with the timeless values a personal commitment to quality that comes from being 100% owned by our farm families.
It's a special combination that produces the highest quality dairy products, including the cheese that has been widely hailed as the world's best.