Over the course of more than one hundred years working with farmers and communities throughout New England and upstate New York, Cabot has always strived to be more than just another company. Connecting with communities through their support of schools, parents, and teachers, getting behind public broadcasting through underwriting and fundraising support, developing programs and resources to encourage healthy eating and lifestyle for folks young and old, Cabot has worked hard to establish meaningful ties with the people and communities that they serve with their products.
Cabot Creamery Co-operative achieved B Corp certification in 2012 for their attention to the environmental and social impact on their customers and employees, becoming the world’s first dairy co-op to do so. One arena where Cabot has always invested time and energy for the benefit of communities is in supporting outdoor recreation and the land owners who provide access for users to enjoy the outdoors. Through partnerships with Ski Vermont, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, the Vermont Department of Tourism, and others, the farm families who own Cabot continue to sponsor and encourage outdoor recreation organizations and opportunities for the public.
Mountain biking has been a growing and vital sector of the outdoor recreation world for some time now, and here in Vermont, has become an important part of the culture. Cabot was quick to support the movement, forging a lasting partnership with the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) in 2013. Since then, Cabot has partnered with individual VMBA chapters, local farm owners and co-operative members, and the riding community at large to build trails and support riders. VMBA is an organization that consists of twenty-seven distinct chapters throughout the state, large and small, each with its own mission, culture, and trails. Cabot has supported chapters, trail projects, educational opportunities and riding programs, and supported the riding communities and landowners with cheese and gift boxes. These efforts have helped chapters connect with Cabot farm families and their land, offering constructive means for farmland owners to create access to their property for bikers, and even pitching in on the building of mountain bike trails through these properties.
Creamery Run – Rochester, Vermont
One such example is the construction of “Creamery Run,” in Rochester, VT, which winds through both Liberty Hill Farm and North Hollow Farm land. With Cabot sponsorship, the local VMBA chapter Ridgeline Outdoor Collective (ROC) partnered with these Rochester farmers to build this easy access connector trail through the town of Rochester. Working with a trail crew that included local riders, professional trail builders, and the landowners themselves, the trail was built.
As Beth Kennett of Cabot Creamery Co-operative member farm Liberty Hill explains, “the trail was built in honor of the many dairy farm families that dotted the White River Valley in years past producing milk and then taking the milk to the Creamery just north of the village of Rochester. The Creamery Run follows the river valley and connects land that was used by several farms through the past two centuries.”
The impact and importance of local farmers and landowner support is a critical element of any community project, as Angus McCusker, Executive Director of ROC suggests “if it wasn’t for their generosity around trail access most of our trails wouldn’t exist.”
So head to Rochester, VT and stop by Green Mountain Bikes for tips and directions to “Creamery Run” and the more than 15 miles of surrounding trails. While you’re in town, remember to thank the local farmers and landowners. Stop by and check out the food and lodging options available at Liberty Hill Farm, or the grass fed beef and local food for sale at North Hollow Farm’s farm stand.
Seriously Sharp Way – Waitsfield, Vermont
Cabot’s partnership with VMBA chapters and local farmers/landowners can also be found about 25 miles north of Rochester on VT100 in the Mad River Valley. “Seriously Sharp Way” is a climb and descent that crosses the land of the Morris and Laskowski families. Built by the dedicated crew from local VMBA chapter Mad River Riders (MRR), “Seriously Sharp Way” is an example of landowners and community members identifying the importance of direct access to trails from Vermont’s thriving villages. “Seriously Sharp” connects the world class “Evolution” trail to Waitsfield Village and its outstanding bars, restaurants, farmers market, and shops.
Just a bit south down Route VT100 from Waitsfield Village is a beautiful symbol of the power of these community trail partnerships. Located behind American Flatbread and Lareau Farm Inn sit two beautiful wooden benches at the “Revolution” trailhead. These benches were hand built by Timo Bradley of Vermont Timber Frames in partnership with Cabot, VMBA, MRR, the American Flatbread Company, and Lareau Farm Inn. As described John Atkinson, Director of MRR, the benches “are meant to welcome folks getting ready to head out, hang out, or enjoy some après,” and have become an icon of local riding and social gathering.
So when you’re in Waitsfield to ride the more than 100 miles of trail in the Mad River Valley, head to the “Revolution” trailhead and check out these beautiful timber benches either before or after your ride, and grab a delicious dinner from American Flatbread, and book a room for the night at the Lareau Farm Inn. Then, after riding “Seriously Sharp Way” to the village, stop into the world famous Lawson’s Finest Liquids for an après beer, pick up some of the World’s Best Cheese, Beer, Cider, and more from Mad River Taste Place, and check out the weekly farmers market. Finally, for all your mechanical and two wheeled needs in Waitsfield, check out Fit werx.
Cheddar Shredder – Stowe, Vermont
One of the most iconic destinations in the state of Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge and its surrounding woods, fields, and mountains, has also served as a longtime partner to Cabot and the mountain biking community. With their established heritage in outdoor recreation, the Trapp Family Lodge, already one of the premier Nordic Ski destinations in the world, has become a mecca for mountain biking on their land as well. Building off their existing network of more than 28 miles of single and doubletrack trail, the Trapp Family partnered with Cabot, VMBA, Stowe Trails Partnership (STP), and the Stowe Land Trust (SLT) on a significant connector trail project that bridges the Trapp trails with those nearby across the valley of Stowe. Dozens of Cabot employees pitched in to help STP volunteers build the trail as a team building event during their Annual Sales Meeting.
Dubbed “Cheddar Shredder,” the completed trail and future parts of the project will connect a number of parcels of mountain bike and multi-use trails all over the area as part of a long-term plan to make Stowe a fully pedallable community. According to Rachel Fussell, Executive Director of STP, “the building of this trail is a critical first step in reaching our long-term goal of total connectivity within our network and neighboring trails.”
The trail connects the “Adams Camp” trails to the well-traveled and centrally located Stowe Recreation Path. This extension involved a partnership between STP and local Cabot co-operative owners Percy’s Bouchard Dairy Farm, whose land the trail crosses. Working with this myriad of stakeholders, aided by Cabot and VMBA, STP is working towards “a phased approach to connect all our trail networks in Stowe,” an ambitious effort that could not happen without the support and cooperation of local farmers/landowners.
A trip to Stowe offers one of the best places to truly appreciate the partnership between Cabot and local mountain biking organizations. Buy a trail pass to the Trapp Family Lodge trails and explore the area. Take “Cheddar Shredder” from the Trapp Lodge trails over to “Adams Camp” and into town and back. Finish your day at the Von Trapp Brewing Bierhall for some apres, or even bed down for the night at the legendary Trapp Family Lodge. Head to Ranch Camp, located right up against Cady Hill Forest trails in the heart of Stowe Village, for all your wrenching and gear needs. While you’re there, be sure to thank the many farmers and landowners, from the Von Trapp family to Percy’s Bouchard Dairy Farm, for their generous contributions to the sport, and their work with the local community.
These World Class trails are just a snapshot of the outstanding Mountain Biking Vermont has to offer. We hope you visit and enjoy the trails, thriving food scene, and historic lodging and the other local businesses Vermont has to offer. While you’re here, be sure to remember the farmers, landowners, trail builders, and local organizations that help make it all possible.
Consider joining any one of these trail organizations through VMBA, as your membership dollars go directly to these local efforts to build trails and support the organizations that Cabot is so proud to partner with. A VMBA membership even comes with discounts, lift passes, and other benefits, including some of the restaurants, shops, and lodging mentioned above. Another important way you can help support these efforts is by volunteering at a trail day in any of the VMBA chapter communities.