• August 8, 2017

Westfield Farm

Westfield Farm
By Rebecca Strong

Several years ago, Westfield Farm co-owner Bob Stetson got an unexpected phone call he’d never forget. On the other end of the line was a woman who simply wanted to express her gratitude for his cheese. “It has enriched my life in a way you can’t imagine,” he recalls hearing.

Perhaps a more cynical business owner would have dismissed her as a nut, Stetson muses— after all, can cheese really have such a powerful impact on someone’s life? But after years of conducting tastings and watching people’s faces light up, he’s witnessed firsthand the power of curds to spread joy.

Stetson and his wife, Debby, never expected to get into the cheese business. By the mid-’90s, Bob had been working in the shipping industry for decades and was writing for a trade publication, while Deb was working as Allandale Farm’s store manager. But then Bob noticed an ad in the Globe for a goat cheese business—it came with an old farmhouse and 20 acres of land in central Massachusetts. “After so much time trying to sell an invisible service (shipping),” Stetson says, “I yearned to make something tangible.” Seizing on the opportunity, the couple moved in with the farm’s owners, the Kilmoyer family, and spent 16 hours a day learning the ropes over the next month. Their hard work paid off: The farm’s Bluebonnet cheese was named Best of Show at the American Cheese Society’s 1996 annual convention. Since then, Westfield has nabbed 51 additional American Cheese Society ribbons.

Nowadays Westfield makes roughly 3,000 pounds of cheese per week by hand from milk purchased at an array of local goat dairies and one cow dairy. The lineup includes about a dozen varieties, but the farm is best known for its Capri, a fresh chèvre in a multitude of flavors, from black pepper and chive to herb-garlic and cranberry-orange. The plain flavor is well complemented by a spread of pesto on a crusty baguette, while the smoked version lends itself to a grilled cheese with prosciutto. The fiery Fig Capri, not for the faint of heart, is coated with a tequila and habanero sauce to offset its sweetness. Before you raise an eyebrow at the semi-sweet Chocolate Capri, try spreading it on toast topped with raspberries (and thank us later). The Classic Blue Log is a rare chèvre with a blue mold exterior. Greek-style Feta Capri works just as well crumbled into a salad as it does in an omelet. Westfield doesn’t only make goat cheese, though: An ultra-creamy Camembert and and an aged Hubbardston Blue are both made from cow’s milk.

In addition to buying Westfield Farm’s cheeses on-site in Hubbardston or online, you can find them at a number of specialty stores and markets, including Verrill Farm in Concord, Wilson Farm in Lexington, Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and the South End, Eataly, and several Whole Foods locations. The cheeses are also on the menus of various local restaurants and eateries, such as Evoo and The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Sweetgreen, the Boston Harbor Hotel, Stellina Restaurant in Watertown, and Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton.

While there are no formal organized tours of the farm, the Stetsons are happy to show interested visitors how they make cheese.