The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink

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Fortune and Food & Wine teamed up for the second year to bring you the dynamos bringing fresh ideas to everything from clean water and home products to goat cheese and wine—in ways that benefit the broader world. —By Beth Kowitt, Christine Quinlan, Lucy Madison, and Shadia Alame
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Allison Hooper

Co-Founder, Vermont Creamery
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Photo: Tim Calabro—Courtesy of Vermont Creamery

“Until recently, no self-respecting dairy farmer in Vermont would ever milk a goat,” says Hooper, the co-founder of Vermont Creamery, which sells award-winning artisanal goat cheeses. Hooper is on a mission to change that. After struggling for years to find enough local goat milk for her products—most farmers in the area sell cow’s milk—Hooper helped established Ayers Brook, the state’s first model goat dairy, which aims to cultivate the industry and help goat farmers improve their businesses. “I wanted to understand what it would take to create a viable, thriving goat farm,” she says. That way, other farmers could mirror the model—and people like her could buy milk from them. “The plan is to replace the milk we purchase outside Vermont and to support the growth of the cheese business,” she said. “I imagine we could have twenty farms milking 500 goats in the next ten years. That’s quite a lot of farmland. It’s a pretty audacious goal.”

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