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Valley View Farmstead Cheese Cave

Topsfield, Massachusetts



May 2013

Technical Description:

• 12' x 8' x 28' CON/SPAN® B-Series Bridge System
•EXPRESS™ Foundations

Since 1998, Valley View Farmstead Cheeses (VVFC) has been a family- and community-oriented cheese operation located in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Family owned since the 1830s, it survives as the only working dairy in Topsfield and the only goat cheese producer in Essex County. Anglo-Nubian goats are raised on the farm from birth and produce a high butterfat, sweet tasting milk ideal for cheese making. Increased demand for their products, production limitations as well as the desire to make additional styles of aged artisanal cheeses inspired them to consider the installation of a traditional, underground style cave built into the hillside.

“We could easily continue to make only fresh style cheeses,” stated Peter Mulholland, owner of VVFC. “Chevre and feta, for instance, are quick to make but because of their higher moisture content, they have a smaller window of peak enjoyment. A cheese cave will allow us to craft and cultivate cheeses in a more gradual way. By using the native environment, the resulting cheeses will have different flavors, textures and a broader window of enjoyment.”

A 12’ x 8’ CON/SPAN® Bridge System B-Series, 28’ in length, was utilized to create the cheese cave. In order to further expedite the installation, the precast units were placed on precast EXPRESS™ Foundations. The arched units form the top and sides of the cave while the floor is poured concrete. Installation of the vault via crane occurred in just eight hours. The top of the arches were sprayed with closed cell foam for added insulation and then coated with water sealer for added longevity. Upon completion, the internal environment of the vault will provide temperatures ideal for the cheese aging process, while avoiding the use of costly and energy-consuming walk-in coolers.

Due to advanced funding from the Massachusetts Farm Viability Program, VVFC was able to order the structure and have it delivered to the site. Additional funding was necessary to backfill the structure, add a door and windows to the front, build retaining walls and install shelving and other cheese aging equipment inside the cave. For this reason, the owners started a Kickstarter campaign and created a video as a way to fund their current expansion. Click here to view the video.

The energy-efficient, geo-thermal cave is expected to allow VVFC to expand its annual production to 20,000 pounds or more (up from 6,000 currently), while developing new and delicious aged-style cheeses like tommes and cheddar. Furthermore, the front section of the cave will serve as a place for people to learn about cheese making, purchase cheese products and enjoy farm life and fellowship with the community.

“For many years, we have studied applications and worked with professionals to design what we believe is the appropriate system to ensure proper temperature, humidity and ventilation for the best possible cheeses,” added Mulholland. “The vault design made permitting and installation of our cheese cave very easy, and the installation was fast! The arches and EXPRESS Foundations were delivered on time as promised and without flaw. The finished product is remarkable, functional and visually appealing. This old-world cave built into our hillside will allow us to craft aged artisanal cheese to feed our community for years to come!”

Technical Description:

• 12' x 8' x 28' CON/SPAN® B-Series Bridge System
•EXPRESS™ Foundations

800-338-1122 |
Project #: 455673


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