AUGUSTA – Caitlin Hunter, a cheese artisan at the Camden Farmers’ Market, was named the recipient of the 2023 Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award Jan. 10, by Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Amanda Beal. Hunter has invested more than 40 years in raising goats and making cheese.

“I am honored to present Caitlin Hunter with the Distinguished Service Award. She has earned this recognition because of her pioneering vision, determination, and ongoing mentorship and support of newer cheesemakers that has helped to foster innovation and creativity, as well as growth in the number of creameries in Maine,” commissioner Beal said. “Cheesemakers across Maine applaud Caitlin today for inspiring an industry with her remarkable skill and leadership.”

Hunter’s cheese making started over three decades ago when she began selling her soft goat cheeses at a local farmers’ market. In a little over a decade, she acquired more goats, built a barn and a brand, and received state licensing for Appleton Creamery. She sold her soft goat cheeses at the Belfast and Camden Farmers’ Markets. With support from MOFGA, she and other cheese makers formed the Maine Cheese Guild in 2003. Through guild classes, the skill set of Maine cheese makers expanded, and the Maine artisan cheese sector was launched.

Today, after retiring from cheesemaking to enjoy life with her husband, Brad, she offers her knowledge to the industry through her consulting business, Capercaillie Consulting.