Our Team


Jeremy Stephenson, Cheese Program Director

Original cheese maker of our award winning Tarentaise and Reading cheeses, Jeremy is responsible for overseeing all aspects of cheese production and sales at Spring Brook Farm. Most recently trained by a master cheese maker from France in the production of Tarentaise, Jeremy also completed training at VIAC. He has served as President of the VT Cheese Council and is currently on the American Cheese Society Board of Directors.

Larry Ference, Packing & Shipping

Larry manages all shipping and inventory for the cheese house as well as helping to make the cheese. Larry, a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, joined the Farm in 2010 with a diverse career in the hospitality industry, managing restaurants, and serving as a personal chef and industry consultant in both sales and marketing. He published his own cookbook in 2012 titled Create In the Kitchen.


Jon Richardson, Cheese Maker, Production Manager

Jonathan works as a cheese maker, affineur and is currently focused on helping to implement our food safety program and records. Prior to joining the Farm in 2011, Jonathan managed the dairy section at a large local cooperative food store, bringing extensive experience in retail dairy, food safety and food production to Spring Brook Farm.

Gary Wojdyla, Cheese Maker, Operations Manager, Marketing, Food Safety Team (PCQI)

Gary comes from a background in the Arts, with an MA in Painting and Drawing and advanced MFA studies at SUNY Stony Brook. He has collaborated on the label design and marketing materials for our cheeses. With an interest in making cheese and very little experience, Gary started part-time, working with Jeremy Stephenson and Alex Pellicier and studying on his own to earn a cheese maker position when it became available. He has aided in the testing and development of new cheeses, a few of which are being made available to our customers.


Elise Fischer, Affinage, Food Safety Team (PCQI)

Ellie joined Farms for City Kids in 2014. She is responsible for making sure our cheeses are aged properly, and ready for shipment. She does weekly taste testing to ensure that the cheeses are meeting the flavor profiles that our award winning cheeses are known for. Working at Spring Brook Farm is an amazing compliment to Ellie’s experiences farming at her family’s farm in Springfield, VT. Ellie loves the artisan aspect of cheese making and teaching the students about a farm to table lifestyle.

Eric Joyal, Affineur, Milk pick-up, Food Defense Team

Eric is instrumental in the upkeep of the Farm’s fields and equipment, haying in the summer/fall seasons and turning cheese in the Cheese House. Eric’s dedication and hard work since he joined the Farm in 2008 is a motivational model for the students who see him throughout the day as he shares his friendly smile. 

Eric, a graduate of Unity College in Maine, is a volunteer of the Reading Fire Department and spends his free time riding horses and snowmobiling.


Derek Bell, Affineur, Food Defense Team

Derek started working in the aging room, but quickly expanded his knowledge, and now often helps the cheese makers in the make room. His artistic talents are evident in the precise way he moulds the cheeses.

Derek Bell earned a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design. He works in sculpture, painting, printmaking and drawing. His work won first place in the 22nd Annual Congressional Art Competition and second place in The Artist’s Magazine annual competition.

Simon Shepherd, Affineur

Simon started as a part-time affineur, but he now works full time in both the aging and make rooms. Simon helps with all aspects of cheese production, from assisting the cheese makers, to tending the aging cheeses, to helping package the final product. He can be counted on to help with a variety of tasks in the cheese house.


Lanie Wadelton, Office Administrator

Lanie joined Farms for City Kids in February 2015 as a part-time bookkeeper for the Cheese House. She joined the full-time staff in October 2015 and is responsible for the smooth operation of the Cheese House office.

Cristi Menard, Sales & Marketing Manager

Cristi has always been dedicated to expanding her horizons. At Boston University she studied International Relations as well as Japanese Language and Literature and later taught English in rural Japan. It was a trip to southern France in 2005 and an experience with a crottin that pointed to cheese as her true “North Star”. Cristi joined the team at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine in Chicago in 2008, working her way up from slinging cheese behind the counter to various store management positions. In the summer of 2013 she joined the team at Spring Brook Farm as sales manager. So far her career in cheese has taken her to the arches of Neal’s Yard Dairy, to the caves of Fort St. Antoine, and to any number of amazing small dairies in the US. She has participated as a speaker at the 2011 and 2012 ACS Conferences and was one among the first class of ACS Certified Cheese Professionals. When not totally surrounding herself with all things cheese, she enjoys a good book, fast cars, and cooking for friends and family.