curdnerd's blog

September is E.coli Month!

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With more bags of contaminated spinach being discovered every day, and now with reports of a small E.coli outbreak in raw milk, I hereby pronounce September "E.coli Month." If kites get to have their own official month, then certainly a bacterial strain should as well!

There are many varieties of Escherichia coli, but the strain that is popping up everywhere lately is 0157:H7. Found in the intestines of ruminants such as cows, deer, goats, and sheep, 0157:H7 in humans can cause diarrhea, cramping, vomiting and other pleasant consequences. According to the CDC, "more infections in the United States have been caused by eating

Meet the Curd Nerd - Anne Saxelby

saxelby-logo.jpgToday we present the first installment of what we hope will be an ongoing series of interviews with cheese mongers, cheese makers, cheese bloggers and other curd nerds from around the world. In this inaugural episode of "Meet the Curd Nerd," we talk to Anne Saxelby, who opened her eponymous cheese counter, Saxelby Cheesemongers, in May of this year. Located on New York's Lower East Side in the Essex Street Market, Saxelby Cheese focuses on American artisanal cheeses and other dairy products.

CN: What's your background and how did you come to open up your own store?

AS: Well, I went from being an art student at NYU to a cheesemonger at Murray's. When I graduated from college, I got a job working at Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut, but they didn't need me to start until the following fall. So, for the summer I got a job behind the cheese counter to try and learn more about my favorite food! From there, it kind of snowballed... I loved working at Murray's and

Mice Don't Like Cheese

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File this one under, "Who the heck pays for this kind of research?" Reports are flooding in that a group of researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University have published a new study showing that mice prefer foods high in sugar like fruits and cereals, and would not be enticed by a block of cheese.

Dr. David Holmes, an animal behaviorist and head of the research team, claims that mice "respond to the smell, texture and taste of food and cheese is something that would not be available to them in their natural environment and therefore not

The 411 on Kosher Cheese

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The Orthodox Union, a Jewish organization best known for its kosher certification service (symbolized on food packaging by the logo above, the letter U with a circle around it), has published some interesting audio content about kosher cheese. For those of you who may wonder what makes cheese kosher or not, or why kosher cheese is so much more expensive, or why it's much easier to find soft kosher cheeses than hard ones, these audio programs are for you.

Via KosherBlog.net.

Book To Read

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The Barre Montpelier Times Argus has a story today about a new book that is now sure to be on my list of books to read. In Mad Sheep: The True Story Behind the USDA’s War on a Family Farm, Linda Faillace gives an account of the destruction of her flock of sheep by the USDA. The Faillaces had long dreamed of breeding sheep and making artisanal cheese on their farm, but in 2001 the USDA notified the Faillaces that their European-born sheep were suspected of having TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy), a disease related to mad cow's disease. The department seized and destroyed their

Bus Trip to Sprout Creek Farm

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I want to point you to a comment posted the other day by Matthew Scott. He and Anne Saxelby, of Saxelby Cheese, are organizing a bus trip to Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie, NY, to raise money for the non-profit farm & educational center. The Creamery at Sprout Creek makes three wonderful cheeses from the raw milk of their Jersey cow herd: Toussaint, Ouray, and Barat. The trip, which will take place on Saturday, October 21, will feature farm tours, cheesemaking demonstrations and samplings of Sprout Creek's fine products followed by a lunch prepared by the CIA trained Sprout Creek Staff. Tickets can be purchased here for $75.

A Little Curd Nerd is Born!

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On Monday, 8/21/06, my wife gave birth to a baby girl after 27 hours of grueling labor. Her name is Sasha Gabrielle and she weighed 6 lbs 8 oz at birth and was 20.5 inches long. She keeps telling me she wanted to eat some cheese, but I told her she needs to stick with the breast milk a little while longer. Given all this, you may notice a slow-down in posts here; please bear with me while I do my best to find the time to keep posting. And as always, thanks for visiting the site.

Full size image after the jump.

Cheese of the Week - Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson

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This week's featured cheese is a washed-rind Taleggio-style cheese made from the raw milk of Meadow Creek Dairy's herd of Jersey cows.

Located in the mountains of southwestern Virginia, Meadow Creek Dairy is a small family farm dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Using a system called intensive grazing management, Meadow Creek ensures that the herd is enjoying fresh pasture from Spring through Fall. This system of seasonal rotational grazing makes for cheese that

What happened to the NY State Farmstead and Artisan Cheese Makers Guild?

Last summer I went to a really fun event at Sprout Creek Farm in Poughkeepsie, NY, hosted by the New York State Farmstead and Artisan Cheese Makers Guild. It was called "Cheese Day" and it featured talks from cheese makers and fromagers alike, as well as tours of the cheese making facilities at Sprout Creek and basic cheese making workshops.

I was looking forward to going back this year, but it doesn't appear to be happening. And the guild's website, once an informative repository of New York State-related cheese links, events, and resources, has been down for months. Does anyone out there know what's going on with this organization? Have they folded already, or are they just going through a transition?

Cheese 101 at Artisanal

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I've always balked at going to those cheese classes offered around town, mainly because of the price. Both Murray's and Artisanal offer classes in New York City, but seats run from $50 to $75 per class. For that much money I could a) buy a lot of cheese for myself, as well as a book that could explain them to me; or b) go to a really nice restaurant and order a cheese course. Could a two hour class on cheese really be worth all that?

Last night I finally got a chance to attend one of these classes, thanks to the generous folks at Artisanal. They invited me and several other bloggers and food journalists to their Cheese & Wine 101 class, taught by Maître Fromager and noted author Max McCalman. Some of the other bloggers in attendance were Danyelle from Restaurant Girl, Joe from Foodie NYC, Jane from The Food Section and Regina Schrambling from Gastropoda.

The evening started out with a tour of the cheese caves at the Artisanal Cheese Center, which opened in

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