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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

Woodcock Farm

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LONDONDERRY, Vt. — It's a beautiful Saturday morning in early June here at the farmer's market. The early summer clouds that had threatened rain all morning have just blown away, and the sun shines on small stands filled with vendors selling dark wildflower honey, pastured duck eggs, organic hoop-house heirloom tomatoes and artisanal cheese from several different producers.

At one stand, Mark Fisher grins while an old woman from a neighboring town raves about his herbed sheep feta. On his folding table sits a spread of hard and soft cheeses, including a

American Cheese

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Most of the varieties of cheese we eat were originally created in Europe: Brie, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Emmenthaler. But this country can be proud of several distinct varieties that can be called uniquely American (Colby, Brick and Monterey Jack among them). Unfortunately, though, the one variety that goes by the name of its home country is probably the worst cheese anywhere in the world.

American cheese, a.k.a. process cheese, a.k.a. processed cheese, can be found all over the industrialized world now, but in a sense it is a distinctly American food, born of a culture obsessed with efficiency, scalability, and reliability, and without a distinctive gastronomic tradition to guide it. If you're like me you grew up eating the waxy, iridescent orange, individually plastic-wrapped slices of

California Heatwave Killing Dairy Cows

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With the California heatwave now 13 days old, the state's dairy industry is poised to continue suffering major losses. According to an article from today's NY Times, roughly 1% of California's dairy herd, or 16,500 cows, have perished in the almost two-week-old heatwave. And for the cows that haven't died, their production is down as much as 10-20% due to the heat. From the article: “It is just a bad, bad situation,” said Larry Collar, the quality assurance manager for California Dairies. “In 25 years in Southern California, this is the most extreme temperatures we have ever seen and the most extreme length of time we have seen.”

It seems like this global warming thing has come on stronger and faster than anyone anticipated. Global warming is a hot-button topic these days, but, except for the talk of melting ice-caps and stronger hurricanes, you don't hear much about the specific

TurnHere Films

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I recently heard about an interesting site for multimedia-loving Curd Nerds. It's called TurnHere.com, and it features short films about unique places throughout the world, including the best places to shop, hang-out, and especially eat! Here are some links to films that feature must-see destinations for Curd Nerds like us:

I also found a nice little film about the neighborhood in Brooklyn where I live.

ACS 2006

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This weekend the American Cheese Society held its 23rd Annual Conference in Portland, OR. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it, but it sounds like the conference was a rousing success. According to David Grotenstein, chair of the ACS Competition Committee, this year's conference saw "record, sell-out crowds...and...an unprecedented number of entries for our annual Judging and Competition. 157 producers from 28 states (and two provinces) entered an astounding 941 cheeses, almost 200 more than last year's record 749."

The Best in Show award, given last year to Uplands Cheese Company's Pleasant Ridge Reserve, went to Vermont's Cabot Creamery for their Clothbound Cheddar. Made at Cabot's production facility from the

Cheese of the Week - St. Marcellin

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There's gold in them thar hills! From the Isère departement in the French Alps comes the ooey, gooey, utterly delectable St. Marcellin. Best served with a spoon, it is so soft and creamy that it comes to America in a little ceramic crock pot so that it can survive its arduous trans-Atlantic journey. It is usually aged for one month (which means that peak season is right about now) and has a hearty flavor that is at once mushroomy and barnyardy.

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