Producers-United States

Inaugural Cheese Plate

Check out my "red, white and blue" suggestions for an Inaugural Cheese Plate, which appear today on the new Cheese and Champagne blog.

Farm Film Fest, January 13th, Chatham, NY

Farm Film FestHead to New York's Hudson Valley on January 13th for the Second Annual Farm Film Fest. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item for the Chatham Silent Food Pantry. Farm Film Fest is sponsored by the Chatham Agricultural Partnership, the Chatham Film Club, and the Columbia Land Conservancy. Last year almost 400 people braved a sleet storm to attend!

The program features four short films made by local farmers and filmmakers as well as American Harvest, an award winning documentary feature that explores the complex issue of immigrant workers and their place in the American food system.

Raw Milk Cheese Association

camembert-normandieAbout 10 years ago, the FDA attempted to create a rule that would ban all raw milk cheeses regardless of whether they'd been made under strictly sanitary conditions and aged over 60 days. A group called the "Cheese of Choice" coalition successfully lobbied to keep the rules the way they were, appealing to the general public's fear that they might lose their beloved Parmigiano Reggianos and Roqueforts. However, the rule is again up for consideration this year, and again American cheesemakers are not taking things lightly.

Storms Ravage Dairies in Northwest

Historic rainstorms sacked the Pacific Northwest last week, with devastating effects on dairies both large and small. Many were affected, but the Black Sheep Creamery in Adna, Washington, was hit particularly hard. According to the storm damage round-up over at the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, they lost all but 23 of their sheep and their house and barn were flooded with 30 inches of water. In the coming days, the PNW Cheese Project will be posting about fundraising efforts that that are being launched to help those impacted by the storms. We will keep you posted here as well.

UPDATE: The Ethicurean has some more coverage of the storms' effects on farms in the Northwest, including a link to the Washington State Farm Bureau, which has started a flood relief fund.

UPDATE: Pacific NW Cheese Project has posted a list of fundraising options and events.

UPDATE: Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Seattle has set up a benefit account for Black Sheep Creamery. Details after the jump.

Wisconsin Cheesemakers in Their Own Voices

wisdairy.jpgEd Janus, radio Journalist and Wisconsin resident for over 35 years, has created a wonderful site filled with audio conversations and slideshows that profile a group of dairy farmers and cheesemakers from America's Dairyland. Some of the best and most influential American cheesemakers are profiled, such as Sam and Sid Cook of the award winning Carr Valley Cheese, Mike Gingrich, maker of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and the Crave Brothers, whose Farmstead Fresh Mozzarella is absolutely heavenly.

Via Cheese Underground.

Food & Wine's Great American Cheese Plate

fw_american_cheese.jpgThe November issue of Food & Wine has a little feature on creating an American Cheese Plate by Laura Werlin, a noted expert on American artisan cheeses and author of a new reference book called Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials. In the piece, Werlin lists 24 great American cheeses (with descriptions) organized into 7 categories. There's also a sidebar that lists some retail shops around the country where these cheeses are available.

Blogging Cheesemakers

It's old hat to see blogs by cheese mongers, or other dairy heads, but I have yet to see many blogs from cheese makers themselves. After all, making cheese is so time-consuming, what cheese maker in his or her right mind would choose to spend the little free time they had on blogging? Well there are a couple of new blogs to report on that signal perhaps a new trend, both are from cheese makers who are in the trenches working hard to make the cheeses you and I love to eat.

The first is from LittleFfarm Dairy, a start-up artisan goat cheese maker in South West Wales, UK. Their blog is a daily journal, tracking their progress as they start the business with a herd of pedigree British Toggenburg goats. I don't know how these folks have the time to raise goats, make cheese, AND blog, but I'm glad they do, because the blog really adds a personal dimension to their operation that you don't get with too many other dairies.

New Kosher Cheese Offerings

The Kosher Blog tells us about two new kosher-certified cheeses on the market, an exciting development in a category that has long been woefully slim. The first offering is an Organic cheddar from New Zealand-based Mainland Cheese. It's made with milk from grass-fed cows and features the OK kosher certification. The other is a group of raw milk cheeses from 5 Spoke Creamery, including Red Vine Colby, Redmond Cheddar, and Herbal Jack. The cheeses are made in Pennsylvania by Amish farmer Henry Lapp and certified kosher by Kof-K.

Third Annual Tillamook Mac & Cheese Contest

Oregon's Tillamook Cheese, who have been making cheese and other dairy products as a farmer's collective since 1909, have announced a call for submissions for their third annual Mac & Cheese Recipe Contest. The $5000 grand prize will go to the winner whose recipe has the best taste, the most unique use of ingredients, and the most overall creativity. Visit the contest's website for more information on how to enter.

Cheese, a "Modern Marvel"

Next week the History Channel is showing an hour-long documentary on cheese as part of their Modern Marvels series. The episode, which premieres Wednesday June 27 at 10pm EDT, profiles cheesemaking technologies from ancient to modern, with particular attention to the wide variety of cheeses currently produced in Wisconsin and California.

Via Cheese Underground

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