Our next meeting will take place at North Branch Farm in Monroe on Monday, August 10th beginning at 10am. North Branch is a family owned and run, horse-powered, MOFGA certified organic farm located on 330 acres of fields and woodland. Currently they specialize in producing fresh and storage winter vegetables, raw milk, grass-fed beef, pork, and fruit trees, and have now launched an expansion that will include a cheese room and aging facility.
The Maine Department of Agriculture has issued a press release describing the upcoming transition to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by the federal government and how it might affect food producers here in Maine.
There will also be an FSMA overview session during the Dairy Sanitation Workshop being put on by Cooperative Extension in Orono on June 1st. Click the link for information on how to register for this workshop (Guild members will receive a 50% discount on their registration fee).
And a more thorough examination of the FSMA will be available at the American Cheese Society’s upcoming “Cheese Camp” conference in Providence, RI beginning July 29th.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension has announced that they will present a Dairy Sanitation Workshop on Monday, June 1st at the University of Maine Orono campus in the Buchanan Alumni Hall, McIntire Room. The Maine Cheese Guild will co-sponsor the event, and Guild members will receive a discount on the workshop fee.
Registration opens at 8:15am and the sessions begin at 9am. This will be an all-day workshop with a break for lunch (included in the workshop fee). There will be a limit of 50 people they can accommodate so it is advised that you register as soon as possible to make sure there is room for you at the workshop.
This workshop will also include the latest update on the upcoming implementation of the federal Food Safety and Modernization Act which will completely overhaul food safety compliance across the country beginning October 2015. (The Guild has posted updates on this periodically but we expect things to change right up through the implementation.)
Below are the licensed cheese makers in Maine as published by the Maine Department of Agriculture. There are 72 Processed Dairy Facilities as of April 2015
At our Annual Meeting last November we committed to sending as large a group as possible to this year’s American Cheese Society conference in Providence, RI July 29th through August 1s. To that end we committed to offering partial grants to UP TO TEN (or as many as we can afford) Guild members to help them with the cost of attendance; the grants would pay for the Early Bird conference fee of around $500, which would be roughly half of total expenses. (Be aware that you must also be a member of ACS to attend the conference, and to submit competition entries.)
It’s time to ask our members to apply to the Guild so that we know how many folks are interested so we can budget accordingly.
If you can commit to attending the ACS Conference this summer and would like to apply for a guild Grant to do so, please write
—one paragraph describing you and your cheese experience,
—and one paragraph describing what you seek to gain by attending the ACS conference;
—your name and contact info;
—send to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Guild Grant Request” BEFORE our April 13th meeting.
At that meeting the group will discuss the number of folks seeking a grant, and given our current finances how many grants the Guild can afford to offer. If there are more grant seekers than grants available, the Guild board will review the applications and choose whom will receive Grants before the end of the Early Bird registration.
In addition to conference fee grants, the Guild has committed to offering to pay the entry fee for any Guild member’s first ACS competition entry, and to subsidize a group shipment of all Guild entries into the competition. More info about that effort later this year.
The Maine Cheese Guild stands by it’s Quality Statement, issued in May 2009, with regard to the Local Food Ordinance proposals we have seen, and to the legislative bills introduced for the 2011 session (LD330 and LD366).
Our testimony against LD330, given to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry at the March hearing on this bill follows:
June 15, 6:30-8:30pm: Small Ruminant Parasite Workshop
A workshop for sheep and goat producers is planned for Monday evening, June 15, 2015 at the Maine Forest Service located at 356 Shaker Road (Route 26) in Gray, Maine. Dr. James Miller, a parasitologist from Louisiana State University, will be presenting a talk titled “What sheep & goat producers ought to know about internal parasites”. This workshop is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Maine Sheep Breeders Association. Feel free to arrive at 6:00pm for a time to ask specific questions or request advice on addressing parasite problems.