ACS 2014 — Day 1

California State House

It is HOT in Sacramento in the summer, especially when compared to Maine temperatures. Yesterday the temperatures were in the 100s in the Central Valley of California that includes Sacramento at its northern end. It’s true that it’s a “dry” heat, but 100, wet or dry, is still very hot. As I walked to dinner in the twilight of the day the residual heat in the pavement practically rang from sidewalks after baking through the day.

California Capitol Tree Tour

Wednesday broke clear and a bit cooler (78 degrees). I walked across the Capitol park on my way to breakfast at the convention and noticed that almost every tree is labeled with its species and common name, with a few of them numbered and referring to a Capitol tree tour which I will have to look into.
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ACS 2014 — Day 0

I have always avoided the pre-conference tours offered by the American Cheese Society, probably simply to save me the cost of the extra night in a hotel necessary to take advantage of it. However this year I would be traveling to a City (San Francisco) where I have family to bunk with AND the tour would also double as cheap transportation to the destination city (Sacramento), so I had no real reason to poo-poo the opportunity. I signed up for the “Farmstead Life: Sheep, Cow, and Goat” tour, and I’m glad I did.

Oakland Shipping Terminal
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Maine Supreme Court Rules On Dairy Licensing Question

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling against Dan Brown (aka “Farmer Brown” in Blue Hill), upholding a lower court’s decision that he had broken the law by selling raw milk from his unlicensed, un-inspected Gravelwood Farm. Here is the link to read the BDN story.

This ruling lifted Mr. Brown’s crusade to the national spotlight with a recent New York Times article covering the history and outcome of his, and the supporters of municipal “Food Sovereignty” ordinances, fight against state regulation.

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Did the FDA just ban European cheese?

After “clarifying” it’s position on using wood boards to age cheese by saying that wood can NOT be used to safely produce aged cheese, the U.S. FDA moved to dampen fears it will ban all cheese aged on wood.

Meanwhile the American Cheese Society has issued its response to the FDA’s “clarification” on using wood in aging caves and is working to get more information from the FDA on what evidence for their clarification was used, and help them get more information about the issue that may help them see that wood has been used to safely age trillions of pounds of cheese over the last 10,000 years.

UPDATE 16 June 2014:
Based on a unanimous vote at our June 2014 Maine Cheese Guild meeting, the membership of the MCG publicly supports the American Cheese Society’s position statement on the safety of aging cheese on wood, as well as the work of ACS to maintain open lines of communication with the FDA and other governmental regulatory agencies.

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Maine Licensed Cheese Makers 2013

Below are the licensed cheese makers in Maine as published by the Department of Agriculture

There are 71 Processed Dairy Facilities as of June 2013
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Guild Statement Related To Local Food Ordinances

logo_200_lowThe 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:
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More Info On Wood Shelving

I just noticed some more information on wood shelving in the CheezSource, LLC newsletter this month (also on their blog page).

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Meeting: June 16 at Appleton Creamery

Our next meeting will be held on June 16th at Appleton Creamery in Appleton, Maine. Caitlin Hunter is the founding President of the Guild and has been making and selling cheese in Maine for over twenty years, and what is more amazing is how she manages an entire milking herd of Alpine goats, has been training many young cheese makers many of whom go on to be hired by major US artisan cheese companies or they start their own award winning creameries, AND she continues to make award winning cheeses in a very tiny (but efficient) space on her small farm in the hills of Appleton. There is much to learn from her efforts, and from the cheese-driven life that she has created.

Caitlin adds: “the Maine AgraAbility folks coming to give a presentation about farming smart as we age. Just got my new hydraulic lift table to help move those pesky full buckets around. We will also have the pizza oven fired!”

Directions:

From the North:
Get on to Maine Rt. 131 heading south from Searsmont Village. After you pass the intersection with Rt. 105, drive another mile or two to the next left on Sennebec Rd. About a mile later continue straight-ish onto Sleepy Hollow Rd., go down across a small bridge then up and take your first right onto Gurneytown Rd. Appleton Creamery is less than a mile down the road on your right, clearly marked.

From the South:
Find Sennebec Rd. heading north off of Route 17 directly across from the intersection with Route 235. Drive north about three miles then take the RIGHT fork to get onto Gurneytown Rd. Appleton Creamery is a little more than a mile farther north on the left, clearly marked

I hope to see you there.

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Beginner Cheesemaking Workshop

Beginner Cheesemaking Workshop with Arlene Brokaw and Beth Calder.  Come join us to learn the basics of safe  sanitation in the home kitchen and how to make boursin and feta style cheeses at home. This class will feature a hands-on cheese making demonstration for all participants. No prior cheese making knowledge necessary!

Milk tempLocation: University of Maine, Orono Campus School of Food & Agriculture’s Commercial Kitchen, Hitchner Hall, Rm 160 (look for signs for the Pilot Plant) Date: Friday, June 27, 2014 Time: 9:00am-4:00pm Cost: $60.00 Please bring your lunch and coffee/tea will be provided.

Space is limited to the first 12 people.

Please tie back long hair, wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and bring along an apron.  We will be standing for most of the workshop.

To register, please contact Melissa Libby at 207.581.2788 or 1.800.287.7170 (in Maine) or melissa.libby1@maine.edu.

 Parking Passes: Parking is located near Hitchner Hall. Melissa will be either e-mailing or mailing parking passes. Participants will need to park in the designated Black Commuter Student Parking Lots. The closest Black Lot is behind Nutting Hall, which is the building next to Hitchner.

Driving Directions: https://umaine.edu/about/driving-directions/

Campus map: http://www.umaine.edu/locator/printable-campus-maps/ If you are a person with a disability and need an accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Melissa Libby (UMaine Cooperative Extension, Rm 134 Hitchner Hall, UMaine) at 207.581.2788 or 1.800.287.7170 (in Maine) to discuss your needs. Receiving requests for accommodations 10 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request, however, all requests will be considered. 

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June 6 Artisan Cheesemaker Food Safety Workshop in Conn

On June 6, 2014, the New England Dairy Promotion Board will be sponsoring the Artisan/Farmstead Cheese Maker Food Safety Workshop from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the University of Connecticut.

This hands-on workshop will help cheese makers understand best practices and techniques for pathogen control in their facilities to assure a continued safe and nutritional end product, while addressing the stringent regulations coming from the FSMA. The workshop will include topics such as GMPs, sanitation, preventative and microbial controls, environmental monitoring, and ingredient and product pathogen testing.

Food safety is an important issue, and we recognize that you work with many individuals who may find this workshop valuable including cheese makers and manufacturers, extension and industry professionals, and retail and foodservice cheese buyers. We’d greatly appreciate it if you would share the attached flier with your colleagues and other individuals who may be interested in attending this workshop.

For more information see this brochure (PDF).

To register visit: www.dairyevents.com

Have a great day!

Madeline Magin
UMass Extension CDLE Team
201 Natural Resources Way
305 Bowditch Hall
Amherst MA, 01003
P: (413) 545-5221

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LD1786 “Died” in ME House and Senate?

May 10th: I have heard reports that LD1786, An Act To Allow the Sale of Unregulated Farm-produced Dairy Products at the Site of Production, has “died” in the legislature. However due to the completely opaque and asynchronous nature of the Maine Legislature’s bill tracking web tool and that nothing appears to have been reported on it’s status in the press it is difficult to tell exactly what happened and when. When I have found something definitive regarding its status, I’ll update that in this space. If you have links to official information regarding the bill’s status, please post a comment with that link.

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Beginning to make cheese.

Just started making “fromage blanc” with whatever raw and organic milk I had. Can’t say I know what I’m doing except that everything involved is clean, clean, clean. I make yogourt the old way my friend from Gujarati, India taught me; and then I strain it in cheese-cloth till it looks like fromage and I add some sea salt and herbs. Voila. But I am looking forward to learning how to make locally unique aged cheeses, mostly with goat milk.

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