Archive for the ‘Guild’ Category
This is a lecture
May 6 (Monday), 2013 from 11am to 3pm
Location: Pineland Farms Creamery, New Gloucester, ME
DIRECTIONS (link to PDF document):
Building # 19 on the map.
Have you ever wondered what turns a bland lump of salty curd into the amazing diversity of flavors, aromas, and appearances exhibited by the hundreds (if not thousands) of cheese varieties? More often than not these characteristics are initiated and controlled by organisms populating the surfaces of each cheese. Given that, how much do we know about what is happening on the cheese rind? Not much, it turns out. Cheesemakers *think* they know what happens when this mold is added, or a cheese is put into that cave, but microbiologists at Harvard’s FAS Center of Systems Biology have been testing these assumptions and finding that the cheese surface is a much more diverse environment than we could ever have imagined, involving some “usual suspects” as well as utterly alien influences.
This year the Guild has been able to schedule a member of the FAS lab, Benjamine Wolfe (who has worked with the Cheese Nun to figure out the secret lives of Geotrichum candidum) to visit Maine and update us on their research and findings as part of our May meeting to help us better understand our own aging situation, causes, and effects.
COST: This lecture is FREE to Maine Cheese Guild members. Non-members will pay $25 at the door, and their lecture fee will include membership in the Maine Cheese Guild.
Just as was the case in the 2011 state legislative session, several bills have been introduced that would exempt certain farms in Maine (including dairy farms and processors) in certain situations from state licensing requirements and food safety regulation. Two of these bills are now up for public comment before the legislature’s Ag Committee, scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th:
The Guild presented testimony to the committee on Tuesday, May 7th. About 20 people spoke in favor of the bills; I was one of two who spoke to oppose them. Several, including the Dept. of Ag spoke neither in favor or opposed but they did offer amendments for the committee to consider.
The overwhelming sense I got from the supporters testimony is that there is no middle ground between small Maine farmers forced to sell their locally produced food illegally, versus the giant multinational corporations who want to control the food supply. It was as if all 70+ of the currently state licensed cheese producers in Maine did not exist. Or, if they did exist, they were in league with Hannaford and Nestle. It was such a disturbing feeling to sit in the midst of people painting me with a tar brush that I let it get to me, and during my presentation I needed to turn to the supporters and remind them that “I am one of you.” The story they told of being a struggling small farmer and food producer in the state was also MY story. But they hissed back at me when I pointed that out, and one person shouted back, “no, you’re with them.”
Regarding the bill to support unlicensed sales of raw milk, supporter after supporter asserted that it was NOT POSSIBLE today, in Maine, to legally sell raw milk.
I will try to keep the Guild updated on this topic as soon as I hear officially what the committee has decided with regard to these two bills. No matter what, the full legislature will still need to vote on them, so please educate your local legislator.
President, Maine Cheese Guild
At our April meeting the members approved supporting the following subsidies in 2013 that relate to the American Cheese Society Conference to be held in Madison, WI between July 31st and August 3rd:
–The Guild will reimburse for ONE Individual Producer membership to ACS (a $199 value) for a Maine Cheese Guild member who applies for that;
[ACS membership is required to submit cheeses to the competition, as well as to attend the conference.]
–The Guild will reimburse any Maine Cheese Guild member who submits entries to the ACS Conference Competition for their first on-time competition entry (due May 17th, a $60 value per participating member);
–The Guild will arrange for and pay up to $500 for a group shipment of all ACS Conference Competition entries from the Maine Cheese Guild to arrive in good condition (if the shipping costs exceed $500, the participants agree to split the additional costs by the number of entries);
–The Guild will reimburse half of the expenses (registration, travel, lodging) up to $900 for FOUR Maine Cheese Guild members to attend the 2013 ACS Conference as part of the Guild’s delegation;
–The Guild will reimburse ALL expenses (conference registration, travel, lodging) up to $1800 for ONE Maine Cheese Guild member to attend the conference as the Guild’s designated representative;
There is no application required to participate in the Guild competition reimbursement and/or group shipment — participants must be a Maine Cheese Guild member in good standing for the time period between the competition entry and the competition itself. Instructions on participating will be posted in a separate Guild web site article.
All applicants must be a Maine Cheese Guild member in good standing for the time period between the request for consideration and the conference itself. The Guild Board will then vote on who will be awarded each stipend, and the selections will be announced by mid-May to allow the designated members time to make their arrangements, including to register for the conference before the Early-Bird deadline.
As has been the case in the past, recipients of stipends to attend the ACS conference will be asked to contribute materials of interest to the Guild at large based on the information delivered at the conference. This material will then be posted on the web site and/or published in a future issue of the Guild newsletter.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING FOR A ONE YEAR MEMBERSHIP* TO THE American Cheese Society PAID FOR BY THE GUILD:
(*Producer – Professional Individual Membership, worth $199)
1. Please provide short paragraph with a description about your personal history, including why you got into cheese making, what are your cheese making goals (eg: where would you like to see your cheese adventure take you), and how will you use an ACS membership to benefit your cheese making?
Email your application to email@example.com together with the title “ACS MEMBERSHIP”, your name, the name of your cheese operation, your email address, and your physical address BY SUNDAY MAY 5th. The Maine Cheese Guild board will review all applications (unless they are also an applicant) and vote for their choice. You will be notified before SUNDAY, MAY 12th if you have been chosen.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING FOR A GUILD SCHOLARSHIP TO ATTEND THE 2013 American Cheese Society CONFERENCE
1. Please provide short paragraph with a description about your personal history, including why you got into cheese making, and what are your cheese making goals (eg: where would you like to see your cheese adventure take you)?
Next, please address these questions (a sentence or two for each would suffice):
2. Why is attending the ACS conference important to you?
3. What three items in the 2013 Conference Agenda interest you the most?
4. How do you plan to share the experience with the Guild?
Email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org together with the title “ACS SCHOLARSHIP”, your name, the name of your cheese operation, your email address, and your physical address BY SUNDAY MAY 5th. The Maine Cheese Guild board will review all applications (unless they are also an applicant) and vote for their choice. You will be notified before SUNDAY, MAY 12th if you have been chosen.
On Tuesday, April 23rd I attended the inaugural “Taste of Maine” event hosted by Maine’s Senate delegation: Susan Collins, and Angus King. I brought with me 14 pounds of Maine cheese from 14 different cheese makers to show how diversified and delicious the award winning cheeses of Maine can be.
Former State veterinarian Don Hoenig, who is currently serving a fellowship in Washington, DC, encouraged the Guild to get involved, and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce organized the event, which went off without a hitch. It took place in the Kennedy Caucus Room on the third floor of the Russell Senate Office Building across the street from the Capitol. The beautiful room, and the abundance of good Maine food, made for a very successful event.
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:
Read the rest of this entry »
The Maine Cheese Guild will sponsor a Dairy Sanitation Workshop to be given by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Orono on May 16th. This year it will — for the first time — include a demonstration session of cleaning and sanitizing procedures using dairy production and processing equipment.
This is an all-day workshop, but will include a catered lunch.
May 16, 2013 – 8:00am-5:00pm
Nutting Hall, Room 204 – University of Maine, Orono campus
For directions and a campus map, please visit these web sites:
Lunch is included and coffee and snacks in the morning.
Space is limited to the first 30 people.
Cost for Guild Members: $30.00
Non-Guild Members: $60.00
This workshop will cover an overview of sanitation topics such as bacterial pathogens related to dairy products, milking/milk room sanitation, as well as facility sanitation. Ronda Stone from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry will also talk about sanitation from an inspector’s perspective. Other special guests will include Sarah Spring, Spring Day Creamery who will discuss her own recent sanitation issues and how she overcame them. We will also have hands-on activities in the Pilot Plant to take the theory we learned and put it to practice.
An online registration web site link will be posted on the Maine Cheese Guild web site in the next few weeks.
A detailed agenda will soon follow. Thanks and if you have any questions, please contact Beth Calder at UMCE.
Our April meeting was hosted by Silvery Moon Creamery at Smiling Hill Farm at 781 County Road (Route 22) in Westbrook on Monday, April 8th between 10am and 2pm.
We focused on Marketing issues at this meeting, and welcomed representatives from Native Maine Produce to the meeting to discuss what they look for in cheeses to distribute, how they handle those cheeses, and the various ways they’re able to market them to a wide or select set of customers.
Our meeting from 10am to 2pm on Monday, February 18th at
Pineland Farms Creamery, New Gloucester
covered our experiences finding and purchasing cheese making equipment and supplies. We were joined by a representative from Fromagex, and also had access to the latest catalogs from many different companies.
In addition, Guild members brought their own supplies/equipment to swap/sell with others at the meeting.
Guild members voted to offer HALF scholarships to two Guild members during each of the scheduled 2013 Workshops (Natural Wraps, and Washed Rinds). Any Guild member was eligible.
The Guild Board members have voted on which members should receive the the scholarships, and the top two vote getters have been identified. (Board members who applied for scholarships were not allowed to vote to award a scholarship for the class to which they applied.)
WASHED RIND CHEESES (March 31 – April 1)
NATURAL WRAPPED AND CLABBERED CHEESES (April 20 – 21)
Thank you to everyone who participated, and happy cheese making!
President, Maine Cheese Guild