An act to exempt farm food products…

The full title:

HP0263, LD 330, item 1, 125th Maine State Legislature An Act To Exempt Farm Food Products and Homemade Food Offered for Sale or for Consumption at Certain Events from Certain Licensing Requirements

Last Action: VOTED, Mar 31, 2011, Ought Not to Pass

Scheduled for Hearing: Tuesday, March 22 @ 1:30pm, Cross Office Building, Room 206 (Ag Committee room) in Augusta

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Meeting — Sunset Acres

Our April 2011 meeting was hosted by Anne Bossi and Bob Bowen of Sunset Acres Creamery in Brooksville. We had a tour of their *working* cheese room (curds scooped and draining as we looked in), learned about how they try to control humidity in their cheese caves, and saw how they heat their water so efficiently that they no longer need solar hot water panels! Plus lots of discussion on a variety of topics, among them them the pending legislation around dairy and raw milk sales, hooking up milk producers with cheese makers, hooking up retailers with cheese producers, and hooking up young cheesemakers with land and facilities to make more Maine cheese, which the market is demanding…

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Intro to Cheesemaking Workshop at Morris Farm March 12-13

The Morris Farm in Wiscasset will be hosting a beginning cheesemaking workshop on March 12th and 13th 2011. The class will be taught by cheesemaker Jessie Dowling of Appleton Creamery. We’ll be making feta, jack, 30 min mozzerella, yogurt and more! You can email themorrisfarm@gmail.com to sign up, or for more information. More about the Morris Farm check out: themorrisfarm.org.

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Free KTA Belfast Business Managment Workshops

The Knowledge Transfer Alliance, an offshoot of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will put on a free day of business management workshops in Belfast at the Hutchinson Center.

No Sign-up Needed: just show up for the sessions you’re interested in. The computer room will be available in a “Salad Bar” mode — just bring your questions (specific or general) and someone will try to help you.

Topics for this day of workshops devoted to helping Maine agricultural businesses grow include:

–Quickbooks Introduction, and Specific Topics
–Building Your Budget and Record Keeping in Excel
–Setting Your Vision and Sticking To It
–Marketing Tips, including Using Internet Marketing and Social Networking


Download a PDF Document here with the full schedule of workshops.

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Raw Milk Sales Proposal

I found another proposed bill that may impact us greatly yet I found it by accident. Its LD366 and involves raw milk sales. I’ll forward you the farm bureau e mail. Its down at the bottom under new legislation. I’m calling my local legislator – he’s listed as a sponsor. He’s also a sponsor on LD330 we discussed. I have an email in to Jon Olson, the farm bureau lobbyist, who is our point of information.

LD 366 An Act Regarding the Sale of Raw Milk (Kumiega-Deer Isle, Berry-Bowdoinham,
Malaby-Hancock, McCabe-Skowhegan, Newendyke-Litchfield, O’Brien-Lincolnville, Pilon-Saco,
Patrick-Oxford).

Last Action: VOTED, Mar 31, 2011, Ant. Div. Rep. (not yet reported out of committee)

Clarifies that a license is not required of a person who produces
and sells milk only on the premises. “Premises” includes a motor vehicle and a portable
farm stand owned by the producer if sales on these premises are made by the producer
or an employee.

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Feb Meeting — Spring Day Creamery

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Springs' welcoming fireSarah Spring invited the Guild to visit her at her micro-creamery in Durham for our February meeting. Her house sits on a sunny rise on a back road and ably accommodate the large group that met there to discuss efforts to get Maine cheesemakers to participate in the ACS conference, info about current and future workshops, the importance of the upcoming Sanitation Workshop, and especially the fate of legally making raw milk cheeses while the state of Maine is trying to allow unregulated cheeses into the marketplace, and the Feds are thinking about scrapping any tolerance of unpasteurized dairy products. Needless to say there was much to talk about, and much to act on. Stay tuned.

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Raw Deal?

What is the future of being able to legally make and sell raw milk cheeses in the wake of the new Federal Food Safety bill passed last December? Although there is nothing specific in the bill about new rules guiding its production, the New York Times has published an article speculating that new proposals from the FDA may alter the existing 60 day rule, perhaps significantly.

In that vein, Caitlin has learned through the Southeastern Cheesemakers Guild listserve that a recommendation from Dr. Cathy Donnelly (of the Vermont Institute of Artisanal Cheese) may be one of those being considered:

Mandatory pasteurization for bloomy rind, washed rind, Hispanic and Tomme style cheeses. 90 day aging above 35F for raw milk cheeses. Mandatory technical training for cheesemakers. Mandatory risk reduction plan. Mandatory pathogen testing for finished product.

I’m sure this will be a topic for conversation at the next MCG meeting, and probably in future meetings. But there’s no need to hold your tongue until then: post your comments on this topic here to begin the conversation.

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Dairy Farm Requirements — An Overview

Rembrant painting of Moses holding the CommandmentsBelow is a link to a PDF document outlining the basics for setting up a small scale dairy operation and then getting your Maine Dairy Processors license to allow you to sell your products. It was put together by the Maine Micro-Dairy Cooperative which, sadly, is no longer an on-going operation

In addition to the basic regulations, it’s also important to be on top of all the sanitation needs for a small scale milking dairy, something that the Guild and/or the University of Maine Cooperative Extension can help you with. Join the Guild, attend our meetings, and together we can make great cheese together!

From the introduction:

The purpose of this document is to provide a basic overview of the requirements and standards that must be met for the production and sale of milk and dairy products in the state of Maine. It is not intended to replace nor supersede the official Department of Agriculture publication (Chapter 329: Rules Governing Maine Milk and Milk Products) from which it is derived, nor should it seem to take precedence over the judgment and advice of the State Dairy Inspectors who oversee the regulatory compliance of each producer and processor. It should be used as a guide only, in combination with on-site consultation and Department of Agriculture recommendations.

MMDC Summary of Dairy Farm Regs as of May 8, 2007

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Processing Plant Requirements – an Overview

Rembrant painting of Moses holding the CommandmentsBelow is a link to a PDF document outlining the basics for setting up a creamery and then getting your Maine Dairy Processors license to allow you to sell your products. It was put together by the Maine Micro-Dairy Cooperative which, sadly, is no longer an on-going operation

In addition to the basic regulations, it’s also important to be on top of all the sanitation needs for a dairy processor, something that the Guild and/or the University of Maine Cooperative Extension can help you with. Join the Guild, attend our meetings, and together we can make great cheese together!

From the introduction:

The purpose of this document is to provide a basic overview of the requirements and standards that must be met for the production and sale of milk and dairy products in the state of Maine. It is not intended to replace nor supersede the official Department of Agriculture publication (Chapter 329: Rules Governing Maine Milk and Milk Products) from which it is derived, nor should it seem to take precedence over the judgment and advice of the State Dairy Inspectors who oversee the regulatory compliance of each producer and processor. It should be used as a guide only, in combination with on-site consultation and Department of Agriculture recommendations.

MMDC Summary of Dairy Processing Regs as of May 8, 2007

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MCG Workshops, Spring 2011: Affinage

Many thanks to Patrick Anglade for a “rough” two days of intensive learning.  We enjoyed your humor, patience and are awed by your deep understanding of all things cheese!  Thanks to all the participants, too, and State of Maine Cheese!

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The Maine Cheese Guild is pleased to hold two hands-on, advanced cheesemaking workshops scheduled for this Spring, hosted by State of Maine Cheese Company in Rockport, Maine.

Patrick AngladeIf all cheese looks and tastes like cottage cheese as it comes out of the pot, what turns that squishy mess of milk solids into cheddar or Camembert or Gouda or Gorgonzola or (even) Kraft(TM) Singles? It’s AFFINAGE, which is the French term for the process of taking curds and just pressed wheels of cheese and turning them into the sublime creations we expect to see in the refrigerated case of our favorite cheesemonger. Once you scoop your cheese out of the pot, it’s often a long way from becoming what you are hoping for, and many different factors will determine its fate: temperature, humidity, handling, molds, cultures, salt, and any extra sumpin’ sumpin’ (like leaves or herbs or wine or beer or cider) you choose to apply to it. Patrick will describe all of these processes for taking pressed curds and turning them into ‘the Feet of God.’

April 9th & 10th join French cheese consultant, Patrick Anglade for two days of training in the art of creating aged cheeses: The Art of Affinage, a workshop presented by the Maine Cheese Guild.

This workshop was filled and has now completed

Patrick Anglade will also be available for private full day or half day consultation with prior appointment.  If interested, address inquiries to Patrick at  pat.anglade@laposte.net.

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