Wine and Cheese Tasting at ACS

ACS 2014 — Day 2

CA State House early morning

The morning began with an early morning meeting with the other Cheese Guilds attending the conference. The idea was to talk about ways in which the Guilds could collaborate, and any ways the Guilds could better interface with ACS. Unfortunately it was run as an afterthought, and despite raising many valid areas that the Guilds would like to address (workshop sharing, Guild formation, Guild legal structures) the meeting was stopped five minutes before it was scheduled to end with absolutely no promise of follow-up besides circulating a typed list of attendees and their emails. I later complained to the President of the ACS board about this “lame” attempt to help the Guilds by getting us together. He said he would look into it sometime after August.

Sacramento Capitol Drive looking west

We then headed to the main hall where we had been eating our meals for a general session about how the shellfish industry manages the traceability and HACCP requirements they have been working under for about ten years now. These are all areas that will soon be applied to the cheese industry after the FSMA is fully implemented over the next few years. The first person to speak was Maryanne Guichard from the Washington State Dept. of Health who explained how the system worked, and that all states participating in the traceability program got together on a regular basis (annual or biannual) to evaluate what was working and what was not working and propose changes to the system. Interestingly she explained that the FDA was a member of that working group and had only a single vote on proposed changes or new guidelines. They could, if the group approved something, still veto it (as the ultimate regulator). But they would have at least participated in the development and discussions of the issue as a partner, instead of being presented something from out of left field.
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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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