Intro to Cheese Making at Rural Living Days March 29

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Waldo County is presenting “Rural Living Days” on

Saturday, March 29th between 8:30am and 3pm

Eric Rector, President of the Maine Cheese Guild and cheese maker at Monroe Cheese Studio, will give an introduction to cheese making workshop titled “Queso Presto!” in the early session beginning at 9am:

Cheese making can be quite mysterious because it involves using a few unusual ingredients to turn liquids into solids. Cheese making also can take a lot of time: usually a day of work just to get the initial stage of fresh (but bland) cheese, and then weeks/months/years of aging before that turns into something completely different. Rector will talk about all cheeses and what makes them different, and he will show you how to make a quick and tasty cheese in an hour, and describe milk’s “leap toward immortality”.

To learn more about this session, all of the sessions at Rural Living Days, and to register on-line, follow this link.

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LD 1786 Released and Referred to Ag Committee

Legislative Document 1786, “An Act To Allow the Sale of Unregulated Farm-produced Dairy Products at the Site of Production” was released from the Maine State Legislature’s clerk’s office and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry today. Use the above link to view the entire bill.

The bill is sponsored by Representative Bill Noon of Sanford, and co-sponsored by a number of legislators and senators. It appears to provide a clear regulatory boundary between licensed commercial dairy producers in Maine and farmers who produce dairy products for their own and their neighbors consumption.

Guild members should post comments about this bill on this website article, which will help me determine what the overall Guild response to this bill will be if the Guild chooses to testify at any hearing held regarding this bill.

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Help Fuzzy Udder Creamery’s make their big move!

Help Fuzzy Udder Creamery get ready to make cheese at their new home in Whitefield!

Check out Fuzzy Udder’s IndieGogo Campaign

Fuzzy Udder Cheese!

In 2011, I started my own business, Fuzzy Udder Creamery with my two favorites: fresh hand-stretched mozzarella made from buttery jersey cow milk and sheep’s milk yogurt. If you haven’t had sheep’s milk yogurt, you have no idea what you are missing! I built a cheeseroom in Unity Maine in 2012 and had two successful seasons making all kinds of cheeses from both sheep and cow’s milk, including: fresh mozzarella, sheep’s milk yogurt, fresh sheep cheese, brie, ashed-layered soft-ripened cheese, washed rinds, gouda, swiss, tomme and baby provolone. I have also spent the last few years building up a small herd of well-cared for and very happy sheep and goats.

This summer, I had a severe allergic reaction to the house I lived in a the farm in Unity where I had built my creamery, so I had to find a new home for myself, my creamery and my animals before the winter. Luckily through the generous support of so many people in our farming community here in Maine, including Slow Money Maine and Maine Farmland Trust, I was able to purchase an old farmhouse with a barn and a creamery here in Whitefield Maine, the former home of Townhouse Creamery.

Now that I have moved, I need help getting my new creamery up and running. I am looking to raise enough funds to install my cheesemaking equipment in my new cheeseroom, build a walk-in cooler to age my cheese and get a milking parlor set up to milk my sheep and goats this spring.

With your help, I can start my 3rd season as Fuzzy Udder Creamery out right!

I am looking to raise $10,000 from this campaign so I can start making cheese again. With these funds, I will be hiring a plumber, an electrician, and several builders to get my cheeseroom and milking parlor ready for licensing.

Once I start making cheese again, I will host an open house and creamery/farm tour for those who contributed $25 or more. I will be serving a feast of local food, featuring all of Fuzzy Udder’s wide variety of cheeses. In addition, anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a cheesy gift in the mail!

Please help me publicize this campaign by telling all of your friends.

Thanks for reading about me and for supporting small farmers in Maine! To find out more about Fuzzy Udder Creamery, please visit my website: http://www.fuzzyudder.com

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ACS Conference Scholarships 2014

Given the travel distance and current budget level, it’s unlikely that the Maine Cheese Guild will be offering ACS Scholarships in 2014, but the American Cheese Society also offers full and partial scholarships to their conference every year:

“If you’re a cheesemaker, retailer, student, or local chef, don’t miss your chance to apply for a 2014 ACS Conference Scholarship ! Recipients receive a free conference registration and may also receive a travel stipend and hotel accommodations in Sacramento, CA this summer. The application period for 2014 Conference Scholarships ends soon: submit your application by March 31 in order to be considered!

ACS 2014: Celebrating the American Cheese Plate will take place July 29-August 1, 2014 at the Sacramento Convention Center. More than 900 members of the American cheese community will gather for this 31st annual event. With a conference scholarship, you can join them for timely educational sessions and networking events…”

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Maine’s Ag Community and the Affordable Care Act

Do you need affordable health insurance? Free, in-person help is available! The Maine Migrant Health Program is a non-profit organization with over 20 years of experience providing health care to Maine’s migrant and seasonal farmworkers. If you own your own farm, need coverage for you and your family, are an employee who is looking for coverage, or a member of the general public, we are here to help members of Maine’s agricultural community get enrolled in a health insurance plan.

We have Certified Application Counselors across the state that are available to:

  • meet with you to provide information on the Affordable Care Act
  • explain the discounts that are available to low and moderate income individuals and families
  • assist you in applying for coverage
  • support you in choosing a health insurance plan.

Our services are free and available to the general public. Don’t delay! The deadline to enroll is March 31st 2014. Call today to schedule an appointment.

Please call Liz Charles at 207-441-1633 or Eduardo Cortes at 207-485-5553 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Oakhurst Sold to DFA Cooperative

The Bennett family — for a long time the “First Family” of Maine Dairy, and well known for challenging Big Ag interests by insisting on labeling their milk as being produced without growth hormones — have now decided to transfer their company to Dairy Farmers of America, a cooperative processor. Oakhurst currently contracts with 70 Maine dairy farms for it’s milk. DFA is owned by roughly 8000 dairy farms across the continental US, and has purchased milk from many Maine dairy farms even before the Oakhurst acquisition. At this time DFA has indicated that the Oakhurst brand will be maintained in its New England sales region. The Bennett family members who have worked at the company were expected to stay on, and no employee reductions were anticipated elsewhere in the company.

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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
Read the rest of this entry »

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2014 Workshop Scholarships

The Guild has decided to offer two scholarships to each of our upcoming intermediate/advanced workshops –

that would reimburse the scholarship winners for HALF the cost of the workshop fee.

Anyone interested in receiving a scholarship will need to be a member in good standing of the Maine Cheese Guild and should send their contact information, plus a paragraph describing your operation and why you deserve a scholarship to info@mainecheeseguild.org by February 1st. Submissions will be reviewed and voted upon by the MCG board, and scholarship winners will be announced by February 15th when winners, as well as runner-ups (in case the winner backs out) will be notified. Winners will then need to send in their half-tuition to the Guild Treasurer

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Meeting: Monday, Feb 17th in Winthrop

The Guild met at Wholesome Holmstead Farm in Winthrop on February 17th between 10am and 2pm.

After a tour of the cheese retail and production facility, followed by a tour of the dairy barn, milking parlor, and milk room, Jessica Nixon and John Harker discussed various State efforts to help Maine farms better market themselves, as well as for consumers to find specific farm products.

Thank you to the Whole Trenholm family for hosting us!

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Workshops 2014: Mastering Artisan Cheese Making

DATES: This is a two-day workshop, April 26 and 27th (Saturday and Sunday)

In her 2012 book, Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking (Chelsea Green Publishing) Gianaclis Caldwell explains the art and science that allow milk to be transformed into epicurean masterpieces- with an emphasis on developing intuition through knowledge. Caldwell offers a deep look at the history, science, culture, and art of making artisan cheese as a small-scale creamery. Her first book, The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, (republished in 2014 as The Small Scale Cheese Business) has helped many farmstead cheesemakers get their start. Her most recent book The Small Scale Dairy (also by Chelsea Green) provides similar wisdom for the small raw milk producer.

In this two day session Gianaclis will offer the artisan cheesemaker some hands-on, qualitative and quantitative skills practice for assessing milk’s readiness and appropriatenes, for cheesemaking and environmental practices that effect milk quality. From doing your own standard plate counts and coliform counts, to lacto-fermentation tests; the effect of heat and cold on the availability of calcium and how this affects flocculation; and in house listeria testing prepare to take charge of your cheesemaking in a new way!

Bring an equipment and or milk/brine sample for plate counts, or about 100 ml of fresh, chilled milk in a santized container for a lacto fermentation test. Bring your pH and all other questions as well.

SITE: State of Maine Cheese Co., Rockport

FEE: $175 for Guild Members, $200 for non-members (includes a Guild membership). Registration will be set when deposits are received. Deposits will be refunded for cancellations up to a week before the class begins, after which they are not refundable. If there are more registrations than space available, later registrations will be notified and a waiting list will be started — deposits will be returned for those on the waiting list who cannot be accommodated.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL AND HAS A FILLED WAIT LIST; we are looking into the possibility of bringing Ms. Caldwell back to Maine, possibly this fall or next spring, so stay tuned to the Guild web site for an announcement for this.

Maine Cheese Guild
c/o Mark Whitney, Treasurer
Pineland Farms Creamery
92 Creamery Lane
New Gloucester, ME 04260

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