Posts Tagged ‘ACS’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.
An often raised topic for our cheese makers is how to measure acidity, and what are the best tools for the task. Titratable Acidity kits are traditional, but messy and somewhat subjective (because it depends on the eye of the user to see pink); pH meters can be precise, but have been very expensive, delicate, and finicky.
As we learn in each workshop TA and pH both measure different aspects of the acid in our milk, whey, and curds, and they do NOT correlate, so the *best* practice is to use both methods to tell you as much as possible about what’s going on at the chemical level. Practically we all know that you can make cheese without measuring acidity at all, except by feel and taste of the curds, just as they have done for thousands of years. But the risks of bad, un-sellable batches for unknowable reasons imposes a real cost to this method of production as well.
Dave Potter of Dairy Connection, Inc. led a Havarti workshop that I attended at the 2012 ACS conference, and during the make process he told everyone that he had found the “perfect” pH meter because it was waterproof, rugged (his first electrodes worked for four years before requiring replacement), the electrodes were flat so they weren’t at risk of breaking and could be used directly on the surface of draining wet cheese, it had a cap with a sponge to keep the electrodes moist, and it was relatively inexpensive. It’s the ExTech ExStik EC500 which also measures temperature and a few other things. Not surprisingly Dairy Connection sells them, but *surprisingly* they list it $20 cheaper than I could find anywhere else the Internet: $115 plus shipping. If this is your first pH meter you would also have to purchase buffers to use for recalibration (around $30 for the pH7 and pH4 buffers). You can also purchase the complete kit for the ExStik that includes cups, all the buffers, a carrying case, and other goodies. DCI doesn’t sell the kit, but you can find it elsewhere by searching for the ExTech EC510.
The Maine Guildsters just before they enter the last event of this year’s ACS Conference.
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Good morning Raleigh Convention Center! Someone finally had the amazing idea to offer ALL the cultured dairy products like Creme Fraiche, yogurt, ricotta, and other mild less-than-solid competition entries for saturday breakfast (now called “Breakfast of Champions” because the awards are nestled with the winners, just like at the Festival), instead of presenting them with all the cheeses at the Festival of Cheese on Saturday night.
Wow! Instead of looking at them as the lonely girl/boy at the evening party (because they’re so awkward to sample when you’re standing up holding a glass of beer or wine), they are the Star of the Morning and you can really appreciate a selection of them for breakfast. I had tastes of as much as I could and wanted to go back for more, except I was at the breakfast to network with other cheese guilds around the US.
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Soft Ripened Cheeses — Flavor Added
3rd Place for Turner Farm Creamery’s Whitecap
Original Recipe / Open Category – Cow’s Milk
1st Place for Spring Day Creamery’s La Vie en Rose
Flavor Added Monterey Jack
3rd Place for Pineland Farm Creamery’s Pepper Jack
Dawn broke over the horizon this morning like a nicked yolk in a frying pan; although the humidity is visible, the temps, especially once the sun goes down, have been quite tolerable.
My first session sounds like a snoozer, but it dove into the white hot center of cheese regulation that is currently shifting like the beach during a hurricane. The panel for “Working Proactively to Mitigate Risks and Promote Cheese Safety” consisted of Dr. Cathrine Donnelly from VIAC, Cathe Strange from Whole Foods Market, Dr. Obianuju Nsofor from the FDA, and moderated by Bill Graves of the Dairy Research Institute. It began with a very discouraging presentation from Dr. Nsofor about the FDA’s take on their re-evaluation of dairy safety issues, specifically around the 60 day rule, which was adopted in the 1960s on the basis of assumptions (not scientific study) about pathogens viability in a high acid, low moisture environment. Better late than never, the FDA is now scientifically testing those assumptions, and they have not been bourn out, specifically with higher moisture cheeses aged over 60 days.
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There is so much to pack into each ACS conference (or maybe because many of the attendees work with dairy animals) things start early; with breakfast at 7:30am, Kevin and I woke at 6:00am with the sun clearing the horizon and the Progress Energy building across from the Marriott; the moisture in the air is visible this early, though the locals say that we’ve been very lucky. The temps have *only* been in the 90s the last few days, and that trend is forecast to continue — a serious cool down for August.
After breakfast (largely of Vermont cheese for me, though muffins and bagels were also available) Temple Grandin kicked off the conference this morning. She had a lot to say about animal welfare, organic versus conventional agriculture, BIG ag versus small ag, Europe vs. US ag, and the shocking lack of basic biology knowledge in the general public. Her speech was inspiring, especially in how she was able to convince huge corporations to care about the animals the processed– she claimed that right now more than 50% of the animals slaughtered in the US are processed using equipment she designed. The speech was also reassuring because I know many farmers who are using similar measures to what she described as necessary so that any animal has “a life worth living” even if they are grown to become meat.
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On Wednesday we were greeted by a City Center Farmers Market at the base of the convention hotels this morning. It happens downtown every Wednesday from 10am to 2pm, but today it’s been enhanced with five local cheese makers (normally there are only two cheese makers) joining the other vendors, an ACS tasting tent offering local cheese and local beer pairings, a grilled cheese competition between local chefs, and a live band.
Cheesemakers at the market:
Chapel Hill Creamery
Hillsborough Cheese Co.
Goat Lady Dairy
Holly Grove Farms
Others are off on tours of local cheese makers, farms, and food markets around The Triangle; or taking one of the “Deep Dive” workshops, such as “Food Safety and Artisan Cheesemaking”
–Once again the Guild will pay for your FIRST ACS competition entry ($60 per entry — you need to be an ACS member to enter)
—the deadline for on-time competition entries is May 18th, so if you haven’t already submitted your entry forms, do so soon, and then send Mark Whitney your receipt for reimbursement.
–Once again the Guild will help pay for shipping your entries — up to $50 per participating Guild member. Once you have notified the Guild that you will be sending entries, we will attempt to coordinate a best and most cost-effective means of transport.
–This year the Guild will reimburse ONE Guild cheese maker for an ACS Level 1 Professional membership (a $199 value).
—To qualify to be chosen to receive this free membership for 2012 please respond to this email me your name and say “Add Me For A Free Membership” in the body of the email BEFORE Sunday, May 13th and your name will go into a hat. The randomly chosen member will be notified, and once they get receipt for joining the ACS the Guild will reimburse them.
–Once again The Guild wants to send up to FOUR Guild members to the ACS Conference for the full conference experience. The Guild will offer scholarships of at least $900 in expenses toward attending, which will cover the Conference fee of $465 plus some of the travel and lodging expenses.
—To obtain a scholarship email me your name and write “Add Me For A Conference Scholarship” in the body of the email BEFORE Sunday, May 13th and your name will pass on to all non-entered board members who will vote for the four Guild scholarship winners. If fewer than four Guild members apply for the scholarships, the total scholarship money will divided among the attending Guild winners up to but not exceeding their total expenses. The scholarship winners will each be responsible for at least one newsletter article about their conference experience, and for bringing as much of the information they’ve gathered back to future Guild meetings.
–The scholarship winners will be notified on Monday, May 14th so that they can register for the conference BEFORE the early bird deadline of May 23rd.
The results are in:
The Guild subsidized ACS membership goes to: Heather Donahue of Balfour Farm.
The four partial scholarships to attend the ACS Conference were awarded to:
—Jessie Dowling, Fuzzy Udder Creamery
—Heather Donahue, Balfour Farm
—Eric Rector, Monroe Cheese Studio
—Jamien Shields, Turner Farm Creamery
On behalf of the Guild, congratulations.
In March 2012 the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) released the results of a study titled “Nonpasteurized Dairy Products, Disease Outbreaks, and State Laws—United States, 1993–2006″ which is now posted on their web site.
In response to this report, the American Cheese Society issued a “Statement on the Safety of Raw Milk Cheese” which put some of the findings of the CDC study into context, as well as made corrections to some of its statements (such as that it is illegal to sell raw milk cheese in the US). Among the assertions in the ACS statement are: “Raw milk cheese, when produced and sold under current FDA guidelines, can be consumed without unnecessary risk” when that cheese is produced under the following circumstances:
- producing cheese in licensed facilities that are routinely inspected on the local, regional, and
- producing cheese under the oversight of licensed dairy handlers
- aging cheese for a minimum of 60 days before it is sold
According to the ACS’s latest newsletter: “In light of continued scrutiny, and with the goal of helping cheesemakers adhere to the highest standards of cheesemaking, ACS’s Regulatory & Academic Committee is at work compiling Best Practices for Cheesemakers. This document, as well as a related Best Practices for Retailers document, will serve as a resource for the industry to ensure awareness of current regulations and requirements, and to provide tools that can be implemented to meet those requirements.”