CheeseBytes Masthead with Date
Call for Volunteers

ACS is seeking volunteers in Seattle to assist with unloading and staging cheese on Thursday, August 19 and Friday, August 20, in preparation for our annual Judging & Competition.

Volunteers are also needed to provide competition support on Tuesday, August 24 and Wednesday, August 25.

As a token of our appreciation, volunteers will be rewarded with special gifts ranging from t-shirts to conference day passes, depending on their level of involvement.

Please email Alison Leber for more information.

Join Us at the Town Hall Meeting in Seattle

In preparation for the annual ACS Town Hall Meeting in Seattle (Friday, August 27, from 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM), facilitators Steve Jenkins and David Gremmels have compiled a list of topics for discussion. Although additional topics will be welcomed from the floor, members are strongly encouraged to seriously consider these questions in advance of the meeting.

Please join us to listen in, speak up, and engage in lively discussion with fellow ACS members. Review this year's springboard topics.
Credit Card Savings - Check it Out in Seattle

When you're packing for Seattle, don't forget to pack a recent monthly statement from your credit card processor. The newest benefit for ACS members is discounted credit card processing offered by our official merchant services provider, Renaissance Associates (RA). Stop by the RA table in the registration area at the Sheraton Seattle and they'll conduct a free analysis of your statement.  Then, they'll let you know how much you could be saving by switching to RA. If you won't be in Seattle, you can fax your statement to RA at 1-866-469-3761 for your savings comparison.

Make the Most of Your Visit to Seattle

If you're heading to Seattle for Cheese-a-Topia, you'll want to set aside time to enjoy the sights and sounds of this vibrant city! The links below will help you get the most out of your visit to the Emerald City:

Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau offers information about cultural attractions, tours, sporting events, lodging, and more.

Seattle 101: A Guide for Travelers and Tourists includes details about climate and weather, shopping, dining, transportation, and more.

The Seattle Weekly Restaurant Guide is a great source for dining recommendations.

Follow the local, sustainable food scene on the Slow Food Seattle chapter's website.

Explore one of Seattle's best-known (and tastiest) landmarks - Pike Place Market.

Call for Cheese!

After the ACS's successful presence at the Brewers Association's (BA's) SAVOR event in Washington, D.C. we are gearing up to spread the word about North American cheese to more beer lovers at the BA's Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, CO, September 16-18, 2010.

ACS will have a dedicated area at GABF to showcase cheese from our members. We invite you to participate by donating cheese, crackers, or other related products - or by volunteering to help in our booth. Click here for details.

Member Profile:

Larkhaven Farm

by Liz Campbell

Clare Paris didn't let a small income stop her. She, her young children and their father decided that they would live on the land in Washington State, with no power or water, producing most of what they consumed. In order to "earn a goat," Clare worked in a neighbor's garden. That first goat got her making cheese and she's never looked back. Read more about Clare and Larkhaven Farm.

Recipe of the Month

This month's recipe comes from ACS member and author Laura Werlin. It's a great way to enjoy the last weeks of summer: combining portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh oregano, provolone, and asiago cheese on the grill.

Laura will sign books at the ACS Conference Bookstore in Seattle on Thursday, August 26, from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM.

Grilled Portobello and Provolone Sandwich from Great Grilled Cheese (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

Cheese in the News

Drinking Raw Milk Is Worth The Risk, Advocates Say - National Public Radio,

July 19
Raw-food Raid Highlights a Hunger - Los Angeles Times, July 25

The American Cheese Society Comes to Seattle - The Seattle Times, July 24

Cheesemonger Jaimie Casey Preaches Gospel of Cheese - July 28, Bay Area News Group

Chester County Cheese Makers Form Alliance - July 31, The Phoenix

Local Demand Keeps Cheese Makers Busy - August 4, Statesman Journal

A Wine Tour for Cheese Lovers
- August 5, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Say Cheese - or, Better Yet - Cheddar - August 7, The Montreal Gazette

ACS Education Database

ACS's Education Database provides a central, searchable directory of cheese education programs in North America. The list is being updated, so if you wish to be included, please complete this form. Your input will help ACS build the most comprehensive database of its type!

Cheese-a-Topia is Just Weeks AwayAttendee List Image

cheese conferenceDear Friends,
Cheese-a-Topia 2010 is almost here. I am thankful for the many volunteers who have given so much daily for nearly sixteen months in the orchestration of every detail of the conference. The fantastic three - Sasha Davies, Kurt Dammeier and Julie Riendl - have worked tirelessly to build what I believe is the most content-rich conference in ACS's history. This conference is supported by the largest body of sponsors yet, which has helped keep registration costs low and content strong. Sasha Davies, conference co-chair, has worked with our new executive staff and volunteer committees to build an impressive grid of activities from our "Meet the Cheesemaker" event, to our Merchandising Competition, to our Festival of Cheese. Other hosted activities include the annual ACS Business Meeting, the Town Hall Meeting, a Cheese Certification and Body of Knowledge task force meeting, the Raw Milk Cheesemakers Association Meeting, and more. Impressive indeed! The conference has evolved into a remarkable learning experience for all of us connected to cheese. 
Cheese-a-Topia would not be possible without your input and involvement, and the commitment of our valued sponsors. I thank each and every one of you for the ideas shared at the Town Hall Meeting in Austin, TX, and for your response to post-conference and member surveys. That valuable input has directly impacted planning of this conference. We look forward to a great educational experience in Seattle, but we also look forward to fun. Enjoy the waterfront view from the Seattle Aquarium at the opening reception presented by our 2010 Diamond Sponsor, Dairy Farmers of Oregon, after attending a full day that starts with an opening keynote address by Laurie Demeritt. Then participate in the many varied sessions to follow: learn about conscious eating from Michael Pollan; enjoy a scientific and sensory examination of bandage-wrapped cheddar with Dr. MaryAnne Drake; experience a crisis training drill by DMI; attend the annual Town Hall Meeting hosted by Steven Jenkins and myself; explore my favorite subject, blue cheese, with Laura Werlin; and so much more. Whether it is business planning, modeling and strategy, recipe development, hands-on cheese making, merchandising training, understanding the current state of the cheese industry, learning from the successes and mistakes of others, or reconnecting with friends and colleagues, there is so much to be discovered at this conference. More importantly, you will expand the most important resource we share - our association's network, and the talent and knowledge of its members. 
Building a conference is a dynamic and passionate process, and there is no better time for you to participate on a committee or initiative then right now. I encourage each of you to talk with the board of directors and committee chairs about the volunteer activities available with ACS, particularly as we begin planning for the 2011 conference in Montreal (save the dates: August 3-6).
Cheese-a-Topia is sure to nourish your mind, recharge your passion, and invigorate thoughtful dialogue in our remarkable, vibrant ACS cheese community. I guarantee it will be information-rich, interactive, and fun. If you missed conference preregistration, I encourage you to register on site at the Sheraton Seattle starting August 25th. I look forward to seeing you there.

This is your association,

David Gremmels                                                                                                 President

Get Connected by Disconnecting

cheese conference

Technology has done amazing things for our lives. It has changed the way we work and live, and it has done so almost seamlessly. Each new advance builds upon the last, until we suddenly realize that we can't function without our phone or a Wifi connection. But what we can't live without isn't really the technology - what we fear missing without access to our technology is connections. And the one thing all the gadgets in the world truly cannot give us is the power of face-to-face contact. As we become more reliant on text messages, email, and Facebook, we often overlook the fact that the goal of all these systems is to connect on a personal and meaningful level. That is why I am looking forward to meeting you in Seattle later this month.

Over the phone and via email, I have "met" many of you in my first six months with ACS. But it will be a simple, in-person meeting that will show me your passion for this industry, your kindness, your humor, your concerns, your priorities, and your state of mind. I hope that all of you who are joining us in Seattle will remember that you are not just there to attend sessions or to find new business partners. I hope you will turn off your iPhone or Blackberry for at least a brief time, and make the kinds of real-world connections that are only possible once a year at the ACS conference. The conference truly is about you and for you, and it is your best opportunity to connect with a vast and diverse community of peers. And, once you've made those in-person connections, rest assured that the technology will be there for you after the conference to make those connections last.

The ACS staff and I look forward to meeting you in Seattle!


Nora Weiser
Executive Director

Good to Know Before You Go

Pre-registration for ACS 2010 in Seattle has closed - but you can still register on-site at the Sheraton Seattle starting Wednesday, August 25 at 3:00 p.m. Registration for the full conference is $650, with day passes for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday available for $245, $245, or $295 respectively. Registration is located in the 2nd Floor Lobby of the Sheraton Seattle.

Registration Desk Hours:
Wednesday, 8/25   3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Thursday, 8/26   7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, 8/27  7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/28   7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
ACS conference logo merchandise will be available at the Conference Bookstore.  Take home a piece of Cheese-a-Topia! T-shirts are $15 and zip hoodies are $38.
Roland Barthel�my and MaryAnne Drake will be serving as Scholars-in-Residence at this year's conference. To sign up for a spot with one of these esteemed experts, stop by the Scholar-in-Residence table in the registration lobby. Slots are available during the following times:

Roland Barth�lemy, president, Guilde des Fromagers
Thursday, 8/26   10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Friday, 8/27  3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, 8/29   9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Dr. MaryAnne Drake, Ph.D., professor,Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center
Thursday, 8/26   3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday, 8/27  10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday, 8/29   11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Your conference badge admits you to all conference sessions and events at the Sheraton Seattle and at off-site venues. Please be sure to wear it at all times.

Not Attending Cheese-a-Topia?
You Can Still Enjoy ACS Events in Seattle!

If you don't plan to attend the entire Cheese-a-Topia conference in Seattle, there are still opportunities for you, your friends, and your family to enjoy some of our most exciting signature events: the closing keynote by renowned author Michael Pollan, and the annual Awards Ceremony and Festival of Cheese.

Keynote by Michael Pollan: For ACS members who would like to hear renowned author and "real food" advocate Michael Pollan give the closing keynote on Saturday, August 28, single day conference passes are available for $295. Passes include access to all meals and sessions on Saturday, as well as the Awards Ceremony and the Festival of Cheese. To purchase a day pass, stop by the ACS Registration Desk at the Sheraton Seattle.

Awards Ceremony and Festival of Cheese: For the first time ever, individual tickets to our annual Awards Ceremony and Festival of Cheese - held on Saturday, August 28, from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM at Seattle's Benaroya Hall - are available to the general public. This year's Festival of Cheese will include samples of outstanding cheeses, delicious bites from Seattle restaurants, regional wineries and breweries, and more than 25 Festival Marketplace sponsors with artisanal products ranging from crackers, to figs, to honey. It's the perfect opportunity for friends or family to attend one of our signature events! Purchase tickets now for $85 each.

Profiles of 2010 Merchandising Competitors

Cheese-a-Topia co-chair Sasha Davies recently asked competitors in the 2nd Annual Merchandising Competition a series of questions about their lives and work, so that ACS members can get to know them better. Did you know that Shane Wahlund from DeLaurenti's Specialty Food & Wine was an actor before becoming a cheesemonger? Or that Nathan Aldridge from Murray's Cheese once cut eleven perfect 1/2 pound pieces of cheese in a row? Learn more interesting, and often funny, details about some of this year's competitors by clicking here.

Watch the competitors test their merchandising, sales, wrapping, and product presentation skills in Seattle on Thursday, August 26 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. We look forward to seeing you there!
Judging & Competition: Down to the Wire

Well, you've done it again. The old record of 1,349 entries is shattered as 223 producers (up by 26 over last year) submit for evaluation a whopping 1,438 cheeses and dairy products. Congratulations to all for maintaining your entrepreneurial spirit, keeping your creative juices flowing, and continuing to support ACS through times of transition.

Thirty-four US states are represented (up by two from last year) and one more Canadian province (Oye!). We've seen increases in every single-source milk type, and you've entered in 107 different subcategories, up 10 from last year. Amazing.

Shipping labels and other materials have already been sent out to entrants, as we are now one week out from our receiving dates, August 19-20. As we close in on that next deadline, we would like to share a few important points to keep in mind regarding sending your entries. Click here for critical information about labeling, packing, and shipping your entries to Seattle.

If you have not received your shipping labels yet, please email the ACS office at [email protected] and a staff member will contact you.
Seattle has shaped up to be a wonderful conference. We on the Judging and Competition Committee are looking forward to seeing and celebrating what you have created for 2010.
Good luck to you all. See you in Seattle!
David Grotenstein
Judging and Competition Chair

National Goat Cheese Month
by Christine Hyatt

For as long as I've worked in cheese, I have "known" August is National Goat Cheese Month. The funny thing is, no one I asked could tell me definitively how this came about. Even a cursory Google search returned nothing...until page 4!
Yes, I'm pretty relentless when I get intrigued by something. I came across a tiny snippet from a Parade magazine insert from the Reading Eagle from July 22, 1988 announcing the month as the brainchild of the American Cheese Society and Bongrain Cheese, a large exporter of French cheese.
A few e-mails to several goat cheese luminaries who have been crafting great cheese for 25+ years yielded a bit more info, including tales of tastings for members of Congress in D.C. in the late 80's.

At the time, goat cheese was still a relatively unknown thing in the US. The ACS Administrator at the time, Laura Jacobs Welch, became a point person to promote this "new" product and marketing funds from Bongrain added exposure at retailers. 

Taking the idea to the next level, tastings were held for members of Congress in Washington, D.C. with industry luminaries like Ricki Carroll, Judy Schad and Mary Keehn promoting goat milk cheeses to political movers and shakers.
Hidden gems of ACS history like this further underscore the incredible effort of so many individuals over the last 20+ years which are the foundation of this association and our industry.

We are now laying a similar foundation for the next 20 years. What are we doing - or could we be doing - to further build the foundation of cheese in the Americas? Renewed emphasis on events like Goat Cheese Month may be in order along with, perhaps, a wider celebration of American Cheese from all milk types. American Cheese certainly does mean something different than it did a generation ago and that's definitely something to celebrate!

Connect to ACS

Stay connected to ACS no matter where you are! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (#cheesesociety or #festivalofcheese), LinkedIn, or our member networking site, CheeseWire. Get the latest updates on our annual conference, connect with fellow cheese makers, retailers and enthusiasts, and tell us what's happening in your world.

Conference attendees are encouraged to post updates about their experiences in Seattle on any of our social networking sites. We hope you'll join in the conversations, and even start some of your own!

Find us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter     View our profile on LinkedIn