May 2011 Masthead
In This Issue...
2011 Scholars-in-Residence
Conference Cheesemongers
Market Place
It's Time for Asparagus
Volunteer in Montréal!
Member Milestones
Cheese in the News
Registration is Open!
Competition Reminders
Creamery to Competition
Let the Sun Shine In!
2011 ACS Sponsorship

Meet Our 2011 Scholars-in-Residence

We are pleased to announce the 2011 ACS Scholars-in-Residence, who will be available at the ACS Conference in Montr�al to provide one-on-one evaluations of your cheeses.

Be sure to sign up for time with these two experts when you check in for the conference! 

Scholar in Residence

Dr. Montserrat Almena-Aliste 

Dr. Montserrat Almena-Aliste ("Montse") is a dairy specialist and expert on food sensory evaluation. She is a co-author of a book about sensory evaluation and cheese quality. Montse has served as a judge at the ACS Competition for several years. She is part of the technical team of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, and her scholarly interests include sensory characterization of artisanal and raw milk cheeses.

Sister Noella

Sister Noella Marcellino Ph.D.

Sister Noella is a Benedictine nun of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT. She began making the Abbey's Bethlehem cheese in 1977 according to a traditional technique taught to her by a native of Auvergne, France.
Sister Noella traveled 30,000 km through traditional cheese-making regions of Europe, collecting native strains of Geotrichum candidum to assess its biochemical and genetic diversity. She has a Doctorate in Microbiology, and we hear that she plans to bring her microscope to Montr�al!

Official Conference


ACS is pleased to announce the two cheesemongers who will serve in the role of Official Conference Cheesemonger at the 2011 Conference & Competition. Be sure to say hello to them in Montr�al!

Jeanne Rodier is a professional cheesemonger at Yannick Fromagerie in Montr�al. She is also a member of the jury of the S�lection Caseus, Qu�bec's prestigious fine cheese competition. This year will mark her first ACS Conference & Competition.

Jeanne Rodier
Jeanne Rodier
Kelly Sheehan is a professional cheesemonger working in Austin, Texas for Antonelli's Cheese Shop. She helped open the shop in 2010. In recent years, Kelly has served as an integral part of the cheese receiving and "triage" team at the ACS Conference & Competition.

Kelly Sheehan
Kelly Sheehan
Market Place: Great Markets of Montr�al

by Liz Campbell


There's a real European ambiance in North America's largest French-speaking city. In the warm months, Montr�al's squares (and there are many of these) are filled with the bright umbrellas and kiosks of artists and flower sellers. The sidewalk caf�s are abuzz with cheerful conversation as customers sip rich caf� au lait and nibble on gorgeous patisseries.

In the early days, these squares were markets and formed the gathering places for citizens. They gathered for everything from sporting events to political rallies, and from the market, news was spread throughout the area. Today, no trip to Montr�al is complete, especially for foodies, without visiting at least one market. March� Atwater, March� Jean-Talon, and March� Maisonneuve are three of the most famous...(continue)


It's Time for Asparagus!


Asparagus Pizza

May is National Asparagus Month: it's the time of year when beautiful bundles of bright green or snowy white asparagus can be found in grocery stores everywhere.

Not only is asparagus a sure sign of spring's arrival, but this vegetable is the perfect accompaniment to cheese!
Check out a few of our favorite asparagus recipes, below. 


We Need Your Support: Volunteer in Montr�al!

Each year, ACS relies on countless volunteers who provide time and talents to ensure that our competition, educational sessions, and special events run smoothly.

ACS is currently seeking volunteers to support the 2011 Conference & Competition in Montr�al. If you love cheese, don't miss this opportunity to work closely with leaders in the industry! All volunteers receive an ACS 2011 t-shirt, and a complimentary ticket to the Festival of Cheese on Saturday, August 6.

Interested in volunteering? Sign up online! We hope to see you in Montr�al!

Lactalis Makes $4.9 Billion Bid to Acquire Outstanding Shares of Parmalat

Cheese in the News


The Big Cheese: Edmonton Journal, May 11


Say (rich, creamy) cheese: LA Times, May 10


Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Leads Way To Geotrichum Rinded Cheeses: Perishable News, May 9


Cheesemonger Jason Sobocinski Lands Cooking Channel Show: Gourmet Retailer, May 9


Prince Edward hosting Great Canadian Cheese Festival: Eastern Ontario AgriNews,

May 2011


Demand for goat cheese spurs growth in region's artisan cheese makers: Spokesman Review, May 4


Blessed are the cheese makers: Columbia Daily Tribune, April 27


Montr�al is Just Around the Corner

Christine Hyatt 2011 Photo 

As you're making plans for summer fun in the sun, don't forget to carve out time for the 28th Annual ACS Conference & Competition in beautiful Montr�al.This cosmopolitan city is steeped in tradition and, of course, great cheese, making it the perfect host city for this year's convergence of the cheese community. 


One highlight for me will be meeting and hearing from Sister Noella, the subject of a PBS documentary called The Cheese Nun, and a renowned microbiologist who makes cheese at the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She will be present a session on geotrichum and will serve as a resource to members, as one of our Scholars-in-Residence. Rumor has it that she'll be bringing her microscope! 

You can read more about all of our timely session topics, including a new Raw Milk Cheese Track that focuses on regulatory issues, food safety and HACCP plans, in our program schedule. Please note that during registration, you will not be asked to choose the sessions you will attend. This year, we are moving to a 'first come, first served' model. The only exception will be the hands-on cheesemaking sessions which have very limited space. Also, as you register for conference and book your travel, be sure to use our discount code for 10%-12% off AirCanada flights. 


While conference planning is front and center for ACS, our members have also been active in forums related to food policy and regulation. ACS Chairman David Gremmels presented at an FDA public meeting on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Preventive Controls for Facilities in Washington, D.C. on April 20. David was the voice of small producers alongside industry giants. 


On May 10-11, several ACS member-cheesemakers were invited to participate in a pilot training session on food safety under the FSMA for cheesemakers, hosted by the Innovation Center for Dairy and DMI. The event organizers reached out to ACS to invite small cheesemaker representatives to participate, share information, and spread the word on the results of the training. Attendees included cheesemakers from Jasper Hill Farm, Rogue Creamery, Beehive Cheese Co., Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Goat Lady Dairy, and Uplands Cheese Company. 


I look forward to seeing you in Montr�al! 


Christine Hyatt

ACS President


P.S. Don't forget your passport! 

If you plan to attend the conference, you'll need a valid passport for travel into Canada.If you haven't applied for or renewed your passport yet, be sure to do so soon! Learn more on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. 


It Takes a Village...of Cheese


Nora Weiser in Scarf

ACS was recently invited to present its views on mandatory controls for small producers under the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) at an FDA public meeting. This month, Dairy Management Inc. and the Innovation Center for Dairy invited ACS to include a group of members in their two-day pilot training program on how FSMA impacts production for small cheesemakers. This is all part of our effort to keep ACS members informed, involved, and at-the-table on important regulatory issues that impact our industry. 


As a member, I encourage you to get involved and stay abreast of industry trends by finding time in your schedule and funds in your budget to attend ACS in Montr�al this August. It is during times of potential change and challenge that it is most important for you to stay connected to ACS's vibrant cheese community. With conference educational sessions focused on retailing, cheesemaking, North American cheese history, and even raw milk cheese, this is one year you can't afford to miss. And while the importance of what you'll learn should top your list of reasons to join us in Montr�al, you shouldn't discount the value of networking with members, finding new business partners, having a great time, and stepping outside of your daily routine to explore something -- and somewhere -- new. 


Two unique tours will get you out and about in Montr�al and its surrounding townships to see how our neighbors to the north make, sell, and appreciate their cheeses -- many that we can't get stateside. The Palais des Congr�s (Montr�al Convention Center) will be our town square each day, and the bar at the Westin will be our watering hole each night. I hope you'll help us fill these communal spaces with the energy and vitality that only you can bring to ACS. Register today!





Nora Weiser

Executive Director


P.S. In this spirit of community, consider signing up to Share-a-Room or Share-a-Ride with fellow members headed to Montr�al. You'll cut costs, and what you'll earn in valuable connections will be priceless.


Conference Registration is Open!


If you haven't registered for the 2011 ACS Conference in Montr�al, don't miss your opportunity to do so by June 1 to enjoy our lowest "Early Bird" rates! 

 Highlights of this year's conference include:

    • Opening Celebration at March� Bonsecours in historic Old Montr�al
    • Opening Keynote, "New World Terroir," presented by Qu�bec agronomist and television host Pascale Tremblay
    • Opportunities to meet one-on-one with noted Scholars-in-Residence
    • Festival of Cheese featuring more than 1,400 cheeses and gourmet foods
    • Meet the Cheesemaker with producers showcasing and sampling products to retailers, distributors, buyers, and other industry leaders
    • Awards Ceremony & Rooftop Reception celebrating our winning cheesemakers
    • Unique tasting and pairing sessions
    • Educational sessions with leading experts 
    • Tours through the Province of Qu�bec (Wednesday, August 3)

If you have any questions about conference registration, contact the ACS office at 720-328-2788 or [email protected].


Important Competition Reminders


Entry Deadlines

May 20, 2011 - Early Entry ($55/cheese)

May 27, 2011 - Late Entry ($80/cheese)

No entries will be accepted after May 27, 2011.


Entry Reminders

When submitting your entries, please verify the following information:


1. Verify the spelling of names, company name, address, phone, and website on your entry form. This data is used for the list of participating companies in the awards booklet, and you'll want to make sure that others can find you.


2. Verify that no cheese name is a duplicate of another entry's name, even if they are entered in different categories, e.g., Cheddar, in EA and EX. (Competition rules don't allow true "duplicate" entries -- e.g., the same cheese in two categories.) As an example of a solution to this problem, the Cheddar in EA could be named Cheddar 12-24 months and the Cheddar in EX could be named Cheddar 25-48 months.


3. If the entry category is a flavored category, please ensure that the entry form contains a list of the flavoring ingredients.


4. If you are entering in the American Originals/Original Recipe Category (CC, CG, CS), please be sure to provide a brief explanation in the comment field about what makes your recipe unique.


Don't miss the deadline -- enter your products today!


If you have any questions about the Judging & Competition, contact the ACS office at 720-328-2788 or [email protected].


From Creamery to Competition 

(or Moving Your Cheeses to Montr�al)


This year, the annual ACS Judging & Competition will be held outside of the United States for the first time. As a member of the Judging & Competition (J&C) Committee, I can appreciate the extra hurdles that our Canadian members historically have gone through to get their cheeses to U.S. competition venues. The shoe, as they say, is on the other foot this year for U.S. cheesemakers. Recognizing the challenges of cross-border cheese transport, the J&C Committee has been working hard to ensure the safe arrival of your cheeses in Montr�al this summer. Let's look at a few of the hurdles we faced, and how we've overcome them.


Location, Location, Location

The city of Montr�al is rich with history, culture, and fantastic food. This makes for a perfect host city for the 2011 ACS Conference & Competition. There is only one dilemma for U.S. members: it's on the other side of the border. For food products to move into or out of the country, a fair amount of paperwork is generated for customs andtraceability. For any individual entrant, filing paperwork and documentation for customs would be tedious and might slow the chances of getting cheese across in a timely manner. To make things easier for our members, we have arranged to have all of the U.S. cheeses come across the border collectively, under documentation secured by ACS. This means we need a single location in the U.S. where cheeses are collected before they are sent on to their final destination in Montr�al.


The Little Town in Upstate New York

In order for ACS to track entries and ensure that all cheeses make it across the border, we have distilled many shipping options down to one choice: UPS. If you look at a map of UPS hubs in the United States, you'll see the usual spots like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Louisville. And then there is Plattsburgh, New York -- a town of 19,000 people located just 64 short miles from Montr�al. It is the closest hub to the Canadian border, and therefore our best choice for a cheese consolidation point.


Your Cheese Is Heavy and Requires Special Planning!

By working with just one carrier (UPS), we will ensure that cheeses coming from every corner of the U.S. will land at one consolidation point -- Plattsburgh. Once in Plattsburgh, the cheese parcels will be loaded onto a refrigerated truck, which ACS will drive over the border to Montr�al. The important point to remember is that all cheese must be shipped to arrive on the same day: July 28, 2011. We will also have a backup truck ready for the following day, in case any packages are delayed.         


Cool Temps & Swiss Timing

For the cheesemaker/shipper's part, please be extra diligent when packing boxes. We will provide detailed packing instructions designed to keep your cheeses cool and safe for 48-72 hours. More cooling packs are better. Complete and legible paperwork, along with properly applying all the documentation we send with your shipping materials, will also speed the process. After everything's packed, you can have your parcels picked up by UPS or take them to your nearest UPS store.


The Judging & Competition Committee started early on this project to ensure your cheeses and cultured dairy products will arrive cool, happy, and safe in Montr�al. We hold weekly conference calls involving committee members, customs agents, and UPS managers. Members of the committee have also conducted visits to the competition site in Montr�al, as well as the Plattsburgh UPS facility.


We are excited to pioneer these new challenges this year, and we hope this work will answer many questions posed by future competition venues. We look forward to the 2011 ACS Conference & Competition in beautiful Montr�al.      


AFI Large Logo

Best regards,


Tom Kooiman

2011 ACS Judging & Competition Committee


P.S. If you're a Canadian cheesemaker, you can use any shipping service, or you can hand-deliver your cheeses directly to the competition site in Montr�al.




The 2011 Judging & Competition is

sponsored by Atlanta Foods International  


Let the Sun Shine In! 


Solar Panels at Redwood Hill 

This November, ACS member Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery found itself in the spotlight for something other than its celebrated goat cheeses, yogurts, and kefirs. The Sebastopol, California-based company installed an incredible 2,500 solar panels over two acres of roof space to offset its energy consumption - moving one step closer to owner Jennifer Lynn Bice's vision for a carbon neutral operation.


The 586-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system was installed at Redwood Hill's creamery, located several miles from its farm. The system is the realization of Bice's vision for a company that treats the environment with as much respect as it does the animals that produce milk for its products. Bice's goal was to offset the environmental impact and financial costs of Redwood Hill's wide distribution system (because goat milk products represent a smaller niche of the market, the company must distribute across the country) while demonstrating a long-term commitment to sustainability. 


The process of developing Redwood Hill's solar system began in 2006, and it ultimately took four years from conception to completion. Securing financing was one of the most important steps in the process. Luckily, with strong cash flow and no existing debt, Bice was able to secure a ten-year loan for $2.9 million from Exchange Bank, a local banking partner. The loan was designed so that Redwood Hill's monthly payments would be approximately the same as its past monthly energy bills -- an affordable option that other companies exploring a solar installation should consider. Upon completion of the project in 2010, Redwood Hill received approximately $900,000 in federal tax incentives and rebates, and will receive nearly $500,000 in incentives from the California Solar Initiative over five years -- ultimately reducing the outstanding loan balance by half...(continue reading)


Get Noticed with an ACS Sponsorship!

Align your brand with the best in the industry as a 2011 ACS sponsor! Our sponsors build powerful, long-lasting relationships with our members, as well as with the wider public. In 2011, consider sponsoring one of these key ACS events:
  • 2011 Conference & Competition: This year marks ACS's first conference in Canada, and it affords exciting new opportunities for sponsors. Sponsors will reach the audiences they always count on, but they will also have the chance to explore new opportunities with a receptive and excited cheese community in Canada. Download our 2011 Sponsorship Brochure
  • Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals: ACS is developing a Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals, which will offer an opportunity for food industry professionals who procure, care for, sell, or serve cheese to earn the distinguished designation of Certified Cheese Professional -- the highest credential available to cheese professionals in North America. Learn more by downloading our Certification Exam Sponsorship Brochure
  • American Cheese Month: Launching in October of 2011, sponsors can get noticed by supporting this month-long celebration with events and educational outreach in every region of the country. Help ACS increase visibility for the North American cheese community! 
To learn more about these sponsorship opportunities and benefits, or if you would like to learn how you can support our Certification initiative, please contact Rebecca Sherman at 720-328-2788 ext. 301 or [email protected].

Connect to ACS

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

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