June 2011 Masthead
In This Issue...
A Tribute to Ig Vella
Father's Day with L'Espalier
American Cheese Month
Welcome, Jane Bauer
Volunteer in Montréal!
Summer Desserts
Register by June 23!
John Crompton Memorial Scholarship Winners
News from the Judging & Competition Committee
Montréal Fromagiers
SAVOR the American Cheese Society
A Tribute to Ig Vella  

Ig Vella Headshot    

We regret to inform you that Ignazio 'Ig' Vella, Master Cheesemaker for Rogue Creamery and owner of Vella Cheese Co., passed away last Thursday. He was surrounded by family and died peacefully at his home in Sonoma, CA. ACS would like to offer our deepest condolences to the Vella family and Vella Cheese.


Ig's last few weeks were filled with thoughtful conversations, joy, and laughter with the many visitors to his home. He expressed hope for the economy and the continued success of the American artisan cheese industry.


Everyone within the cheese community will be affected by this sad news, including the entire membership of ACS, and the international community of cheese-mongers, cheese shops, and cheese lovers everywhere. He was an inspiration to us all, and his spirited personality, knowledge, and guidance will impact generations to come.


Ig was affectionately known as "The Godfather of American Artisan Cheese" for his dedication to artisan cheese, and for his efforts over the years on behalf of the industry. He was the recipient of many awards including the first ACS Lifetime Achievement Award.


Ig left a lasting legacy of service to country and community, serving as an Air Force Intelligence Officer during the Korean War and as Sonoma County Supervisor and director of the Sonoma County Fair. The knowledge he passed on from his father, Tom Vella, founder of Rogue Creamery, and the leadership and camaraderie he had with co-owners David Gremmels and Cary Bryant, will forever be imprinted within the Creamery. As David Gremmels said about Ig, "at Rogue Creamery, we are standing on the shoulders of a giant."


Here's to you Ig! You will be missed...


-Over and Out (Ig's signature parting)



Join ACS at a Father's Day Barbecue and Cheese Tasting at Apple Street Farm!

Apple Street Farm  

Are you looking for the perfect Father's Day gift? The award-winning team at L'Espalier Restaurant in Boston is hosting a Barbecue and Cheese Tasting at Chef Frank McClelland's Apple Street Farm in Essex, MA on June 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Tickets are $125/person for a delicious spread of barbecue chicken, deviled egg, potato salad, green bean salad and lemonade. Children 12 and under are $60. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.


Cheesemakers from Ruggles Hill Creamery, Shy Brothers Farm, Spring Brook Farm, Valley View Cheese, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery and more will be sampling and selling their cheeses.


Proceeds will benefit the development of the ACS Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals.


To purchase tickets, call L'Espalier at 617-262-3023.


Mark Your Calendar! October is American Cheese Month

ACM LogoJoin us in celebration of North American artisan, specialty, and farmstead cheeses this October by hosting an event in your community! Here are just a few ways to get involved:   


Cheesemakers: create and participate in a "Cheese Trail." Host tastings or classes at your creamery!

Retailers: host tastings or classes at your shop, or feature American Cheese tasting selections to go.

Distributors: work with chefs and restaurants to create cheese-centric menus or "Dine Arounds" in your city.

Educators: host guided tastings in public venues.

Bloggers: promote events and get involved with our social media outreach.

Cheese Enthusiasts: host an in-home tasting for friends.

ACS will share more information about getting involved in the coming weeks.   

If you are interested in participating as a Regional or Local Coordinator, Volunteer, or Sponsor, contact Rebecca Sherman Orozco.


Welcome, Jane Bauer!

Jane Bauer Smaller 

ACS is pleased to welcome the newest member of our staff, Jane Bauer!

Jane joined the ACS team as Education
and Outreach Manager, where she will oversee the ACS Body of Knowledge and the ACS Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals, among many other projects.


Jane has many years of experience in the association world, familiarity with certification, and a strong business background that includes project management, education and training, marketing, and sales.  She has been a leader of Slow Food in Utah, and is now involved with the group in Denver.  Jane is also an avid cook, foodie, and food blogger who has spent time getting to know artisan cheesemakers and how they work in Utah.   


Please look for Jane at this year's Conference & Competition in Montr�al, and give her a warm welcome!

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 today!

Summer Desserts for Cheese Lovers 

Photo: Leo Gong 

As the weather warms, our thoughts turn to refreshing summer desserts featuring fresh cheeses.
From a tiramisu smoothie with sweet mascarpone, to tangy goat cheese ice cream, you're sure to find a new summer favorite!


Member Milestones

Mackenzie Creamery is recipient of Portage Country Environmental Conservation Award

Unity College Awards Honorary Doctorate to Samuel Kaymen, Founder of Stonyfield Farm

2nd Annual Cheese-monger Invitational on July 8

The Cheese Bar in Milwaukee Celebrates Second Birthday on June 18 

Fromagination Named 2011 Outstanding Retailer by National Specialty Food Association

Gov. Brown Declares June Real California Milk Month  
Looking Ahead, and Reflecting on the Past

Christine Hyatt 2011 Photo 

With just eight weeks left until our 2011 Conference & Competition, the ACS team is caught up in the hustle and bustle of planning for our events in Montr�al. This year's events are looking to be bigger and better than ever: registrations are coming in at record rates, and we're thrilled to report that our Judging & Competition will be the largest ever, with more than 1,600 entries! 


If you haven't made plans to join us in Montr�al, it's not too late: regular registration rates are available through June 23, and late registrations will be accepted through July 13. Of course, walk-in registrations are always welcome, if you live locally and aren't able to make plans until the last minute. 


I am beginning to prepare for this year's Town Hall Meeting, which will be led by Will Studd and myself on Friday, August 5. This annual session provides members with an opportunity to engage in dialogue around ACS's current direction, relevant industry issues, and regulatory and consumer-driven topics. This is the time when our membership comes together as a community, and we encourage your attendance and participation. If you have topics that you would like to see presented or discussed at the Town Hall Meeting, please email them to me


As we prepare for all that lies ahead, we must also take a moment to reflect back on the life of a leader and source of inspiration for our industry, Ig Vella. We lost a giant among us -- the "Godfather of American Artisan Cheese" -- when Ig passed away last week. Ig was an ACS Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and a mentor to many in our industry. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts. 


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. 


Turn and Face the Strange 


Nora Weiser in Scarf

People are generally change-averse. This is why most people and businesses change only when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. You see it quite often when health concerns jolt someone awake to the reality that he must change his ways, or in business when a company finally acknowledges that it is losing market share and shifts gears.  


Since ACS's move to self-management last year, change has been one of our defining characteristics -- but not the type of change forced by fear, or the pain of inertia, or mere necessity. ACS has approached change as neither frightening nor finite. Led by a forward-thinking Board of Directors and supported by an open-minded membership, ACS has benefited from the encouragement to embrace the changeability of change itself. We work to be nimble so we can follow industry issues as they arise, and strive to make changes with one goal in mind: to improve what we do for our members. Be it our new website, new database, first-ever conference outside the United States, FDA and regulatory outreach, the launch of American Cheese Month, developing an industry Body of Knowledge, creating a Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals, offering webinars for the first time, or just streamlining procedures to improve customer service -- we appreciate the comments and feedback from members so we can continue to change and improve.  


As a member, I hope you will see change the way I do: as an ongoing process of experimenting, learning, growing, and improving, rather than a quest for unattainable perfection.




Nora Weiser

Executive Director


Regular Registration Rates End June 23! 


If you haven't registered for the 2011 ACS Conference in Montr�al, don't miss your opportunity to do so by June 23 to enjoy lower registration rates!  Starting on June 24, rates will increase from $575 to $695 for ACS members.


 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 1,600 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  


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


2011 John Crompton Memorial Scholarship Winners


The John Crompton Memorial Scholarship Committee was impressed with the 20 solid retailer applicants who applied for scholarships this year. We thank each and every one of them for their essays and resumes. As committee members, we each take the time to read through all the applications and fill out a rating sheet for each person. We had a luncheon meeting at Seacrest Foods' new warehouse in Everett, MA in early April to discuss candidates and come to an agreement on the winners.


The applicants represented a good microcosm of the country -- we had an evenly balanced showing geographically, as well as women to men. Large stores and small stores were represented, and as we pored over the essays, we were struck by how much our industry has changed. To imagine all of these talented and passionate folks choosing to make a career as a cheesemonger is something we could not have foreseen when we were starting out in this business with John Crompton many years ago. It is gratifying to see the scope of knowledge, experience, and commitment that is out there in the retail world today.


After much good-natured rallying for our candidates, here are the four winners of the John Crompton Memorial Scholarship for 2011:

  • Laura Heifetz, who has been selling cheese for 7 years, mostly around the Metro New York area. Currently, Laura is the cheesemonger for Greene Grape Provisions in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Alexander Kast, Cheese Merchandiser at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC.Alexander has been working with cheese for six years, and comes to North Carolina via New York City and Neals Yard Dairy in the United Kingdom.
  • Lance Lynn is the Manager at Scardello Artisan Cheese in Dallas, TX.He has been working there for two and a half years.
  • Julia Powers is the Specialty Cheese Lead at Metropolitan Market in Tacoma, WA.Her stint as lead cheesemonger there began in 2004.

We all agreed that John would have approved of our choices and would be happy to have them represent his legacy in the world of cheese.


John Crompton was a pioneer in the New England cheese community. He loved cheese, loved people, and really loved selling. Very few of us could match his enthusiasm, knowledge, and energy when it came to selling cheese.  


We lost John too early, and those of us who loved him were determined to keep his memory alive by establishing this scholarship fund for new members in the cheese community. To us, he will always be "Johnny Cheese," and we look forward to awarding these scholarships every year.


The committee looks forward to meeting you all in Montreal!


Linda S. Luke

Chair, John Crompton Memorial Scholarship Committee


The Shipping News  





If you've been reading CheeseBytes and are a cheesemaker entering Judging & Competition this year, you know that we have been updating you about the logistics of getting your U.S. entries across the international border into Canada.


Canadian entrants: there's important information for you here, too... so keep reading!


Those of you who have entered before know that we usually have a two day window for receiving, the Thursday and Friday of the week prior to Competition. But this year we must have all the goods in hand on the same day, Thursday July 28, to facilitate our single shipment across the Canadian border. All entries will be shipped via UPS for consolidation in their Plattsburgh, NY facility. This will ensure a seamless crossing under one single, comprehensive customs document.


We had been saying that cheesemakers would be required to ship Next Day Air for a guaranteed, on-time arrival in Plattsburgh on that morning. However, through the ongoing efforts of the ACS office (particularly Michelle Lee) and Carmine Della Serra, our account manager at UPS, many entrants will now have 3 shipping options:

  • Next-Day Air
  • Second Day Air
  • UPS Ground

The latter two options are new developments that can help bring down shipping costs for many of you.


The vast majority of you will send shipments overnight anyway, but those of you with sturdier cheeses can make use of 2nd Day Air shipping or Ground Shipping (in cases where standard ground shipping is guaranteed for one-day delivery) with the same assurance of on-time delivery in Plattsburgh.


The Second Day Air option is available to any shipper in the continental United States. Please review sample Second Day Air, Next Day, and Ground shipping rates from Los Angeles, CA, Madison, WI, and Hartford, CT (click on linked text at left to view shipping rates). A sizable portion of the northeast qualifies for Next Day shipping via UPS Ground. To help determine if you are within that range, please consult our shipping map below. If you fall within the yellow area on the map (NY, MA, VT, parts of PA, NJ, NH and CT), you will be able to ship via UPS Ground.


The UPS shipping labels that you will receive will have a scannable code number that directs your parcel to our truck at the Plattsburgh loading dock.Whatever mode of shipping is right for you, the most important thing to remember is that you must ship via UPS for arrival on Thursday morning, July 28. All entries will end up in refrigeration at the Palais des Congr�s by the end of that same day.


Entries coming from Canada do not need to follow the above procedure, as you can send entries directly to the Palais des Congr�s for arrival either on Thursday, July 28 or Friday, July 29. Separate, specific details will accompany your shipping materials.


A word about your packing slips: every year, we ask that you fill out and include, with each case you are shipping, a packing slip for the contents of that case. Because of this year's international crossing, it is even more essential that you fill out and include those packing slips. A new and important piece of information is required this year on that slip: the production dates for each entry.  


You must provide this information for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in order for your entry to be included in the Festival of Cheese and Cheese Sale in Montr�al. Please make copies of the packing slip included with your shipping materials as needed, and remember to completely fill out and include a packing slip for each case you ship!  


Due to the summer heat and potential delays in transit, we always ask you to pack your cheeses appropriately -- meaning well-cushioned and insulated boxes with enough ice packs to keep things cool for 48 - 72 hours. Please read the packing and shipping guidelines letter that will accompany your shipping materials.


As of this writing, we are still processing entries, but it appears that you've sent in a new record number of cheeses. We will be in the vicinity of 1,600! Thanks to all our cheesemaker members for the continued support and celebration of your colleagues and their work. We're all looking forward to a terrific conference in Montr�al.


Kind regards,


David Grotenstein

Michelle Lee

Richard & Karen Silverston


Judging & Competition Committee Members  


Montr�al Fromagiers 

by Liz Campbell


La Moutonniere
La Moutonni�re

For many North Americans, meat comes on a Styrofoam tray, bread comes from a plastic bag, and cheese comes in a pretty plastic package -- and all of these come from a giant building called a supermarket.


Montr�al is not immune to this trend, but one of the joys of being in a city so heavily influenced by its French roots is the ability to shop in stores which specialize in meat -- or bread -- or cheese. Here, the boucherie, boulangerie and fromagerie (butcher, baker and cheesemonger) are still very much a part of the food scene. But in Montr�al, even large supermarkets are great places to find local artisan cheeses and specialty food products. Just as an example, Louise M�nard's IGA store, a five minute walk from the Westin Montr�al, is an eye-opener for those who might not guess just how different a supermarket can be when customers have food wired into their DNA.


When I tried to make a list of really good fromageries in the city, I got to 21 and had to stop counting!


I know I keep saying this, but it's that French influence again. Montr�al is a city with French origins, and the French understand the importance of food. They believe that food should stay as close to its origins as possible, so a fromagerie remains just one degree -- or at most two degrees -- of separation from the cheesemaker. They understand that cheese is alive, and as with all living things, it will grow and change with time. Only a true fromagier ensures that cheese remains healthy during its life span -- which should end only with that first tasting, the prelude to purchase.


I'm sharing my list of fromageries in Montr�al - click here to learn more, and see how many you can visit during your stay!  


SAVOR the American Cheese Society!


On June 3-4, ACS staff traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience. Along with representatives from member cheesemakers, ACS staff sampled artisan cheeses and accompaniments to 4,000 attendees over two nights. Thanks to all who participated! See a list of the cheesemakers and other artisan producers whose products were sampled at the event by clicking here.


See a slideshow of photographs from SAVOR here, on the ACS Facebook page.  


If you are a producer and would like to have your products showcased by ACS, consider sending your cheese or accompanying products for the ACS booth at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, which will be held from September 29 - October 1 in Denver, Colorado. Contact Rebecca Sherman Orozco to learn more about opportunities to participate. 



A message from Renaissance Associates, ACS's merchant services partner:


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