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Save the Dates for ACS 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin!
ACS is pleased to announce that our 30th Annual Conference & Competition will take place July 31-August 3, 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin!
We're thrilled to return to Wisconsin for this important anniversary year, and we're looking forward to working with co-chairs Jeanne Carpenter of Wisconsin Cheese Originals, Sara Hill of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, and Bob Wills of Cedar Grove Cheese.
Would you like to get involved in planning the 2013 Conference?
Call for Presentations: Submit a Proposal for an Educational Session in 2013
The Call for Presentations for members and the general public who are interested in submitting educational session ideas for our 2013 Conference is now open!
ACS invites proposals from experts who meet our criteria for educating cheesemakers, retailers, and other industry professionals about best practices, new trends, research, and improving products and processes.
Proposals are due soon: Submit yours by September 4 in order to be considered for the 30th Annual ACS Conference in Madison!
Add Your October Cheese Events to the American Cheese Month Calendar!
Adding your events is easy: simply follow the link on the homepage
to post your events. If you're already planning events in October, regardless of whether they were originally designed for American Cheese Month, we encourage you to add them to the calendar.
Help us reach our goal of doubling the 100+ events in 50 cities that we saw in 2011!
31 Days, 31 Cheeses: Sign Up for the American Cheese Month Passport Program!
Designed to generate consumer enthusiasm for American cheeses, the passport program invites customers to purchase an American Cheese Month Passport at their local retailer for $10. The passport provides a special discount (ranging from 20-40% off) on a designated "Cheese of the Day" from October 1-31. 100% of revenue from passport sales will benefit the nonprofit American Cheese Education Foundation. There is no cost for retailers to participate.
If you are a retailer interested in participating in the American Cheese Month Passport Program, learn more and sign up
Get Your Cheeses Noticed:
Send them to the Great American Beer Festival!
Photo: Brewer's Association
This October, ACS will sample our members' products to 50,000 enthusiasts, brewers, chefs, and media representatives over three days at the Great American Beer Festival
(October 11-13, 2012).
Would you like to get your cheeses noticed at this event? Let us showcase your products!
Participating cheesemakers should send approximately 8 lbs of 1-3 different cheeses for the event (pre-cubed or crumbled is preferred, but not required). ACS will prep, sample, and provide information about your cheese(s) to event attendees.
If you would like to participate, contact Steve Binns at 720-328-2788 or [email protected].
Resources for 2012 Judging & Competition Entrants
Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 ACS Judging & Competition! A full list of winners is posted on our website. You can also download a media kit
with statistics about 2012 entries.
If you are a 2012 winner, you should have received an email from ACS with a high-resolution winners logo for your product packaging and marketing materials. If you did not receive this logo, please contact Rebecca Orozco. You may also purchase winners stickers to place onto the winning products you produce or sell; stickers are available for $10 per roll of 500 stickers.
All companies that entered the 2012 Judging & Competition will receive a mailed packet with their scoresheets in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye out for this packet, as it includes valuable feedback about your products from our judges.
We thank all of the producers who participated in this year's Judging & Competition! We look forward to seeing your products next year in Madison, Wisconsin.
Comt� Cheese Association Announces Scholarship Opportunity for ACS CCP™s
The Comt� Cheese Association has announced a scholarship opportunity for ACS Certified Cheese Professionals™ (ACS CCP™s). The winner of the
scholarship will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Comt� region of France to learn first-hand about the cheese's unique history and production, as well as to explore the region and its culture. The trip will take place in June 2013 (dates TBC).
To apply, ACS CCP™s must fill out an official entry form
and email it to [email protected]
by December 1, 2012.
| A Conference of Firsts for ACS
Still nursing that Raleigh hangover? No, not the head-pounding kind that results from that extra glass of pinot in the lobby bar, or even the belt-busting feeling of having indulged in too many hush puppies at the local culinary hotspots. I'm referring to that lingering feeling of hope, accomplishment, and invigoration that comes from an intense, collaborative, and productive annual gathering of our vibrant industry.
For those unable to join, suffice to say that this year's conference was one for the books, with co-chairs Dr. MaryAnne Drake and Dick Roe and their planning committee delivering on-point content and opportunities to learn, network and grow! Our ACS staff, led by Nora Weiser, was simply amazing. Please all take a bow!
There were a number of firsts at this conference, with the most obvious being that it was our first conference held in the Southeast Region. North Carolina gave us so much reason for optimism with its burgeoning dairy industry which produces award-winning cheeses and an increasing number of retail and restaurant venues from which to enjoy them. Thanks to the City of Raleigh for the extraordinary welcome, which we all experienced in shops, restaurants, and farmers markets.
One cannot mention firsts without acknowledging the successful launch (at long last!) of our industry's Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam, which was sold out with a waiting list, and significant enough to be featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal! Sue Sturman, Sasha Davies, and their team of so many of ACS's finest made this a first we will long cherish and appreciate. The commitment of so many individual and corporate donors/sponsors enabled this dream to become a reality, with special thanks to Emmi Roth K�se USA for stepping up in a big way! And who could forget the brave 150 who signed up to be first and test their own mettle? The names of those individuals who passed the exam and earned their ACS CCP™ credentials will be announced in September.
Other firsts include a gathering of representatives of American cheese guilds, with a commitment to work together to create value for our members both at the ACS conference and all year long! Twelve regional or state guilds with a lot of energy gathered around a cobbled-together group of tables while enjoying a "Breakfast of Champions" featuring our freshest ACS Judging & Competition entries (another first!). Additionally, we announced a strategic alliance with the UK's Specialist Cheesemakers Association and we held our first meeting of the newly formed ACS Past President's Advisory Council, where some of our industry's most respected luminaries came together to serve as ambassadors on critical issues that we collectively face. Special thanks to David Gremmels and Allison Hooper, who will co-lead this body in their ongoing service to ACS.
One last (but not least) notable first was the remarkably little waste that resulted from this year's conference due to the extremely successful cheese sale and the Animal Welfare Approved pig farmers who gladly took the unsellable remains for their livestock. Let's repeat this going forward!
There were great celebrations of service and contribution to our industry, for stars past, present, and future. As our terrific keynote speaker, Temple Grandin, alluded to in her remarks, there is much hope for ACS's future, with so many youth in attendance amongst the more seasoned members -- something that is not always the case in other agriculturally-related industries. We have many challenges and opportunities to face in the not-so-distant future, as we work together to bolster/establish best practices in food safety and product quality, and create awareness and appreciation among consumers of American cheeses, both here and abroad. Start planning now for our 2nd annual American Cheese Month!
I wish to warmly thank my predecessor Christine Hyatt and the other outgoing board members who have helped ACS come such a long way over the past years. I also look forward to working closely with the amazing board, committees, and staff that we have assembled to take us into 2013 and beyond!
Enjoy the rest of your summer,
|We are Vital: A Message from Christine Hyatt
Serving on the ACS Board for the last six years, the last two as President, has been an incredible experience. At the outset, I was not exactly sure just how I would balance my consulting work, creative endeavors and family life alongside a time and energy-intensive volunteer role, but I knew it was important, that my life path led me to this opportunity for growth and challenge.
I've always been a creative seeker, looking for those of like-minded energy and goodwill. For as long as I can remember, I longed to be part of something bigger than myself, working with others to create real and positive change in the world.
I see ACS as an organization that is doing just that. From its visionary beginnings focused on helping people make better cheese to the hard work and dedication of building an industry, ACS has been bringing together the cheese community for nearly 3 decades to celebrate and face challenges, learning and growing together.
In the short time that I have been involved, we transformed from an organization focused on creating a great annual conference to expand our focus to year-round programs that promote and support American cheeses, while being an advocate and clearing house for vital industry information.
ACS Board, staff and volunteers have worked on refining our message, delivering more quality educational programs, and providing resources and higher visibility for members through successful partnerships and events. Our membership is vital and alive and, even, cool. En route to our New Member Reception in Raleigh, I ran into Ricki Carroll, a founding leader of ACS and one of my cheese heroes. She joined me for the gathering and was amazed, noting: "There are more people in this room tonight than were at our first conference. And, they're young."
That simple observation bodes well for our industry and our association as we prepare for our 30th anniversary and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. We are vital. We are growing. We're up to good things and we're excited to share what is special, unique and important about the American cheese scene with a growing legion of fans.
Peace, Love & Cheese,
ACS Chairman and Past President
|Sharing & Transparency Will Help ACS Serve You
While we are all still reeling from a great conference in Raleigh, we are also gearing up for what promises to be another hectic and busy year for ACS and our members. In Raleigh, FDA representative Dr. Obianuju Nsofor announced that the FDA has budgeted for 246 inspections of small cheesemakers in their coming fiscal year, which starts October 1, 2012. ACS will need to keep abreast of what is happening on this front, and is already gearing up to provide information to assist members with tips on what to expect during an inspection, your rights and responsibilities, and to share information as it comes to us. Members will rely on us, but we will also be relying on you to let us know what's happening on the ground in your part of the country and at your facilities. Only through the open sharing of information can ACS truly help members create a framework that prioritizes food safety, traceability, and best practices.
We will be e-mailing a survey to cheesemakers this fall with a view to gathering as much information as possible about your interactions with the FDA and other regulatory bodies. We strongly encourage you to take part so that ACS has the much-needed data and statistics required to represent our members in discussions with these organizations. It is only with these data that we can build a picture of the areas of need in our industry, and respond swiftly and positively on your behalf.
Education will be front and center in the year leading up to our 30th anniversary conference in Madison next year (Save the dates! July 31-August 3, 2013). I urge all members to consider submitting a proposal to present a session in Madison -- you may not realize it, but each and every one of you has specialized knowledge, a unique perspective, and personal experiences to share that can benefit your peers in the industry. Sharing and transparency are two of the greatest tools we have to build our industry and secure its future.
ACS Executive Director
A Judging & Competition for the Record Books
We are back from a successful Judging & Competition in Raleigh, NC, with the largest number of entries ever seen in ACS history (1,711). I would like to congratulate all of our award winners, especially our Best of Show: 1st Place to Beecher's Handmade Cheese (Flagsheep), 2nd Place to Valley Shepherd Creamery (Crema de Blue), and 3rd Place to Emmi Roth USA (Roth Grand Cru Surchoix).
As a committee, we have had many successes this year, and I'd like to take this opportunity to share these with you, and to thank all of the people who helped make this year a tremendous success:
For the first time in ACS history, most of the entering cheesemakers were able to log on to the ACS website to enter their cheeses via our new online entry database. Of the 254 companies entered, only 15 sent in paper entries. This new database is designed to allow cheesemakers easy access to their entries when they enter the Judging & Competition again next year.
Via our first-ever judges' training webinars, we were able to welcome judges from all across the country and around the world and prepare them for their role as an aesthetic or technical judge, which helped save time on-site. These webinars started out as a mere thought on one of our regular calls, and then, through the work of Jane Bauer and Michelle Lee at the ACS office, this thought became a reality. We are looking forward to improving the process for next year, and we appreciate the judges' participation in this revolutionary approach to training.
Also this year, Tom Kooiman, ACS J&C Committee Vice Chair, and Sasha Davies worked to develop an educational video to help cheesemakers with proper shipping and handling techniques. This video, along with another member-produced video, will be posted on the ACS web site throughout the year, and we believe these videos were a major reason why we saw fewer cheeses in triage this year. Despite the hot weather, only a handful of entries required evaluation upon arrival.
For the first time in our history, ACS made it possible for cheesemaker members to volunteer during the Judging & Competition. The J&C Committee worked to develop a proposal for the Board, which outlined the roles cheesemakers could fill. We appreciate the Board's open and thoughtful consideration of our proposal, and we look forward to having more cheesemakers involved in the receiving and back-of-house roles next year in Madison.
I can't stress enough how much I enjoy working with this committee and watching it grow. Without the help of our dedicated volunteers, this event would not be possible. I thank each of them for their dedication to and passion for the Judging & Competition...(continue reading this piece on the ACS website)
ACS Judging & Competition Committee Chair
Download 2012 Conference Presentations &
Watch Temple Grandin's Opening Keynote
As speakers make them available, ACS is posting presentations from our 2012 Conference on our website for members to view. If you missed a session, or if there is a session you enjoyed and would like to revisit, check out the link below. Please note that we will be adding more presentations to the site in the coming weeks; if your desired session isn't posted yet, please check back again soon.
We are also excited to share video from the Opening Keynote by Temple Grandin, Bridging the Gap Between Agriculture and the Public. Temple's remarks were well-received by conference attendees, and we're pleased to make them available for those who weren't able to attend. To watch the Opening Keynote by Temple Grandin, simply click the link above or click on the image below.
Temple Grandin in Raleigh (photo by Uriah Carpenter)
First Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam Administered to 150 Candidates in Raleigh
ACS staff and members of the Certification Committee successfully administered the inaugural Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam (CCPE) in Raleigh on August 1, immediately prior to the ACS Conference. The first CCPE filled to capacity, with 150 individuals sitting for the exam. The Wall Street Journal featured the exam in a cover story on August 1, Curd Your Enthusiasm: Cheese Pros Hope to Get Certified. After taking the exam, candidates enjoyed a reception provided by Charter Sponsor Emmi Roth-K�se USA, and many stayed in Raleigh to attend the ACS Conference.
2012 exam-takers will be informed of their performance by the end of September. The exam has garnered such tremendous interest that a number of spaces for the 2013 exam in Madison, WI (to be held July 31, 2013) have already filled. Be sure to submit your application for the 2013 exam while spaces are still available!
Ask Dr. Cheese: Another Look at Bloomies
In a prior issue of CheeseBytes, Gianaclis Caldwell of Pholia Farm described her approach to achieving a successful P. candidum rind. Now, with consultant Neville McNaughton of CheezSorce, we get another perspective on the dynamics of bloomy rinds. The interviewer is San Francisco Chronicle cheese columnist Janet Fletcher.
Q: I hate it when the paste of a bloomy-rind cheese separates from the rind. How do you avoid that?
A: When I make bloomy-rind cheese, I focus a lot on the composition and whether the client is making a stabilized or non-stabilized (traditional) Camembert.
When you can pull a bloomy rind away like skin, I call that a slip coat. Some call it toadskin. It's usually the result of an imbalance of moisture, salt and acid. When it happens in a traditional Camembert-style product with low pH, you've either got too much moisture or not enough salt.
I recently had a client tell me, "I'm getting too much ripening under the skin." All she had to do was cut the curd one more time. Instead of cutting vertically at one inch, she cut at one-half inch to let out more moisture. Afterward she called me back and said, "We've just added three weeks to our shelf life."
You can't control pH on a traditional product, but you can control the moisture and salt. You rarely ever get slip coat on a stabilized Camembert.
Q: Why not?
A: Many stabilized bloomy-rind cheeses are pH 4.9 or higher. These cheeses can carry more moisture, so the producer makes more cheese. The client is looking for shelf life and appearance, so we select specific molds for that. The rind tends to be very thick, a mat of white mold that never changes. The cheeses are more stable, but the mold doesn't impart much character to the paste.
For a traditional product, we use a blend of yeast, Geotrichum candidum and Penicillium candidum that produces more flavor. This is the natural order of ripening as opposed to the more controlled modern approach.
Do you have questions for Dr. Cheese? Send them to [email protected]. We will respond to one question in each issue of CheeseBytes.
|Connect to ACS
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