Have You Renewed?
If you haven't renewed your ACS membership for 2014, be sure to do so by the end of the year! You can renew now by simply following the steps below:
1. Log into cheesesociety.org. If you don't remember your username and password, you may reset them online, or call 720-328-2788.
2. Once logged in, click on "My Account."
3. Next, click on "View My Transactions."
4. Next, click on "Pay Open Orders."
5. Within your open order, make sure the box next to your name is checked, and hit "Next" to proceed to the payment screen.
Thank you for your renewed support of ACS in 2014!
Take an All-Expenses Paid Trip to the Comt� Region of France! Scholarship Applications for ACS CCPs™ Due December 2
The Comt� Cheese Association has announced a scholarship opportunity for ACS CCPs™, offering them a unique opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Comt� region of France to learn first-hand about the cheese's history and production, and to explore the region and its culture.
To apply, ACS CCPs must submit an entry form and short essay by December 2, 2013. You can learn more here.
Special Opportunities for Cheesemakers in Sacramento
ACS member-cheesemakers are invited to showcase their products via two special programs in Sacramento next summer. Contact ACS at [email protected]
by December 10 to sign up to participate in either program!
California Cheesemaker Pub Crawl (CA Producers Only)
California producers are invited to participate in a Pub Crawl on Tuesday, July 29 in downtown Sacramento. Cheesemakers will be paired with some of Sacramento's favorite pubs, where they will sample cheeses and network with ACS members. This event will kick off the ACS Conference. ACS will contact interested producers to confirm placement in the Pub Crawl by January 31, 2014.
Cheesemaker Dine-Around (Open to All Producers)
Sacramento is home to an incredible array of great restaurants -- and during the ACS Conference next summer, some of Sacramento's best chefs will partner with ACS member-cheesemakers to offer special menus featuring their cheeses. If you are interested in partnering with a Sacramento chef next summer, contact ACS, and your information will be provided to local chefs. Chefs will select the cheesemakers with whom they wish to work. ACS will contact producers to confirm participation by January 31, 2014. Space is limited!
Order Your ACS Winners Kit for the Holiday Retail Season!
Promote winners of the ACS Judging & Competition while adding interest to your retail cheese display! The ACS J&C Winners Retail Kit includes 2013 ACS Winner ribbons and a roll of winner stickers to place on cheeses in your retail case.
The kit is $27 for members and $30 for non-members with an $8 flat shipping fee. It includes:
-One each: 2013 ACS 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Ribbons
-One (1) Roll of 500 ACS J&C Winner Stickers
*Cheese and slate pictured are not included.
Order your kit today!
Look for ACS and Our Members at the Winter Fancy Food Show!
Looking for American cheese producers at the upcoming Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco? Don't miss the American Cheese Society member pavilion in the South Hall of Moscone Center!
ACS members will be exhibiting in and around this pavilion, and ACS staff will be on-hand at booth #5017 to share information about our programs and events, from the 2014 Conference & Competition in Sacramento to the ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam.
If you would like to exhibit in the ACS member pavilion at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, be sure to request a space in this area from your Specialty Food Association representative. Space is limited.
Cheese in the News
Taking Our Industry to New Heights
How did it get to be November already? It seems like 2013 has flown by at a particularly breakneck pace, and now it's game time: bring on the holidays. Since we know you are busy, we will keep things brief!
Since last we have been in contact, members of the ACS Regulatory & Academic Committee traveled to Harrisburg, PA for the annual conference of an important ACS partner, the Dairy Practices Council. This was time well spent and it gave us some insight into what's coming down the pike with the evolving regulatory landscape. Nora has more details in her letter below, but thanks to our committed volunteers for making the trip -- and to the ACE Foundation for helping to fund our participation (at year end, we hope you'll give generously so the ACE Foundation can continue to endow educational endeavors!). ACS realizes that important relationships like these are vital to our providing top level service and representation to our members in rapidly changing times. Look for more examples and news in subsequent issues of Cheese Bytes.
At year end, we are also gearing up for next year's board elections, and I hope you will consider how you, or someone you know, could make a difference with board service. Our board aims to be representative of all sectors of our membership, and many different skill sets are needed. Find more information about board nominations in this issue of CheeseBytes. Volunteerism is what has driven ACS for thirty years, and it sets us apart from many other industry organizations.
As I let you get back to your cheesemaking, routing, selling, or serving, I would ask you to start thinking about how we as a cheese industry can take quality, safety, and awareness to new heights in the coming year -- and how you in your role as an ACS member can personally contribute toward this.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, cheese-filled Thanksgiving and some restful time with friends and family.
Nothing Stays the Same
There is a definite change in the weather in Colorado at this time of year. Warm, sunny fall days are turning into short, cooler winter days (what we call "Ski Season" here!). But, these are not the only -- and certainly far from the most important -- changes in the air. Earlier this month, I attended the Dairy Practices Council (DPC) conference in Harrisburg, PA along with a few members of the ACS Regulatory & Academic Committee. Our purpose was to gain insight into the latest happenings on the regulatory front, as well as to collaborate with colleagues in the dairy industry to update the useful and practical guidelines published by the DPC.
The bulk of our attention focused on updating the guidelines pertaining to on-farm and small-scale cheese production. It was clear to us that the work of the DPC is valuable, and quite time-consuming. Reviewing, updating, and maintaining the usefulness and accuracy of these guidelines is all done by volunteer Task Force members, much like key ACS projects which rely on the generous time donated by industry experts to get things done. We left the conference more aware than ever of the vastness of our own undertaking to create ACS Best Practices Guides for cheesemakers and retailers, but also more aware of their importance at this critical time for the artisan cheese industry. With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) moving full steam ahead, all indicators point to many impactful changes on the horizon for small producers. We will continue to do our best to build relationships and share resources with allied industry groups in order to help bring ACS members the most current information possible.
The changes that are coming will likely impact business practices and models in the short-term, but could ultimately allow for expanded opportunities for those producers who stay ahead of the curve and create food safety plans that are risk-based, validated, and consistent. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) was what we used to hear, but now we hear more and more about a shift towards HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls). While the acronyms differ by just one letter, what they spell for cheesemakers is a different approach to testing, vetting, and tracking along the production chain. Rest assured that as ACS learns more, we will continue to inform you about what these changes mean, and the procedures producers will need to have on their radar.
|Regulatory News & Updates
Deadline Extended for Comments on Proposed FSMA Rule
After technical problems with the regulations.gov website, FDA has extended the comment period for the proposed rule, and for the information collection related to the proposed rule, "Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food," that appeared in the Federal Register on January 16. Comments may not be submitted through this Friday, November 22. If you wish to comment, you may do so here.
FSMA Meeting Materials Now Available
The agenda for FDA's upcoming FSMA Public Meeting on the Proposed Rule to Establish Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals, to be held in College Park, MD, is now available. Click here to view the agenda and additional information.
Call for Nominations: ACS Board of Directors
The ACS Board of Directors is an active and dynamic group that is deeply committed to the vision of the organization: to be the leader in supporting and promoting American cheeses. The Board is tasked with fiduciary oversight and the long term strategic growth of the organization. Board members take an active role as leaders advising on matters of strategic import and organizational policy, serving on committees and task forces, working with staff and volunteers to foster a vibrant, knowledgeable, and passionate cheese community.
The ACS Nominating Committee is currently seeking nominations for the ACS Board. The Committee has identified a number of desired attributes that will be part of the selection process for nominees, including:
- Demonstrated leadership commitment and involvement with ACS and the cheese community
- Recognized leadership in the cheese community
- Relevant expertise in industry and in the disciplines of organizational management
- Positive leadership attributes, emotional intelligence, the ability to work collaboratively and engage in appropriate debate and discussion
- A strong commitment to uphold the vision, spirit, and ideals of ACS
Learn more about the nomination process and the responsibilities of Board members here. If you or someone you know would be a strong candidate for the Board, please send a letter of nomination to [email protected].
|News From the Member Services Desk
Connect with your peers and expand your education with access to a wide range of online resources, such as the member directory, historical conference session handouts, HACCP templates, Inspection Preparedness Plans, and Crisis Management Tools. To access these resources, go to www.cheesesociety.org and click the "Member Resources" tab on the upper right side of the page.
Previous conference session handouts from 2011-2013 are archived, such as "Strategic Planning for Small Businesses," "Seasonality for Small Cheesemakers," and "Everyone Likes a Good Deal: Managing Successful Promotions." Most session handouts also have contact information for presenters.
The Inspection Preparedness Plans include preparing for and managing an FDA preliminary audit inspection, a regulatory inspection standard operation procedures template, and details on FSMA. The Crisis Management Toolkit includes real-life case studies, basics of crisis planning, and messaging guidelines and templates.
In our searchable member directory, you can find other ACS members by searching by Name, Organization, City, and State. This directory only lists individual members (with their organizations listed below) receiving benefits.
Do you have other resources you'd like to see available online? Email me at [email protected] and let me know!
Member Services Specialist
Fall Judging & Competition Update
With winter starting to feel like it wants to settle in and with the holidays approaching, it is hard to think about the 2014 ACS Conference & Competition in Sacramento next July 29-August 1. That is, unless you are on any of the many volunteer planning committees that help to pull it all together.
In October, a handful of members from the ACS Judging & Competition (J&C) Committee paid a visit to the Sacramento Convention Center in beautiful downtown Sacramento. With the capitol building's classic rotunda so close to where we'll all be meeting next summer, I had flashbacks of this summer's events in Madison, and look forward to Sacramento. In preparation for next year, the J&C Committee has created two smaller working groups. One of these is the Receiving & Logistics Group which has been tasked with examining all of our current logistical systems and procedures to recommend changes. A few members of this group traveled to Sacramento to look at behind the scenes details, to help ensure that cheeses are able to move efficiently during competition. By seeing the space this far in advance, we can make all of the arrangements ahead of time and avoid the surprises that may catch us off guard once we are onsite.
The Category Review Group was put in place to expedite the category review process and make any needed additions, deletions, or changes to ensure that entry categories are appropriate for this growing competition...[continue reading]
ACS CCPs™: 253 Strong, Representing 64 Companies
As the deadline to apply for the 2014 ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam, to be held July 29 in Sacramento, is approaching, now is a good time to take a closer look at the current ACS CCPs™. Quite often we are asked, "How many companies have CCPs on staff, and what types of jobs do CCPs hold?" Currently there are 253 CCPs across the U.S. and Canada, and these individuals work in a variety of jobs from cheesemaking to restaurant service. There are 64 different companies that can boast of having a CCP on staff.
Even though the exam covers all tasks within the industry, the majority of CCPs represent the retail side of the industry. Both large and small retail stores are represented, and their locations are as diverse as ACS's membership. Here are some examples:
- Lincoln Broadbrooks works at The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village, KS. Lincoln is in charge of the cheese department and writes a regular column in The Kansas City Star, using his knowledge and experience to educate the community about cheese.
- Husband and wife team Haley and Erik Aquistapace, of Aquistapace's Supermarket in Covington, LA, passed the exam together. They use their knowledge to promote a wide range of cheeses in their newly remodeled gourmet cheese department.
- Whole Foods Market has CCPs in many locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Tonya Huffman works at the...[continue reading]
Member Profile: Cherry Valley Dairy
In the cheese industry, collaboration is thriving. For Cherry Valley Dairy in Duvall, WA, and Trellis restaurant in Kirkland, WA, a collaboration has turned into an ACS Judging & Competition 2nd place win in the "Monterey Jack with Flavor Added" category.
Over two years ago, Cherry Valley Dairy's head cheesemaker Blain Hages met Trellis Executive Chef Brian Scheehser at a pre-production tasting. Weeks later, they profiled a four month old natural-rinded Jersey Jack and decided to collaborate on two flavored cheeses.
Blain initially offered to make Brian a typical pepper jack, using peppers from Brian's farm, which is 10.2 miles west of Cherry Valley Dairy. Blain and Brian also discussed more unique ingredients, with Brian coming up with a dried blueberry and basil cheese. A dried and powdered sweet carrot cheese with dried nasturtium...[continue reading]
|Connect to ACS
Stay connected to ACS no matter where you are! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@CheeseSociety), or LinkedIn. Get the latest updates from the cheese community, connect with fellow cheesemakers, retailers and enthusiasts, and tell us what's happening in your world.