In This Issue...
Register for ACS 2014 by June 25
Get the RMI Experience
2014 Scholarship Winners
Join the "Cheese Guard!"
What's In a Name?
Member Milestones
Preserving Traditional Cheesemaking
Cheese in the News
Sizing Up Sacramento
From the Member Services Desk
CCP Exam News
Tack on a Tour!
Register Today for ACS 2014!



Regular registration for the 2014 ACS Conference in Sacramento closes on Wednesday, June 25. Mark your calendar to ensure that you can take advantage of lower registration rates. The registration rate will increase from $595 to $695 on June 26.


Click here for registration rates and conference updates, including a schedule of this year's program. 

Get the RMI Experience in Sacramento: Tuesday, July 29

ACS is thrilled to offer a special program of sensory seminars to Conference attendees at the world-renowned Robert Mondavi Institute (RMI) for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis. RMI's wine, olive oil, and honey departments are arguably the best in the world, and they're opening their doors to Conference-goers in a rare opportunity for non-students to explore the sensory sciences of these three ancient foods. 

If you work with these foods, whether at retail, food-service, or simply as an enthusiast, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity. Click here to learn more, and call 720-328-2788 to register!

Congratulations! ACS Cheesemaker, Chef, and Student Scholarship Winners


The ACS Scholarship Committee was very pleased with the applicants who applied for ACS's cheesemaker, chef, and student scholarships this year, and we thank each and every one of them for their essays and resumes.


The applicants came from all over the country -- with a common and undeniable enthusiasm for cheesemaking. All heeded the "call" -- some exited from fruitful career paths, others seemed born in a cheese vat. Some are starting out as apprentices to established cheesemakers, while others dove right in and started their own dairy or joined their family's dairy. All recognize that participating at an ACS Conference is a must, to further their skills and knowledge as well as to market their "dream" cheeses.


For the committee members, reviewing applications was a very gratifying and inspirational experience. In retrospect, it's really amazing to see new talent and creative imagination crop up to meet changing times. Once the bug gets under your skin, there's no stopping its expression in such wonderful, varied forms.


We thank you all for the privilege of letting us share your exciting lives and wish all of you much success and, of course, look forward to meeting you in Sacramento.*


-ACS Scholarship Committee 


Cheesemaker Full Scholarship Recipients

-Jamie Png, Cherry Grove Farm, Lawrenceville, NJ
-Michael Ragains, Capriole Farms, Fredericksburg, IN
-Michael Salzman, Costa Mesa, CA
-Justin Snyder, Carr Valley Cheese, Mauston, WI


Cheesemaker Partial Scholarship Recipients

-Craig Hageman, Alemar Cheese Co., Mankato, MN 
-Dusty Stanton, Lovera's Cheese, Krebs, OK


Student Full Scholarship Recipients  

-Evann Dufort, UC-Davis, Davis, CA

Chef Partial Scholarship Recipients 
-Salvatore Gagliano, UC-Davis Dining Services, Davis, CA
-Jess Galli, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco, CA 

*Note: the winners of the 2014 John Crompton Memorial Scholarship for Retailers will be announced in the next edition of CheeseBytes. 
Join the "Cheese Guard" in Sacramento!


The ACS Conference & Competition is just weeks away -- and we still need your help to make our 31st annual event a success! 


ACS is seeking volunteers to assist with shifts in Sacramento from Thurs, July 24 through Sat, August 2. To show our appreciation for your time, ACS will offer volunteers:


  • Official "Cheese Guard" t-shirt available only to volunteers!
  • Complimentary ticket to the Festival of Cheese on Fri, August 1.
  • Complimentary meal whenever your shift coincides with an ACS Conference scheduled meal time.
  • For volunteers assisting with the Judging & Competition during an 8+ hour shift, one complimentary ticket to the Awards Ceremony & Reception on Thurs, July 31
Register online, and find the opportunity that's right for you:

What's In A Name?



Philosopher - Ewetopia Dairy


Ewetopia Dairy of California makes Philosopher, a sheep's and cow's milk cheese with a rich blend of sheep butterfat. Owner Jed Asmus says, "The short story behind this name is that we started Ewetopia based on an idea: that well cared-for animals make the best products.  After creating the cheese we call Philosopher (a full cream feta-style cheese), we thought it only fitting to ensure the name of our first cheese was instilled with our philosophy... and Philosopher was born."


Industry Members are Invited to Register for The Science of Artisan Cheese


The 2014 "Science of Artisan Cheese" conference, to be held from August 19-20 in Somerset, UK, will focus on themes specific to farmhouse/small-scale cheese production. If you are interested in attending the conference, or if you would like to learn more, click here.


Member Milestones


UNFI acquires Tony's Fine Foods


Academie Opus Caseus collaborates with School of Artisan Food


Dear Fellow ACS Members,


What a week or two it has been for the American Cheese Society and our industry! Unless you have been traveling off the grid or have been living under a rock, then you are well aware of the issue that has been dominating water cooler chat, media attention, and our staff's bandwidth. Naturally, I am speaking of the potential threat to one of cheesemaking's time-honored traditional practices: aging on wood boards.

Last summer when we all met at our 30th Anniversary Conference in Madison, we talked about change in our industry and what it means for our organization and its emerging role not only as cheerleader, but also as advocate. Well, we got our first solid test on that front, and I sure am proud of the American Cheese Society's staff, board, volunteer committees, and individual members who have worked tirelessly on behalf of our organization in solidarity with cheesemakers the world over. We are also grateful to our allied industry partners, guilds, legislators. and the general public for lending their vocal yet constructive and professionally-delivered support.

This collective energy could not be ignored. Not by the media, which has shone a bright light on the issues, nor by our elected officials -- but more importantly, not by our regulatory authorities, with whom we have endeavored to collaborate for some time. We are heartened that FDA reached out to ACS to meet in the coming weeks to discuss the best ways to age cheese on wood boards and we look forward to this being the beginning of ongoing meetings with our regulatory partners. That said, we also know that this issue is not yet resolved and it is but one of several threats to traditional cheesemaking methods in America. 

For this reason, we sent a letter last week to FDA along with many of the aforementioned stakeholder parties, confirming the American Cheese Society's full intention to partner with them to help address the safest ways to continue upholding the highest standards in traditional cheesemaking.

Will this process be easy? It will not. Do we have guarantees that our regulatory partners will follow through on their intention to collaborate with us? We do not. But we must start here in good faith and take the seat at the table that we have asked for. To us, this "seat" includes being included in Peer Review and the early and exploratory phases of processes that partner organizations typically experience. Our membership brings much to the table, so we will be very ably represented wherever we have a "seat." We will keep you informed and do our best to manage your expectations.

Please be patient and also remember that we all represent the American Cheese Society in our words and our actions. So be mindful of this when speaking about these issues and about our regulatory partners and other stakeholders. We are all ambassadors for the organization and we need to keep the discourse composed, constructive, and respectful. Another thing we can all do is to continue working our hardest to produce and sell cheese in the safest, highest quality manner possible. ACS is devising new tools to help everyone do this, which is very exciting and will provide even more unique membership benefits.

Of course, all of this is even more reason to join us in Sacramento for our 31st anniversary conference this summer. We can continue last year's discussions, expand our knowledge (have you seen this year's educational program?), and also reinforce our strong sense of community. In the meantime, please continue to lend your voice and to stay actively involved in this organization that I am personally most proud to be able to serve.

Thanks for all you have done and will do for the American Cheese Society. Onward and upward.


Greg O'Neill

Preserving Traditional Cheesemaking


Nora Weiser-New Photo

In his letter, Greg has clearly described the maelstrom into which our industry was sucked in these last few weeks. While cheese aging on wood is the subject of the moment, it by no means tells the whole story. Traditional styles of cheese and cheesemaking methods seem quite regularly to be the focus of FDA assignments, and as of yet, there has been no real clarification as to how such methods might be impacted once FSMA is fully implemented and enforced. Raw milk cheeses, soft-ripened cheeses, cheeses aged using vegetable ash, cave-aging, ripening on wood...these materials and methods are safely used to produce some of the world's most renowned cheeses. ACS has proactively sought audience with FDA to address such issues, and on Friday, June 13, we reached out again with a letter expressing our concerns and goals for collaboration moving forward.


With so much happening on the food safety and regulatory front, I strongly encourage you to join ACS in Sacramento this summer -- it will be an invaluable opportunity for all of us to reconnect, network, and share information. It will also be an important time for you to hear the latest developments on the art and science of cheese, from tastings to Town Hall discussions, from tours to technical sessions. Registration rates increase on June 26, so register soon to save.




Nora Weiser

Executive Director


In the News: Cheese Aging on Wood



There has been a tremendous amount of media coverage around the recent issue of whether cheesemakers can age and ripen their cheeses on wood surfaces. Full coverage will be posted to the ACS website in the coming weeks. In the meantime, see a sampling of the coverage below:
Judging & Competition News: 

Sizing Up Sacramento 

It's mid-June and all of us on the Judging & Competition (J&C) Committee are eagerly awaiting the arrival of all of our cheesemaker member entries in Sacramento, CA. As we map out the spaces for receiving, storing, and judging your cheeses, and we fine tune and improve our process from last year and previous years, the J&C Committee would like to remind you of important details for this year's Judging & Competition. In this article, you'll find information about: 
  • Proper Quantities of Cheese to Send
  • Entry Review Process and What to Expect
  • Branded Packaging Penalty
  • Letter to U.S. Customs (for Non-U.S. Entrants)
  • Judging & Competition Volunteers
The trucks are lined up and chilled down. Scores of speed racks and sheet trays arrive. Pre-printed index cards with category codes along with hundreds of clips are placed out on tables. With these tools, we will get ready to put together the different entry categories and build our secret library of cheese on the docks of the Sacramento Convention Center.
As you know, it's a vast amount of cheese, arriving in every size imaginable. We see everything from 1-ounce goat buttons to 200-pound blocks of Cheddar. So how much cheese is the right amount to send? The appropriate quantities listed in...[continue reading online] 


From the Member Services Desk: Sample Your Products at "Meet the Cheesemaker"

On the first afternoon of the ACS Conference in Sacramento, cheesemakers can sample their products to the 900+ industry professionals gathered at Meet the Cheesemaker. Only current ACS members are eligible to sample products at Meet the Cheesemaker. The cost for a 6' table is $185 through June 25; on June 26, the cost rises to $225. Enrollment closes on July 3.


This year's Meet the Cheesemaker event will be held on Wednesday, July 30 from 3:45 pm - 6:00 pm at the Sacramento Convention Center.  Cheesemakers do not need to register for the Conference in order to participate in Meet the Cheesemaker.


We hope you'll take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to showcase your products to ACS Conference registrants, including cheese buyers, distributors, and retailers. Shawn Duffy of Lovera's Market in Krebs, OK, participated in Meet the Cheesemaker in 2013. He says, "Meet the Cheesemaker at the ACS Conference is a great opportunity to network with folks in our industry -- everyone from top executives of leading distribution companies to retailers to your cheesemaking neighbors at the event. I would certainly recommend being involved in this wonderful cheese event."


To book your table, click here or call 720-328-2788.



Certified Cheese Professional Exam News


The 2014 ACS Certified Cheese Professional



It's hard to believe, but the ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam is only six weeks away! We're excited to have more than 250 people taking this year's exam. This year's class will join the 253 people who are currently ACS CCPs™, representing 64 different companies.


Are you taking this year's exam? Or are you interested in learning more about the exam? Join our informational webinar on June 27!


Check out the informational webinar ACS will hold on Friday, June 27 at 11:30 am EDT. Join Max McCalman, Certification Committee Chairperson, and Jane Bauer, ACS Education & Outreach Manager, as they discuss the exam, and share helpful tips for preparing for exam day. You can sign up for the webinar using the link below. Don't worry if you can't join the live broadcast, because the session will be recorded and you can watch it online at a later time.


Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Tack on a Tour!


With so many opportunities to visit farms, producers, and retailers in northern California during the ACS Conference this summer, be sure to make the most of your time by joining one of the incredible tours designed by this year's Conference Co-Chairs:

Click here to learn more about these tours -- and if you've already registered for the Conference, it's not too late to add a tour to your existing registration, or to add a guest! Just call Jana Hemphill at 720-328-2788. 
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.