In case you didn't know, cheese is our first love... the preserves and jellies are just a prelude to our cheese! Recently, we took our second adventure to the annual American Cheese Society Conference which was held in "America's Dairyland", also known as Wisconsin. Since we are in process of bringing our creamery into reality, we have been working hard to learn as much as we can about the trade and getting advice from some of the best in the industry along the way.
The ACS Conference is a great way for cheese makers, cheese mongers, retailers, and enthusiasts to experience the latest in the cheese world. They offer classes on everything from "identifying cheese defects" to "cheese curd tastings" and even organize one of the most well-known competitions, (if not THE most well-known competition) in North and South America. Some refer to it as "The Cheese Olympics"! During our time in Madison, we had the opportunity to privately tour a few creameries both new and established. All were kind enough to let us pick their brains and offered us great feedback for our creamery. We also had the chance to meet up with our consultants and get some serious work done towards the plans of our own creamery. We are forever grateful for the great opportunities we had with others in the field during our visit.
All cheese aside, we must mention the city of Madison. Madison itself, is a city that awes in more ways than one! Not including the natural beauty of being surrounded by lakes, Madison's pride is showcasing everything local and they have the restaurants to prove it. Bikes are the preferred method of transportation, where "eco-friendly" is practiced, not preached. If you ever get a chance to visit "Madtown" be sure to visit the nationally celebrated Madison Farmer's Market. (locals claim it's the largest in the country, and after walking through it on a Saturday morning, it would be hard to disagree) Honestly, we feel any city could learn a little something from their successes.
When we left Madison, not only did we leave with some inspiration from the city and more knowledge of the cheese industry, but we also left with some great new friends (not to mention, an obscene amount of cheese!). We are excited to be apart of such a great industry where knowledge is often openly shared and we are typically greeted with a warm welcome. We are looking forward to taking what we have learned on our trip and investing it into our own local food scene here in Ohio.
Next year's conference will be held in Sacramento, California. We can't hardly wait! The cheese is coming...