Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A year topped in cheese.

Saxon Creamery

  ::Sigh::. The thing about New Year's resolutions is....I never keep them. Shocking, I know. But alas, I will not ramble on with apologies and excuses. There are far too many cheesy things to tell you people about!
  Earlier this year I had the great opportunity to visit Wisconsin not once but twice. Both trips were work related, and the latter of the two was a week long course at the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin. This was early preparation for the Certified Cheese Professional exam, but more on that later.
  Let me first say, Wisconsin is beautiful. Sorry Wisconsinites, but I wasn't expecting it to be. I was envisioning flat cold terrain, and a lot of cows (I don't get out much). Ok, the cow part is true.

So true.

However, everywhere I went I was surrounded by lush green rolling pastures, wildflowers, blue skies, and little red barns. Charming. A few of my adventures in WI included tours of several beloved dairies including Saxon, Salemville, Crave Brothers, and Emmi Roth Kase. And Madison is one of the neatest cities I have been to in awhile. Were it not for their winters, I would have considered moving there.


  And speaking of which....we bought a farm! And I mean a for real, bona fide, big ass farm! 82 acres to be exact, of lovely mountain side property in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. While we have yet to officially move up there, the feeling of finally finding "home" is unreal. I will be sure to post more pictures soon.

home sweet home

  This summer I started a short but thrilling stint at Manyfold Farm as a milkmaid/assistant cheese maker. Yeah that's right, I said milkmaid, and I say it with pride!

Milkmaids in action.
*Photo courtesy of Manyfold Farm*

  Manyfold is a sheep dairy located in Chattahoochee Hills, a hop and a skip away from where I currently live. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay full time with them due to some health issues, but the time I did have was fantastic! Besides milking sheep every morning (which is a great way to start the day, seriously), I got to help Rebecca, the head cheese maker, make various batches of both fresh and aged sheep cheese, and care for the young cheeses in their respective aging rooms. It is both fascinating and daunting work. Anyone who questions the high price of artisan cheese should spend a day or two working at a farm, I guarantee you will be whistling a different tune.

I'm a lot of work.
*Photo courtesy of Manyfold Farm*

  Last but certainly not least, I traveled up to Raleigh, North Carolina to take the Certified Cheese Professional exam. The American Cheese Society created the title with the hopes that it will become the cheese equivalent of a Wine Sommelier, and I was lucky enough to be in the first group to take it! After months of studying and sleepless nights, it was such a relief to finally have it all over and done with. Although I won't know if I have passed until the beginning of next month! Once the exam was over, I was able to kick back and have some fun at the American Cheese Society Awards and Conference, which is essentially the Oscars for cheese nerds such as myself.

Right this way, nerd.

  Phew, so that is what I have been up to the past several months. This slacker will do her best to keep you updated more frequently. More farm posts to come!