Head to New York's Hudson Valley on January 13th for the Second Annual Farm Film Fest. The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item for the Chatham Silent Food Pantry. Farm Film Fest is sponsored by the Chatham Agricultural Partnership, the Chatham Film Club, and the Columbia Land Conservancy. Last year almost 400 people braved a sleet storm to attend!
The program features four short films made by local farmers and filmmakers as well as American Harvest, an award winning documentary feature that explores the complex issue of immigrant workers and their place in the American food system.
About 10 years ago, the FDA attempted to create a rule that would ban all raw milk cheeses regardless of whether they'd been made under strictly sanitary conditions and aged over 60 days. A group called the "Cheese of Choice" coalition successfully lobbied to keep the rules the way they were, appealing to the general public's fear that they might lose their beloved Parmigiano Reggianos and Roqueforts. However, the rule is again up for consideration this year, and again American cheesemakers are not taking things lightly.
Historic rainstorms sacked the Pacific Northwest last week, with devastating effects on dairies both large and small. Many were affected, but the Black Sheep Creamery in Adna, Washington, was hit particularly hard. According to the storm damage round-up over at the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, they lost all but 23 of their sheep and their house and barn were flooded with 30 inches of water. In the coming days, the PNW Cheese Project will be posting about fundraising efforts that that are being launched to help those impacted by the storms. We will keep you posted here as well.
UPDATE: Pacific NW Cheese Project has posted a list of fundraising options and events.
UPDATE: Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Seattle has set up a benefit account for Black Sheep Creamery. Details after the jump.
Ed Janus, radio Journalist and Wisconsin resident for over 35 years, has created a wonderful site filled with audio conversations and slideshows that profile a group of dairy farmers and cheesemakers from America's Dairyland. Some of the best and most influential American cheesemakers are profiled, such as Sam and Sid Cook of the award winning Carr Valley Cheese, Mike Gingrich, maker of Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and the Crave Brothers, whose Farmstead Fresh Mozzarella is absolutely heavenly.
Via Cheese Underground.
The November issue of Food & Wine has a little feature on creating an American Cheese Plate by Laura Werlin, a noted expert on American artisan cheeses and author of a new reference book called Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials. In the piece, Werlin lists 24 great American cheeses (with descriptions) organized into 7 categories. There's also a sidebar that lists some retail shops around the country where these cheeses are available.
The first is from LittleFfarm Dairy, a start-up artisan goat cheese maker in South West Wales, UK. Their blog is a daily journal, tracking their progress as they start the business with a herd of pedigree British Toggenburg goats. I don't know how these folks have the time to raise goats, make cheese, AND blog, but I'm glad they do, because the blog really adds a personal dimension to their operation that you don't get with too many other dairies.