Judging & Competition News-March 2016

Making The Right Changes

With the advent of spring, I am reminded that we are in the season of babies being born on the farm and spring milk coming in. The grasses will be growing soon and wonderful cheeses will be created.

The ACS Judging & Competition (J&C) Committee has been meeting continuously since the close of the last ACS Conference & Competition. We are well past the halfway point, and as we close in on Des Moines, we start to say to each other, “now it’s getting real.”

One of the main functions of our Committee throughout the year is to identify and make any necessary changes based on the feedback of judges, cheesemaker members, and the Committee itself. In the last issue of CheeseBytes, Judging & Competition Committee Chair John Antonelli discussed key changes in categories. If you are planning on entering cheese in Des Moines this summer, I urge you to look at John’s article to help you understand these changes.

Another change that we decided on this year was to increase the number of judging teams from 19 to 21 teams. We did this for a few reasons: The first and most important reason is that you are entering more cheese! We are happy for this, and we hope that you feel the ACS Judging & Competition is the gold standard for how your cheeses are evaluated, and that winning with us elevates your brand. The other reason, also relating to the number of entries, is to ensure that the judges have the right amount of time to evaluate entries. The ACS Judging & Competition still takes place within a two-day period, and the vast number of cheeses that are presented can feel daunting. By adding extra teams, the judges have time to write proper feedback notes and give these cheeses their deserved, allotted time.

We know that for some of you, this is also the time of year when you start to make selections of cheeses to enter. This is especially so for the now younger cheeses that will be aged to perfection by the time late July rolls around.

I want to give you all a friendly reminder that our Call for Entries will get underway on Wednesday April 6, 2016. This should give you ample time to start making decisions regarding which cheeses you will enter. Of course, we would love for you to enter all of the wonderful cheeses you make!

After all, the ACS Judging & Competition Committee just can’t get enough good cheese!

Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tom Kooiman
Immediate Past Chair
ACS Judging & Competition Committee