As American Cheese Month reaches its last few morsels, I want to extend a tremendous “thank you” to all of the industry members who have celebrated with us, in so many different and creative ways. I am continually impressed and inspired by the enthusiasm that you show for this annual celebration, now in its fifth year. The attention you bring to the work of American cheesemakers each October is incredibly important as we enter the holiday season, and the “wow” factor increases every year with new and innovative marketing events. See highlights of some of this month’s celebrations in this issue of CheeseBytes, and tell us how you’re closing out the month on Facebook or Twitter (#AmCheeseMonth).
During this important and high-profile month for American cheese and cheesemakers, the ACS Board of Directors and staff had the opportunity to visit Des Moines, Iowa, where Cheese in the Heartland — the 2016 ACS Conference & Competition — will be held. The Board held its annual fall meeting and worked through a full agenda of important topics brought to us by our members and staff, including the high priority topic of food safety in our industry, and ACS’s role in that arena. We also had some fun, checking out venues where Conference events will take place, and got a brief glimpse at the delicious local food (and beer) scene. The volunteer-driven Education Committee worked their way through some 70 session proposals to design a stellar Conference program. And although the full program won’t be unveiled until next spring, I am pleased to return from Des Moines with some updates to get you excited for what’s in store:
- Cheese in the Heartland will kick off with a not-to-be-missed party on the farm at Maytag Dairy Farms. Between great food and drink, and a stunning farm setting, this will definitely be an Opening Reception to remember!
- Our members loved the opening session in Providence so much that we have decided to carry that energy into 2016 with not one buttwo dynamic sessions — one to open the Conference and another to close it. We know the speakers we have selected will motivate and inspire you to look at your work (and life) in new ways, and they will spin off new conversations and networking opportunities each Conference day. Our hope is that you leave with new ideas, solutions to old problems, and a sense of renewal as you head back to the “real” world.
- If you’ve missed the Annual Cheese Sale in recent years, we’ve made it easier for you to pick up cheese in Des Moines: the sale will take place in conjunction with the Festival of Cheese on Saturday, July 30! After you’ve made your way through the Festival to sample competition cheeses and accompaniments, you can load up your favorites at much discounted prices to take home…all while supporting the ACE Foundation.
It’s not too early to start making plans to join us in Des Moines. After visiting the city last week, I can speak to the warm people and welcoming atmosphere that is waiting for us all next summer. Save the dates for July 27-30, 2016!
Lastly, as we head into the busy holiday season, I encourage you to renew your ACS membership. All memberships are set to expire on December 31, and by renewing early, you’ll avoid a lapse in benefits. To renew, follow the directions in CheeseBytes, or simply call the ACS office at 720-328-2788.
Best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous holiday season.