Pre-Conference Events

    On Wednesday, July 27, ACS Conference attendees may choose to attend optional pre-Conference tours and special events.

    Pork: Farm to Shop

    $79 per ticket
    8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

    See the life cycle of one of Iowa’s most popular products, Pork. This tour will start at Crooked Gap Farm in Knoxville, Iowa, where heritage and rare breed pigs are raised. Tour the property, see the pasture-raised livestock up close, and learn about the history of the farm. Next, head to La Quercia’s famous production facility, where Iowa pork is turned into some of the best charcuterie in the world. See charcuterie production and aging in process at La Quercia, before heading to the last tour stop: the Cheese Shop of Des Moines, where La Quercia’s charcuterie is sold to consumers and paired with great artisan cheese. Shop owner CJ Bienert will have a cheese and charcuterie pairing and local pork sausage lunch waiting—along with a festive block party where tour-goers can meet cheese-loving locals!

    This customized, small-group tour will depart from and return to the Iowa Events Center. Space is limited. Registration takes place as part of the Conference registration process. Pricing includes transportation.

    A Taste of Holland

    $79 per ticket
    8:00 AM – 3:30 PM

    Kick off this tour at Frisian Farms Cheese House in Leighton, Iowa. Tour the cheese house where Mike and Jill Bandstra make and age their small-batch Gouda, and enjoy a tasting of their Dutch-style cheese made in America’s heartland. From there, hop on a very short bus ride to the scenic Tassel Ridge Winery. Learn about the history of Iowan wine, grapes, and harvesting, while tasting regional varietals. A wine tasting and lunch are the perfect way to enjoy this beautiful countryside facility. Lastly, make a visit to Ulrich’s Meat Shop in the picturesque community of Pella. See where famous Pella Bologna has been made since 1902, and get a taste of Old World Dutch history and tradition at this much-loved shop.

    This customized, small-group tour will depart from and return to the Iowa Events Center. Space is limited. Registration takes place as part of the Conference registration process. Pricing includes transportation.

    Fresh and Fermented Iowa

    $79 per ticket
    7:30 AM – 3:30 PM

    Start the morning at Blue Gate Farm in Chariton, Iowa, where chemical-free produce and eggs are raised for a local CSA and farmer’s market. Enjoy a tour of this family-run operation and sample Blue Gate Farm’s preserves and honey. Next, head to Reichert’s Dairy Air to see this award-winning goat cheese operation and small, sustainable farm. After viewing the milking parlor, make room, and aging room, attendees will enjoy a cheese tasting and lunch on the farm. This tour ends with a visit to one of Iowa’s premier breweries, Peace Tree Brewing. Tour the state-of-the-art facility and tasting room, and end the day with a tasting flight of beers in the taproom.

    This customized, small-group tour will depart from and return to the Iowa Events Center. Space is limited. Registration takes place as part of the Conference registration process. Pricing includes transportation.

    Family Owned and Operated

    $79 per ticket
    7:30 AM – 3:30 PM

    Family-run businesses are at the heart of this tour. Begin with a visit to Grinnell Heritage Farm in Grinnell, Iowa – an 80-acre farm that has been family-run for over 150 years. Tour the farm and view the acres of fresh produce that are sold locally at farmer’s markets and CSAs. From there, head to the world-famous Maytag Dairy Farms. This facility has been in operation since 1941, and tour-goers will have the opportunity to tour this iconic property from the farm to the cheesemaking facility. After a day just outside of Des Moines, head back to the capitol to end the day with an urban winery experience at Jasper Winery. This family run operation sources only Iowa grapes for its wine, which attendees will sample after a winery tour.

    This customized, small-group tour will depart from and return to the Iowa Events Center. Space is limited. Registration takes place as part of the Conference registration process. Pricing includes transportation.

    Certified Cheese Professional® Exam Reception

    4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
    By Invitation Only
    Sponsored by Emmi Roth USA

    Individuals sitting for the ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam and current ACS CCPs® are invited to a celebration of their hard work and accomplishments at this special happy hour hosted by – and featuring the cheeses of – Emmi Roth USA.

    New Member & First Time Attendee Reception

    6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    Sponsored by Sartori Company

    If you’re a new member or attending your first ACS Conference, don’t miss this opportunity to network with fellow members and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a selection of Sartori Company’s cheeses. The ACS Board of Directors will be on-hand to answer your questions and share information about how to get more involved with the organization.

    Des Moines Cheese Crawl

    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    $10 per person (suggested minimum donation)
    Sponsored by Swiss Valley Farms/Caves of Faribault

    All ticket proceeds support the nonprofit American Cheese Education Foundation.

    Visit some of Des Moine’s favorite pubs, where regional cheesemakers will be waiting to meet you. Sample their cheeses, network with fellow ACS members, and have some fun! At the last stop, sip on a complimentary craft beer and sample regional food, courtesy of sponsors Swiss Valley Farms and Caves of Faribault. Attendees will receive a wristband for admission into participating pubs, along with a special commemorative pint glass at the last stop. Space is limited, and advance registration is required.