New ACS Board Directors

Pat Ford

Bio: Pat Ford, co-founder of Beehive Cheese Co, started his adventure in cheesemaking back in 2005.  With the help from their friends at Utah State University, they developed their recipe, built their facility and started making cheese after a week of instruction, how hard can it be after all?  Beehive Cheese has made a name for itself with a Rubbed Rind technique, one of their most notable cheeses is Barely Buzzed, an Espresso and Lavender rubbed cheese, a 3-time ACS blue ribbon winner.

Statement of Intent: The American Cheese Society has been an invaluable association, giving Beehive Cheese the opportunity to meet and forge relationships with the other ACS members, allowing us to learn and grow.  My desire, if elected, would be to help ACS to continue to be the leader, the resource, the educator and the mentor to the wonderful art of crafting cheese. I would be willing to serve in whatever area needed, with a focus in Marketing or Education.

Jeff Jirik

Bio: Jeff is a licensed Wisconsin Cheesemaker with a broad background in science, food and business management. He founded Caves of Faribault, artisanal makers of world champion Gorgonzola and blue cheese, in 2001. He has served on a number of boards including North Central Cheese Industry Association.  He is a member of WCMA, WSCI, Slow Food and ACF.  Jeff has been active in ACS since 2001; from presenting on panels to serving on the newsletter committee to helping set up for the Festival of Cheese!

Statement of Intent: If elected, I would focus my efforts on preserving the right to responsibly make aged cheeses from raw milk while ensuring that all cheesemakers are properly trained and qualified in current food safety systems before presenting products to the public market.  I am also interested in cheesemaker education from milk selection to affinage.

Peggy Smith

Bio: Peggy Smith is co-owner and operator of Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods. She opened Cowgirl Creamery in 1997 in Pt. Reyes Station, California, where she began to make and distribute cheese to the San Francisco Bay Area. The business has grown to include a small production facility and distribution warehouse in Petaluma, Ca. as well as a retail shop in San Francisco and Washington DC.

Sue Conley, (Peggy’s business partner,) and Peggy served as co-chairs of the ACS Conference which was held in San Francisco in 2004. Peggy has also served as a panelist for several conferences, regarding topics such as the challenges of small retail operations and distribution networks.

Statement of Intent: If elected to serve on the Board of the ACS, I would love to involve myself with the issues of HACCP, and issues that are of interest to small cheese operations, both production and retail, in general. I appreciate your consideration to serve.

Kate Arding

Bio: Kate Arding is an independent dairy consultant specializing in small-scale cheese production and co-founder and Cheese Director of culture, the acclaimed consumer cheese magazine.

Kate has worked in the farmstead cheese industry for 20 years, beginning at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. In 1997, Kate moved to California to help establish Tomales Bay Foods.

Since 2003, Kate has worked extensively in the US and overseas, specializing in affinage and helping small-scale cheesemakers adapt to changing market demands. In addition, she is thoroughly involved with the production of culture magazine.

Kate is a regular judge for the ACS and has judged at the British Cheese Awards, the World Cheese Competition, and many regional cheese events. Kate lives in NY State.

Statement of Intent: I am especially interested in expanding the educational work of the ACS and bringing it to a wider audience—including both consumers and those in the trade (cheesemakers, retailers, importers, and distributors). I believe my understanding of and involvement in print and digital media through culture, as well as a strong background in farmstead cheese, puts me in a unique position to help co-ordinate the outreach of ACS resources.

In addition, because of my extensive cheese judging experience, I would be interested in collaborating with David Grotenstein and Todd Druhot to help streamline the current competition process.


Anne Saxelby

Bio: Anne Saxelby is the founder of Saxelby Cheesemongers, a cheese shop in Manhattan selling only American artisan cheeses. Saxelby Cheesemongers maintains a retail shop in the Essex Street Market, and recently built a cheese cave in Brooklyn to better serve a growing wholesale base of over 100 restaurant clients. Anne got her start in the cheese world working at Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village, and fell in love with American farmstead cheese after interning as a cheesemaker at Cato Corner Farm. In addition to the retail shop, Anne records a weekly internet radio show called Cutting the Curd, where she hopes to promote artisan cheesemaking and create a useful audio archive for cheesemakers and cheese lovers.

Statement of Intent: I would be honored to serve on the board of the American Cheese Society. As a retailer, it is in my interest to help ensure that the craft of artisan cheesemaking can flourish in the United States. I am interested in helping to create and maintain guidelines and best practices for retailers so that we can do our part in selling safe, delicious, and traditional products. I am also interested in exploring areas of the artisan cheese industry that are currently underserved, such as distribution, to see what new solutions may be found. Finally, I feel that I have a strong sense for marketing and community, and would welcome the opportunity  to help ACS envision new ways to connect cheesemakers, consumers, chefs, and other members of the cheese industry.