Meeting TUESDAY, January 7th at the Ag Trade Show

Our next meeting will be held on the first day of the Maine Agricultural Trade Show at the Augusta Civic Center on TUESDAY, January 7th between 10am and noon.

We have invited representatives from the Department of Agriculture Quality Assurance division to attend and explain what is involved in becoming a licensed dairy processor in the state of Maine — the cost, the requirements, and the benefits of licensing. Many licensed cheese makers will also be on hand to answer questions about Maine cheese, the Guild, and the best way to learn about cheese making.

There will be a brief business meeting at the beginning, followed by opening the floor up to any interested participants who have questions for the Department of Agriculture or Guild members attending.

I look forward to seeing you there.

–Eric Rector
President, Maine Cheese Guild

Meeting: November 11th in Rockport

On November 11th we held our Annual Meeting at the State of Maine Cheese Co. facility on Route 1 in Rockport.

Caitlin Hunter (Appleton Creamery) and Heather Donahue (Balfour Farm) were both re-elected to a seat on the Guild Board. Caitlin stepped down from her duties of Secretary of the organization, and Heather was nominated and then voted to replace Caitlin as Secretary.

We reviewed the State of the Guild, including its finances, and we made plans for the upcoming year in many areas: new workshops planned for the Spring (advanced workshops, as well as others focused on beginners and those interested in getting licensed to sell cheese), web site improvements, changes to the delivery of our newsletter, possible legislative action, the formation of an Events Committee, fundraising ideas, and many other things. We ALSO got to taste a lot of cheeses that were brought in for feedback!

It was a long meeting, but VERY productive. Thanks to everyone who attended.

Meeting: October 7 at Turner Farm in North Haven

North Haven Island, Maine, USAAlas.

Our Meeting at Turner Farm was a wash-out in more ways than one. As the small group that gathered in the Rockland Ferry Terminal waiting room chatted merrily as we waited to board the ferry to North Haven, the ferry left without us.

It was pouring buckets of rain that morning, and Steph at Turner Farm was a good sport about it when I let her know we had *missed the boat* but it was still a shame to realize that we had struck out.

The group in the waiting room was so small I decided that I would send off my agenda items to the group electronically to get your feedback. The one topic I need to hear back about is an immediate workshop proposal:

Michael Kalish is an Affineur who has studied in Europe and worked at the Herve Mons caves. I will email around the links he sent from earlier classes he has put on for other groups, and he has said he can be available to teach a class here in Maine in late March 2014.

Are Guild members interested in scheduling an Affinage Workshop? For one day? Two days? More? Please respond by posting comments on the Guild web site article for the October 7th meeting.

Additional Items on my Agenda:

  • More ideas for 2014 Workshops? Any follow-up info from earlier ideas?
  • Most people should know this: Sarah from Winter Hill Farm is organizing Open Creamery Day — contact her if you would like to be added to the listings for this event, or want to print out a poster to advertise the event.
  • The Maine Chamber of Commerce has announced that they want to organize another Taste of Maine event on November 15th at the Augusta Civic Center. For more information please contact Maine State Chamber Program Manager Amy Downing at (207) 623-4568 ext. 104, or If someone in the Guild would like to organize a Guild table as we did for the Washington, DC event in April, please let me know.
  • The Guild has lost its Logo banner — it’s about two feet wide by three feet tall with the Guild log printed on it. Does anyone know where it might be stored (it is NOT with the trade show display)? If not, does the Guild want to replace it? I would argue that it’s very helpful, especially in events that do not favor the use of the trade show display. Please comment on the article about this if you have some ideas.

Our next meeting will be our Annual Meeting which we always hold at State of Maine Cheese Co. in Rockport. I hope to see you there.

–Eric Rector
President, Maine Cheese Guild