At the end of June, I spent the best part of a week at Neal's Yard Creamery in Herefordshire learning and making cheese, crème fraiche and yoghurts with them. In the past I’ve made lots of social visits to Herefordshire in general and Neal’s Yard Creamery in particular so it was great to be back and to catch up with Charlie, Grainne, Conan, Holly, Finn and Rags the dog. Although initially Neal’s Yard Creamery and Neal's Yard Dairy were one and the same, the two parted ways after a few years when Charlie Westhead, until then an employee at Neal’s Yard Dairy working in the shop and driving around the country buying and selecting cheese, moved into cheesemaking and developed Neal’s Yard Creamery as a separate and sister company.
Last weekend, I had the chance to volunteer at the California Artisan Cheese Guild booth at the California Artisan Cheese Festival’s Sunday Marketplace! This was actually my first. I had only been to the Oregon Artisan Cheese Festival before that. Cheese events had been going on throughout the week, such as facility visits and seminars, but I could only pull myself away from work on Sunday. My shift began bright and early that morning. It had been pouring rain for the past few days, and fellow festivalgoers were wary about the weather. The marketplace was, after all, taking place under a massive tent on the Petaluma Sheraton’s parking lot. Luckily, the sky cleared up just in time.
In 2008, culture magazine started when a couple friends met around a kitchen table to talk about their love of cheese. Three years later, we've got cheese fans all over the world coming together to celebrate cheese and the people who make it, sell it, and eat it, and social media has been a big part of that story.