Ohio: proud producer of buckeyes, fabricated materials, and Drew Carey. And now, as of January 2014, we can add cheese to that list thanks to the formation of the Ohio Cheese Guild, protector of the state’s various makers, mongers, and cheese lovers of every kind.
Since its formation earlier this year, the guild has come to boast 56 members. Most are in the culinary industry, but farmers are taking notice, and so is the media. In an article on Our Ohio, local cheesemaker Jean Mackenzie of Mackenzie Creamery–and an authority within the guild–highlighted how promising the initial signs are. “‘When support and encouragement for cheesemakers comes from all directions, that’s a clear statement that the demand for good cheese exists,’ said Mackenzie.” And indeed, Ohio cheese has started to make a name for itself nationwide. While initial offerings were typical (but oh-so-delicious) cheeses like cheddar and Swiss-style, makers have started to get adventurous, much to the acclaim of food critics nationwide. One prized creation, Charloe from Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, won in the cheese category for the 2014 Good Food Awards. Says Mackenzie: “When they win, it tells the consumer that they can buy this cheese with confidence; it’s a great product.” With Ohio on the rise in the cheese industry, it also tells buyers that perhaps they should try other offerings from this great state.
Besides promoting, the guild also helps protect the integrity of Ohio cheese with educational programs and support on the legal and networking ends. From the Ohio Cheese Guild’s mission statement:
The Guild is dedicated to the support, education and promotion of producers of farmstead, artisan, and all fine cheeses in the State of Ohio, and the chefs and retailers who feature Ohio cheeses. To accomplish these goals, we aim to have a Board of Directors and general membership made up of diverse individuals. This includes cheesemakers, chefs, cheesemongers, enthusiasts, professionals, legal counsel and public relations/marketing specialists.
The guild is still in its early stages, but is readily accepting new members from across the Ohio cheese industry, especially those on the production side. All interested parties can apply through their membership portal.
Read more at the Cleveland Scene
Photo Credit: The Ohio Cheese Guild