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Shop Talk Spring 2023


3 Cedar St. Dobbs Ferry, NY

Jess Galen may have recently opened Bloomy, but she’s no newcomer to the cheese world. She started working in cheese in 2012 while enrolled in a food studies program at New York University. “I got a job in a cheese shop in New Haven and it totally blew my mind,” Galen says. “The idea of having a tasting experience with the customer was really exciting to me. That’s how I got bit by the cheese shop bug.”

And boy did she get bit. Jess went on to write her master’s thesis on FDA guidance for pregnant people eating cheese, apprenticed with a cheesemaker, and worked at the famed Lucy’s Whey cheese shop. In November 2021 Jess opened Bloomy, a pop-up cheese shop, to test the waters before committing to a brick-and-mortar space. “The pop-up helped me build out the store and plan education, programming, and events,” she says. After a successful year, she decided it was time to go all the way. In November 2022 she officially opened the doors to Bloomy’s full-time brick- and-mortar location.

Bloomy offers cheese pairing classes, prepared cheese boards, inspired home goods, and of course, a thoughtfully curated cheese selection.

What is your favorite pairing?
“Ossau-Iraty and Spread-mmms Orange Marmalade is a flavor explosion unlike anything else. [The maker] puts olive tapenade into the marmalade, so unexpected and so good.”

What is a cheese trend you see on the horizon?
“Putting flavors before looks. The ‘charcuterie’ board trend of everything being super perfect and Instagram-able might be waning. I think we’re going to see people having more fun with pairings and flavor profiles.”

Advice to anyone looking to get into cheese?
“Walk into a cheese shop and ask if they’re hiring—they probably are.”


229 Pacific Coast Hwy Hermosa Beach, CA

After 20 years of teaching, Solange Comer was ready for a change. When her local cheese shop went out of business, she took that as a sign from the universe to open her own shop. Comer had always been passionate about cheese and cooking but had no formal business or cheese experience. “I was terrified,” she says, “but I have a go-big-or-go- home attitude and I went for it.”

In 2017 Comer opened Cultured Slice Cheese Shop, which specializes in artisan cheeses from all over the world. While they might seem worlds apart, running a cheese shop and teaching have their similarities. “I’m still teaching, I’m just serving the community in a new way,” she says. “I really truly love what I do. I support other small businesses and believe in other people’s dreams and ideas because people believed in me.”

Five years later, Cultured Slice has expanded to include Cultured Slice Sandwich Shop, which opened in June 2022. Its made-to-order sandwiches feature many of the high-quality cheeses and meats from its sister cheese shop.

“What is your favorite pairing?
“Delice di Bourgone triple cream with a calabrese salami and a drizzle of honey. I love the balance of cool and creamy with hot and spicy.”

What is a cheese trend you see on the horizon?
“Build your own hot, cheesy snack! I’m launching two new cheese-centric dishes to tie my two businesses together. We just launched raclette, it’s a teaching experience since so many people have never heard of raclette. I also ordered a whole wheel of parmesan and I’m going to crack the top and serve pasta out of it. It hits the spot for a late-night snack or cold rainy days.”

225 7th St. SE Washington, D.C.

For almost 60 years Bowers Fancy Dairy Products has been serving Washingtonians out of its stand in the historic Eastern Market. Owner Mike Bowers is a third-generation cheesemonger; his grandfather started the business in 1964 and passed it down to Mike’s father in 1976. The stand may be small, but it has stood the test of time. “We’ve had competition and seen a lot of other cheese shops come and go, but we keep standing here,” Bowers says.

Having started working in the business at a young age, Bowers says the most rewarding part of his job is seeing many of his young employees develop an interest in cheese. “We’ve had a lot of great success stories from people who have worked for us and gone onto bigger and better things in the industry.”

While the stand carries cheese from all over the world, Bowers takes extra pride in the local products he carries. “I have had a relationship with Meadow Creek Dairy since 2001 when I first learned about Helen’s operations in the New York Times. I really appreciate how her cheese represents the US on an international stage, particularly at the Slow Food Festival in Bra, Italy.”

Since first donning his shop apron in 1969, it’s clear Mike’s passion for cheese has only grown stronger. He looks forward to passing the torch to his son Ryan (when the time is right).

What is your favorite pairing?
“Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue and honeycomb from Farmer James Apiculture in Vermont.”

What is a cheese trend you see on the horizon?
“I think we will continue to see more restaurants getting into cheese. Near me, there is a new raclette shop and a new vegan cheese shop. I think it will create a better audience for [cheese shops]. People will want to emulate these concepts at home, sending them to their local cheese shop.”

Josie Krogh

Josie Krogh is culture's Digital Strategy Lead. She earned her master's degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from The University of Georgia. Josie developed a love of food while working at farmstands in the D.C. area as a young adult, and discovered her love of cheese while living and working on a dairy farm on Martha's Vineyard. She is passionate about the food supply chain, fresh stone fruit, and dogs. Josie currently lives in Catskill, NY.

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