Spreading the cheese love at the NOFA conference.

This year, at the annual conference of the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, I led a workshop about farmstead cheese production.  I was a bit nervous before the workshop because I hadn’t prepared much and I was told to expect a large turnout.  The first few participants who showed up were cheese makers too, mostly home cheese makers but one woman teaches cheese making on Cape Cod.  The room slowly filled with attendees and soon there was standing room only.  More folks were crowding around the door, all excited to hear about cheese.  I started the presentation with a slide show of images from Cricket Creek.  I talked about the history of the farm, our mission and values and goals. I then talked about our different enterprises, staffing, our work with apprentices.  I finally got into the nitty gritty of the cheese; I talked about the different cheeses that we make, regulations for creameries, and how production changes based on the seasons.  I stressed to the participants that I wanted the workshop to be extremely interactive and that they should ask questions at any time.  Soon they were over-flowing with questions about Cricket Creek and our cheese.  Their questions were thoughtful and thought provoking an it was a pleasure to answer them.  Some questions stumped me and I really had to work to think of a good answer, I enjoyed those ones the most.  The workshop technically lasted only an hour and half, but once our time was up no one wanted to leave.  Folks stuck around for 15 or 20 more minutes asking me more questions and talking with each other about cheese.  The other woman who teaches cheese on Cape Cod thanked me for the workshop and invited me out there to make cheese with her some day, which I deeply appreciated.  The presentation was so enjoyable for me because I love inspiring other people to get excited about dairy production and cheese making.  It is incredibly rewarding to talk about this passion with others and see them light up.  I hope I keep finding new opportunities to share the story of Cricket Creek Farm and spread the cheese love.