American Cheese Society (aka ACS) holds an annual conference and cheese competition, held in a different part of the country every year. This year, they are in Providence, RI July 29-August 1, 2015. This event is, in my humble opinion, the best of the best in the country for an all-things-cheese gathering. According to their website, www.cheesesociety.org, over 1000 people in the cheese industry attend. And not just from the US. It is not only a cheese contest, but is also a highly educational event. It is the networking event; with educational sessions, sessions to meet cheese makers, and even a pub crawl!
This year is the theme of “Cheese Camp” and everywhere I turn on social media, I see proud “parents” send their ever-so-excited “children” off to camp! Of course what I mean by this is companies sending their cheesemakers and/or representatives to the ACS Cheese Camp. It is such an amazing relationship to see in this industry. No matter what part of the country these companies represent, there is great pride in what they are doing. This truly is like sending your kids to camp. They get to learn and play with others with the same drive and passion.
With so many people to meet and talk to, every attendee is bound to leave with more business cards than they can carry. But it only takes one of those to change your business. Just one connection, project, or collaboration can take your small cheese business and boost it to an entirely new level. Whether it is expanding a line of product, getting more social media attention, or boosting sales, there is someone at this event you will want to meet.
The cheese industry does not cease to surprise me with the generosity expressed by all. Big or small, there is hardly a sense of competition amongst cheesemongers. Everyone seems to be willing to help someone else in some way or another, and that does not go unrecognized. The sense of comradery is felt at almost any event you attend; sharing stories and successes!
This is an industry I have only been part of for three years, and have just begun to learn this expansive world of cheesemongering! I cannot wait to learn more, and be a more active part of it!
Until next time; peace, love and grilled cheese!