Thursday, November 7, 2013

Launching the Massachusetts Cheese Guild

Barbara Hanley, President of the Guild welcomed us warmly.
We're looking forward to getting to know her better.
The word "guild" comes from medieval times when craftsmen and merchants formed associations to maintain standards and to protect themselves in the marketplace.  There is an aspiration of political power with a guild (unlike a club), so they are usually state-wide (at least).

There are currently cheese guilds in California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Minnesota.  A whole group of southern states have banded together to form the Southern Cheesemakers' Guild.  Vermont calls it's guild "The Vermont Cheese Council."

Normally you would not think of membership in a guild as being particularly "fun," but, of course, when it comes to cheese, it always is!  (That is, if your idea of fun is tasting and talking about artisan cheeses with like-minded people!)

Our state, Massachusetts, now has it's own cheese guild with a beautiful new website (click here).  Membership (at any level) helps to support artisan cheese makers.  So, if you're a cheese enthusiast, joining the guild is an opportunity to "vote" for your passion and to make a difference in it's future.

The MA Guild recently held a fabulous launch party at Verrill Farm in Concord.  Ricki (the Cheese Queen) and I attended:

Commissioner Greg Watson, of the MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources with his Chief of Staff, Dorrie Pizzella.  They're working hard to represent the interests of cheese makers in our state.

Ricki wasted no time telling Commissioner Watson what she thinks about the issues facing cheese makers.

Barbara spoke briefly about the importance of having the Guild.

Commissioner Watson expressed support for the Guild.

Barbara accepted a well deserved bouquet of flowers.

Ricki visited cheese makers she hadn't seen in years.

Sue Rubel of Nobscot Farm in Sudbury

Bob Stetson of Westfield Farm in Hubbardston

Dave Smith of Smith's Country Cheese in Winchendon

Leo Brooks of Shy Brothers Farm in Westport

Paul Lacinski of Sidehill Farm in Hawley

Pam and Ray Robinson of Robinson Farm in Hardwick

Tricia Smith of Ruggles Hill Creamery in Hardwick

Tricia's samples.

To join the Massachusetts Cheese Guild, click here.

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