How to Help Parmesan Producers After the Quakes
From Serious Eats, here's some good info on what's going on in Northern Italy after the earthquakes, and how people can help out the cheese producers as they pick up the pieces:
Cheesemakers can continue to age undamaged wheels to full maturity (12 to 24 months), at which point they can be certified by law as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Unfortunately, if the interior of a wheel was cracked by the fall or the rind was broken, the cheese can't be aged any more. While the cheese itself is still perfectly edible, it can't earn its certification and must be sold as unbranded hard-grating cheese.
The economic impact of the disaster has been devastating for cheesemakers all over the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.