Leaves whirl off the trees, darkness comes early, the briefly lighter mornings darken too. The sun rises closer to the south, and at noon gets lower every day. A walk through the woods is a walk through lots of leaves, before they start breaking down to leaf litter. The last of the apples come off the trees, a rich cider smell rises, reproaching us for the apples we didn’t pick. I saw a robin, bold and curious, with that intensely sweet song, sitting on the wall in a watery gleam of sun, king in his own territory, now the noisy summer visitors have gone. The fallow deer finish their rut, that disembodied roaring, a challenge to other bucks, and I guess alluring to the comfortable groups of does waiting the outcome with complacency.
I pretend it’s not happening until autumn is right on top of us. The unstoppable, overwhelming green tide of growth turns round and meekly disappears into the ground. We get a fiery display as the leaves drain of green, going out in a blaze of glory. Let’s hope for more of the glowing light of September to give October that incandescent quality. The wet, cold summer gave extraordinary growth to cool country plants, and things that need warmth suffered. Less insects - the cows never got besieged with flies - meant all those insect-eating birds did not thrive. A friend said most of her first hatch of swallows died, the second hatch stayed late, hoping to fatten up on early autumn flies. They’ve gone now, and the skies are quiet. The difficult summer for insects seems to have made the wild boar niggly; so many slugs to eat would make anyone grumpy. A neighbour phoned, concerned that the wild boar were chasing the fallow deer.
I am going to Oregon this weekend for the bi-annual Wedge festival, hosted by the Oregon Cheese Guild. This follows on the heels of my fantastic trek around Oregon with Gianaclis Caldwell (Pholia Farm). I continue to pine for Oregon since that visit just over a month ago, because of the friendliness of the people I met, the deliciousness of the cheeses I tasted, and the state in general. Oh, and the beer and wine. Going to Portland (my first time!) for this event is going to be FUN. Can’t wait to see those skilled cheesemakers again so soon. Maybe the forces are trying to tell me something….
If you’re able and willing, see you at The Wedge cheese (and beer!) festival this Saturday, October 6 at the Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub. Culture will have a table there, and I'll be behind it! Here's the website to see details: http://oregoncheeseguild.org/oregon-cheese-guild-upcoming-events/
So, a few days ago, I took it on myself as director of nonsense to post a graphic from "illustrator and wise-ass" Dyna Moe's hipster animal tumblr. I thought the artisanal charcuterie pig captured something about the eerie way sausage makers are suddenly a lot cooler than they used to be, with a nod towards the rather hipsterish meme of mascots who eat themselves.
Along with the blog post, I sent out a tweet asking why there wasn't an artisan cheesemaker version. This got picked up by somepigseattle (don't know why he chimed in-- he already had his pig), and our collective badgering prompted a reply:
I just heard that that Sally Jackson, owner and cheesemaker of Sally Jackson Cheeses in the Okanagan Highlands, WA has announced she is selling her animals and her business.
This comes after a recent recall of her cheeses, compounded by a separate demand that her business meet Grade A Dairy standards - something not normally required of cheesemakers making aged cheeses.
In my last blog, I talked about what it is to be a cheesemonger, one of the more loved (and laughed at) titles that I've ever had the pleasure of using in my professional life. This blog, as promised, is about the difference between a cheesemonger and a cheesemaker. Based on the question I get often ("What kind of cheese do you make?"), I am sure that it must be made clear that these things are NOT the same.
Quite simply, a cheesemonger sells cheese. A cheesemaker makes cheese. And that's really the difference. One is there at the birthing and the other is there just prior to the hand off to the happy cheese consumer.
But there is more to say on this because they are interdependent folks and need each other to survive. Without the cheesemaker, the cheesemonger has nothing to sell. Without the monger, the maker is in serious trouble. Mutual respect and a healthy, in depth understanding and communication with one another is what leads to success for each profession.