2017 was a difficult year for me in many ways… losing mom left these final holidays of the year empty. She remains a force in my life and the lives of those who knew and loved her. Alzheimer’s is a vicious disease. It’s like someone takes an eraser to the chalkboard of your life and slowly erases everything dear to you. The three years we cared for mom, we watched her mind regress in time until at the time of her death, she was living in the forties on the old farm in Worth County. She was content but always wanting to “go home”. This past Thanksgiving, The Man and I took some of her ashes and scattered them around the bases of two Camellia bushes Mom planted at the farm in 1947. At last she was home.
2017 brought many good things as well. Our Facebook Cheese Study Group crowd-funded four full scholarships: two for Cheesemongers sitting for the American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional Exam and two existing ACS CCPs. The four scholarships included transportation, attendance to the ACS Conference in Denver and a small stipend. Plus for Kelley Jewell and Tyler Frankenberg, the scholarships covered the cost of the exam. Congratulations to both for successfully passing the exam and joining the nearly 900 ACS CCPs in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Current ACS CCPs, Matt Bellingham and Hazel-Rue Woodies joined us in Denver as winners. In all, through the generosity of the cheese community, we raised more than $12,000.00.
Our Study Group also led a successful study curriculum for the certification exam. ACS CCPs led ten day discussions for each ACS Body of Knowledge Domains and introduced the group to 90 different “Cheese of the Day” cheeses – those most likely to appear in some form on the exam.
On a personal note, while in Denver, I had the honor of being inducted into the Internationale Guilde des Fromagers as Jure and Garde. An honor I never dreamed of receiving.
With Blue Haven Bee Company we launched a series of Cheese, Mead, Wine and Honey tastings. Our next event will be early February as a Valentine Day celebration incorporating chocolates into our tasting event. Details will be posted on The Blue Haven Facebook Page this week.
With the generous donations from Ludwig Farmstead Cheeses, Somerdale Cheese, Sartori Cheese, Cabot Creamery, 34 Degrees Crisps and Kelly’s Jelly, I continue to create monthly cheese platters for the Celebrate Recovery Program at the First Baptist Church of Lavonia.
I joined the Lake Hartwell Beekeepers Association, not with the intention of keeping bees, but to further my bee knowledge for better pairing choices. What I have learned has been eye-opening. If you want to learn more about beekeeping or the fascinating world of bees, Bee Clubs all over the US are offering courses to encourage more beekeeping and pollinating. Our group’s one-day course is February 24th and the cost is $50 per person or $75 for a couple. Get all the details here.
Tomorrow I start the Culinary Arts Program at North Georgia Technical College, less than ten miles from our new Georgia home… seems like a good idea…
In 2018, our Cheese Study Group will again prepare candidates for the ACS CCP Exam and will start our Crowd-Funding scholarships soon to take the exam and attend the ACS Conference this July in Pittsburgh.
Tomorrow, on the Group’s Facebook page we will announce our new project for 2018 to assist those taking the exam and continue our efforts to bind our Cheese Family closer together.