This October marks the second annual American Cheese Month, a celebration in which cheese is promoted and enjoyed.
During this month-long celebration, businesses schedule programs, offer discounts and hold tasting events for their high-quality, healthy and delicious American-made cheeses.
ACM was launched in 2011 by the American Cheese Society — the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation and promotion of farmstead, artisan and specialty cheeses produced in the nation.
“Our American Cheese Month program was the vision of our president at the time, Christine Hyatt,” said ACM marketing and communications director Rebecca Sherman Orozco. “[She] … felt that a grassroots nationwide celebration of American-made cheeses would be a wonderful way to raise awareness of the incredible array of products available in the marketplace today.”
New York City participants include Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Bklyn Larder, Casellula Cheese and Wine Café, The Cheese Traveler and many others.
“These American artisan, farmstead and specialty cheeses are part of a broader movement that focuses on sustainable agricultural practices, farm-to-table distribution, informed food choices for consumers and connecting local producers with consumers,” Orozco said.
“Devoting one month to raising awareness of excellent American cheeses is just one of many ways that we can celebrate this broader movement, support local businesses and expose consumers to new products that they haven’t experienced before,” she added.
The cheese industry in America has seen tremendous growth, as is evident by entries in the American Cheese Society’s Judging and Competition increasing from 89 cheeses in 1985 to 1,711 cheeses in 2012. Orozco said the timing seemed ideal to create a structured celebration in which individuals and organizations of all shapes and sizes can see themselves and take part.
This year, the American Cheese Society has exceeded their goal for the American Cheese Month Passport program by doubling participation from 12 retailers in two states to 36 retailers and restaurants from 17 states. The American Cheese Month passport program offers 20 to 40 percent discounts on a different American-made cheese each day at a participating retailer. The profits from the American Cheese Passport Program support the American Cheese Education Foundation, which offers cheese-making education and scholarships.
In 2013, the American Cheese Society hopes to include more participating businesses in the American Cheese Passport Program and return to the Great American Beer Festival, in which they sample nearly 700 pounds of cheese to nearly 50,000 attendees.
Tanay Hudson is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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