Sometimes it's just nice to sort through the random thoughts drawer and come up with a list of opportunities, accomplishments and pleasant surprises:
- In Japan some of the country's major dairy players are ramping up to try to meet the demand for natural cheese. The good news is the demand for natural cheese. Whether or not the winds of international trade will turn that into opportunities for North American cheesemakers remains to be seen.
- Right here in the U.S. there is plenty of opportunity for creating or finding a market for something good. Just ask the 157 cheesemaking companies who submitted cheese in the American Cheese Society Competition last month. They submitted 941 cheeses to be exact.
- Congratulations to the Grand Champion of that competition, Cabot Creamery, which took Best of Show with a cheese made in partnership with Jasper Hill Farm, a small farmstead neighbor in Vermont. Dairy Foods focused on that partnership in an article in the March Cheese Trends section.
- Penn State Creamery expects to open a brand new state-of-the-art facility this month. It's part of a new $45.7 million Food Science Building. That is especially good news for the locals, as there will be more room for making and serving ice cream.
- Kudos to Goose Island Brewing Co., Chicago. Not only has it just entered into a partnership involving the largest brewing company in the United States, it recently added a four-course beer and cheese pairing to its brewpub menu. Not a string cheese or a light beer among them.
- Best wishes to Stonyfield Europe, a new partnership formed between New Hampshire's Stonyfield Farm and its parent, Groupe Danone with the aim of taking organic dairy foods to the next level in Europe and around the world.
- Thanks to Tillamook Cheese for reminding consumers that macaroni and cheese was a casserole long before it was a convenience food. The Oregon company has a great thing going with its annual recipe contest.
- Hats off to those IDFA members who visited Washington to ask their congressional members to put some thought into the 2007 Farm Bill, and good luck to the whole industry with the outcome.