This year's competition featured a record-breaking 749 entries.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a farmstead cheese, has been made for only five years, making the two-time Best of Show win a remarkable feat. Equally noteworthy is that for Uplands Cheese Company owners Mike and Carol Gingrich, cheesemaking and farming is a second career, one they began after semi-retirement.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve is made only between May and October when the cows can graze on pasture.
The California Milk Advisory Board was quick to boast that cows milk cheesemakers from California won 31 awards at the prestigious annual competition. In all, 13 California cow's milk cheese producers won awards, with the top winner from that group being Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese with eight awards.
The American Cheese Society membership includes farmstead, artisanal, and specialty cheesemakers; academicians, marketing and distribution specialists; specialty retailers, food writers and cookbook authors. Founded it 1982, the society now has more than 1,000 members. Each year the conference is held in a different location, and next year's event will be in Portland, Ore.
Check the News and Trends section of September's Dairy Foods for an in-depth report from the conference.