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Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese's Lynn Giacomini Stray Shares Details of American Cheese Society Conference

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese's Lynn Giacomini Stray Shares Details of American Cheese Society Conference


POINT REYES, CA
Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

The American Cheese Society (ACS) Conference is an event loved and revered by many members across the cheese industry. As the conference makes its in-person return after a two-year hiatus, cheesemakers, cheesemongers, and more will gather to take part in all the event has to offer. To get some of the details of the conference’s kickoff, I spoke with ACS President Lynn Giacomini Stray, who is Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese.

Lynn Giacomini Stray, Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese“We’re very excited to be back together at a conference this year,” Lynn tells me as we huddle for a Zoom chat to discuss the beloved event. “We know that it’s been two years, and we've all had the same struggles—supply chain pressures, COVID challenges, the ups and downs of our market, and navigating labor issues. By being physically together for the first time in a couple of years, we can really experience the energy of being together, share our stories, and help support each other.”

As just over 1,000 industry members are currently expected to be at the event, attendance is showing to be very strong for the ACS conference this year, with members from across the industry, including small and large-scale cheesemakers, retail and foodservice buyers, potential industry partners, and more.

Attendance is showing to be very strong for the ACS conference this year, and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese will be gleaning new insights from cheesemakers and other experts across the industry

“We love to bring our cheesemakers because they get to talk to other cheesemakers and glean new information from the expert presenters. It is inspiring to continue to make the best cheese,” Lynn shares. “The cheese industry is special; there is a strong sense of camaraderie and collaboration. These are our friends making the industry better. We are all in it for the same interest. That goal is to promote great quality American cheese.”

A host of different events make this a show not to be missed. Attendees are met with all levels of beginner and advanced cheesemaking sessions, as well as an immersive Meet the Cheesemaker event. This year’s judging and competition program will also be a hit, with about 1,200 entries this year. In addition, there are several fundraisers along the way, which help support scholarships to help industry members attend the conference. On Thursday night, the show will culminate with the anticipated award ceremony.

With a heightened focus on education and networking, the ACS has identified four key initiatives that will be centered on in the coming years: climate change; diversity, equity, and inclusion; educational programming, and collaboration and promoting American cheese

“This conference will also feature one of our most notable programs, which is our certification program. The CCP exam and TASTE test is mostly geared toward retailers. They are the ones on the front line, telling our story, educating, and selling our cheese to the consumer. They give value to the cheesemaker,” explains Lynn. “These tests incorporate everything on the retail side from handling cheese to the cheese making process and food safety, all to help them become experts at selling cheese.”

With a heightened focus on education and networking, the ACS has identified four key initiatives that will be centered on in the coming years. These initiatives, which will be announced during the Conference, include climate change; diversity, equity, and inclusion; educational programming, and collaboration and promoting American cheese. These initiatives will guide the further decisions of ACS to benefit its members across a set of key values. One example of the organization’s efforts to deliver on this initiative is the Code Red Series, a four-part webinar that features conversations between industry experts in the dairy and agricultural industries through the lens of sustainability and climate change.

With advancements in the cheese industry certainly on the way, Deli Market News will be here to report.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.
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