Yesterday morning I was listening to NPR Morning Edition as I usually do when I'm waking up in the morning or driving to work. And I heard a familiar voice - John Putnam of Thistle Hill Farm in Vermont, the maker of the heavenly Beaufort meets Emmenthal "Tarentaise". It was a great story - basically a discussion of how the changing climate in Vermont may eventually force the Putnams to change the style of their cheese to more closely resemble Cheddar, something they hope they will never have to do.
The story is wonderfully descriptive - you learn about the farm, the cheese, the cows, and why the Putnams don't have bells on their cows.
And if you want to learn more about farmhouse and artisan cheesemaking in the US, definitely check out Sasha Davies' spectacular Cheese By Hand.
This is an essential read and reference for anyone serious about cheese in the US. Sasha and her husband Michael took a tour across the US in 2006 and visited some of the very best cheesemakers in the US, taking pictures, recording audio, and documenting the process of making great cheese. It is an intimate look into a world that most people have never seen, at least at this level.
She also discusses at length the issues that all consumers, not just cheesemakers, deal with on a daily basis when deciding what to eat and why. Lately she has been examing issues around social responsibility, sustainability, organics, and big food.
I first met Sasha in 2003 (I think) when she came to work at Artisanal in NYC where I was the cheese buyer. Sasha left a well-paying job in the tech world to pursue her passion for cheese. For her first few months, she worked as a minimally-compensated intern. Eventually she ended up at Murray's managing their brand-new cheese caves before the call of the Cheese By Hand project pulled her in an entirely different direction.
If you bookmark only one cheese blog, Cheese By Hand should be it.