I've now spent a few days on the site and have been impressed by the volume and quality of information in this forum. Thank you in advance to all of you who have made this such a great resource.
I live in the heart of the US capital, only about a 15 minute walk from the Capitol Building. I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on a relatively small cow dairy called Verdant View Farm (http://www.verdantview.com/
) My parents still run the dairy farm as well as a bed and breakfast and farm tour business though two of my siblings and their spouses are now in the process of transitioning to take over the operations.
Dairy farming goes back many generations in my family. My father's side of the family descends from one of two Huguenot brothers who emigrated from France to Lancaster, PA in 1729 and we've been farming in the area ever since. While my family assimilated into American culture and stopped speaking French a long time ago, we are a polyglot family who enjoys living and traveling all over the world. My parents, sisters, and I all speak Portuguese from living in Brazil and Portugal at different times and I also speak Turkish and know some Arabic and Hebrew, too.
While I grew up on mostly boring American cheeses, like many an American before me, traveling through Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Turkey, and other places helped open the world of possibilities to me when it comes to cheese, wine, and other wonderful food.
I now work in finance and government full-time but also work as a cheesemonger at an exciting new cheese stand called Righteous Cheese in Washington, DC's newly renovated Union Market (http://unionmarketdc.com/themarket/artisans/righteous-cheese/
). We retail about 60-70 artisanal American and European cheeses.
While I love selling cheese on the weekends, my real passion is making cheese. It started with Ricki Carroll's book several years ago and I've now made a few recipes out of Mary Karlin's book but am excited to graduate from these basic books to a more science-based process. My new pH meter has been ordered and should be arriving soon. I can't wait to use it to try to make my 3rd batch of reblochon, using Iratherfly's recipe.
My longer-term interests are to move back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and start my own creamery. I'd like to make a handful of high quality artisanal cheeses that could be sold in the Southeastern Pennsylvania market. In order to make all of this happen I am working on a business plan, intend to take the certification class offered by the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese (VIAC), and would really like to work as an apprentice for other cheese makers who are making wonderful cheeses, whether in the US, Canada, or particularly in France. I recently bought an Assimil book to teach myself French and am making some progress.
My passion for cheese knows few bounds. I recently joined the American Cheese Society, went to the conference in Raleigh, and even drug my girlfriend through the countryside of Quebec for a grand cheese tour this past summer.
Mostly I'm just excited to join this community of people who share a passion for cheese and to learn from you all and contribute where I can.