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A New Year, and the Wheels Keep Rolling.

Prodigal Farms, North Carolina 2012 has come and almost gone, and we, this blog, and those goats in the above photo, are still here to tell its story. It’s been a pretty eventful year. A hurricane and snowstorm from which many devastated communities in the northeast still haven’t recovered.  Sandy Hook. A drought that shook our farmers to their core. An election at home. A lot to take in.

On the bright and also important side, dairy has had some public light shown on it. New York Times covered the craziness of the milk market in "In Dairy Industry Consolidation, Lush Paydays," for example, and people like Mary Ledman, whose insights were introduced to me by New York dairy farmer and lawyer @NYFarmer are getting the word out there. Beer and wine have also got their fair share of attention. Blogs and papers are writing about the cool things craft brewers are doing in the United States and mainstream media continues to take more of an interest in the fabulous and weird things happening in domestic wineries. People are also, in general, just adoring cheese a bit more widely domestically. All good things. And I’m just touching open the United States.

As it is, 2012 has been a very full year and I’m sure that we’re all have or are going to honor people and communities that we have lost, help out where we can, and do things in general to heal. We all do this in our own way- sometimes publicly, sometimes privately. One way to heal and grow beyond helping when possible, is to also realize the awesome and beautiful things around us. It’s important to notice.

With that in mind, the following is a list of things that made a mark on me -for the better- this year. Some are personal, some are just generally cool or dairy-related.

 I hope your new year is bountiful with happiness and many opportunities for growth.



Occupy Sandy. This grass-roots organization rallied and did what mayors, the president, Red Cross, and other disaster relief organizations could not for victims of Hurricane Sandy because of time delays, bureaucracy, red tape, and politics. And even though coverage of the disaster has faded in mainstream media, the problems people are facing because of Sandy have not, so Occupy Sandy marches on.

American Cheese Society Conference being in North Carolina. Southern cheese rocks (see Prodigal Farms photo above). But not everyone in the cheese community noticed until the ACS held their annual conference in North Carolina this year and had a chance to try the wonderful dairy of the region. It is now clear to those that it wasn't before that southern dairy is to be taken seriously. And the fried pig skins and hush puppies that often make it to diner tables before meals- those were worth a trip too.


I published my book. On a personal note, this was huge. When I first came up with the idea for writing a cheese book, I was at the end of a long relationship, working five days a week at a wine shop, trying to fund my writing and find venues in which I could publish, and, … more. Now, I’m not as stressed –sometimes-, down to working three days a week at the same wine shop (and oh how I still love my co-workers and my ability to taste wine while working), and, well, happy.  Thankful. The publication of the book was not just not just that to me- it also marked the end and start of a journey. A cheesy journey, surely. And also personal one. And hey, I made some good cheesemaker friends, traveled around the country, and put a lot of words on paper. Not bad.

Beer and Cheese Class at 18Reasons, Tuesday Nov 27th

I started drinking beer again. Oh, for those of you who have not yet experienced the absence of wheat gluten in your life, you may not understand how it feels to take your first sip of a saison again after not ingesting wheat for a year. It’s magical, and I’m fully aware of the blessing. I’m feeling so, so lucky, and I feel the need to share it. Of course, better gluten-free beers and awesome, funky ciders are making their way around too.

Seeing my friends do awesome things. Some are having cute babies, some are getting married, some are leaving not-so-productive relationships. One of the coolest things about being in your thirties is watching your friends make big moves and seeing all their earlier hard work start to pay off. I'm sure you're seeing it around you too. Like my friend Molly DeCoudreaux, for example. Or another friend who started her own private therapy practice. Another friend of mine is about to start her own career consulting business and rent her own office. I'm so proud!


 Happy New Year!