Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

Maine cheesemakers

Maine cheesemakersROCKPORT, Maine — Thirty years ago, Mainers shopping for cheese at their local grocery stores would have found few choices — and of those, plastic-wrapped processed cheese slices had a large market share. Some speciality stores might have carried imported cheeses from Europe, but there were very few examples of locally made options for sale, Taylor Mudge of Camden recalled last week. Seeing an opportunity, Mudge decided to introduce a new product to the state: Maine-made hard cheese, which no one else was making. That idea grew into the State of Maine Cheese Co., which is hosting an event on Saturday to mark its 30th anniversary. “There really wasn’t any commercial-style cheese production” in Maine in the early 1980s, said Mudge, who is no longer involved in the company. “The whole foodie thing wasn’t really well developed up here at all. People didn’t think much about quality cheeses, or where they came from.” The times — and the cheeses — indeed have changed. Maine now is home to 71 licensed cheese makers, up from just eight in the mid-1990s, and it has become one of the few bright spots in the state’s troubled dairy industry. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)