My first experience was at the Kohler Food & Wine Show, where I was helping staff a table for the organization I work for, and at my table was Mary Falk, the cheese goddess from LoveTree Farmstead Cheese near Grantsburg, Wisconsin, selling her famous Trade Lake Cedar, a raw sheep milk cheese aged on the boughs of cedar branches in her fresh air-aging cave.
I was standing to the left of Mary, and as traffic flowed by our table, I would just begin talking to someone about Wisconsin artisan cheese when they would spot Mary next to me in her ponytail and pink t-shirt, get all starry-eyed and then completely pass me by as they gushed over the fact they were getting to meet THE Mary Falk. The first time it happened, I figured – OK, this person doesn’t get out much. The 32nd time it happened, there was no doubt in my mind that Mary was a rock star of the artisan cheese world and I was her groupie. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty cool about myself – hey – I got to share a booth with THE Mary Falk. I packed up my brochures and went home a happy camper.
Maybe I’ll change my title on my business card to: Wisconsin Artisan Cheesemaker Groupie.