Getting Rogued at Rogue Creamery
September 3, 2011
(By clicking on the above picture, you will be able to view a slideshow of the entire trip.)
The winners were chosen based on their sales of Rogue Blue Cheeses at their kiosks and their merchandising abilities.
The trip began with a five-course dinner with Rogue Creamery Owners, David Gremmels and Cary Bryant, who graciously welcomed the group to their hillside home. Each course featured a different Rogue Cheese with Cary preparing several of the dishes including a wonderful, savory creme brulee that started the meal. The cheese course included the latest Rogue creation, Flora Nelle, a marvelous blue named after Cary and David’s Grandmothers. (The Lady brought home a wedge and we will be reviewing it soon…)
After an overnight stay at the Wine Country Inn in Jacksonville, Oregon, the Fred Meyer mongers traveled to Central Point and the cheesemaking facility of Award-Winning Rogue cheeses, including the 2011 Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition, Rogue River Blue. There, Cary, David and head cheesemakers, Craig and Jason, worked with the winners to make two vats of cheese: Tou Velle and Oregon Blue. After aging, these cheeses will be sold exclusively at Fred Meyer Cheese Kiosks in early 2012. The Fred Meyer group learned they were the first group invited to make cheese at the Creamery – what an honor!!!
Shawn, a member of the Rogue family, led the group trough a Rogue Cheese Plate, a sack lunch was enjoyed and then the group headed out to tour the two sustainable dairy farms that provide the milk to Rogue Creamery.
Rogue Creamery is a leader in sustainable farming and cheesemaking, having been certified by Food Alliance, Oregon’s Tilth and Steritech. The guys shared with The Lady their choice of “sustainable” over “organic” (although they do make a couple of organic cheeses). Simply put, sustainable farming treats animals more humane than organic. With organic dairy farming, if an animal becomes sick, it is destroyed. Sustainable dairy farming allows treatment of the animal, pulling it from production until all antibiotics are out of the milk. As Cary said, “When I get sick, I take medicine; the doctor doesn’t put me down.” As an animal of the feline persuasion, all I can say is, “Whee… thank goodness for sustainability around the manse.”
They encourage recycling and energy conservation both at the Creamery and home. The Creamery is powered 100% in the summer by solar panels (which also provide about 30% during the winter); they recycle everything that can be recycled. If an employee rides a bike to work 45 times in a year, Rogue gives them a top-of-the-line bike. They pay bonuses for carpooling, biking and using public transportation. It’s amazing and it’s beyond admirable…
After touring the dairies, it was time to play and the group headed to Grants’ Pass and a four-hour dinner tour up the Rogue River on Hellgate Excursions‘ jet boats. Eighteen miles up the river, they stopped for a BBQ dinner at the OK Corral. Both up and down the river, the boat pilots treated the group to maneuvers that resulted in lots of wet clothes and gleeful screaming. They saw many osprey and two eagles on the adventure.
The next morning The Ladies stopped at the Rogue Gift Shop and loaded up on cheese, wines and cheese pairings and headed back to reality…
The Lady asked that I make sure everyone at Rogue Creamery understands how special this opportunity was… so here’s a shout out to: David, cary, Sonja, Mimi, Chelsea, Meredith, Craig, Francis, Jason, Tom, Sue, Lacey, Shawn, Delmer, Holly, Huck, Andy, Gabe and Marcela, Brandon, MacKenzie and baby Mason… and the cheesemakers whose names she failed to get… it is a time that will not be forgotten…
Now for a final note… I’d like to bring it to each of my faithful reader’s attention that one more time, The Lady was hanging out with The Cheese Swells and I was left back at the manse with The Man… I have got to have a long conversation with The Brain about the balance of power around here… I’m in charge… although with The Lady off galavanting you’d never know it… and the biggest galavant to date is just 10 days away… The Lady leaves on the 13th to attend the Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy and work as a monger at the American Cheese Booth with Cheese Swells from Rogue Creamery, Cow Girl Creamery, Vermont Butter Creamery, Jasper Hills Farm, Uplands Cheese Company, Cypress Grove, Kroger, Murray’s Cheese and AFI… there just is no justice…