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• Wine and cheese pairings from Rochdale Farms and Northern Vineyards
• A discussion of raw milk and public health
• A free, pre-event screening of The Cheese Nun, at 4 p.m., open to all

Saturday, January 22, 5 – 8 p.m.
The Campus Club, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Campus

The evening began with a screening of The Cheese Nun, a documentary about Sister Noella Marcellino and her mission to make perfect raw-milk cheese at her Benedictine monastery. On the way she visited France and received a Ph.D. in microbiology.

Next, Mary Bess Michaletz of Rochdale Farms lead participants through a tasting of the company’s cheeses. Rochdale sells organic cheeses, many made from raw milk. The creamery buys goat and cow milk from 325 farms, mostly Amish, with an average herd size of 20. The animals are milked by hand, and the cheese is made shortly after milking to maximize flavor. The cheese can be purchased only through local food co-ops. Rochdale’s offerings were paired with wines selected by Cassie McLemore of Northern Vineyards Winery. Northern’s wines are made from Minnesota and Wisconsin grapes.

The tasting was followed by a controversial presentation on raw milk’s legal and safety issues. The featured speaker was Gary Wood, the executive director of the Foundation for Consumer Free Choice, based in the Twin Cities. He focused on Food and Drug Administration efforts to restrict farmers from making cheeses from raw milk. He offered a view of the health issues involved with raw and pasteurized milk. He discussed the recent Hartman raw milk ruling from a libertarian perspective. (His Foundation intervened in the Hartman lawsuit.) Ken Meter, a board member of Slow Food MN, moderated the discussion that followed.

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