Cheeseheads abound at festival in Union
Union — Cheese lovers from all across the area enjoyed the beautiful fall weather Oct. 16 by partaking in the Maine Cheese Festival in Union, sponsored by the Maine Cheese Guild. The event was held at Savage Oakes Vineyard & Winery.
"The Cheese Festival far surpassed our expectations," said Jennell Carter, co-owner of Casco Bay Butters of Scarborough, one of more than 20 Maine artisan cheese and butter makers set up for attendees to sample and buy their products.
"We were very excited to take part and so happy for the Maine Cheese Guild and participants that so many folks came out and supported local cheese and butter makers," she added.
Carter said she and business partner Alicia Menard attended a handful of similar events in the course of the year., "This is definitely an event we are looking forward to next year."
More than 100 varieties of Maine-made foods were showcased, and several vendors ran out of products.
"The turnout was double what I was hoping for," Arlene Brokaw, member of the guild and owner of Imagine Dairy Farm, which was one of a few smaller vendors who sold out within the first two hours.
Brokaw said discussions are already taking place on what worked well and what will need to improve for next year's Maine Cheese Festival.
"We will definitely think through the logistics of the lines for next year," she said, adding "We want everyone to have a great time and to be comfortable while enjoying the festival."
The event featured local music from the southern Midcoast-based band Rough Sawn, made up of farmers, carpenters and cheese-lovers playing classic country, Western swing, bluegrass and originals.
There were also chef demonstrations, and Q&A sessions with cheesemakers.
"It was a great event that helped a lot of cheesemakers expand their exposure to a new audience," Brokaw said.
The Maine Cheese Guild held the festival as a fundraiser, something it has not done in more than 10 years, as the number of licensed cheesemakers in the state has grown from 16 to more than 80.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.