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Artisinal Cheese Festival 9/29


Phil Ward
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OK, I went to this today. Although the cheese selection was wonderful, it was so crowded that you had to wait a very long time to get to each vendor. Having spent $15 to get in, it was a little frustrating. Maybe I'm being too negative but I resented having to pay to get in to wait in long lines to pay for products. I didn't end up staying very long due to the crowds and got to only about 1/4 of the booths. However, I did pick up a goats milk cheese with dill from a CT vendor that was terrific and a washed rind cheese that reminded me of being in Paris. I also bought a loaf of sourdough bread from a local artisanal bread maker who distributes to several locations (like to Health Shoppe in Morristown). It was worth it just to find out about this bread maker but would probably not go again unless I could get there before the crowds or they do something to fix the overcrowding problem. Also, had some great cheeses from Valley Shepard and will return on a less crowded day to buy some cheese. Mostly buy from Bobolink Dairy which is a bit of a haul from me. It is nice to know of another artisanal cheese maker that I can buy from in the area.

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OK, I went to this today.  Although the cheese selection was wonderful, it was so crowded that you had to wait a very long time to get to each vendor.  Having spent $15 to get in, it was a little frustrating.  Maybe I'm being too negative but I resented having to pay to get in to wait in long lines to pay for products.  I didn't end up staying very long due to the crowds and got to only about 1/4 of the booths.  However, I did pick up a goats milk cheese with dill from a CT vendor that was terrific and a washed rind cheese that reminded me of being in Paris.  I also bought a loaf of sourdough bread from a local artisanal bread maker who distributes to several locations (like to Health Shoppe in Morristown).  It was worth it  just to find out about this bread maker but would probably not go again unless I could get there before the crowds or they do something to fix the overcrowding problem.  Also, had some great cheeses from Valley Shepard and will return on a less crowded day to buy some cheese.  Mostly buy from Bobolink Dairy which is a bit of a haul from me.  It is nice to know of another artisanal cheese maker that I can buy from in the area.

Sounds like you ended up with more than we did. Had the same feelings of resenting having to pay to sample what ended up being two specks of cheese on the end of toothpicks. Hate chaos and it just seemed like the way the tables were set up lent itself to a chaotic experience. Definitely wouldn't bother next year unless changes were made.

On the plus side, one of those samples was a tobacco-wrapped chevre that I ended up buying (then again, 18.50 for a piece of cheese seems a little much - didn't think twice about the price till he only handed me the buck fifty as change for my $20)

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Well, I got there at 9:55 and it was nearly empty. Had plenty of time to taste and talk to vendors. Spent time talking to the honey and garlic farmer next to Circa. Bought some of both. Loved Chef Joe Sparatta's (Circa) raviolis. I was cheesed out by 11:00 and headed home.

No prblem with crowds for me!

Phil

I have never met a miserly wine lover
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We got there at 2:30 and were turned away at the gate by the organizers. They said they were overwhelmed by the turnout and the vendors were running out of food. I'm glad they saved me the money after reading the reports above. We walked down the street to the brewery pub at the corner and had a very good lunch and some tasty brews, so all wasn't lost.

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It was this or the Garlic Festival in Saugerties. We went for the garlic! It was a gorgeous ride up the Thruway, only $5 to get in and we were stuffed with all the samples. If we hadn't been though, the food vender selection was awesome. Name it and they had it with garlic(even Ben & Jerry's had garlic waffle cones). There were also farmers with fresh produce. Crowded by not annoyingly so.

We tasted several different varieties of garlic served in different ways(raw and roasted and pickled) plus sauces and dips and cheese and on and on. I learned more about garlic than I ever thought I would, even how to braid the stems together and was amazed at the number of small garlic farms in the Hudson Valley. Plus several stages with live music and other entertainment, cooking demos and garlic lectures.

We ended up buying 5 lbs. of garlic (big fresh heads)and a bottle of garlic vinegar-yum. The ride down 9W was leisurely and we had a wonderful late lunch in Marlborough at a hidden gem called the Racoon Saloon. Great place looking out over a gorge with a waterfall and the Hudson. I started with a cup of delicious butternut squash soup. I don't usually order burgers but this was one awesome burger and they actually cooked it rare! Just the way I like it.

The Cheese Festival sounded good, but I'm glad we chose the garlic.

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I wanted to be a vendor at this Festival as i was dying to try all the cheeses and wasn't about to spend the $15 to get in.

(I make the sheep's milk soaps that Valley Shepherd sells at Farm Markets so i asked if i could have a table for my soaps--but of course they had theirs out so it was no-go.)

It's always awful when the crowds are too big to handle--too many people go home disappointed.

But it is amazing the amount of people Eran draws to his outfit--when I make deliveries, even on week days, the place is a zoo.

Zoe

Edited by zoe b (log)
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Thanks llc45 for compliment on bread. I'm not the baker, but i own the Health Shope and my arm is still recovering from all of that slicing!

Festival was mobbed! For us vendors it was non-stop.

As a vendor I had a great time talking with people, but can certainly understand everybody's frustrations with lines, etc... I'll pass on feedback to VS and ANE for future festivals.

B

"Of all places, only at the table is the first hour never dull."

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Olive Oil is only in Morristown, but call me and I'll get some out to Chester (will shoot you an email).

Olive oil we had was Australian, Cobram Estate (regular and citron)...it's quite nice.

Bread is just in Morristown for now - Thursday delivery.

B

"Of all places, only at the table is the first hour never dull."

website

Latest Article

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Olive Oil is only in Morristown, but call me and I'll get some out to Chester (will shoot you an email).

Olive oil we had was Australian, Cobram Estate (regular and citron)...it's quite nice.

Bread is just in Morristown for now - Thursday delivery.

B

Just looked on your website to get directions to the Morristown location only to find that it looks like you are also carrying many of the artisanal cheeses from the festival. Can't wait to check it out.

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