St. James Cheesemaker to be a Guest Speaker at Virtual Cheese Conference in The USA

Martin Gott, the North West based cheesemaker behind the internationally acclaimed artisan cheese St. James, made at Holker Farm, near Cartmel, Cumbria is to be a guest speaker at the first ever Vermont Artisan Cheesemakers Winter Conference on Friday 26th February.

Vermont is internationally renowned for its award-winning cheesemakers, which is no surprise, as there are over 50 of them, but it’s also well known for the Vermont Cheese Festival, which is held every July, with the exception of the 2020 festival, which was cancelled as a result of COVID.

In 2020 like many event organisers in the UK, the Vermont Cheese Festival organisers ended up spending their time trying to help those in the industry find grants and other emergency funds to help keep their doors open.

Happily, since then the Festival organisers have decided to introduce their first ever virtual winter conference to help provide insight into a wide variety of new ideas and educational experiences for artisan cheesemakers. All of which is designed to help them advance their cheesemaking and business practices, as well as the industry as a whole.

While the new event is focused on supporting professional cheesemakers, everyone is able to attend including hospitality professionals, other members of the dairy industry, amateur cheesemakers or anyone else at all who wants to dive into the world of cheesemaking.

The event organisers contacted Martin because he previously Martin attended their summer event as a guest speaker, and because he knew many of his fellow speakers, quite a few of which have visited Holker Farm to see him at work and learn from him. 

During the virtual conference on 26th February, Martin will give a first-hand virtual “visit” to St. James Cheese, he will chat about how he makes cheese, which will then be followed by a Q&A session with Martin.

(Martin will be start his virtual tour at 10.00am Eastern Standard Time – 3.00pm the UK)  

Conference attendees will hear about St James, a washed rind soft sheep’s milk cheese, produced by Martin Gott and Nicola Robinson farm at Holker Farm Dairy, Cark, as well as some of the other cheeses the couple including two new cheeses Holbrook and Apatha.

Virtual guests will also hear about the farms focus on regenerative agriculture and desire to build biodiversity within every aspect of farming practice. How they farm their Lacaune ewes and how they have chosen to focus on producing a relatively small amount of cheese of the highest quality, with a variety of interesting and unusual flavours, instead of commercially producing cheese in vast quantities.

Other virtual conference guest speakers include: 

Peter Dixon  Dairy Foods Consulting (Westminster West, Vermont)

Joe Klopfenstein  Assistant Professor, Rural Veterinary Practice, Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine – Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon)

Ivan Larcher  Cheesemaker, Cheese Full Circle/The Cheese School (Castlemaine, Australia)

Rosy Neale Quality Assurance Manager/Food Safety Specialist (Petaluma, California)

Ben Wolfe  Associate Professor, The Wolfe Lab at Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts, USA)

Martin Gott, producer of St James, said: ‘’2020 and the early part of 2021 have been difficult for artisan cheesemakers across the globe, many of whom are pretty much reliant on the hospitality sector to support their livelihoods. Which is why it’s great to be able to have the opportunity to share some of our experiences and insight with a wider audience and to showcase what we do here at Holker Farm with our peers virtually around the globe.’’