Sunday, April 10, 2011

One Year

Holy amazingly fantastic curd-loving crap, in just two weeks we'll be celebrating our one year anniversary!

The realization that a year has already flown by is just as surreal as opening day was. Part of me is almost unaware of it, in the same sense that every day when I go into the shop, I'm not entirely absorbing the fact that I made this happen. I know people start new businesses every day, it's not like I'm curing cancer or anything, but it is still an accomplishment that I'm insanely proud of, and yet constantly humbled by. What I do is such a small part of the entirety of American artisan cheese, and I'm glad that I know so many local cheesemakers intimately enough to understand that by comparison, my job is a peach deal. They are the true laborers of their love; up and down before and after the sun, every day, no excuses; hours, days, months, even years spent finely tuning recipes and honing their craft. I feel blessed that I get to be a small part of that by means of bringing their goods to consumers. With every sample comes a small slice of knowledge about how that cheese came to be, and every time I can open someone's tastebuds to a new and different experience I'm reminded why I wanted to do this in the first place.

So year one, overall, kickass! I had realistic goals for the first 12 months: work out the kinks of day-to-day operations, get things running smoothly with a stellar team of cheesemongers under my wing, learn more and more and then some more about what I do every day, be profitable, and most importantly, keep people excited about cheese. Done and done. The icing on the cake are the things I hoped for but wasn't expecting: regulars from day one who come in and give me free reign to create a selection of whatever I'm in love with at the moment, visitors from all over who've followed my progress and made a point of introducing themselves in person and congratulating me for my newfound success, people asking for local cheeses by name after hearing of them elsewhere, making something as simple as cutting a new wheel of cheddar an event to behold. It is far beyond the dreams I had, and there is still so much more to look forward to.

Cheese classes are very popular, I'm so plussed at the enthusiastic turnout I've gotten so far from so many people who simply want to learn. You can expect many more of these in the coming months. Farm tours wound up being more of a logistical nightmare than I had expected, so they were tabled and I'm much better prepared to introduce that element next year. I am constantly on the hunt for new products from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, and there is nothing I love more than the flurry of hungry cheesehounds who descend upon the shop once I've posted an update about goods from a new creamery.

So I suppose I should be saying congratulations to you, Seattle, for helping me make this dream come true. Yes, I wax poetic, and it is warranted! If it weren't for the insanely white hot reception I've received from the Emerald city this year, who knows where I'd be right now? You all rule, thank you so much.