This is how every conference begins. A huge empty room that is soon to be filled to the brim with volunteers and cheese! The Judging and Competition committee shows up almost a week before the conference actually starts because the amount of work that needs to happen can be quite overwhelming. From receiving all 1843 cheeses, to reorganizing the cooler trucks for anonymous judging, there is a need for many volunteers to pull of the massive endeavor a conference like this involves.
This year we went to one day receiving to try to ease the amount of work that everyone has to do but it's an intense and complicated procedure.
All of these boxes need to be processed quickly and efficiently. The cheese needs to be checked for quality, and that was especially important this year since receiving was done on a day that reached almost 100 degrees. The boxes get unpacked, the cheese gets the once over for quality and then separated in to its anonymous category, and then placed in the cooler trucks for the Cooler Captains to take inventory and to make sure all the cheese is accounted for. The Cooler Captains then rearrange and set up the racks for pulling for judging. It is important that the cheese gets pulled out in a timely manner so it is perfectly tempered when the judges sink their teeth in.
It's not the most glamorous job, but the importance cannot be understated. The amount of work the cheesemakers put in to perfecting their cheese and selecting the batches they feel represent the flavors that best reflect their hard work need to taken care of with delicate care. Nothing can be lost or damaged.
This is literally the beginning of all the work that needs to happen throughout the week. Next up, Judging and Competition.