Sarah envisions the cheese counters as a small library and a piece of performance art. Cheesemongers guide customers through the stores and curated selection.
The cheesemongers tell and re-tell the stories of the cheeses and their producers, breathing life into the long history of cheesemaking. The cheese case provides a unique setting to tell these stories: It is broken down and set up again daily, telling new stories of new cheeses while representing the same philosophies and traditions. In this way, cheese defies temporal restrictions- the collection is constantly changing. The sensory experience, visual and through taste, forges a connection with the customers- should they choose to purchase something or not. Through telling, retelling, and tasting of the cheese itself do we participate in the preservation of cheesemaking tradition- by sharing the value- monetary and cultural value of labor, history, love and expression of a landscape.
Further, she hopes to draw a visual connection between cheese & the stewardship of cultural heritage. Her experience in the world of museums, libraries, and archives is inextricably linked to her work in the world of cheese. The idea of preserving the land, history, culture, and quite literally, cultures, that are used in Artisanal cheesemaking has captured her imagination.
Working in special library collections and museum environments has allowed Sarah to draw many similarities between the maintenance, storage, and inventory of cheese, books and other works of cultural importance. When in the stacks, old volumes with cloth bindings remind her of stately farmhouse Cheddars- bandage wrapped and rubbed with lard to encourage proper aging. Removing mold from dusty pages and knowing there structural damage to the paper underneath is disheartening. In another context, this mold is welcome, encouraged, and essential in creating the desired texture and flavor.
Monitoring temperature and humidity, creating micro-climates, documentation, researching history and provenance, keen observation of condition changes- all essential in the preservation and stewardship of all forms of cultural heritage- whether it is works of art, books, objects, cheese and cheesemaking practice.