Newsgathering in a small town is far simpler than in the big city: You just walk around and visit with the locals. Sadly, all too often, our for-pay reporters are holed up behind their desks waiting for a press release or phone call, thus missing the stories that are unfolding right under their noses. Same goes for their editors, caught up in unproductive office politics. And the publisher never seems to have enough time to pass on his observations to the newsroom. Most publishers don’t have a “nose for news” either, because they’re too focused on the P&L.
In contrast, here’s an example of what you can find out if you just go for a walk, are observant, ask some questions — and thanks to modern-day technology, publish it yourself on the internet:
While we were distributing our magazines this week, we stopped for lunch at Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. in Nevada City, a favorite spot. We ran into Caleb Dardick of SYRCL and Bill Falconi, the longtime engineer of Nevada City and a neighbor, and visited. We also noticed a sign in the next-door window that was intriguing: It read “Wheyward Girl Creamery” (see photo).
This was exciting, at least to us, because artisan cheese is a big trend. Examples include Shaft’s Cheese in Roseville, Cowgirl Creamery at Point Reyes Station and stalwarts such as Vella Cheese in Sonoma. In our community, Tess’ Kitchen Store is now carrying artisan cheeses from Dedrick’s and the Back Porch Market on “The Avenue” is carrying first-rate cheese. (No, Virginia, you don’t have to shop at Costco in Roseville for your cheese).
Now, we’ve learned, Wheyward Girl Creamery is planning to open next door to Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. on lower Commercial St. in Nevada City — the first commercial creamery in our western county. This will further bolster this neighborhood, which also is home to the Nevada City Farmers Market, the Boardwalk “parklet,” and a new, energetic “vibe.” In short, lower Commercial has become a food, wine, beer and art “destination.”
But it gets better: We’ve learned the soon-to-open creamery’s owners are Roberta Des Bouillons, an accomplished in-house chef at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley and longtime Bay Area chef, and Barbara Jenness, a master cheese maker from the Midwest who also teaches classes at Tess’.
Barbara recently moved to Grass Valley from Michigan. Barbara retired after selling her Goat Creamery that she founded. She is a Master Certified Cheese maker and she has taught classes at Tess’ on how to make fresh cream or goat cheese, feta cheese and a Mozzarella.
As a result, the cheese is going to be first-rate — and bring our community some attention, just as ol’ Republic Brewery has with its award-winning craft beer.
“We’re thrilled,” Roberta told me. And as for the location next to Three Forks, she added: “It’s a match made in heaven.” Wheyward Girl Cremery plans to make Camembert-style soft cheeses and hard-aged cheeses, from goat, cow and sheep’s milk. It will sell the cheese both wholesale and retail. An opening is planned in May or June.
As it turns out, food is becoming an “economic driver” in our community, whether it’s artisan cheese, our dining scene, craft beer, or our local wines. In addition, the “food economy” offers an opportunity for real community collaboration — in this case between Wheyward Girl Cremery and Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co. We spoke with the owner of Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co., who is excited about including Wheyward Girl Cremery cheese on their menu.
This is the private sector “in action.” We wish Roberta (whose cooking classes we enjoy) and Barbara the best of luck in their new cheese-making venture, and you can be sure we will be among their customers.