Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: Gianaclis Caldwell, Cheesemaker

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know Gianaclis Caldwell of Pholia Farm Creamery.

What are you going to speak about at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

In my two sessions at the Pennsylvania Mother Earth News Fair I will be sharing some things about the life of a small, farmstead cheesemaker. One session is for those wanting a glimpse inside the life and a taste of handmade, artisan cheese, while the other is for those entertaining building their own sustainable, small cheese dairy.

What are you most looking forward to sharing with FAIR attendees?

I always look forward to sharing a balance of realism and romanticism – both of which are a part of this lifestyle choice. Living on an off-grid, family goat dairy brings with it some tough challenges and life and death decisions, but it also brings moments of joy and reward that are tough to beat.

Tell us about your background with your particular topic.

Our 24 acre farm is located on part of the land that I grew up on – a 220-acre wooded homestead in rural southern Oregon. I grew up milking cows, gardening, grinding wheat for flour, and beleiving that I could almost hear the trees’ spirts. That sounds a bit corny, perhaps, but it comes down to the fact that the farm and forest are in my blood. When we, my husband and daughters, were able to move back to this land after 25 years, it was truly a dream come true. Building a creamery and making highly sought after cheese made it possible. Our own struggles with the decisions and choices led me to write my first book and the one I am currently working on.

Why should fairgoers attend your presentation?

Well, they should only attend A Taste of the Life of a Farmstead Cheesemaker if they love to eat cheese and want to be able to relate to the lives of the famers making some of America’s fine artisan cheeses. If fairgowers are toying with the idea of becoming artisan cheesemakers themselves, then Building your Dream will give them some direction and tools to help them make the best decisions possible – after all, not all dreams are good ones. Oh, and fairgoers should know, that it is thanks to an article in Mother Earth News in 2002 that we embarked on our goat adventure!

How will you get to the FAIR, and how far do you have to travel?

I will be flying in from Oregon, so a couple thousand miles or so. But that is fun for a farm girl! I look forward to traveling as it gives me a chance to write and work on less physical projects.

What are you most looking forward to at the FAIR?

I can’t decide! I am very impressed by all of the sessions offered and also the location sounds fantastic! I am very honored and pleased to be able to participate.

What advice do you have for attendees?

I guess the same advice I am giving myself, which is to not get too dismayed if I miss some great sessions, it just means I will need to attend future MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS!

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you choose?

A great friend to keep me company!

Thanks, Gianaclis. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets are on sale now.

You can also get FAIR updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Keep an eye out for Trivia Ticket Tuesdays and Trivia Ticket Thursdays for your chance to win two tickets to the FAIR!

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