Attending (14): April Dowd, Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Patrick Ciraulo, Dean Calamaras, Rommel Tolentino, Carole Spencer, Charlie Foote (one reservation no-show).
Guests (5): ADG Bob Van Alstine, Eric Paul, Diane Leyhane, Mary Drumm, Maggie Forth.
Program: The Cheese Traveler
Debbie Brown introduced Eric Paul, founder of The Cheese Traveler specialty shop at 540 Delaware Avenue, that he opened in 2012.
Eric said he has been involved with food co-ops both in Albany and Troy. When he was manager of the cheese section of the Honest Weight Co-op in Albany, his section greatly expanded sales and the product line.
He described his experiences and growing interest in cheese, perhaps the largest specialty food category in this country. He noted that at his store it is expected that customers will try samples of the more than 100 cheeses offered. He also offers meats, grocery items, bread, specialty pantry items, sandwiches and soups. He expects to continually expand the business’s reach — offering barbecues this summer, for example, and adding cheeses and charcuteries.
Eric offered statistics about cheese and specialty foods, and explained the cheese-making process and various types of cheese from around the world made from the milk of goats, sheep, cows, yaks, water buffalo, camel and deer.
He distributed a nine-cheese sampling plate of domestic and imported tidbits to the members and guests, then took us on a tasting trip while explaining the origins of what we were eating. He defined and described the “Cheese Scale of Production” that is divided into such categories as farmstead, artisan, cooperative and industrial types of cheeses.
Hours at The Cheese Traveler are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Closed Monday.
ROTARY RUN — Event coordinator Peter Brown reported on T-shirt and road sign sponsorship sales. Additional sponsors have been found. Packets for runners will be assembled on Saturday, May 17, the day before the Run. As always, volunteers will be needed to help at both the packet-stuffing and the event itself. Bill Dowd noted that Bob Somerville, our honorary starter for the run, successfully completed his 26th consecutive Boston Marathon. He also urged everyone with a Facebook account to post the event flyer and ask all their Facebook “friends” to copy it, thus exponentially expanding our social media promotion effort.
PUBLICITY — President April Dowd thanked club member Patrick Ciraulo for arranging space for a club table at this Saturday’s open house at the East Greenbush YMCA. That will allow us to have a public presence, hand out Rotary Run flyers, and distribute brochures to anyone who expresses an interest in Rotary. Murray Forth and Patrick have volunteered to staff the table, but asked others to step forward if possible. The brief event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Y’s main gym.
FOURTH QUARTER PROJECT — Two agencies are our joint quarterly project for all members to support through donations. Debbie Brown reported that The Anchor food pantry in Castleton remains in need of such items as peanut butter, tuna fish and other canned goods containing good proteins. April said Circles of Mercy in Rensselaer remains in need of in-season clothes as well as household items.
DISTRICT VISITOR — Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine paid a repeat visit to the club. He mentioned several upcoming district events, and also informed us he will stay on as an ADG for the 2014-15 Rotary Year. Bob also congratulated our club on its family-like camaraderie and on its many service efforts, adding “You folks are doing Rotary the right way.”
BOARD MEETING — Six of the seven members of the club’s Board of Directors held a business meeting after the regular meeting. They addressed a set of proposed bylaw changes which the general membership will receive in time for a vote before the end of this Rotary Year. They also discussed the status of several potential new members we hope to induct during the presidential changeover dinner at the Browns’ residence on June 26.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at Quigley’s. Dean Calamaras will present a program on “The Great Ice Age Floods.”