CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Cheshire Mammoth Cheese is certainly known in these parts, but its fabled journey to Washington, D.C., has turned heads at Nederlands Nationaal Kaaskeurconcours, the Dutch National Cheese Inspection Competition.
"We understood that in certain domestic circles the story of the Mammoth Cheshire Cheese was revered, however, I'm not sure anyone expected this kind of international attention," said John Tremblay of the Cheshire Community Association.
As the story goes, the 1,235-pound wheel of cheese was commissioned by Elder John Leland after the election of Thomas Jefferson as president in 1800. Local historians say Cheshire was the only town in Berkshire County to have voted for Jefferson. In fact, it is believed that every single vote but one went to Jefferson.
Townspeople converted a cider mill into a giant cheese press and with the help of more than 900 Cheshire cows, the half-ton cheese wheel was created and delivered to the new White House.
The cheese was so large that it took over a month to get to Washington.
The article tells the story of the Cheshire Mammoth Cheese, and Tremblay said it was a bit of a surprise when the magazine Kaas! (Cheese!) reached out to the town.
"Getting a request from the Netherlands about Cheshire's Mammoth Cheese was a big surprise," he said. " It turns out they are the largest per capita exporter of cheese in the world. In fact, Gouda cheese is named after a town in South Holland."
NNKC, a 61-year-old organization, organizes cheese contests throughout the Netherlands bringing in hundreds of Dutch cheese professionals and aficionados. Once a year, it publishes KAAS!, which is dispersed throughout the entire cheese community.
"There has long been interest in the Mammoth Cheese story, proven out by a simple Google search, however since the installation of the full-size replica at the Ashuwillticook Trail Trail intersection with Church Street, it has piqued," Tremblay said. "It's not uncommon to see Appalachian Trail hikers and [Ashuwillticook] Rail Trail travelers taking selfies or photos with the sculpture."
Tremblay felt the recognition was important to the community and will help spark a stronger sense of community pride and an interest in local history.
"With more recent attention surrounding the Mammoth Cheese, it feels like folks have a better feel for the incredible history and understand that it is a pretty big deal," he said. "... It's really great to find that this significant event in both the town's and country's history is very much appreciated by many across the pond."
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Plans for Cheshire Senior/Veteran Tax Work-Off Program Undecided
By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The specifics of the senior/veteran tax work-off program are still undecided, which could cause its launch to be delayed to as late as Fiscal Year 2024.
The Board of Selectmen discussed the work-off program extensively at its Tuesday meeting and decided there is still significant work to be done before the town can implement it.
"We have not worked on this in a little bit, but it has resurfaced," said Selectman Jason Levesque.
When implemented, the program would allow eligible seniors age 60 and older to work in the community with payment coming in the form of a lower tax bill. Several members suggested involving other boards in the planning process, with Selectman Mark Biagini recommending that the town start over entirely.