An Interview With Lily

This month on the blog we’re doing another interview—not with a cheese, but a cheesemaker! Well, a cheesemaker in training. We’re excited to introduce our newest employee, Lily, who we completely adore & are excited to have learning to make cheese with us every day! We interviewed her so you can get to know her a little better too!

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What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

L: I went through a long phase where I wanted to be a sea turtle doctor. But I think I secretly always wanted to do what I’m doing now–I just didn’t know it.

Where is your mom’s family from? Where is your dad’s family from?

L: My mom was born in Argentina in the late 40s. Her parents were both from the US, but her dad was a journalist in South America during that time. She lived in Argentina and Brazil as a kid, and then moved to Manhattan as an adolescent. By the time I knew her, though, she was a North Carolina back-to-the-lander. My dad grew up in the Midwest, and spent his early years on a farm with his extended Sicilian family. I guess that almost entitles me to be a part of an Italian cheese-making crew! : )

Have you ever been there? What was that experience like?

L: I’ve never been to Argentina, though I have traveled in other countries in Latin America. My family likes to say I’ve “been to Brazil,” because my mom was pregnant with me when she went back to visit, but from what I’ve heard this just made for a rough trip for her! I’d like to visit both countries…and Sicily for that matter! Definitely Sicily.

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What traditions have been passed down in your family?

L: Not too many, but my dad sometimes makes this rolled fig christmas cookie that he learned how to make from his grandparents. It’s called a cuccidati and is covered with this wonderful hard glaze. Now I want to go make some right now…

Did you know your grandparents? 

L: Unfortunately, I only got to know one grandparent growing up. My mom always says that her family really stretched out the generations. She was almost 40 when she had me, and her dad was 40 when he had her. The details get a little fuzzy after that, but my grandfather was the last of 13, so from what I’ve heard (don’t quote me on this) my great-grandfather was almost at the end of his life when he had my grandfather and was born sometime before the Civil War.

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Favorite musician or band?

L: I can’t get over the album Astral Weeks right now. I don’t think Van Morrison is really thought of as being mystical, but there is something so deeply moving and magical about the sounds he creates. I’ve also been listening to Karen Dalton a lot these days–what a haunting and weird voice!

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I am glad it’s behind me:

L: I’d have to say college and then my short-lived career working in offices in NYC. I didn’t exactly hate either at the time, but now that I’m working with my hands with people that I love who are starting a business making products that inspire me, man…there’s just no comparison.

How would you like to be remembered?

L: For loving a few people and making beautiful things and being rooted in this place. And then also for being a badass who lifts heavy things and operates machinery, etc. I’m still working on that last bit, but I’m getting there…

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What is your earliest memory?

L: I’m pretty sure it was me being furious with my dad because he had to go cook us dinner and I wanted him to stay outside and play with me. I remember vowing to never forget that, so I guess I didn’t.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

L: Probably that time really does heal wounds (maybe not all of them). I’m not sure if it’s the Bible or Gandalf who said “This too shall pass,” but it’s a good one. (Wikipedia update: it’s actually a medieval Persian saying popularized by Lincoln…)

When in life have you felt most alone?

L: When I was about 21 I went WWOOFing around the UK by myself. The purpose of the trip for me was solitude. That whole period of my life was solitary and difficult in a lot of ways, but I also feel like it made me the person I am today. Now I just like to go to the movie theater alone : )

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Do you have any favorite stories from your work life?

L: Oh wow, well for a couple years I worked with “disconnected young adults” from upper Manhattan and the Bronx so pretty much every moment was a story. I still miss a lot of them. Maybe a favorite moment was when the class blackmailed me into clogging for them : )

I am endlessly curious about:

L: The origin of language and words.

Fears I haven’t quite yet conquered:

L: I had a late-onset fear of snakes. Apart from that, I’ve never really been afraid of bugs or bees or other creepy crawlers.

What would be your last meal?

L: Beautiful homemade pasta with a fresh tomato sauce.

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If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?

L: Camping with my childhood friends Ray and Sara on the Virginia Creeper Trail. I remember thinking it doesn’t get any better than that. But I guess being in love trumps most things.

What is your dream car?

L: A small truck with amazing gas mileage.

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