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13 People to Watch in 2013: C.J. Bienert | The Cheese Shop of Des Moines

Congrats CJ! I look forward to visiting soon!

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Photo: Rodney White/The Register

“Some things are hard to name, both too big and too intimate to catch hold of and pin down — things understood less with the brain than the gut. The Cheese Shop of Des Moines, even with its workaday moniker, is one of those things. And its co-owner and head cheese guru, C.J. Bienert, is comfortable with that.

“I don’t like those words that people use to describe us,” the 30-year-old said. “We’re not ‘specialty’ or ‘local’ or ‘farm to table.’ It’s just honest and simple food.”

Despite Bienert’s distaste for the reduxes du jour, the shop does make a direct hit on some of the coming year’s hottest food trends: local and farm brands, environmental consciousness, simplicity.

13 people to watch in 2013: Meet a new one each day

Kari Bienert, C.J.’s wife and business partner, said the food industry is changing organically, and that their small shop is just part of that. The store is the right thing at the right time, landing smack in the middle of a back-to-basics movement in the culinary world. Food producers are getting smaller; farmers are edging away from chemicals and antibiotics; the words “handmade” and “artisan” have a certain cache. “We don’t have to call it anything,” Kari Bienert said. “Things are scaling back, and it’s just happening naturally.””

via 13 People to Watch in 2013: C.J. Bienert | The Des Moines Register | desmoinesregister.com.

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