December 23, 2021

PT 17: An eventful year….

A cold mist blankets the last days of this eventful year, yet the fires of festivity and fellowship burn brightly in our homes, hearths, and laboratories. Time has neither quickened nor slowed its pace, but as the new year approaches we feel ever inclined to glance back over our shoulders at what we’ve accomplished, and to gaze forward at what we’ll accomplish still. Under this gaze, all of the past and future days are folded into one, along with our hopes, aspirations, and promises.

An eventful year it was indeed. A year of achievement; of challenges met, trials bested, and obstacles overcome. We all have reason to celebrate, to kindle the flames of community and uncork the wine of life with our loved ones, and to recall the events of this year: the year of the cowboy. As a wise man once said, a good many hands make a day’s work light, and no less than four brand-spankin’ new recruits at the ranch have helped make our heavy work that much lighter. Bolstered by their help, the wheel of progress hums contentedly as it paves our way towards the future.

This year has seen the production of our very first caseins in the lab, and we are indeed getting closer to our dream by the day. As the production of caseins is underway, we must also figure out how to turn them into delicious cheese. To this end we’ve recruited an experienced cheesemaker whose insight will prove invaluable. Of course, a prodigy cheesemaker needs a state-of-the-art cheesemaking lab, and so we’ve started the work on some, let’s say, redecorations. Unfortunately, this new lab is in the favourite spot of our stainless steel cow Margaret, and we’ve had to do some serious convincing to get her to give it up. The only thing that could appease her was, as always, the promise of more fame: from April up until October next year she’ll be grazing at the Floriade in Aalsmeer. Be sure to pay her a visit! She loves the attention.

And while our ranchers steadily make headway on our quest for animal-free cheese, we haven’t been idle outside the lab either. Over the course of the year, our dairy delegates have travelled far and wide to visit countless potential partners, from scientists to cheesemakers, from investors to fellow innovators. The fruits of these voyages have grown on the many different branches of our venture, and the world is evermore aiding us in our pursuits. Those Vegan Cowboys have been granted not just one, no sir, but two awards in recognition of our contributions to the vegan mission. On top of that, we’ve been granted a hefty sum of gold by VLAIO: the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship organization. This support is sure to expedite our research and encourages us to double our efforts.

This summer also saw the advent of WildWestLand, our side-project in collaboration with Westland Kaas, and the introduction of its very first vegan products. We had a wildly successful pop-up store, or Fromancerie as we like to call it, dedicated to this union just a mere stone’s throw from the lab. The cheese-lovers of The Netherlands and Belgium have been raving about these delicious Fromances, and are more than ready to see what else we’ve got in store for them.

There’s ever more to tell you, good folks, but any half-decent storyteller knows to give the audience just enough to leave them on the edge of their seats. And trust me, there’ll be plenty more to this story for me to tell you, as it unfolds further by the day. For now, I’ll leave you in the holiday comfort of your homes, enjoying the company of friends and family. When next we meet, you and I, we’ll be in a new year. New dreams, new stories, and new cheesy goodness awaits us, and we can’t wait to share it all with you.

Happy holidays from all of us at Those Vegan Cowboys! Oh, and Margaret asked me to wish you all a happy *moo* year…

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