Mike Geno’s Cheese Map

By now, you’ve heard me talk about my friend and neighbor Mike Geno, who paints cheese portraits. His studio is less than a mile from my house, and when I need a pick-me-up I wander over to bask in the light of his dairy-centric wall of food art.

This week, I visited him to discuss two important things: 1) he’s offering a summer sale of his paintings through August (details below) AND, 2) he’s almost finished with his cheese map!

A cheese map? Yassss, queen.

So, The Cheese Map

Two years ago, Mike set out to paint a wedge from every state. At the time, he’d painted hunks from eleven, but his patrons wanted more. A cheese from Alaska? Mike wasn’t sure. A cheese from Hawaii? He had to ponder.

Thanks to word of mouth and the power of social media, Mike’s project exploded as a hot topic on Istagram (follow him @mikegenostudio). Today, his map is nearly complete. He’s received cheese offerings from 43 states, mostly shipped to him on ice from cheesemakers.

Alaska? Uh huh. Cheesemaker Sarah Jepson in Dry Creek learned about Mike via Instagram (her handle is @milkmansfirstwife) and sent him a wheel of Winter Fury made with her hothouse peppers and the milk of her husband’s six cows. Her daughter-in-law Amaris also sent Mike a wheel of her Tuscan-style Pepato.

Hawaii? Oh, yes. Check out Ocean Brie-eeze, a black Brie colored with Squid Ink.

Obtaining cheese from warm-weather states has proven difficult, like Arizona. “Actually a cheesemonger at Di Bruno Bros. is from Arizona, and he reached out to Wendell and Rhonda Crow at Crow’s Dairy,” Mike recalls. The Crows agreed to send Mike a wheel of their peppercorn feta and were so touched by the connection that they are planning a trip to Denver later this month to meet him at the American Cheese Society (ACS) conference.

Winter Fury (Alaska)

“People who are farming all day or working in a cheese room don’t think about the art world,” Mike said, as he cut into a blue from Winter Park Dairy in Florida, a sweet and spicy little number called Black & Bleu with veins of ground black pepper. “Something about the cheese map has allowed me to connect with them,” he mused. “Representing their art in my art — on this map — there is this whole new level of relating to each other.”

So, what states are left for Mike to paint? Nevada. South Dakota. Wyoming. Kentucky. Louisiana. Mississippi. Wyoming.

If you know a cheesemaker in one of those states, contact Mike Geno (mikegeno@gmail.com).

Mike Geno’s Summer Sale

Through August, Mike Geno is offering a 15% discount on all of his original oil paintings, including his paintings of cheese, meat, bread, doughnuts, etc. If you’re a big spender, you can buy 3 and get the 4th for free. (One of Mike’s patrons owns 39, just sayin’. There are cheese lovers, and then there are CHEESE LOVERS.) Visit his website, explore the cheese map, and put a piece of original cheese art in your kitchen. Or boudoir.

Pssst…Mike Geno’s studio is one of the stops on September’s Cheese Journey to Philadelphia and Chester County. We still have a few spots left!



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One Response to “Mike Geno’s Cheese Map”
  1. Ben says:

    Thanks for this post. Mike is such a good painter, I’m sure it’s an honor for the cheesemakers to have their work included. Hopefully this article will help complete the map.

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