AUSTIN, TX (August 15, 2014) – Global cheese buyer Cathy Strange travels the world meeting cheesemakers and dairy farmers, tasting cheese and judging international competitions, and her most recent honor is the French Ordre Du Merite Agricole Award (Order of Agricultural Merit), presented to her earlier this summer by the Christophe Malvezin, agricultural counselor for the French Embassy. The award honors individuals who go above and beyond in the agricultural field.

“I’m pleased to be able to work so closely with farmers and cheesemakers in the agriculture industry to preserve the quality and heritage of great cheese,” said Strange. “This recognition is a testament that my efforts not only result in delicious cheese that Whole Foods Market shoppers love, but that they benefit those producer partners I work to build such strong relationships with as well.”

The Order was first established in 1883 to acknowledge excellence in an industry that impacts so many but rewarded so few. Strange received the award at the new French cheese event space in New York City, the French Cheese Board, during its launch event on June 30.

Earlier this year, Strange was honored by the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano with the Coltellino D’Oro “the golden knife” for her dedication to preserving the craftsmanship of the famous Italian cheese – the first non-Italian and woman to ever to receive that award.