Modena, Italy—one of the most important provinces for Parmigiano Reggiano production—was struck by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake on May 20. The extreme force of the quake caused 300,000 rounds of aging cheese to fall from their warehouse shelves.
Cheesemakers can continue to age undamaged wheels to full maturity (12 to 24 months), at which point they can be certified by law as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Unfortunately, if the interior of a wheel was cracked by the fall or the rind was broken, the cheese can't be aged any more. While the cheese itself is still perfectly edible, it can't earn its certification and must be sold as unbranded hard-grating cheese.
The economic impact of the disaster has been devastating for cheesemakers all over the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
Bitchinfixins, one of our own Serious Eaters, lives where the quake hit (read more about her situation in this Talk thread) and has provided SE with a list of cheesemakers in need of our help. Pieces of cheese can be bought directly from the producers listed below to help lessen the damage of lost profits.
CASEIFICIO SANT'ANGELO S.N.C.
DI CARETTI DANTE E C. (Azienda Caretti)
Phone: 051/823198 - 347 5716823
CASEIFICIO 4 MADONNE
Phone: 059 849468
CASEIFICIO SOCIALE SAN SIMONE
Phone: 0522 340129
LATTERIA SOCIALE LORA
Phone: 0522 677529
CASEIFICIO ROSSI F.LLI SRL
Phone: 0522 699700
Fax: 0522 631354
CASEIFICIO SOCIALE LA CAPPELLETTA [temporarily unable to make cheese]
You can also donate money to the victims of the earthquake via the Italian Red Cross.