For the record, Edgar's thinks Murray's aged cheeses are good, but claims "no opinion" on their affinage practices. "I will say they've devoted a fair amount of money and space to their program," he hedged. "It's not something you can really do lightly, and you have to have someone who's studied in affinage. The article made me swear up and down, though, because it encourages people who want to get into cheese to claim that they're going to do affinage."
Edgar says Rainbow, like most of San Francisco's cheese shops, rely on producers to bring their product to market in its peak state. "We do more what I'd call triage, or harm reduction," he says. "Most cheese comes to us in the shape that we're going to sell it. If it doesn't, we have little tricks that we can do to fix something like a wet rind." Sure, Rainbow will hold an under-ripened cheese for a week until it's ready to sell, but that's just being a cheesemonger.
If you think affinage is a load of hooey, SFoodie asked Edgar, what's the quality that consumers should look for in a cheese retailer? "You want a retailer who sells a lot of cheese, because you don't want a bunch of cheese sitting around, unnoticed," Edgar said. "You want to make sure people are looking in the case every day, looking for problems. And you want cheesemongers who are actively engaged in their cheese. That's not the easiest thing to gauge as a consumer unless you start talking to the staff."