Well, I'm glad you asked! Artisan cheese refers to cheeses produced by hand using the traditional craftsmanship of skilled cheesemaker. As a result the cheeses are often more complex in taste and variety. Many are aged and ripened to achieve certain aesthetics. This contrasts with the more mild flavors of mass-produced cheeses made from pooled milk and produced in large scale operations, often shipped and sold right away.
Part of the artisan cheese making process is aging and ripening of the cheeses to develop flavor and textural characteristics. One type of artisanal cheese is known as farmstead cheese, made traditionally with milk from the producer's own herds of cows, sheep, and goats.