In order to build relationships between cheesemakers and consumers, develop a series of smaller “Meet the Cheesemaker” events to take place over the course of three years in regions throughout the state that are home to a high density of licensed creameries (e.g., Whatcom, Skagit, Thurston, King, and Okanogan counties, etc.). Design these events so that consumers can chat with cheesemakers, sample their cheeses, and learn where to purchase those cheeses on a regular basis. Other local producers whose agricultural products (e.g., wine, beer, cider, preserves, etc.) pair well with cheese may also be included to help support the cheeses.
Aside from these official events, partner with regional organizations to execute the plan for Washington’s version of “The Hunt,” a state‐wide scavenger hunt styled after one developed in 2020 by the Vermont Cheese Council (VCC). The VCC has given WASCA the endorsement to create Washington’s own version of The Hunt. This event will be self‐guided and encourage participants to visit specific businesses, historical sites, and natural parks and attractions, and engage with communities in each region of the state. The Hunt will use WASCA’s “Find Washington Cheese” map as a base from which to guide consumers to visit creameries. This will also benefit agritourism, farm stands, and farmers markets, as well as smaller communities that are not usually host to larger festivals.
To ensure all cheesemakers are able to benefit from the additional promotion of the events in Objective 3 and Objective 4, a photographer will be retained to prepare photos and videos for those cheesemakers who do not currently have professional marketing materials. The photographer will travel to the creameries to photograph the cheeses, cheesemaking process, and farm or farm stand as applicable. The availability of photos and videos on the creameries’ websites, on WASCA’s website, and on supporting materials for events and promotions will provide an extra avenue for consumers to see who their local cheesemakers are and learn more about them.