Announcements, events and opportunities, oh my!
Table of Contents:
- Letter from the Executive Director
- WASCA Business
- FMPP Grant Updates
- Members In the News
Dear WASCA Members and Friends,
It is hard to believe summer is drawing to a close, but there is no mistaking the crisp tinge in the air that has picked up over the past few weeks. This summer has been no time for the weak: from a plethora of in-person events and farmers markets in full swing to increased costs of goods, scorching temperatures and smoky skies across the Northwest, there has been something to keep everyone on their toes over these few estival months.
As always, I am in awe of our busy cheesemakers and everything they do to provide delicious cheese for the rest of us. Whether you are a farmer with dry pastures or doubled feed costs, a cheesemaker puzzling over increased freight and gas prices, or an affineur trying to maintain temperature and humidity levels in the aging cave amid record outdoor temperatures, your hard work is so important and appreciated.
One of the goals of WASCA’s USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant is to shine light on our cheesemakers’ hard work – through building connections between cheesemakers and consumers by way of in-person events, cheesemonger education, and retail promotions. We have been able to pay a photographer to take photos at creameries to help make our cheesemakers’ work visible for cheese lovers across the state and region. It has been a joy to see the first photos from that project come to fruition after our contract photographer, Janee’ Muha, finished the first batch of site visits this summer. Here are a few examples of her work:
The topic of in-person events has been a hot one in 2022. WASCA is the non-profit sponsor of both the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival and the Cheese + Meat Festival. While I am saddened that the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival had to be cancelled this month, I look forward to representing our little cheese guild at the Seattle Cheese + Meat Festival on Saturday, October 8. We are currently looking for cheesemakers to have tables at that event – or who can send samples of their cheeses to be represented at the Washington Cheese table.
I am also excited to have announced WASCA’s first “Meet the Cheesemakers” event, which will take place at the Olympia Center on September 24. (Full details below under “FMPP Grant Updates.”) It has been no small feat to plan an event this year—but I look forward to seeing it through.
More events will be on the horizon soon, as will be autumn leaves, chill weather, and the return of rain. As farmers markets and production schedules cool down, I hope to begin calling all the cheesemakers to touch base and find out what our priorities should be for 2023—which will be here before we all know it. I wish everyone a safe summer wind-down—and I hope to see some of you at one of our upcoming events!
Courtney C. Johnson, PhD, ACS CCP
Executive Director, Washington State Cheesemakers Association
Courtney.email@example.com / (520) 253-0291
Farm Bill: Call for Member Comments
The US House Agriculture Committee is currently soliciting comments in preparation for the 2023 Farm Bill. You are welcome to submit your own comments through the online form at https://agriculture.house.gov/forms/form/?ID=9.
WASCA’s Education & Regulation Committee is also preparing comments to submit on behalf of our membership; if you would like to provide feedback for the committee to share through the House Agriculture Committee’s comment form and in a letter to Washington State legislators, please fill out this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M9FKCFW.
Consider Joining the Board
The WASCA Board of Directors will look to appoint a new director to the board this December when Kallijah Paraska’s term ends. There are two appointed-director positions on the board; typically these are held by members who are not cheesemakers, however cheesemakers may also be appointed. If you are interested in being considered for this position, or if you’d like to nominate someone, please send an email to WashingtonCheese@gmail.com.
We need YOU to volunteer! Here are some upcoming opportunities for which we need support:
- Meet the Cheesemakers – Thurston County: Saturday 24, 2022, at Olympia Center in Olympia; duties may include setting up chairs and tables, preparing and plating cheese for the guided tasting, checking in attendees, passing out cheese plates, and cleaning up after the event. Timing for the event from set-up to clean-up is 11am-4pm. (Full event details under “FMPP Grant Updates.”)
- Cheese + Meat Festival: October 8, 2022, at McCaw Hall in Seattle. We are in need of volunteers to help run the Washington Cheese table; table duties include talking about Washington Cheese, signing up new members, and passing out samples of local cheeses. There will be a morning shift and an afternoon shift.
- Meet the Cheesemakers – King County: October 15, 2022, at 21 Acres in Woodinville. We need volunteers to help put on this event; duties are similar to those outlined above for Meet the Cheesemakers – Thurston County.
- Meet the Cheesemakers – Whatcom County: December 10, 2022, at a location TBA in or near Bellingham. We will need volunteers for duties similar to those outlined above for Meet the Cheesemakers – Thurston and King counties.
- Committee Service: All of WASCA’s committees are currently searching for volunteers to make our programs a success. We have four active committees: Membership, Marketing, Grant Writing, and Education & Regulations.
Please send an email to WashingtonCheese@gmail.com if you are interested in helping at any of the above events, or if you would like more information about a committee.
Need Maps or Stickers?
Do you need more Washington Cheese Maps? How about rolls of Choose Washington Cheese stickers? We have plenty to go around. Please reach out to WashingtonCheese@gmail.com to let us know how many you would like, and we will get them to you ASAP.
Meet the Cheesemakers: Thurston County
The first event in WASCA’s “Meet the Cheesemakers” seminar series will be held at the Olympia Center (222 Columbia St NW, Olympia, WA 98501) on Saturday, September 24, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event will feature a 90-minute seminar including a guided tasting of cheeses, a Q&A session with cheesemakers, and a talk about cheesemaking and Washington cheeses. There will also be a short meet-and-greet session following the seminar. Tickets are $20 each and are available online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5549749. WASCA members receive a $5 discount off the full price with the discount code WASCAmember22.
If you are able, please help us spread the word about this event so we can sell enough tickets to cover all the costs that are not funded by the grant award.
ACS Meet the Cheesemakers
FMPP grant funds enabled five cheesemakers to interact with possible new buyers during the American Cheese Society’s Meet the Cheesemakers event on July 22, 2022, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OR. A total of nine Washington cheesemakers had booths at the event. Of those, three* had their booth fees reimbursed by FMPP grant funds, and two** shared space at a Washington Cheese table also made possible by grant funding. The cheesemakers who were present were Appel Farms Cheese (Ferndale), Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Seattle), Cascadia Creamery* (Trout Lake), Evergreen Creamery** (Trout Lake), Fantello Farmstead Creamery* (Enumclaw), Harmony Fields** (Bow), Ferndale Farmstead and Daniel’s Artisan (Ferndale), Samish Bay Cheese (Bow), and Twin Sisters Creamery* (Ferndale).
Note: all participating cheesemakers should have received a post-event survey to fill out for the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service as part of our required grant-completion metric. Please fill out the survey no later than September 23, 2022!
Washington Cheese Month Plans
Inspired by the success of American Cheese Month (May) and Oregon Cheese Month (September), WASCA will institute a Washington Cheese Month. Washington Cheese Month will involve a retail marketing campaign in participating stores, special consumer-facing events, and dedicated marketing initiatives. Voting members (licensed cheesemaker members) will receive an email next week asking them to vote on the month that will enter our state’s rolls as the official month to celebrate Washington cheeses and cheesemakers.
Call for Photography Appointments
If you are a licensed cheesemaker and you would like to have professional photos taken of your creamery, please reach out WashingtonCheese@gmail.com so that you can be put in touch with our photographer to schedule your site visit. This $1,500 opportunity is open to all licensed cheesemaker members at no cost. Once they have been edited, cheesemakers receive digital copies of all photos.
WASCA members win big at ACS Judging & Competition!
Congratulations to every cheesemaker who submitted cheeses to this year’s American Cheese Society Judging & Competition. The following WASCA-member creameries received top honors at this year’s awards ceremony, held during the ACS annual conference in Portland, Oregon, on July 21, 2022:
(Category: Creamery – Cheese – Placement)
- Best in Show: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Seattle) – Flagsheep – tie for 2nd
- Aged Cheddar aged 13-23 months, all milks: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – Flagship – 2nd
- Cheddar wrapped in cloth, linen with a natural rind, aged 13 or more months: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – Flagship Reserve – 1st
- Hispanic ripened, aged over 90 days, all milks: Daniel’s Artisan (Ferndale) – Queso Cotija – 3rd
- Cooking Hispanic cheeses intended to be consumed heated or melted, all milks: Daniel’s Artisan – Oaxaca – 3rd
- Pasta Filata types, all milks: Ferndale Farmstead (Ferndale) – Provolone – 1st
- Traditional regional Italian cheeses, all milks: Ferndale Farmstead – Fontina – 3rd
- Feta made from cow’s milk: Samish Bay Cheese (Bow) – Feta – 3rd
- Feta made from sheep, mixed, or other milks: Harmony Fields (Bow) – Fleecemaker – 2nd
- Sheep’s milk cheese aged 31-60 days: Harmony Fields – La Bertha – 3rd
- Butter with flavor added, all milks: Cherry Valley Dairy (Duvall) – Herbed Rose Butter – 1st
- Butter with flavor added, all milks: Cherry Valley Dairy – Coffee Butter – 3rd
- Cheddar with flavor added, all milks: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – Marco Polo Reserve – 1st
- Feta with flavor added, all milks: Appel Farms Cheese (Ferndale) – Basil Tomato Feta – 3rd
- Farmstead Cheese with flavor added, all milks: Daniel’s Artisan – Fuego – 3rd
- Raclette-style aged over 45 days: Fantello Farmstead Creamery (Enumclaw) – Filomena – 2nd
- Open category made from sheep’s milk: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – Flagsheep – 1st
Last call for cheesemaker survey
September 15 is the last day for cheesemakers to fill out the “2022 State of the U.S. Artisan/Specialty Cheese Industry” survey. The survey asks cheesemakers about their operations, food safety practices, marketing practices, and production. It is a project of the American Cheese Society that is being conducted by Dr. Lucy McGowan, associate professor at California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo. Survey data from all cheesemakers will be aggregated and shared in a series of reports about the state of the industry. To fill out the survey, visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/acs_InudstrySurvey_2022.
Cheesemaking Class at OSU Offers Discounts
The OSU Food Innovation Center and OSU Arbuthnot Dairy Center are hosting a “2-day Cheese Course” on October 19-20, 2022. The course, which will be held at the Food Innovation Center in Portland, costs between $579, but there are two discounts available to help with the cost: 1) there is an early-bird discount of $100-off that ends when the class is full or on October 3, whichever happens first; 2) there is a 25% discount when two or more employees from the same company register before the class is full or by October 10, whichever happens first. To reserve space in the class, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2-day-cheese-course-tickets-383075096927?utm-campaign=social%2Cemail&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-source=strongmail&utm-term=listing
Vat Pasteurizer Workshop
The Cornell College of Agriculture & Life Sciences has rolled out a self-paced Vat Pasteurizer Workshop designed for small-scale dairy processors. To learn more about the workshop, which costs between $240 and $290 for out-of-state residents, visit: https://cals.cornell.edu/education/degrees-programs/vat-pasteurizer-workshop.
Preventive Controls for Dairy Processors
NC State University is offering a new course, “Online Preventive Controls for Dairy Processors Training.” The course is being given by Dr. Clint Stevenson on a rolling basis as enrollment demands. To learn more about the course, which costs $475, visit: https://units.cals.ncsu.edu/foodsafety/preventive-controls-for-dairy-processors/.
Dairy Goat Cheese Competition
The American Dairy Goat Association is now accepting applications for its 2022 Cheese Competition. The competition will be held during the association’s annual meeting in Syracuse, NY, on October 3 and 4. For more information or to fill out the entry form, visit: https://convention.adga.org/cheese-competition/.
World Cheese Awards
The last day to enter cheeses in the World Cheese Awards is September 21. This year’s competition will be held in Wales on November 1 and 2. To enter, visit https://gff.co.uk/awards/world-cheese-awards/. Additionally, the US Dairy Export Council will support cow’s milk and mixed-milk cheeses that include cow’s milk by covering entry costs for the competition. Producers who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity should reach out directly to Ryan Hopkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organic Transition Initiative Funding
The USDA announced that it has set aside $300 million to support producers in transitioning to organic production. For more information about the various programs funded by this initiative, please visit: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2022/08/22/usda-invest-300-million-new-organic-transition-initiative.
Save the Date: American Cheese Society Judging & Competition
The American Cheese Society will begin accepting entry applications for its 2023 Judging & Competition on January 15, 2023. Entries will be accepted through February 28. Cheeses will be physically received for the competition in Minneapolis, MN, May 15 through 17, and will be judged on May 18 and 19. All entrants must be current members of the American Cheese Society at the time of application. ACS will send a message to all members once the online portal is open for entries.
Six Cheesemakers Cited in Article
Acme Farms Cheese, Appel Farms Cheese, Golden Glen Creamery, Harmony Fields, Samish Bay Cheese, and Twin Sisters Creamery each received a shout-out in the article, “Cheese, Please!” published in Bellingham Alive on June 20, 2022. https://bellinghamalive.com/dine/cheese-please/
WASCA Event in the News
Cheese-industry newspaper, Cheese Reporter, posted a plug about WASCA’s upcoming “Meet the Cheesemakers” event in the publication’s September 9 edition. Available online and in-print only for subscribers, the article is titled, “Washington State Meet The Makers Event Is Sept. 24.”
Beecher’s Makes the New York Times
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Seattle) received kudos in the print and online versions of The New York Times on August 1, 2022, for its achievement of tying for second at the American Cheese Society Judging & Competition’s Best in Show awards. The article, “Four Cheeses That Can’t Be Beat,” named Beechers’ Flagsheep along with third place winner Greensward, made in a collaboration between Jasper Hill Farm (VT) and Murray’s Cheese (NY), second-place tie Bamboozle by Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy (PA), and first place winner Whitney from Jasper Hill Farm. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/01/dining/american-cheese-society.html
Clover Mountain in Capital Press
Clover Mountain Dairy (Chewelah) was covered in Capital Press’ special issue on Dairy in an article titled, “Clover Mountain Dairy: When small is good,” published on June 3, 2022. https://www.capitalpress.com/page-11/pdf_4061bb92-e29e-11ec-ab95-2ff373e2d350.html
Cornucopia Cultivator Highlights Clover Mountain Dairy
In its Spring/Summer 2022 issue, the Cornucopia Institute’s newsletter, Cultivator, featured a front-page story about Clover Mountain Dairy and the farm’s animal husbandry practices as they relate to the USDA’s Origin of Livestock rule. https://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/22Summer-Spring_Q2Cultivator_web.pdf%22
Not Just Goat Cheese at Conway
Conway Family Farm (Camas) was one of nine farms in Clark County where the public can go to pick blueberries, according to an article titled, “Blueberry season, and U-pick farms, is upon us” published online in Clark County Today on July 7, 2022. https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/people/blueberry-season-and-u-pick-farms-is-upon-us/
Daniel’s Artisan Lauded in Sunnyside Sun
Daniel’s Artisan (Ferndale) was featured in an article in the Sunnyside Sun about the creamery’s Fuego, which placed third in the category of “Farmstead cheese with flavor added, all milks” at the American Cheese Society Judging & Competition this year. The article, titled, “Daniel’s Artisan places third in national conference,” was published online on August 4, 2022. https://www.sunnysidesun.com/news/business/daniel-s-artisan-places-third-in-national-conference/article_442c073c-1435-11ed-9260-176db0df5401.html
Fantello Farmstead in Farmer’s Market Feature
Fantello Farmstead Creamery (Enumclaw) was listed as one of the many vendors to watch for at the Enumclaw Farmers Market in an article announcing the market’s annual opening. The article, titled, “Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market back for Year 4,” was published online in The Courier-Herald on June 2, 2022. https://www.courierherald.com/news/enumclaw-plateau-farmers-market-back-for-year-4/
Ferndale Farmstead Touted in Blog
Seattle-area pizza maker Pagliacci Pizza told the story of how Ferndale Farmstead (Ferndale) came to become their local supplier of Mozzarella and Kasseri. The story appeared in a June 2, 2022 blog post titled, “Ferndale Farmstead: The Artisan Cheesemaker Behind Our Fresh Mozzarella and Kasseri.” https://www.pagliacci.com/blog/posts/ferndale-farmstead-the-artisan-cheesemaker-behind-our-fresh-mozzarella-and
Spotlight on Ferndale’s Roundbale
Ferndale Farmstead’s (Ferndale) hard, grana-style cheese, Roundbale, was the subject of a spotlight titled, “Ferndale Farmstead’s Roundbale” pubished in the print and online Summer 2022 editions of Cheese Connoisseur. https://www.cheeseconnoisseur.com/ferndale-farmstead-roundbale-cheese-connoisseur/
Golden Glen Receives Feature
Golden Glen Creamery (Bow) was the subject of a feature article detailing the creamery’s history, processes, and various offerings. The article, “A Family-Run Dairy Farmstead in Bow,” was published in Bellingham Alive’s print “Home Grown + Weddings & Events” issue and ran online on May 18, 2022. https://bellinghamalive.com/dine/a-family-run-dairy-farmstead-in-bow/
Lost Peacock on the News
Fox 13 meteorologist Abby Acone visited and tasted cheese at Lost Peacock Creamery (Olympia) in a July 6 transmission titled, “Cheese testing at Lost Peacock Creamery in Olympia,” that can be seen online. Other clips from Acone’s visit are also viewable on Instagram Reels and Tik Tok. https://www.q13fox.com/video/1089681
Lum Farm Ice Cream in the News
Lum Farm (Eastsound) was written up in The Orcasonian on August 3, 2022, for releasing a new goat’s milk product: ice cream. The article, “New to Lum Farm: Goat’s milk ice cream,” announces the ice cream, shares that it is a healthier sweet treat, and also explains that Lum Farm has received a long-term lease at the Coffelt Farm Preserve where it is located. https://theorcasonian.com/new-to-lum-farm-goats-milk-ice-cream/
College Creamery Called Out
WSU Creamery (Pullman) received an in-depth profile in the print edition of Cheese Connoisseur’s Summer 2022 issue. The article, “A Cheese Education,” was posted online on June 2, 2022. https://www.cheeseconnoisseur.com/washington-state-university-cheese-connoisseur/
WSU Creamery Wins at Ice Cream
WSU Creamery’s first-place win in the “Big Scoop” ice cream competition held by the American Society of Animals Sciences’ was covered in three different articles: (1) “Celebrate National Ice Cream month with the WSU Creamery’s award-winning ice cream” published on July 14, 2022, on KXLY (https://www.kxly.com/celebrate-national-ice-cream-month-with-the-wsu-creamerys-award-winning-ice-cream/); (2) “Student-made ice cream from WSU Creamery wins Big Scoop competition” published on July 14, 2022, on KHQ Q6 (https://www.khq.com/news/student-made-ice-cream-from-wsu-creamery-wins-big-scoop-competition/article_4e2d5776-03bf-11ed-86eb-2be1978e945d.html); and (3) “WSU Creamery wins national ice cream competition” published on July 21, 2022, on the Daily Evergreen (https://dailyevergreen.com/136673/news/wsu-creamery-wins-national-ice-cream-competition/).
*** Got news? Let us know! It’s hard to keep track of all the great things that folks are saying about our members—so please give us a hand and a heads-up when you see your name in print (or online). Just shoot an email (with a link if possible) to WashingtonCheese@gmail.com. ***
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