Every year, thousands of food crafters compete for the honor of receiving a Good Food Award. This year, Washington cheesemakers won all three top prizes in the cheese category for the North Region after rigorous scoring and a blind taste test last September.
Cheesemaking has grown in popularity in Washington State in recent years. Since 2005, the number of registered cheesemakers has grown from less than 10 to more than 50 ranging in variety and diversity, according to the Washington State Cheesemakers Association. Not only has the quantity of cheesemakers rapidly increased, but the quality of cheeses has as well, and they have the hardware to show it.
According to the Good Food Foundation’s website, their goal is to “celebrate, connect, empower and leverage the passionate and engaged, yet often overlooked, players in the food system who are driving toward tasty, authentic and responsible food … through five key programs to build widespread support for growers, ranchers, makers and merchants.”
“There’s something special about dairy farming here in Washington,” says Steve Seppi, executive director of the Dairy Farmers of Washington. “Our local cheesemakers work hard each day to produce exceptional cheese for consumers locally and around the world—these awards showcase the diversity and quality of dairy produced in the Pacific Northwest.”
“This award is a little different than past awards we have received,” said Daniel Wavrin, head cheesemaker and founder of Ferndale Farmstead. “I think this one is really unique and special because it doesn’t only consider the taste and quality of your cheese, but it really evaluates your whole process and to me, that is such a compliment because our whole mission is truly ‘Seed to Cheese’- from our farm to your table!”
A rich and creamy aged cheese with a smooth, almost silky texture. Our whole milk version of this cheese has a natural rind as opposed to the washed-rind style produced in the valleys of northern Italy. It has a complex floral and sweet flavor with butterscotch or brown sugar aroma notes, and is less pungent than the washed rind versions of this cheese. Enjoy this original classic on your table or on your outdoor adventures as a true mountain cheese.
Scamorza is a signature Italian cheese, made in our very own PNW. This cheese is hung on ropes to age, a technique used by artisans for hundreds of years, giving it a pear-shaped body. A relative of our Fior di Latte mozzarella, but with a bolder and more buttery flavor. It is the perfect ingredient for recipes like lasagna, where the delicious melting of the “stretched-curd” family of cheese is desired. It has won many awards since debuting, making it quite the decorated little ball of tastiness.
“Our Vache’s win has already resulted in commitments from two additional grocery chain and additional promotions with some of our existing accounts,” said Roger Wechsler of Samish Bay Cheese. “Three of the 17 cheesemakers honored nationwide are from Washington, which says a lot about the quality of Washington dairy products.”
Vache is a fresh, creamy spreadable cheese. Like all of our cheeses, made with whole milk, it is lower in fat than cream cheese and whey tastier. It’s great in dips and spreads, on toast, bagels, banana bread, etc, as a cream sauce and other sauces, and makes an incredible cheese ball. It was also awarded 1st Place by the American Cheese Society in 2017.
“Competition was fierce this year and there were 2,000 entries among all the categories,” Cascadia Creamery representatives said on their Facebook page. “We are so proud to be among the passionate award winners honored for their tasty, authentic, responsible and sustainably produced foods. Congrats to Ferndale Farmstead and Samish Bay for their wins, too!”
A dynamic cheese with grassy notes that reflect the mountain pasture where the cows graze. A milky, firm and citrusy interior that transitions to a mushroomy outer layer capped in a natural rind reminiscent of a soft cloud. Aged bloomy rind – aged 60 to 75 days.