Sunday, October 21  | 1:00-2:30pm  | 10 degrees, Seattle

The producer of the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival will present a different type of cheese appreciation experience- A Conversation with Cheesemakers on Sunday, October 21 at 10 degrees in Seattle, WA. It promises to be a fun, informative and inspirational experience for cheese enthusiasts and cheese industry professionals alike. The event will feature three local farmstead cheesemakers on the panel with the moderator Francis Percival, a London-based writer and a co-author of Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to cheese. The amount of work and the level of commitment required to produce high quality farmstead cheese AND to stay sustainable as a business is not only astounding but often not fully appreciated by most people. The cheesemaker panelists will share their real life experiences and stories to illustrate the journey of their cheeses from their farms to consumers’ tables, therefore offering more context to some widely used but sometimes misunderstood or misused terms such as “farmstead” and “artisan”. In addition to engaging discussions, guests will also be treated with a special cheese spread prepared by the cheesemaker panelists.

About the panelists:

Rhonda Gothberg, Gothberg Farms
Born and raised in Texas, Rhonda is still retaining a strong sense of independence and can do attitude.  After spending a few decades as a registered nurse and then a real estate broker, Rhonda launched her 3rd career as a farmstead cheesemaker in August of 2004. Gothberg Farms is situated on 40 acres of fertile farmland in the beautiful Skagit Valley, surrounded by the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound. Rhonda and her dedicated and capable staff milk a small heard of pure-bred LaMancha goats, and turn the milk into amazing goat milk cheeses. Rhonda was also instrumental in establishing the Washington State Cheesemakers Association (WASCA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to support Washington cheesemakers through education, promotion and collaboration, and served as the founding president since its inception in 2015 through 2018.

Lori Babcock, Tieton Farm & Creamery
Prior to starting a farm, Lori and her life partner Ruth both worked for software companies in Seattle, yearning to farm.  They practiced farming on a small property in Bellevue, growing veggies and raising goats, sheep and poultry for themselves, while learning how to make the cheeses they wanted to eat. After a stint at a cooking school in London, Lori lived in Annecy, France, where she discovered cheese and the unique lifestyle of farmstead cheese making that appealed to her for so many reasons. In 2008, Lori and Ruth made the leap and bought 21 acres in the upper Yakima Valley just outside of Tieton. Today, they have 45 goats, 70 sheep, 21 cows, one horse, one donkey, 11 piggies, flocks of chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and four farm dogs. They all work to keep the pasture growing and the soil healthy. Tieton Farm & Creamery is deeply committed to sustainable, responsible farming practices and the traditional way of making truly artisan cheeses, in small batches using handmade techniques.

Meghan McKenna, Cherry Valley Dairy
Having grown up on Kraftsingles in the Midwest, Meghan was bit by the real cheese bug while studying abroad in Italy and never looked back. She was a cheesemonger in Seattle for Metropolitan Market and managed their Sand Point cheese counter. While there, she developed the very popular “Hand-Stretched Mozzarella” program. She also began to make and age her own cheese at home and intern at local farms. Meghan and her husband took a six month working honeymoon in Europe, interning on dairy farms in Ireland, France and Italy making goat, cow and sheep milk cheese. After returning to the States, she helped to start an artisan dairy in Eatonville: Mountain Lodge Farm. There she developed award-winning cheeses from the farmstead goat milk. Meghan has created fresh pasteurized cheeses, bloomy rinds, washed-rind and raw-aged, natural-rind cheeses, in addition to other fermented dairy products. Today, she is a cheesemaker at Cherry Valley Dairy, a cow’s milk dairy and creamery in Duvall, and is also working on her new farmstead creamery in Sedro-Woolley.

About the moderator:
Francis Percival writes on food and wine for The World of Fine Wine. His work won Louis Roederer Best International Wine Columnist in 2013 and Pio Cesare Food & Wine Writer of the Year in 2015. Francis is also a judge in The World of Fine Wine World’s Best Wine List Awards. Apart from The World of Fine Wine, his work has appeared in Decanter and the Financial Times in the UK and Culture, Saveur, and Gourmet in the US.

Francis and his wife, Bronwen Percival, the cheese buyer for Neal’s Yard Dairy in London, co-founded and host the London Gastronomy Seminars, a long-running series of lectures and talks in London dedicated to making the technical side of food and drink fun and accessible. In 2017 they co-wrote and published Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese.

A Conversation with Cheesemakers
Sunday, October 21, 1pm
10 degrees
1312 E. Union Street
Seattle, WA  98122

All ages. Space is limited.
 Tickets include cheese tastes by our cheesemaker panelists.

Tickets are available online at Advance ticket sales only.