Skagit Food Co-op blog:

the Cheese Whisperer

Cheese Whisperer: Farmstead at River Valley Ranch

Julie Steil began making cheese as a hobby. One day after sharing homemade cheese at a local parent-teacher conference, word of mouth spread about her delicious curds.

In 2006 Julie and her husband founded River Valley Ranch as a local place to make cheese and teach the craft of cheese making. Their dairy is nestled in Fall City, along the Snoqualmie River. All cheese is made by hand, using whole, fresh milk from their heirloom Jersey and Guernsey cattle. They even built an aging cave to develop the flavor of River Valley’s raw milk cheeses.

The Co-op currently features Valley Girl cheese, River Valley’s signature original, elegant, medium sharp raw cow’s milk. It features full, sweet flavors and a buttery, crumbly texture perfect for snacking or melting. River Valley’s Naughty Nellie is a rustic cheese, with a rind bathed in Seattle-based Pike Brewing’s Naughty Nellie ale. An explosion of flavor, this sharp cheese has a slightly crunchy, chewy texture and tastes of sweet onions and white truffles.

Enjoy these local delights in classic recipes like mac-n-cheese and French onion soup. Or treat yourself to a savory cheese platter: add some toasted Marcona almonds (available in the Deli to-go cooler), some tasty organic strawberries and your favorite cracker. The full flavored, raw cheeses from River Valley Ranch pair well with bright, spicy lagers and golden ales like Pike Brewing’s Naughty Nellie, as well as sturdy, murky porters and stouts. Both Valley Girl and Naughty Nellie farmstead cheeses are now on sale for $12.99/lb, regularly $16.99/lb. What a deal for local artisan raw cheese!    Posted by Claire.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and has been on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op since 2010. She writes the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter. Contact Claire at claire(at)skagitfoodcoop(dot)com.