We are Artisan Cheesemakers. We could talk about cheese til the cows come home. Just ask us and you’ll get an ear full. Some may call it braggin’, we just consider it pride. River Valley Cheese started with the simple notion of Build It & They Will Come and boy have y’all!!! When we started in 2005, there weren’t many licensed cheesemakers in Washington state. Not to mention any who could afford to give us the time of day and let us see their milking parlors, processing rooms or aging facilities. Who could blame ’em? They’re busy milking their herd, trimming hoofs, making sure anyone who is in heat is bred, and so on…… Sign up for a class today!
Our story is not too different from anyone else, we loved cheese. Sounds simple enough, right? Yakity, Yak……literally (Yes, we have Yak too). In hindsight, we agree the “making it from scratch” idea got a little out of hand. Not only did we invest in a herd of Brown Swiss cows, Water Buffalo, Tibetian Yak, Fresian Sheep and every breed (yes, I said every) of dairy goat, we had to learn animal husbandry and everything it takes to care for them. That set back our cheesemaking learning curve slightly. You can’t make cheese without milk and you can’t milk a cow (goat, sheep, water buffalo, yak) if you don’t know how.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t just wake up, have your coffee, sit a spell and then mosey down to the barn where the cow is patiently standing in the milk parlor with teats clean, waiting for you to massage her udders. Easy to poke fun now! There simply weren’t enough hours in the day. Not sure if you understand, we are (were) city slickers. Not a farm folk in our whole family tree. Passion and determination can get tricky sometimes, kinda like a stubborn mule. It sinks its teeth into you and there’s no stopping it. We didn’t see the obstacles, just the prize. A buttery tasting, slice able raw milk cheese! I remember the very day when we decided to get serious and become licensed. Boy were we naive!!!
Artisans today don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can help. We understand the equipment it will take, the licensing process and where the product can be sold. Proud members of the Washington State Cheesemaker Association and the American Cheese Society. We have worked hard, way to hard…… following our passion making cheese.