From the Skagit Valley to Pike Place Market to the heart of the Palouse, Washington produces some of the world’s tastiest cheese. Cheeselovers agree that Washington’s artisan cheeses are delicious and worthy of praise; several Washington cheeses have been recognized not only locally, but globally, for their superior flavor and quality.
Below is a list of Washington’s best cheese destinations, where specialty cheeses are sure to satisfy even the most distinguished of cheese lovers.
Appel Farms – Ferndale, WA
Owned and operated by the Appels, a family full of cheese experts, this 900-cow dairy produces some of the most unique cheeses in the state - like Bacon Cheddar, Jalapeno Gouda and Maasdammer, a cheese with Dutch origins. Appel Farms is also well known for its Indian yogurt, a soft, sweet yogurt with no gelatins or preservatives. The Cheese Shop is open Monday through Saturday, 9am – 6pm.
Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – Seattle, WA
Quickly becoming a household name, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is a local gem and tourist hotspot. Its Pike Place Market location gives visitors a peek at the time-tested cheesemaking process. Beecher’s cheeses are made with a commitment to flavor and purity, using only local resources and “ingredients [they] understand” for full flavor and high nutrition. Beecher’s signature Flagship cheese has won several awards and is the reason our readers voted Beecher’s Mac & Cheese one of the best in the state. The store is open every day from 9am – 7pm.
Cherry Valley Dairy – Duvall, WA
Cherry Valley Dairy says it best: “the refurbished dairy and its new creamery are an inspiring example of how artisanal practices and environmental stewardship can come together to nourish the community and respect the land.” Their Jersey Jack is pressed into natural rind cheese wheels and then coated with powdered cinnamon, cocoa powder and black pepper. Cherry Valley Dairy products are available at a handful of local establishments; see them here.
Golden Glen Creamery – Bow, WA
Golden Glen handcrafts all-natural cheese and butter from a small herd of Holstein, Guernsey and Jersey cows. Its slow-batch pasteurization process results in a more wholesome, superior-tasting product. The Creamery is open Monday through Saturday, 10am – 6pm, and products are also available at several local farmers markets. Visit their Facebook page to see where they’re headed next.
Jacobs Creamery – Chehalis, WA
At Jacobs Creamery, customer happiness is the goal, and they strive to bring it to new heights every day. Owner, Lisa Jacobs, says, “I am always in awe of what can be done with a tank of milk and how much people appreciate it.” Jacobs is known for its Bloomy Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese and hand churned butter. The butter has a rich, nutty flavor derived from the combination of the best Irish fresh cream butter and French cultured butter. Each batch is hand-churned.
Kurtwood Farms – Vashon Island, WA
Vashon Island is a quick ferry ride from Seattle; there you’ll find Kurtwood Farms, home to a dozen Jersey cows who produce all the milk for the farm’s cheese. All cheese is hand made and wrapped and personally delivered. Kurtwood Farms’ artisanal cheeses include Dinah’s Cheese, Flora’s Cheese and LogHouse cheese. Click here to see where to find Kurtwood Farms Cheese.
Mt. Townsend Creamery – Port Townsend, WA
Cheese is always local to somewhere, and Mt. Townsend Creamery works with local farmers to handcraft cheeses that encompass the character of the Olympic Peninsula. Their credo is to create products that reflect the flavor of the local landscape, and to educate customers to understand and appreciate cheese culture. Their cheeses include Red Alder, Campfire, Cirrus and New Moon. New Moon is a buttery, slightly sweet cheese with butterscotch undertones and the texture of Monterey Jack.
River Valley Cheese
There is no automated equipment to be found in the River Valley cheese room. "Handmade" really means handmade. They offer artisan cheese making classes for diehard cheese lovers along with a variety of raw and fresh milk cheeses like Bo Vino, Naughty Nellie and Valley Crottin.
Samish Bay Cheese – Bow, WA
Samish Bay Cheese is a certified organic dairy in the Skagit Valley. Its herd is a mix of Jersey, Milking Shorthorn, Jersey-Shorthorn crosses, Holstein and Dutch Belted - which makes for a great variety of fresh cheeses, including the signature Ladysmith cheese which was named the “best…most addictively snackable new cheese” by Seattle Weekly. Samish Bay Cheese is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Samish Bay Cheese can be found on the farm and at local farmers markets throughout northwest Washington.
WSU Creamery – Pullman, WA
WSU Creamery produces the world-renowned, natural Cougar Gold cheese. It’s a rich, white cheddar with a smooth texture. Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe is the retail store and serves up old-fashioned ice cream and soda fountain drinks, as well as all the Cougar cheeses -- like Natural Cheddar, Smoky Cheddar and Crimson Fire! Fortunately for Western Washingtonians (and everyone else), Cougar Gold cheese can also be ordered online through WSU's website.