It was a beautiful August evening and my husband and I were out enjoying downtown Olympia’s First Friday, where participating downtown businesses stay open later often having special events, speakers, and in this case local artisan cheese. We met Sharon and Kim McCool, the mother and daughter-in-law team of Rosecrest Farm at einmaleins where they had set up a table spread with two kinds of Swiss cheese, and samples. Samples always do the trick for me. I tried the 4 month old Regular Swiss first and my mouth exploded with the bright tang of a well aged cheese. I knew immediately this would be a cheese that could substitute the artisan Parmesans that travel so far to get to my table. I had been looking for a local alternative, and happily have found just that. The second cheese, a 3 month Mutschli Swiss, had classic Swiss cheese flavor, the kind you want when you crave a favorite comfort food. It said tuna melts and ham and cheese sandwiches. I bought a little of each, eager to take them home and start cooking. Rosecrest Farm has been a dairy for over 20 years and certified organic since January of 2007, when they started selling their milk as part of the Organic Valley Cooperative. It’s a small family run business where the men work with around 130 Short Horn cows, milking twice a day, while also tending the dry cows and the calves being raised as the next generation of milk producers. The women are now making the cheese. This venture began in March of 2008, after they purchased the equipment and recipes from an 82 year old German man from Oregon who was ready to retire. They chose Swiss cheese for several reasons one being that as far as they knew, no one else locally was making it, and, well, they just like Swiss cheese. It’s always good to produce something you yourself enyoy. Rosecrest Farm currently has 4 varieties available for sale. Starting in September they plan to have several flavored cheeses as well. You can order your cheese directly from them by calling the farm and they will ship it to you. If you wish to send it as a gift they’ll even put in a hand-written card with your personal message. They ask you to remember that they are a small farm so they may not have all cheeses available at all times and if you are ordering for the holidays please get your order to them at least 3 months in advance – that’s not to long from now. You can reach Rosecrest Farm at (360) 740-8988. A website is coming soon and will be found at: http://www.rosecrestfarm.org/.
Cesar Salad with Rosecrest 4 month Regular Swiss
1 large head of Romaine lettuce, torn 1 cup
croutons, home-made preferably
1/3 cup grated Rosecrest 4 month Regular Swiss cheese
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 T mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Blend the anchovy paste, minced garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and olive oil till smooth. Toss with the lettuce, croutons and cheese. Serve with fresh ground pepper at the table.