Cheesemonger tour day four: Portland


I had to rush from Olympia to get to Portland for a radio show on the great community radio station KBOO.* I was actually listening to the other cheese guests as I neared Portland. I almost crashed the car when I heard Chrissie Zaerpoor gave the best description of how rennet works that I’ve ever heard. (I paraphrase) “All mammals have rennet enzymes in the lining of their stomachs. When a baby spits up, look at the consistency… they’re making cheese.”

I don’t know how scientific that is, but more of that, less preciousness in the cheese world please.

My old Rainbow pal Kelly The P took me around Portland during the day and showed me her cheese department at New Seasons Sellwood. Oh how I miss her little retail touches back home!

My reading that night was at the new cheese shop inside Square Deal Wine and Cheese. They have an awesome little back room for events and even though I had never been in that part of Portland before I liked that there was a little walkable neighborhood there. Sasha Davies, one of the main organizers for this years ACS conference in Seattle, runs a nice little, local-based cheese shop there.

I convinced Tami Parr to do the event with me since she is the expert on Pacific Northwest cheese, and it was a really great combo of her knowledge of cheeses in the area and my usual bullshit. What I really liked was that, much like a co-op, we got to do the event in a circle. I felt like we were all really sharing.

I do apologize for saying that Briar Rose Creamery had sheep instead of goats. I blame the seven events in four cities in four nights, Sarah.

It’s probably more for another post, but I did find that Portlanders are especially locavore in their cheese orientation. I felt judged that I didn’t read anything about Oregon cheese! That was probably just in my head though. It did make me even happier that Tami was there though since we can’t even get most of the Oregon cheese that Square Deal had and I’m not super familiar with it. I keep telling people, there is just as much, if not more, interesting things happening in cheese in the Pacific Northwest than anywhere in the country.

Special thanks to the Portland folks who came to support me again (Joel, Alice…) and for Sara and Steve for their hospitality and letting me park my car in their garage so I didn’t have to unload and load one last time.

Then I drove home (yes, this is taken while driving)
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*This Wednesday it’s Cheese Maven Day on the KBOO Food Show. Guests include Tami Parr of the Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, Chrissie Zaerpoor of Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill and Sarah Marcus, a start-up goat cheesemaker with the Briar Rose Creamery in Dundee. And Gordon Edgar takes us inside his edgy new Cheesemonger memoir. You can totally hear me laughing when they played that Social Distrotion song I was making fun of on my blog as my intro track.

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