A Pacific Northwest Cheese Company is Born
As a young couple Marci Ebeling and John Shuman set off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. After months of hiking, they set eyes on the small pastoral town of Trout Lake, Washington nestled among the timbers and meadows of nearby Mt. Adams. Instantly, they knew this would be their home.
They made their move to Trout Lake in 2005. The natural landscape, temperate weather and the rich volcanic soil of Trout Lake were the perfect ingredients for an idea that began forming in their minds. Historically, Trout Lake had been home to artisan cheesemakers, but the art nearly died out.
John found the history of cheesemaking so fascinating and the abundance of the area so inspirational he was compelled to revive this lost art and Cascadia Creamery was born. Once again, Trout Lake became home to artisan, small-batch cheese-making. In keeping with tradition, Cascadia Creamery ages it’s raw milk cheeses in a lava tube mountain cave at the base of Mt. Adams.
Interestingly, in a study published in September of 1944, the US government found that Trout Lake had the only historic lava cave in North America with the same temperature and humidity conditions as the world-renowned “Roquefort Caves” of France. John found that the same elements for fine cheese making that were present over 125 years ago are still present today in Trout Lake – heritage dairy cows, natural landscape, the temperate weather, the rich volcanic soil, and the lava tube caves. They all combine perfectly to lend the most unique of terrior (taste of place) to Cascadia Creamery cheese.
As the head cheese maker and affineur, John brings his skill to bear in creating the raw milk cheese masterpieces. In early 2012 he brought Dan Casati into the Cascadia Creamery family to be his assistant cheese maker. A Wisconsin native, Dan was born and raised in cheese country but the natural beauty of the Cascade Mountains was what originally called Dan to Trout Lake. He attended the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese and learned the nuances of the trade working closely with John.
Today Rowan, John and Marci’s young son, is being groomed to carry on the tradition and become a fromagere (cheese maker) himself. He’s quite the opinionated cheese taster and he also loves to regularly hose down the creamery (and the cheesemakers).