Mt. Townsend Creamery was created by two friends who had two dreams – Matt Day wanted to open a brewery, and Ryan Trail wanted to start a distillery. So they compromised and did the obvious – became cheese makers.
In the midst of Port Townsend, an historic town known for wooden boats, art and food, they opened the North Olympic Peninsula’s first artisan creamery. Matt and Ryan converted a 50-year-old warehouse into a modern facility to produce traditional, European-style cheeses. The heart of the creamery is the 31-gallon Dutch pasteurizer, where all the cheese is born. They have since taken on a third partner, Nik Lance, to help with business and finance operations.
The Olympic Peninsula’s wet microclimate and lush landscapes is similar to the landscape of the French countryside, where the tradition of crafting soft-ripened cheeses was born. Day and Trail founded Mt. Townsend creamery in the hope of reviving a long tradition of cheese making in Jefferson County; the region has a history of cheese making that peaked just before World War II.
Matt and Ryan recognize Pacific Northwest dairy as a regional treasure, and source local milk to pay homage to the region’s history of dairy farming. Today Mt. Townsend’s cheeses are handcrafted from the milk of a single herd of 250 cows that live and graze on one family-owned farm, in Sequim, whose owners have been raising dairy cows for generations. In using the best milk in the area, they craft cheese with a sense of place and contribute to reinvigorating the dairy industry in the Northwest.
Mt. Townsend Creamery Cheeses have received accolades at various cheese competitions. For example, in 2010, Seastack, a soft-ripened cheese dusted with vegetable ash, won Best in Class at the American Cheese Society and placed fifth in the World Cheese Championships. Trailhead, a rustic whole milk tomme, was awarded Best in Class at both the 2008 US Cheese Championships and the 2009 American Cheese Society Competition.
Ryan and Matt may have ended up making great beer or spirits if they had followed another path, but we’re glad they decided to make cheese instead.