Don’t Miss the WA Artisan Cheesemakers Festival!


The third annual Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival returns to the Seattle Design Center on Saturday, September 27. This year’s festival will feature over 80 cheeses and dairy products from 23 Washington cheesemakers including many of the recent American Cheese Society award winners plus a plenty of mouth-watering tasting options to explore.

In addition to a stellar lineup of the local cheesemakers the event will also feature several artisan foods and beverages that are destined to be enjoyed with cheese, making the tasting experience even more delicious, inspiring and adventurous.

Participating producers:

  • Boat Street Pickles—Pickled Figs, French Plums, Pickled Raisins, Pickled Apricots
  • Columbia City Bakery—Bread and Pastries
  • Girl Meets Dirt—Cutting Preserves and Spoon Preserves
  • Hitchcock Deli—Charcuteries, Sauerkraut and Mustard
  • Simple & Crisp—Simple & Crisp Apple, Orange and Pear
  • Tease Chocolates—Truffles, Signature Bars, Toffees, Sugar Island Caramels
  • The Troubadour Baker—Spiced nuts, Semolina Nigella Biscuits and Smoked Paprika Coins
  • Diamond Knot Brewing— IPA, ESB and Blonde Ale
  • Iron Horse Brewery—Irish Death and High Five Hefe
  • Sound Brewery— Dubbel Entendre and Tripel Entendre
  • Diversion Wine Diversion Cabernet Sauvignon, Majestic Red, Merlot and Chardonnay
  • Lobo Hills 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Dry Riesling and 2010-11 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cider tasting by PCC Natural Markets featuring hard ciders by local producers


Saturday, September 27, 2014, 1:00-5:00pm


Seattle Design Center

5701 6th Avenue S., Seattle, WA 98108

Free parking available in the parking lot outside the building and an underground parking garage in the adjacent building.


$35 advance tickets or $40 at the door

Admission includes all cheese samples and 3 drink tickets. Beer tastes are one drink ticket each and wine tastes are 2 drink tickets each.

Advance tickets are available online at

Must be 21 years old or older and have a valid ID to be admitted.


Now with nearly 60 cheesemakers who call it home, Washington State is becoming one of the most prominent cheese-producing states in the country. The Festival celebrates the vibrant local artisan cheese industry by showcasing a variety of cheese made in Washington State. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the cheesemakers and learn about their products, business and philosophy to enhance their tasting experience and appreciation for the art of cheesemaking.


The Festival will also feature a variety of locally produced artisan foods and beverages including bread, charcuterie, jam, chocolate, and crackers to accompany or pair with the cheese. Try a beautifully aged sheeps milk cheese with a smear of chutney or a luscious blue cheese on a walnut levain with a touch of sweetness then add some spiced nuts and slices of charcuterie to complete the cheese plate.  Or experiment with different beers, wines or hard ciders to find a perfect match for your favorite cheese.


Most of the featured cheeses will be available for purchase at the Festival Cheese Shop.


For those who wish to hone their cheese know-how cheesemonger Sheri LaVigne from The Calf & Kid will guide you through a comprehensive tasting that will explore a diverse selection of cheeses made in the region and learn about the people, animals, and environment that make for the bounty of dairy products. Local beer and wine will be paired with cheeses along with other pairing elements from the area.  Seminar tickets are available at


The Festival is a benefit for Cascade Harvest Coalition a Seattle based non-profit dedicated to supporting healthy farms, healthy food and healthy communities. Since 1999, the Coalition has been instrumental in building alliances and facilitating programs that support local growers, food buyers and consumers throughout Washington State to ensure access to locally grown food in all of the places that we live, work, shop, eat and play.


Web site:


Phone (press inquiries): (206) 915-0015

Early Registration for Food Systems Financing Web Course

cdfa-logoThis Friday (May 9th), is the last day of early bird registration for the Intro to Food Systems Financing Web Course from the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

This 2 day full immersion course (June 4-5), will address the financing challenges associated with growing, processing, distributing, marketing, and selling food. This is an opportunity for those looking to better understand financing options available to new and emerging food entrepreneurs. The course will discuss capital investment opportunities from federal, state and local governments, tax credits, loan and grant programs, as well as ways to build partnerships in your arena.

During each session, attendees can raise their hands, ask questions, comment on presentations and take interactive polls. CDFA’s Course Advisor moderates the WebCourse to ensure speaker and participant interaction throughout.

The early bird price is $550.00 for members and $675.00 for non-members and goes up $50.00 after this Friday.

This is a great opportunity to learn about how to catalyze your endeavor and find the type of funding designed for your specific needs.

For more information and to register for the event click here.

Farm to Institution Research Under Way

Healthy, Local Food

Not Just for the Farmers Market

Slow Money NW research project aims to invest in bringing farm fresh food to local institutions

SEATTLE, Wash. (March 25, 2013) – Washington is one of the largest agricultural states in the nation, yet the majority of food served in our hospitals, schools and other institutions is not locally produced. Slow Money NW is working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a broad set of regional partners to highlight opportunities for connecting statewide food with local institutions. Institutions and their customers are demanding it, and investors are seeking to fund businesses that can meet that demand.

“I work with many hospitals in the region that are interested in finding the right food producers and suppliers,” said Kathy Pryor, Program Director of the Washington Healthy Food in Health Care Initiative. “ Twenty-two Washington State hospitals have signed our Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge, and many of them are now trying to source local and sustainable food for their cafeterias and patient meals. These hospitals want to support businesses in their communities, especially local farms.”

Slow Money NW is researching investment opportunities in agricultural production, aggregation, processing and distribution that can serve the institutional market, and bring healthy regional food to those who need it most. Tim Crosby, director of Slow Money NW, points out that private investors, foundations and institutional investors are eager to invest in this market, but there is a shortage of high quality investment deals. “We are already aware of over $40 million interested in financing our regional economy. It’s just a question of proving the market and highlighting some investment opportunities. This is what our current research is about.”

The goals of the effort are to grow a vibrant regional food economy while helping businesses thrive and supporting better nutrition and community health. To engage in this conversation or to refer a business or institution, visit or contact Slow Money NW’s business research specialist, Peter Battisti at or call 206-395-5623.

About Slow Money Northwest
Slow Money Northwest catalyzes growth of the Pacific Northwest’s regional food economy by connecting socially and environmentally responsible food and farm businesses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana with like-minded investors. The organization also provides technical assistance to startup businesses and strategic infrastructure, offering practical support for the growth of the sustainable food economy in the Pacific Northwest.

Correction: A few announcements went out declaring Washington State as being the third largest agriculture producing state. According to some WA State records, WA State has been ranked as the third largest agricultural exporting state,  and the 12th largest agriculture producing state.

Rockefeller Reports

The Rockefeller Foundation has been investigating the Social and Economic Equity in US Food and Agriculture Systems. As part of this work they have generated a series of intriguing reports with the most relevant being Bridging the Gap: Funding and Social Equity Across the Food System Supply Chain. As explained at their website, “This report examines the current state of funding for addressing the problems in the food system and promotes the goals and the vision for a healthier food system. It analyzes where capital is flowing and where it is not flowing, and what kinds of approaches are needed to increase the flow and effectiveness of capital where gaps currently exist. RSF Social Finance, a Slow Money ally, managed the report. View the report …

The Food Assistance National Input-Output Multiplier Model and Stimulus Effects of SNAP

USDA just released a report “The Food Assistance National Input-Output Multiplier (FANIOM) Model and Stimulus Effects of SNAP“. USDA’s Economic Research Service “uses the FANIOM model to represent and measure linkages between USDA’s domestic food assistance programs, agriculture, and the U.S. economy.

From the executive summary:

The FANIOM analysis of SNAP benefits as a fiscal stimulus finds that:

  • An increase of $1 billion in SNAP expenditures is estimated to increase economic activity (GDP) by $1.79 billion. In other words, every $5 in new SNAP benefits generates as much as $9 of economic activity. This multiplier estimate replaces a similar but older estimate of $1.84 billion reported in Hanson and Golan (2002).
  • The jobs impact estimates from FANIOM range from 8,900 to 17,900 full-time equivalent jobs plus self-employed for a $1-billion increase in SNAP benefits. The preferred jobs impact estimates are the 8,900 full-time equivalent jobs plus self-employed or the 9,800 full-time and part-time jobs plus self-employed from $1 billion of SNAP benefits (type I multiplier).
  • Imports reduce the impact of the multiplier effects on the domestic economy by about 12 percent.

Source: Kenneth Hanson, “The Food Assistance National Input-Output Multiplier (FANIOM) Model and Stimulus Effects of SNAP”, USDA Economic Research Report No. (ERR-103) 50 pp, October 2010, viewed 10-4-10

Woodbury County, IA Loan Program

Woodbury County, Iowa has been working hard to develop their regional economy through agriculture. Last week they posted a press release announcing a county based loan program designed to support local business growth.

“We have seen millions of taxpayer dollars used to attract large outside companies to locate in the area. What we also need to do is to invest in our own people to create or expand locally owned businesses,” said Rob Marqusee, Director of Rural Economic Development for Woodbury County. The ‘Investing in Woodbury County’ Loan Program is meant primarily to benefit entrepreneurs of the county who would not otherwise, but for this program, be able to start or expand a business. The program does not specifically direct what businesses the county will support. Opportunities are limited only by the imagination and the need for sound business initiatives.

The Loan Program will make available a total of $1,000,000 in loans to qualifying county residents at a target interest rate of two percent (2%). The costs associated with administering the “Investing in Woodbury County Loan Program” will not be from a tax levy, but from a source of funds is to be established by the Board of Supervisors prior to September 1, 2010. The specific application process, as well as objective criteria for making loans, will be posted on the website on September 1, 2010.