Renata (Ceased Production)
Located on 140 acres of remote farmland in the Okanagon Highlands in eastern Washington, Sally and Roger Jackson raise a small number of sheep, goats, and cows, using their milk for farmstead cheese production.
Having initially sold their cheeses just in Washington state, their business has grown over the years and limited quantities of cheese are now shipped to various locations around the United States.
Cheesemaking takes place in the small, detached make room on the farm. Milk is heated in a large pot over a wood burning stove which sits in a corner of the room. Adjacent is an area used for storing the chestnut and vine leaves that have become synonymous with Sally Jackson's cheeses. The sheep's and cow's milk versions are wrapped in chestnut leaves, while the goat cheese is wrapped in vine leaves, all of which are gathered by hand from a local chestnut grove where the vines grow around the perimeter. The leaves are soaked in alcohol prior to wrapping, both to give the leaves flexibility and to impart flavor to the cheeses.
Wrapped in leaves and tied with string, Sally's cheeses are instantly recognizable for their rustic appearance. Unnamed, the sheep's and goat's milk versions are simply referred to as Sally Jackson's Sheep's/Goat's Milk Cheese Wrapped in Chestnut/Vine Leaves. The cow's milk version is known as Renata, named after one of Sally's cows.
After draining, the young cheeses are wrapped in chestnut leaves from a local chestnut grove and matured for approximately eight to ten weeks.
The flavors of Renata are rich and buttery and nutty, with distinct earth and mushroom tones. The interior paste is a pale, butter-yellow, becoming darker towards the rind.