Founded in 2005 by Matt Day and Ryan Trail, Mt Townsend Creamery is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend, WA.
Having had a successful tenure at the New Belgium Brewery as a process engineer, Ryan started to become interested in cheesemaking. Together with his friend Matt, Ryan began experimenting with in his kitchen and soon thereafter, the two enrolled for a cheesemaking class at Washington State University. From there, they hooked up with fellow co-founder Will O’Connell who had been trying to establish a farmstead creamery, and the three joined together to get Mt Townsend Creamery up and running.
After 2 years Will decided to pursue other interests and Matt and Ryan assumed full management of the creamery with Ryan focused on cheese production and creamery infrastructure and Matt managing Marketing, Sales and general business issues.
Inspired by the Olympic Peninsular’s rich dairy history, Mt Townsend produces a variety of cheeses all made from Brown Swiss and Holstein cow’s milk. Mt Townsend has partnered with Maple View Farm, a 275 cow dairy located 30 miles from the creamery. The dairy delivers milk directly to the creamery and Mt Townsend has a close working relationship with the farm.
Named after the local rock formations that punctuate the Pacific Northwest coastline, with the creation of Seastack, Mt Townsend were looking to try and capture the essence of the Northwest. Described by some as “taking a bite of the sea”, Seastack is is a mold-ripened cheese, its bloomy rind overlaying a delicate layer of charcoal ash.
The cheese is produced using a partial lactic coagulation process.
After pasteurization, the milk is cultured and allowed to acidify naturally before rennet is added. After coagulation, the curd is cut and carefully transferred to the cheese molds where its allowed to drain naturally.
After unmolding, the young cheeses are transferred to a drying room where they’re left overnight. The following day, the cheeses receive a light coating of charcoal ash mixed with salt which helps to wick away moisture from the surface and aids in the development of the rind. They are then moved to a ripening room where they will remain for about eight days, at which point the cheeses are wrapped and aged for a further two weeks before release.
The texture of Seastack is soft and dense, becoming more fluid just under the rind as it ages. Flavors are light and tangy, with hints of salt, earth, mushrooms and citrus.