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.
Made in the style of some of the mountain cheeses of Europe, Trailhead is a firm-textured cheese, designed to have depth of flavor while being able to withstand the rigors of a backpacking trip.
The cheese is made using a rennet based production and a cooked curd process.
After pasteurization, the milk is cultured and rennet added to coagulate the milk and form it into curd. The curd is cut and stirred and then heated again to a higher temperature in order to expel additional moisture.
At this stage the whey is drained off and the remaining curd is transferred into molds and pressed overnight. The following morning, the young cheeses are unmolded and placed into a brine solution in order to help with the formation of the rind.
After removal from the brine, the cheeses are transferred to a maturing room where they remain for between 60-90 days before release.
The texture of Trailhead is firm and smooth with an ivory-colored texture and a natural, brown-beige rind.
Flavors are initially mild, becoming slightly more intense as the cheese remains in the mouth. There are sweet and pleasantly tangy notes, accompanied by an earthy, cellar-like aroma.