Meet Your Farmer – Quillisascut Farm

Inland Northwest Food NetworkRick and Lora Lea Misterly, owners of Quillisascut Farm, operate a diverse business that includes marketing and selling their unique raw milk farmstead goat cheese, and operating an educational center that offers a variety of workshops on farming, sustainable agriculture, and farm to table cooking.

Please tell me about Quillisascut Farm.
We moved to this piece of property in 1981, started our cheese business in 1987 and the farm school workshops in 2002. For thirty-six years we have been living the Slow Life, growing Quillisascut Farm. We started out with a bare piece of ground; gradually over time we built a home, a farmstead, a cheese business and a school to share our love for all things farm to table.  Quillisascut Cheese company has been licensed through the Washington state Department of Agriculture to produce and sell raw milk cheese since 1987.  In 2002, we began offering week long on-farm to table immersion workshops for cooks to learn more about where food comes from.

What three words to you think are most descriptive of Quillisascut Farm?
Farm Cook Eat

Where do you market and sell your cheese?
We sell our cheese directly from the farm, wholesale to restaurants and stores in our region and Spokane, and also through a distributor in the Seattle area.

What are your most popular products? 
We sell aged raw milk farmstead goat cheese: Curado, Smoked Curado, and Farmer Cheese(similar to feta).

What person, place or thing was most influential to you in your decision to be a farmer?
I (Lora Lea) was raised on a small dairy farm near Leavenworth, Washington. My mom made cheese from the summer’s surplus milk. I learned to love the lifestyle and the taste of farmstead cheese.

What learning resources have been most beneficial to you as you began your farm, and what resources would you recommend to anyone who is thinking about starting a farm?
WSU extension has been instrumental in our farm operation. From the time I was a teenager in 4-H until now, university extension has been there with answers to questions about farming, from growing produce, raising livestock, business planning, to marketing.

What plans do you have for Quillisacut Farm over upcoming years?
We have reduced our cheese production and the size of our herd of dairy goats and we are focusing more on the workshops and educational pieces of our farm based business.

When you are not working on your farm, what do you like to do for fun?
Everything I do for fun is related to living on the land. I love making cheese, working in the garden, growing my own food and putting produce up. Sharing meals with others is my idea of fun!

You can learn much more about Rick and Lora Lea by visiting their website at: http://quillisascut.com. They also have a cookbook “Chefs on the Farm, Recipes and Inspiration from the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts” which can be purchased from Amazon, Mountaineers Books, or by contacting them directly.

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