A TRUE PASSION FOR CHEESE
I grew up in Port Angeles, a small town on the north Olympic Peninsula tucked between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Olympic National Park. I completed my BA in English Literature at the University of Washington in 2008 and happened upon an opportunity to make cheese while pursuing an editorial internship with a small publishing house in Port Townsend. Eventually cheese making took priority and I spent four years working at Mt. Townsend Creamery with a team that has won several national awards for its cheeses. I took a brief hiatus from food production to explore career opportunities in the tree care industry but returned to cheese making in 2015 to join Acme Farms Cheese. I became interested in soft ripened cheeses during a quarter spent abroad in Paris. I first encountered Camembert in neighborhood markets and fromageries that teemed with cheeses I had yet to taste. While in France I traveled through the Haute-Savoie region, famous for its alpine cheese, hiking among dairy herds and exploring the Alps. I had no idea I would be recreating the old world cheeses I happened upon during that trip. Cheese making has been an opportunity to share my passion for hand-crafted dairy products with Pacific Northwest food lovers. I have enjoyed participating in the ever-growing artisan dairy culture that has put Washington and Oregon on the cheese map.
Mark Brinn has a background in marketing and graphic design, earning a bachelor's degree from Art Center College of Design in 2009. He has since held many interesting jobs, both in and out of the design field. He's worked on a Guillermo Del Toro movie, a super bowl commercial featuring PSY cracking pistachios while dancing to "Gangnam Style", music videos for Katy Perry, and illustrated hundreds of tour posters for various bands. He's also worked at a homebrew shop, a bison ranch, started a commercial cannabis farm, and is currently working on planting a cider orchard in his spare time. When the opportunity arose to make artisanal french cheeses, he jumped at it. He enjoys helping in his wife's flower garden, hiking and camping with his dog, and playing with his two daughters.
I grew up in Wisconsin on a small farm and have worked in the dairy industry for forty years, both in livestock and the processing of milk, ice cream and yogurt. For the past ten years I have specialized in cheese development and production. I am most interested in French cheeses. I like to pair French cheeses with domestic wines – particularly wines from Washington. Recently I’ve enjoyed Ossau Iraty (a sheep milk cheese from the Pyrenees) with the wonderful Cabernet Sauvignons produced here in Washington. Every new cheese we make is an intriguing challenge, demanding scientific knowledge and techniques plus intuitive craftsmanship. I feel making cheese brings out the best of these attributes in every dedicated cheesemaker.
I like to say that I never chose to be a cheesemaker and artisan food producer, rather that cheese making and the art of creating great food chose me. It started when I moved to Bow in 1999 and stumbled upon a cheese making position at a nearby farmstead cow dairy. There I found an appreciation for taking raw products and turning them into delicious and nutritious food for my community. I soon gravitated to bread making and found myself involved in the resurgence of a local food movement in the Bow-Edison area. I later transitioned from the farmstead cow dairy to cheese making on a smaller farmstead goat dairy. That opportunity allowed me to broaden my cheese making knowledge to encompass a wide variety of fresh and aged cheeses. I am proud to bring my experience to Acme Farms Cheese and excited to continue my cheese making education while becoming part of new food community in the heart of Acme Valley.