Glendale farm wins Good Food Award for Island Brebis cheese

Lynn Swanson samples award-winning food and beverages from around the Northwest. Swanson

Clinton farm Glendale Shepherd received a 2014 Good Food Award in recognition of their responsible food production and taste of their products.

Glendale Shepherd entered their Island Brebis cheese in the national competition. It’s made from the farm’s staple — sheep’s milk — and features a creamy interior with sweet and nutty tones. The cheese entered in the competition was aged for 14 months.

“I was floored,” said Lynn Swanson, cheesemaker at Glendale Shepherd. “I’m still amazed, seeing our cheese with all the others.”

In the category, 14 cheesemakers were awarded medals. Other categories included beer, charcuterie, chocolate, coffee, confections, oils, pickles, preserves and spirits. The contest received 1,450 entries from all 50 states. From there, 130 winners were chosen from 32 states.

Six other food and drink makers from Washington received awards, including Kuma Coffee in Bellevue, Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. in Olympia, Roast House in Spokane, Firefly Kitchens in Seattle, Oly Kraut in Olympia and Lilli-Pilli Patisserie in Kirkland.

For Swanson, one of the parts she enjoyed most about the competition was that, “It wasn’t just about good taste.”

The winners are chosen after a blind tasting as well as a check to make sure contestants met specific environmental and social criteria. Judges looked for real ingredients and good animal care. Artificial or processed foods, the use of hormones and synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers or genetically modified ingredients were practices that counted against contestants. Through the criteria, Good Food Awards hopes to show a more sustainable food system.

Swanson said the farm is committed to being a local producer where the cheese stays in Washington. She recognized there is a limit to the farm’s growth, one she is content with.

“I think most importantly it’s a confirmation we’re on the right track,” she said. “We’re producing something a lot of people like.”