forgive me for the lighting in this picture and the last--i'm still working on figuring out how to take good photos in low light situations. both of the photos are from the party i worked at on saturday. these cheeses are some of the most expensive i know of, and that stack was just one of about ten. i nearly fell over in shock when i saw so much of this particular beauty--

this cheese is called "renata," and it comes from an amazing producer in eastern washington named sally jackson. when i first heard of renata, i was kind of confused, and thought that it might be named for some sort of musical terminology, like soyoung's cheeses, but then i learned something that endeared sally and this cheese to me more than i ever thought possible:

renata is the name of one cow--a brown swiss--and all of her milk goes into making this cheese (that's why that huge stack of cheese in the photo is so impressive).

though sally jackson has been making cheese for nearly thirty years, she didn't get electricity on her farm until 14 years ago. she gets the chestnut and grape leaves she uses to wrap her cheeses from local friends, and she makes every batch of cheese herself, by hand on an antique gas stove. she and her husband roger still take all of their orders by phone or mail--to see such beauty and success on this scale in this day and age is so rare, and inspiring.