Experience Life on a Farm-
Quillisascut Cheese Company
In 1981 Rick and Lora Lea Misterly, in pursuit of a county lifestyle and fertile farmlands, found the land they now call home. Situated on 26 acres near the small town of Rice in Northeastern Washington, Lora Lea and Rick nestled into the farming lifestyle, along with the mother and baby goat they brought along with them.
Before long, Lora Lea’s love for cheese-making inspired that acquisition of 3 additional baby goats and another milking goat. Cheesemaking was, at first, a pastime for Lora Lea, who grew up on a dairy farm, but soon became an effective way to provide an income for the farm.
In 1987 they founded the Quillisascut Farm goat cheese business and the herd of goats continued to grow. In the beginning, Quillisascut’s primary customers were Seattle chefs who were at the forefront of the local food movement.
“The whole farmers market system was still tiny and slow then, so the restaurants are what carried us through for a long time,” said Lora Lea.
Rick and Lora Lea’s heard grew steadily until about 5 years ago when their capacity topped out at 40 actively milked goats.
“Now we are just looking at the process a bit differently, “ Lora Lea explained. “We felt that we had maxed out the carrying capacity of our land so now we are trying to create a healthy balance between what our pastures can feed and what we can milk, while creating a practice that builds a healthy ecosystem or farm organism for our animals and the wild ones that we live amongst,” Lora Lea explained.
This year there are 26 milking goats in the Quillisascut heard and a total of about 50 goats including the kids, bucks and elderly.
One of the most unique aspects of Quillisascut farm, in addition to the outstanding variety and flavor of cheeses, are the classes Rick and Lora Lea host. Throughout the summer a variety of classes, including an Intro to Farming and a Farm Culinary 101, are taught at the farm. Classes are geared toward opening up personal and professional perspectives to the workings of a farm and culinary techniques, while providing an experiential sense of place and understanding of where food comes from.
Students range from culinary professionals, prospective farmers, restaurant entrepreneurs and bed and breakfast owners to individuals involved for personal enrichment. During each course, students stay, work and engage on the farm and all meals are made from what is harvested, cooked and taught that day.
The fully immersed experience is eye opening, and students walk away with a new appreciation for the entire process. Quillisascut’s newest class this summer is called Intro to Culinary Arts. More information and registration for this course and others can be found online at www.quillisascut.com/farm-school Classes are small (only 10-12 students each) and fill up quickly, so interested participants should register to reserve a spot well ahead of time.
Full Circle members are eligible for $100 off tuition for the Intro to Culinary Arts class, held from Aug. 17-21. Please see our Quillisascut partnership page for more information.