Ruth Babcock, Farmer
Tieton Farm & Creamery is a 21-acre farm located in the beautiful Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington. It is owned and operated by Farmer Ruth Babcock and Cheese Maker Lori Babcock, who met 15 years ago at a financial accounting software company. How did two Seattle-area software professionals end up as a farmer and cheese maker in Tieton? Here's their story in their own words:
Lori Babcock, Cheese Maker
To satisfy a long-term desire to farm, in 2002 we started running a small
farm in Bellevue, WA, on 1.5 acres of land that belonged to our cousin. It was a
great place for us to learn about farming--and our cousin appreciated how well the goats took care of the weeds and brush on the property! We bought a breed that was perfect for high-quality milk production so we could use the milk for yogurt and cheese for our family and eventually started a farm business, Emerald City Pastures, LLC, which sold a wide array of
vegetables grown on the property.
Lori studied at a Cordon Bleu school in London but preferred the cheese-making education that came from living in France for two years. "I was hooked on cheese making from the first time I was allowed to help out in a real cheese room, with a real Artisan cheese maker. It was a marvelous discovery to learn, feel and taste what handmade cheese was like as opposed to the automation of commercial production." Lori began making cheese about ten years ago and recommends the WSU courses for beginners.
Ruth comes from a long line of avid gardeners. Growing up in Wenatchee, she learned to love raising food and plants from her Master Gardener father, Ray Babcock. Interested in sustainability and raising healthy food, she learned about taking care of the land not through the use of chemicals, but through animal husbandry. "I now think we are soil fanatics, not farmers. There is great pleasure in seeing what healthy soil produces and there is great satisfaction in improving the land each year." It is not possible for agri-business commercial producers to boast like that.
Lori and Ruth developed the farm and opened the creamery in May 2010. Know your farmers! Buy local; your money stays local.