Why it pays to listen.

Part of the fun of marrying into the family business is the variety of jobs that I have had over the years.  In the last twenty or so years I have done pretty much every job imaginable.  I have packed boxes, baled Quark, made deliveries, done the bookkeeping and payroll, plus marketing and sales.  One of my jobs back in the late 90’s, was to manage our booth at the farmer’s market in Bellingham.

The farmer’s market in Bellingham opened in 1993 and I shared the task of manning our booth.  It was tiring work but I loved the camaraderie of the farmers. I loved the hot summer air rising from the blacktop parking lot.  I loved the sounds of laughter and smells of food around me.  The best thing that I got out of those days at the farmer’s market was from simply listening.  I listened to the customers, what they wanted, what they needed, and what we could do for them.  Those conversations and many more like it helped to shape our business and how we serve our customers today.

Jerry
Jerry is one of our wonderful customers who help to shape our business.

Feta was pretty exotic to most of the people I met at the Farmer’s Market back then.  That seems so surprising with how mainstream it is now.  Some shoppers had heard of it but most had never tried it.  At that time, “cheese” meant orange cheddar, even white cheddar was a tough sell.  Shoppers were hesitant to try new cheeses, and they weren’t sure how to react to feta’s rich, briny flavor and crumbly texture. Introducing people to a new cheese back then was pretty challenging but so much fun!

Feta
Feta

The latest trend in feta around here is matching it with fruit.  Feta and watermelon is fabulous!  Here is a favorite summer salad that pairs feta with strawberries.  Strawberry season here is coming to an end, but lots of places have ever-bearing varieties.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 12 ounces baby spinach
  • 16 ounces strawberries, washed, hulled and slices
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped and toasted (I used walnuts here. Pecans also work well, but my favorite is slivered almonds)
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette

I would feel really silly telling you how to make a salad, so I will leave that part to your imagination.

Making salad at The Cheese Shop
This is what happens when put my daughter in charge of the photos.

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