Handcrafting Cheese in the Willapa Hills

About US

Cutting Curd & Making Whey

IN THE WILLAPA HILLS — Since 2008 Willapa Hills Cheese has been handcrafting natural artisan cheese on our historic farmstead in SW Washington. Willapa Hills Cheese is a licensed dairy processor partnering with two local family dairy farms. Our creamery produces sheep milk cheese six months of the year and cow milk and sheep/cow milk blend cheese year-round. WHERE NATURAL MEANS NATURAL — Willapa Hills sources only the highest quality natural ingredients for our products. Our milk is free of antibiotics and rBST/rBGH. A COMMITMENT TO QUALITY — Willapa Hills utilizes a comprehensive Food Safety Program that includes HACCP and third party auditing in concert with environmental and product testing. We are excited to share our family of aged and fresh cow and sheep milk cheeses. WELCOME TO THE WILLAPA HILLS!

  • the happy zone

    The sweet spot for humidity needed to grow blue mold (and make blue cheese).

  • 2x the curd, 2x the joy

    Average % cheese yield from sheep milk - twice the yield of cow and goat milk!

  • the dearth of sheep dairies - explained

    Number of ewes needed to equal one cow's production.


    A gallon of milk weighs 8.6 lbs. - Willapa Hills cheese vat holds 5,000 lbs.


Meet OUR Cheese

A Collection of Fresh and Aged Sheep and Cow Milk Cheeses
Lilly Pad
Washed Rind Cow Milk Hard Cheese
Aged for over five months, Lilly Pad is an American original inspired by classic European alpine style cheeses. Excellent alone, as an ingredient in your favorite recipe or melted into a luscious cheese sauce, Lilly Pad is a cheese that loves a celebration. Enjoying a wedge of Lilly Pad will connect you to your roots—even as it inspires you to see things anew!
Big Boy Blue
Natural Rind Cow Milk Blue Cheese
Big Boy Blue is our first cheese to win a blue ribbon in competition. Fittingly, the label has always been adorned with an image of our two boys. Along with their sister (see Lilly Pad), they have been our inspiration. Raising kids on a farm, handcrafting the perfect blue cheese… you can see it, right? Give Big Boy Blue a try and we know you’ll understand. It’s the perfect Blue for both specialty retail and food service—just ask the boys.
Natural Rind Cow Milk Cheese
Willapa Hills’ Pluvius (the Greek god of rain) is named for a historic pass west of our farm that can get upwards of a 140 inches of rain a year. Experience for yourself this unique natural rind cheese that caused Culture Magazine to proclaim “Pluvius does the Greek gods proud!” Firm and slightly crumbly when it’s young, soft and creamy along the rind as it ages, with ever-deepening crème over time. Who says that five pounds of handcrafted goodness can’t reveal a bit of the divine?
Two-Faced Blue
Natural Rind Sheep/Cow Milk Blue Cheese
Two-Faced Blue represents a beautiful (and delicious) joining of two milk sources: sheep and cow. Together they create a rich and luscious blue cheese that is both familiar and new. Our natural rind adds to the complexity of Two-Faced Blue as it ages. Over the years it has drawn praise in national cheese columns, food and lifestyle magazines and from personalities as unique as Two-Faced Blue itself. Give it a try and you’ll see that it’s a perfect fit for specialty retail and food service.
Willapa White
Fresh Lactic Style Sheep Milk Cheese
Willapa White is a seasonal sheep milk cheese available March through mid-September. Made with lactic cultures, the curd is set slowly overnight. The curd is then hand ladled from small cheese vats directly into forms to drain, re-knit and be turned for two days. This process gives Willapa White a unique and lovely texture. We make Willapa White weekly and ship it to our customers within days of the ewes being milked. Give yourself a treat and enjoy Willapa White while you can.
Artisan Cheese Spreads
Fresh Cow Milk Cheese Spreads
Willapa Hills Artisan Cheese Spreads come in seven varieties: Garlic Herb, Honey Chipotle, Pickled Pepper, Red Pepper, Bacon Blu and Cranberry Blu. Made with our natural cream cheese, they make a luscious artisan product that can be enjoyed as a spread, topping or ingredient. Available for both retail and food service.
Cream Cheese
Fresh Natural Cow Milk Cream Cheese
Our Natural Cream Cheese is handcrafted weekly using only simple natural ingredients. No surprises here—just pure non-homogenized whole milk, cream, salt, cultures and enzymes. Combined they make a lusciously soft and creamy artisan cream cheese to be enjoyed as a spread or ingredient. Available for both retail and food service.
Ewe Old Cow
Coated Rind Sheep/Cow Milk Hard Cheese
Stay tuned for more exciting details about Willapa Hills newest cheese arriving fall 2015!

Willapa Hills Cheese is a proud member of The American Cheese Society



From our seasonal sheep milk cheese Willapa White to our year-round Natural Cream Cheese, fresh cheese is being crafted fresh each week.


Three of Willapa Hills Cheeses have won ribbons at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition. Stay tuned for this year’s results!


Our semi-soft cheeses have been with us from the start. Currently Big Boy Blue, Two-Faced Blue and Pluvius lead the line-up.


Our cheese is served in discerning restaurants and eateries in cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, New York and Washington D.C.


In 2015 we are introducing two new cheeses. Lilly Pad is inspired by classic Alpine style cheeses and Ewe Old Cow by classic Pecorino Romano.


The best part of making cheese is sharing it – with family, friends, customers new and old. It’s only because of you that we make cheese!


Yes, it’s true – we dream of blue! Cow milk, sheep milk – it’s all good! Big Boy, Two-Faced or our very rare Ewe Moon – it’s hard to refuse a good blue…


Our artisan cheese spreads were made for retail. Seven varieties for folks of all stripes. You can find us in some surprising places. Keep an eye out – you won’t be dissapointed!


More Than Meets the Eye

In 2005 Willapa Hills Cheese found a home on a historic farmstead in SW Washington. Farmed by the Stannek family for three generations, the farm was home to the Doty Dairy in the 1920s. In subsequent years the farm raised cattle and a variety of grass and grain crops. Two of our barns are included in the Washington State Heritage Barn Register. The main barn houses our milk room and creamery.
The Chehalis River runs through the center of Willapa Hills Farm. Sometimes its presence is nearly invisible when the water is low and the weather calm. During the summer heat it provides respite for our family, staff and interns. During the winter it can add drama to seemingly endless grey days as it rises quickly in response to heavy precipitation coming in from the Pacific Ocean. No matter the season, the ebb and flow of the river has a profound impact on our sense of place in the Willapa Hills.
Willapa Hills Cheese is committed to simple and natural ingredients in our Cheese. Our products meet the requirements of local, regional and national natural food stores, all of whom have very clear standards for approving products labeled “natural”. At the most basic level, natural means that our cheese and dairy products are free of artificial colors, preservatives, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Simple and natural.
Willapa Hills has made a long-term commitment to sustainability. While far from being a fully sustainable operation, we have made concrete steps toward our goal. Sustainable Agriculture looks at three primary objectives: 1) Economic Sustainability, 2) Social Sustainability and 3) Environmental Sustainability. Ongoing initiatives include natural hay production, responsible nutrient management and participation in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.
Prior to 1890 a farming community existed in the valley, but the area thrived when C.A. Doty built one of the largest lumber mills in the County. In 1915 the Puget Sound & Willapa Harbor railroad was built. By 1916 the population had risen to 1,000 and included schools and a YMCA. In 1929 the mill closed and the population dropped. The current population of Doty is estimated at less than 220. Visit the Doty store to see some pictures of Doty’s glory days.
Willapa Hills’ sheep milk comes from a flock of dairy ewes made up of high percentage East Friesian and Lacaune cross ewes. East Friesian sheep are known the world over for their high milk production and Lacaune sheep are known for their high milk fat. East Friesian and Lacaune ewes were crossed with the goal of capturing the best characteristics of each breed – high production and high butterfat respectively.
Open daily, our farm store offers a fabulous selection of Willapa Hills fresh and aged cheeses, as well as limited quantities of non-homogenized whole milk and farm fresh eggs (while supplies last – call ahead to reserve). We also stock a collection of seasonally available complimentary items for your enjoyment. The farm store is open 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM seven days a week. Feel free to call ahead if you have questions @ 360.291.EWES.
Willapa Hills Cheese offers a variety of Farm Visit & Immersion Experiences for groups from 3 to 30+. Each Immersion is customized to meet the needs of the group. Willapa Hills has hosted numerous groups from companies, schools and community organizations. There is generally no charge for existing customers. For outside groups there is a nominal fee based on the time frame, the level of staff or resources utilized and the number pf participants.

Make Willapa Hills Cheese a Part of Your Holiday Celebrations!

Get in touch