Planning our visit to Walla Walla was a little different this time, since we were going as a family (AKA with a two year old). I wanted to make sure that we weren’t just winery hopping… we of course needed to add some family friendly activities to the list and I wanted them to be fun and memorable for her. Plus, it has been raining NON STOP here in Western WA, so being outside in the sun and the fresh air east of the mountains would be good for us all.
Downtown I found a few cute toy shops (we have TOO MANY TOYS) and a children’s museum, but nothing that super caught my interest or met the criteria of being outdoors.
So, I started looking into the outskirts of Walla Walla for more inspiration, and came across a place called “Monteillet Fromagerie“. On the surface I could tell they had a little bed and breakfast, and also that they made fresh goat and sheep milk cheeses, but not a whole lot aside from that.
My husband called and spoke to one of the owners, Joan – she said we could come by during 11-3 and that if her husband was feeding the goats at that time, that we were going to get put to work…. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but we were up for the adventure!
The drive was only about half an hour outside of Walla Walla, and we knew we had arrived after spotting some metal artwork leading us down their driveway, all in the shape of goats.
We were greeted by Joan and Pierre-Louis Monteillet, the owners themselves! If you visit their website and read about them they have an excellent love story that ended in Pierre-Louis following Joan out to Walla Walla, and they have been running this little farm together making cheese for the past 20 years.
One thing we didn’t realize, is how seasonal fresh cheese making is… it is not a year-round production! Once their goats give birth in the spring, the kids are weaned from nursing at about 6 weeks which is when the mothers can start to be milked and cheese made. So, we were there at the VERY beginning of their season, so there were no cheeses to taste since the kids were still nursing. Joan said to taste cheeses, you want to come between May and October.
After chatting with Joan inside the shop, Pierre-Louis took us outside into the barn to meet the goats afterwards. He snagged a kid for my daughter to pet and say hi to, and they were equally shy of each other 🙂
If you aren’t up for a visit to the farm and would prefer just eating cheese and drinking wine, they now have a little shop in downtown Walla Walla called Baa Baa Cheese Tasting Bar, where you can do cheese and wine tastings. They host fun little events there through the peak of their season too.
Between Pierre-Louis’ French accent and Joan’s details on their story of their life together on the farm making cheese, I was left relatively enamored and was glad to have shared the experience with our daughter. It was one of those experiences that gives you a greater appreciation for the love that goes into good food, and also all the care and effort that go into being a self-employed business owner.
If you plan to visit Walla Walla over the summer and are looking for a unique experience, I surely would call Joan and schedule a visit at the Monteillet Fromagerie!
To contact them:
Joan & Pierre-Louis Monteillet
109 Ward Rd.
Dayton, WA 99328
Baa Baa Tasting Bar:
East 13 Main Street, Walla Walla
(inside the new Whoopem Up Cafe)
T — Sa
11am to 3pm and 5pm to closing