Lisa Jacobs always sounds a little bit like she’s giggling. Whether this is due to the slight Irish lilt she picked up from an early childhood spent in Dublin or the fact that cheese-making is so much fun that she just can’t contain herself is not quite certain. One thing that is for certain though is that Jacobs is clearly passionate about cheese.
Jacobs was in her first year of law school when she thought to herself, “Am I really going to be happy working like a slave for someone else for the rest of my life?” It was this entrepreneurial streak that prompted her to leave law school behind in pursuit of a more satisfying life. Jacobs had always been interested in cheese making, so she took a class and was immediately hooked. Within a year, she graduated from a hobbyist to a full-time cheese maker and her business, Jacobs Creamery, was born. She began selling some of her fresh cheese at local farmers markets and discovered that shoppers enjoyed eating her cheeses as much as she enjoyed making them.
Jacobs turns out creamy puddings, rich crème fraiche and hand-churned butter that would make any cow proud. At heart though, Jacobs is a cheese maker, a craft that she calls, “a perfect synergy of art and science.” Stop by Jacobs’ booth to sample the spectacular fresh cheeses she makes by hand—ricotta, cream cheese, mascarpone and her signature crumbled mozzarella—and you will be happy you did. Her artisan cheeses are extraordinary whether eaten out of hand, licked from a spoon, slathered on a bagel or starring in a homemade pizza or lasagna.
Nothing makes Jacobs happier than creating products that her customers enjoy. She coordinates her time between markets and the cheese production room, a schedule that keeps her on her feet during the market season. For example, on a typical Sunday, Jacobs is up at 5am to get products ready to drop off at the PFM King Market and finishes her production of cheese, crème fraiche, pudding and butter at around 1am. And this is with 7 employees helping at the farm and the markets. To those who might find her schedule daunting, Jacobs just waves her hand with a signature laugh and twinkle in her eye; she couldn’t disagree more. Jacobs relishes every detail of her craft and says, “Doing something that I enjoy and love is hardly work.” Lucky for us.
Jacobs is thrilled by her success, and puts most of the profits back into the business. She hopes to expand her reach by growing her wholesale business (a partnership with Whole Foods is in the works), developing additional restaurant accounts, and even plans to start a small home delivery route in the fall. In the meantime, visit the Jacobs Creamery booth at PFM’s Saturday PSU, Sunday King and Thursday Eastbank Markets, where Jacobs and her staff mete out tiny spoonfuls of her dairy delights, making it close to impossible to resist buying more.
Written by: Brooke Myers, PFM Volunteer
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“[Lisa Jacobs has] since carved out a niche in the local cheese and dairy world with a whole line of fresh cheeses and dairy products including butter, yogurt, cream cheese, ricotta and havarti…”
Portland Farmers Market
“Jacobs turns out creamy puddings, rich crème fraiche and hand-churned butter that would make any cow proud. At heart though, Jacobs is a cheese maker, a craft that she calls, ‘a perfect synergy of art and science.’”
Under The Table With Jen
“Jacobs Creamery’s ebullient cheesemaker Lisa Jacobs not only makes amazing cheese, but she is also an honest-to-goodness Irish lass. I petitioned her for her family Irish Soda Bread recipe, and to my delight, she consented to share it. It’s been handed down from her Irish ancestors but now has a local twist–Lisa makes this hardy bread with her own handchurned butter and buttermilk.”
“Jacobs Creamery, out of Doty, Wash., is the only business in the Northwest to make specialty European dairy. Jacobs serves a variety of sheep and cow cheeses, as well as pudding, hand-churned butter and crème fraiche.”