ISSAQUAH, Wash. — River Valley Cheese is a cheese lover's paradise. For three years, Kristi Slotemaker taught cheese-making classes in her Issaquah classroom.

Not only did she teach her students how to make cheese- from burrata to gouda to goat- she also taught them the history of each individual cheese. It was a fully immersive class, complete with a cheese buffet.

In February 2019, a fire broke out on a nearby property- spreading to River Valley Cheese. Although the building itself stayed intact, everything inside was ruined by the fire- and Kristi no longer could use the building for her classes.

Valley River Cheese fire
Although the building stands, the fire damage prevents River Valley Cheese from working in the building.
Ellen Meny

"I'll tell you, I'll get out of bed and have to hold onto the wall to steady myself, because your business is gone. But it's not gone," Kristi says.

It's not gone, because Kristi is already looking for new places to host her cheese-making classes. She's also created a GoFundMe to pay for her lost supplies. She has insurance, but the little things- bowls, spices, and other kitchen supplies- will need to be replaced as soon as possible.

"The amazing outpouring of love and support from the community when something like this happens is so amazing and so humbling," Kristi says.

River Valley Cheese may be without a home, but Kristi is working to bring it back to its former glory.

"I want to be with my students again. They're my tribe, that's what keeps me going," Kristi says.

River Valley Cheese | 425-222-5277 | GoFundMe

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