Kurt Timmermeister wasn’t looking to open a store on Capitol Hill. Then again, he didn’t intend to buy a farm 24 years ago, either, and that adventure turned out pretty well. Now the man whose Vashon Island dairy farm and creamery inspired both an iconic local cheese and his lovely memoir, Building a Farmer (and the his latest Growing a Feast), is setting up shop in the Chophouse Row project near 11th and Pike. Kurt Farm Shop will be, he says, a place that reflects his highly personal approach to producing food and “will bring my farm to the city.”
The shop will be minuscule—fewer than 300 square feet, and a place to sell his cheeses, books, and other products from Kurtwood Farms. The lovely bloomy-rind Dinah's Cheese will be there, and perhaps rarities like the grana-style Francesca. Considering the walls aren’t even built yet, it’s fair to say specifics are still in flux, but he’s thinking about making his own yogurt or ricotta, and perhaps rounding out the cheese selection with additions from a few dairy friends, places like Yarmuth Farms and Tieton Farm and Creamery, so there's enough variety to sustain a good cheese plate.
One thing he’s definitely planning: ice cream. Timmermeister will make his own base, harkening back to his pastry days, and use milk from his cows; rather than chocolate or vanilla, he’s planning flavorings from his own farm or others around Vashon Island. Some might be made with berries, others with more herbal flavors, since Timmermeister allows, “I’m not a sprinkles guy.” The cooler will hold six flavors at a time.
Timmermeister is the latest local food luminary to sign on for a space in the former Chophouse Studios, a rehearsal site for local musicians that's undergoing a major reimagining, including creating a courtyard out of what is currently a dark, narrow alley on the north side of the building. The Olson Kundig-designed Kurt Farm Shop will be cloistered here, in what promises to be one of the coolest concentrations of food and retail spaces we've seen since Melrose Market.
Timmermeister wasn’t looking for a retail space, but when he heard the project would include some modest-size stalls, he contacted the developer, Liz Dunn, and went for it. The shop could open as early as October, creating a place where every stage from raising the dairy cows to scooping the ice cream reflects Timmermeister's ethos.