Thursday, December 13, 2007

Flood Level

A couple of weeks ago I was pooh-poohing the dire predictions of the weather-folk that we were due to have hurricane-force winds at the coast and potentially record-setting winds inland, with drenching downpours and possible flooding. Most of the time these predictions seem to overplay what actually happens, but we battened down the hatches just in case this time they were right.

And after the couple of stormy days passed, I did see a fair number of smaller branches down in the neighborhood and heard that, incredibly, the freeway had been shut down between Portland and Seattle due to flooding around Chehalis. But I looked around here and things were fairly dry and none-the-worse for the weather, so I thought, "Well, they got everyone all excited for nothing."

Then I read on the Pacific NW Cheese blog that several creameries in Oregon and Washington had been hit pretty hard by the storms, and that one in particular, the Black Sheep Creamery in Adna, Washington, just east of Chehalis, had lost all but 23 of their sheep and their home and barn had been inundated with several feet of water. Going to the Black Sheep blog, I read their very moving first-hand account of the flooding and the devastation it brought, as well as the efforts of friends and neighbors to help them clean up.

Feeling like maybe I'd been just a little bit smug in my assumptions, sitting here in my snug corner of Portland, I thought I'd pass on their story and keep you updated on fundraising efforts being initiated to help Northwest cheesemakers and dairy farmers impacted by the recent storms.

Tami at the Pacific NW Cheese blog has just posted a list of organizations taking contributions to help those affected by the floods. Most funds are designated for farms generally and would include cheesemakers under that umbrella. Plans for a cheesemaker-specific benefit bank account are in the works, and Tami is helping to organize a fundraising event to benefit affected cheesemakers. The event, "Cheese for a Good Cause," will be held on Friday, Feb. 1, 2008. Details to come!

From the Pacific NW Cheese blog:

Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Seattle has set up a bank account to benefit Brad and Meg Gregory of Black Sheep Creamery, who were hard hit by flooding earlier this month. Details are as follows:

Bank of America Account #11164308 - Gregory Family Assistance Fund
Donations can be made at any Bank of America branch nationwide. Be sure to provide the account number, as not all branches across the country may be able to access the account by name.

You can also mail checks made out to "Gregory Family Assistance Fund" directly to Beecher's at the following address:

Beecher's Handmade Cheese
104 Pike St.
Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98101
attn: Ellen Gerber

Beecher's will also be accepting donations at its retail location in Seattle.

For information and photos of the flooding and recovery efforts at Black Sheep Creamery, see their website. For additional information about other relief efforts and volunteer opportunities in the state of Washington, see the Tilth Producers of Washington website.

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