Click the link below to download the audio of Maribel’s story.
La historia de Maribel 6.6 MB Mp3 file
Queso fresco is a soft cheese that has been made for generations. Traditionally the Hispanic population has made this cheese using raw milk that has not been heat-treated or pasteurized. Unfortunately, this can cause serious illness.
In 1997 nearly 100 people in Yakima County became ill from eating queso fresco made with unpasteurized milk. A group of Hispanic women from WSU Yakima County Extension worked with food scientists at WSU to develop a safe and acceptable recipe for making queso fresco. Once this was achieved the women began giving classes to people in the community. This was called the Abuela Project.
Early in 2003 several Skagit County residents became ill from eating cheese made from raw milk. The Skagit County Health Department requested that WSU Skagit County Extension work jointly with them to educate the public about the dangers of consuming raw milk products.
Joanne Austin, former Skagit County Extension Faculty, followed the successful Abuela Project model to create the Queso Fresco Project. She invited Nutrition Educators from Yakima to teach 10 Skagit County volunteers the safe method for making queso fresco. Two lesson plans were developed: a 1-hour video-based class and a 2-hour class where the cheese is actually made. The classes can be presented in English or Spanish. If you would like to schedule a class, please contact 360-428-4270, ext. 239.