Rhonda Gothberg, President
Rhonda Gothberg, President

Born & raised in Texas, still retaining a strong sense of independence and can do attitude.  Have been living in the PNW for over 20 years.  A Registered Nurse since the 70's, with some later years enmeshed with real estate, which all morphed into farming and goats.  Owner/founder/herdswoman/cheesemaker/marketer/and anything else that needs done at Gothberg Farms for 11 successful years now.  Surrounded by amazing people.  Married with 5 grown children.

Daniel Wavrin
Daniel Wavrin

Daniel Wavrin, is a cheesemaker and co-founder at Ferndale Farmstead creamery.  He is dedicated to creating authentic traditional Italian cheeses ranging from fresh mozzarella to aged Fontina and Asiago.

Daniel was raised on his three generation family dairy in Eastern Washington. His father, Bill, a veterinarian and uncle, Sid, an agronomist started the dairy in 1990. Growing up, Daniel enjoyed working on the farm with his family, especially in the fields and knew he wanted to return to the farm in some capacity after going to school. His father encouraged Daniel to go to school and bring something ‘new’ back to the farm.  In 2009, the Wavrin Family purchased a dairy in Ferndale to expand their business on the west side of the state. In 2010, Daniel was off to California Polytechnic University to study Agricultural Systems Management. Shortly after starting school, Daniel found his interest outside of the classroom while striking up a conversation with a local cheesemaker at a farmer’s market. He then set out on a ‘cheese-venture’ camping out along the California coast and visiting cheesemakers to learn more. After visiting more than 40 creameries throughout the U.S., Daniel landed an internship at Mt. Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, WA to get hands on experience in cheese making and learn the ins and outs of the business. In 2015, Ferndale Farmstead made its very first batches and the team has already produced award winning cheese at the 2017 American Cheese Society Conference.

Daniel is dedicated to advancing the work that outgoing President Rhonda Gothberg has established and believes that together we can continue to introduce more people to our state’s artisan cheese.

Russ Salvadalena, 2nd Vice President
Russ Salvadalena, 2nd Vice President

Russ Salvadalena has been associated with dairy his whole life.  He grew up on a small dairy farm north of Pasco, Washington.  He graduated from Washington State University in 1977 with a degree in Food Science & Technology.  He worked for Safeway Inc. for 23 years, managing fluid milk processing plants in the western United States.  In 2000, he returned to Pullman, Washington to take his dream job – Manager of the WSU Creamery. In January, 2016 he took his SECOND dream job – retirement!  He will continue to live in Pullman, and he and his wife, Janie, have plans to travel extensively.

Julia Powers, Member
Julia Powers, Member

Julia is a passionate cheese lover.  Her background is speckled with opportunity that has ultimately given her this cheesy lot in life.  An Air Force brat that traveled with her family to domestic and international destinations, and then her own travels during and after her college years, provided a wonderful framework to seed the passion for cheese.  She is a member of the American Cheese Society with CCP (Certified Cheese Professional) credentials and serves as a member of the ACS Judging & Competition Committee.  Moreover, her education includes courses at Academie Opus Caseus @ Maison Mons in France and she is a member of Slow Foods USA and the Oregon Cheese Guild. Currently she continues to fuel her passion working for Peterson Cheese Company – a family-owned national distributor focusing on specialty foods and the import/export business.  For the past couple of years, she worked closely with a national specialty food broker – McKenna Marketing, and, before that, she was the cheese shop manager at Mt. Townsend Creamery in Pike Place and mongered at Metropolitan Market.

Ruth Appel, Member
Ruth Appel, Member

Ruth is one part sales manager, one part cheese professional, two parts marketer, one part amateur photographer, and three parts cheeselover.  Growing up in Lacey, Washington, she had no idea she would one day move to Whatcom County and marry a cheesemaker.  Her husband introduced her to the wonderful world of cheesemaking and gave her the opportunity to leverage her degree in visual communication technology to help grow the family business.  Ruth is marketing director and retail sales manager for Appel Farms.  She is married with two grown children and two high-maintenance cats.  Ruth feels blessed to be a part of the amazing growth and development of the artisan cheese industry in Washington State.

Lisa Miyashita
Lisa Miyashita

Lisa has spent most of her professional career dedicating herself to supporting local artisan producers including many years working for the Washington Brewers Guild and Washington Beer Commission. Once she discovered there was a growing cheesemaking industry in Washington State she had an itching desire to showcase local cheesemakers and in 2012 she founded the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival. Additionally she publishes the Washington Artisan Cheese Map every year to further highlight the amazing cheesemakers of Washington State. A devoted fan of artisan cheese and even a bigger fan of the cheesemakers.