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Help Us Help the Estrellas

Help us help the Estrella Family Creamery.

In the Summer of 2010 the Estrella Family Creamery (a family run creamery in Montesano, Washington that produces some world-class and highly beloved cheese) had all their product seized by the FDA, essentially in an attempt to put them out of business. See here and here for some perspective and further information.

This site has been set up to aid the Estrella family (they are personal friends of mine), especially by setting up a fund for their economic support. We have set up an account to which you can donate directly to the family. Please donate generously, read up on what’s gone on, and spread the word so that together we can help the Estrellas get back to making the finest of artisan cheeses.

 

In the Local Paper

Anthony and Kelli Estrella at their 25th Anniversary

This post, as always, seeks to generate support and help for the Estrella family, owners of the Estrella Family Creamery.

Our favorite cheese makers in the United States, not to mention Washington State, not to mention Grays Harbor County, not to mention Montenaso have been written up in the local paper, the Vidette, by Leif Nesheim. The FDA’s cut-throat tactics are broadly noticed, and with more coverage like Leif’s, maybe it can end. Here are some tasty quotes from the article with my comments interspersed:

“Some of the things the FDA is doing to them, I was just appalled,” said Elma organic dairy farmer Jay Gordon, executive director of the Washington State Dairy Federation. Gordon said he recently visited the Estrellas’ farm and was impressed with the quality of their operation and the steps they’ve taken to ensure food safety. “They have done everything they can,” Gordon said, but the FDA’s precautionary standard of zero bacteria “is one nobody could live under let alone run a business.” The regulators’ actions are destroying a family and its business, Gordon said. “How many more farms are they going to do that to?” Gordon asked, noting that several FDA actions in the past few months have put the agency on his federation’s radar.

The FDA’s heavy-handed tactics and unreasonable precautionary standards really should worry ALL of us. It’s not hard to see this type of government intrusion in nearly all areas of life. But, back to dairy, the Federation sent a letter to all the State’s federal congressional delegation pleading with them to investigate the FDA’s tactics. One of which tactics is that the FDA, even in cases where cheese is not sold or shipped over state lines, has the authority to investigate a local farmer if any of the component used in food making comes from out of state. Regarding this FDA tactic, the letter says:

This expansive interpretation seems to grant FDA authority to regulate all farms, carte blanche … and underminesthe established efficacy of our own Washington State Food Safety Program, thereby creating a great deal of uncertainty and fear in the farming community.

Fear, indeed! It’s difficult not to fear when part of the United States government appears intent on taking away your livelihood. This is exactly what Dan Wood of the Washington State Farm Bureau thinks:

“The FDA, they’re going to kill this business,” Wood said. “It’s unfortunate because people want this very unique product.” The Estrellas have taken numerous steps to make sure their product is safe, but the feds don’t appear willing to acknowledge the improvements, Wood said, noting the FDA’s action here isn’t an isolated case.

Nope, not isolated a bit. Check with, for example, Food Freedom about how the FDA raided the cheese with their guns drawn! Good night. Please see our friends Sharon, Doreen, and Kimberly, too.

Lastly, please support the Estrellas. The family needs your help.

A Glorious History

Our friend, Kimberly, over at Hartke is Online, has put together a wonderful history of the Estrella Family Creamery. It’s well worth getting to know the Estrella family and their extraordinary enterprise. Please give Kimberly’s article a read. You’ll be inspired for sure!

On a personal note, I (Tim) live in Olympia and have been personal friends with the Estrella family since about 2003. In the past 7 or 8 years, I have had some very close and personal interactions with the Estrellas. I can safely say I’ve loved sharing in their family life – both through the good times and the hard times. These are the hardest of times, but the Estrellas are a family of great faith; they are fighters and over-comers. To know them and their story will inspire you.

Please be generous in your donations to the family, as financial support at this time is crucial. Also, please make sure people know what’s going on – spread the word!

On the Local News!

Here’s a link to KIRO’s coverage of the FDA’s shutdown of the Estrella Family Creamery.

I personally appreciate KIRO’s objectivity in this report. They do a fine job reporting the problem, EFC’s position, and even the take of some supporters. Well done, KIRO.

Please spread this video around along with a link to this website. We need to get more fund in to help out this wonderful family. Merry Christmas!

Getting up to Speed

Under Seizure Orders

Save Estrella Creamery!

Click on the button to the left to donate via their Pledgie account.

Welcome to our fundraising appeal to help Estrella Creamery!

Within these pages and posts you will learn how you can help the owners of Estrella Creamery, Kelli and Anthony Estrella, fight against orders by the FDA which will result in the destruction of perfectly safe cheese. The FDA has condemned their cheese without proper testing to determine if it can cause illness.

You can help immediately by clicking through the Pledgie Badge above and make a donation towards the Estrella’s charitable relief and legal fund. 100% of the donations go directly to the Estrella family via Paypal.

Who we are:

Tim Prussic and John Wright – we’re both friends with the Estrella family. We love them and support their cause, so we’re donating our time and efforts to this worthy cause.

Kimberly Hartke blogs about the struggles of small farms to survive in this modern age with the host of rules and regulations that they must heed. She is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund which is representing the Estrella family in their effort to save their cheese and livelihood. Kimberly blogs about raw milk, real cheese and natural remedies at Hartke Is Online! http://hartkeisonline.com

What is the problem?

Estrella Creamery is living under a seizure order from the FDA, which means their cheese can’t go to the farmers markets or the many fine dining restaurants that have enjoyed their world-class cheese for 7 years. Since they can’t sell it, friends and supporters are rallying to sponsor this cheese, so the family won’t lose their farm. By making a donation you are making a non-tax deductible gift of love, aid and comfort to a farm in distress.

This fundraiser is being held by friends of Estrella Creamery, to make sure the farmers will still make the money they have earned. Your generosity will keep this farm alive, or it will surely be driven out of business by the actions of the bureaucrats in Washington.

Where Does Your Donation Go?

The Estrella family still has to feed their 6 children, pay the bills, mortgage, labor, utilities, while seeking their legal right to due process.

Donations of $10 will cover 1 pound of cheese that Estrella is prohibited from selling. When we get all the cheese in their inventory paid for, Estrella has a good chance to weather this storm and continue to provide their cheese to those who enjoy artisan cheeses and want freedom of choice in their food.

Please, join us in sending a message that we, the people want justice for Estrella Creamery

To give, click through on the badge at the top of the page on the left to make a donation via Pledgie. Put in your pledge, press submit which will take you to a paypal page.

Click through the badge to make your donation then grab the code for the badge. Put it on your FB profile, you blog, forums, homepages, websites. Make it go viral. It will track all donations.

Click here to lend your support to the Estrella Creamery and make a donation at www.pledgie.com ! Pledgie has been updated this morning to reflect the total amount of donations since the fund-raising effort began.

With your help, we can meet the goal!

Policy on Comments

We have had some issues with comment “trolls” at this blog recently, so we thought it prudent to set up our policy on comments and make everyone aware of our aims in doing so.

This blog is run by friends of the Estrella Family Creamery. We believe in the Estrella family and in EFC’s products. In short, we’re favorable toward the Estrellas. Our love for the Estrella family and EFC products does not, however, make us narrow or unwilling to discuss issues with folks who are not favorable to the EFC. We’ve found that open discussion is both positive and generates good ideas. Thus, we welcome opposition in the comments, but there are some caveats. These caveats are in keeping with the purpose of this blog, i.e., to help the EFC. First, attack comments will not be published. Second, persistent negativity will be banned. Third, impolite commenters will be warned, and, if the problem persists, will be banned. Fourth, soap boxes are discouraged – we don’t want people harping on the same things. We want fresh and civil discussion that progresses toward resolution and edification.

Our aim on this blog is to assist the Estrella family and the EFC through this most difficult time and to present a point of view favorable to the EFC to the reading public. We want the EFC back making excellent, healthy chesses (as it has for years) and we hope to help raise funds to that end.