Photo courtesy of Second Mouse Cheese Shop
Ivy Ronquillo, owner of Pleasantville’s Second Mouse Cheese Shop, is looking to do more in her shop than offer delicious selections of cheese, an assortment of savory and sweet treats, and some kitchen wares. “I’m looking to spread the gospel of clean agriculture and introduce people to products they may not be aware of or have easy access to,” she says.
Ronquillo, who opened Second Mouse in April, offers many lesser-known foods from independent producers. “[It often means] higher prices and a little more time commitment from the consumer,” she says, adding that customers have been “very open and enthusiastic” to the store’s selection. The success of the Pleasantville Farmers’ Market, she explains, was a sign to her that people are craving “food where you can learn about the person behind the scene.”
The shop emphasizes American products, and generally has 60 cheeses in rotation, ranging from Tennessee’s Sequatchie Cove’s raw-milk selections to cheeses from Washington’s Cascadia Creamery, which “are aged in an ancient lava tube under the dairy’s property,” Ronquillo notes. Beyond the cheeses, there are such accompaniments as jams, crackers, and charcuterie.
Ronquillo enjoys giving customers the opportunity to sample the shop’s myriad selections. “Cheese can be intimidating like wine; the more customers familiarize themselves with different choices, the more likely it is that they’ll branch out,” she says. There are monthly cheese-education classes, and Ronquillo plans to head out with customers to dairy farms in the summer of 2020.