Christopher Hall, a regular contributor to The New York Times, recently chronicled his cheese tour through California’s dairy fields. Hall visited five farms from the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail Map, sampling delectable cheeses, meeting the craftsmen, and learning about the land and animals from which the cheese is produced.
Two of the producers he visited gave him samples of cheese made from raw milk: Barinaga Ranch in Marshall, CA and the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company in Point Reyes Station, CA.
Barinaga Ranch sits on 100 acres of organic sheep pasture. Hall and the other visitors petted the sheep, toured the pristine creamery retrofitted with steel cargo containers, and sampled Txiki – an aged, raw milk cheese with a nutty taste that Ms. Barinaga has been making since 2009. Ms. Barinaga, who is of Basque descent, explained that the cheese was inspired by other semi-hard Basque cheeses similar to tommes but is unique, in part, because Basque-Americans do not have strong cheesemaking traditions. Rather, it is more typical for Basque immigrants to herd sheep raised for meat, not milk.
Hill’s final stop on the cheese tour was Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. The farm made its debut in 2000 with a creamy, pungent raw milk blue cheese. Point Reyes Original Blue cheese won the Best Cheese/Dairy Product award at the 2011 Fancy Food Show in Washington D.C. In addition to sampling the farm’s cheeses throughout a four-course lunch, Hall toured the farm and witnessed the birth of one of the farm’s new calves.
Hall’s account of the delectable cheeses made from raw milk at some of California’s most pristine dairy farms exemplifies how the raw milk movement is taking root in the foodie community. Read more about Hall’s journey through California’s dairy land here:
See the story: Five Stops on a California Cheese Trail
Realmilk.com is a project of the nutrition education non-profit, The Weston A. Price Foundation.