All of our dairies are small local family owned dairies located in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties in Northern California.
- Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms
- Palmer Westbrook Ranch
- Reservation Ranch
- Windy Acres Dairy (on YouTube)
- Bancrest Dairy
The unique year-round climate which ranges from 45-60 degrees Fahrenheit, allows year-round access to pasture, it rains but doesn’t snow. The cows are either grazing in the pasture eating a combination of rye-grass, clover, and other grasses, or are being fed it in the form of silage or haylage, which is being cut now and throughout the summer for next years winter feed.
This weather map from January 3rd, 2018 does a good job illustrating the unique climate of coastal Del Norte and Humboldt counties. Even while the rest of the country experiences temperatures well below freezing, our dairyshed has relatively temperate lows in the mid- to low-40s.
The dairymen feed a small ration of grain to help keep the protein level up in the milk, which makes better milk for making cheese, and keeps the cows healthy. You can compare the color of our Monterey Jack with other cheese to see that the yellow is a much richer color because of the high beta-carotene which is derived from the grass.
Producing High-Quality Farm Fresh Flavor
Cheese gets its flavor from a few different things, milk, enzymes, flavoring, ageing time, and salt content. Since our milk is some of the cleanest in the nation, and is grass-fed pasture based, you can taste the milk in our cheese. The culture enzymes play a huge part of the flavoring depending on the type of cheese we are planning on making.
For Monterey Jack and Cheddar it is one type of enzyme and for Mozzarella, Fontina, or Parmesan there are others. Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, and even Provolone require a lipase, which is derived from either a calf or kid goat and gives the cheese its nutty flavor. The amount of time a cheese is aged greatly affects its flavor.
As cheese ages the protein and fat break down causing the cheese to develop more flavor. Our cheese is minimally salted to allow the cheese to develop more flavor over time. Some cheese making schools teach the method of creating a lot of acid in the vat through using a lot of starter, and then killing the starter by dumping a lot of salt on the cheese.
We use only the highest quality ingredients from the milk, organic microbial coagulant, enzymes, sea salt, and flavoring available.