30 August 2012

Two Factories, One Goal PT. II

Written by Owen Rumiano, Posted in Our Cheese

Getting to know the Willows cheese factory

Two Factories, One Goal PT. II

Last week we talked about the Rumiano Cheese Co. factory in Crescent City, where the hearty milk of California's Northern Coast is taken to be magically transformed into a thing of beauty, Rumiano cheese. But, once the cheese-making is over, where does it go? The next step is a bit more technological, as the 40-pound blocks of cheese are then sliced, diced, bagged and wrapped in the last stop, Willows. 

Willows, California is a small town of about 6,000 people in Northern California -- just north of Sacramento about 90 miles. The intense heat of the summer months (it's about 102°F as of the writing of this article) are far too stressful for dairy cows. However, because Willows is the home of the Rumiano family business and is centrally located in California it was important to keep the Willows factory in addition to the Crescent City factory.

Welcome to Willows!


Once the cheese is shipped to Willows from the far Northern Coast of California (Crescent City) the warehouse is the first to receive the multiple tons of cheese. From there the pallets are sorted and placed throughout the warehouse.  Some is sent off to faraway lands like San Francisco and Wisconsin, while the rest is unpacked and sent to the appropriate team. Each team has a different responsibility in the plant. There is the slicing room, where massive machines pump out 10 slices of cheese per second, while the prepack room hand cuts 40-pound blocks into smaller retail size shapes. With great speed, the teams both label and box the cheese, pumping out around 80,000 pounds per day. Once the cheese is boxed and palletized it then makes a full circle and is sent back into the warehouse before shipment.

Willows Factory Warehousewarehouselo

From the green, green, pastures of Del Norte and Humboldt counties to the warehouse in the Sacramento Valley, the cheese makes its way over a 400 mile journey until it can be enjoyed by all. 

About the Author

Owen Rumiano

Owen Rumiano

Born and raised in Willows, California, Owen is a fourth-generation Rumiano. Residing in San Francisco, Owen calls on stores throughout the Bay Area and southern peninsula. 


Comments (3)

  • Laurel Paulson-Pierce

    Laurel Paulson-Pierce

    28 August 2014 at 22:39 |
    For many years I have gotten bulk Parmesan cheese from Rumiano or Green Valley. I get bulk food from Mountain Peoplk's Produce ..now United Natural foods and have twice gotten the wrong product when i ordered 5 pounds of Parmesan. Once I got a whole block of cheese which i was able to cut up and put thru my food processor to get to the coinsistency i wanted (but the food processor dies during the process) and the last time i got 5 pounds of Runiano cheese but it was shredded in very large pieces, not the "powder" type that i can use in my shaker bottle that i serve it in. I prefer the type that is grated and shredded into fine particles that sprinkle nicely and are easily incorporated into pesto. If you have the 5 pound white plastic bucket of Parmesan available, please tell me what number or what description to use to make sure I get the type of cheese when i order.


  • Lewis Dey

    Lewis Dey

    21 May 2015 at 22:43 |
    Your cheese indicates enzymes instead of rennet. Is the enzyme you use microbial enzyme? The reason I am asking is that we are vegetarian and have always assumed that "emzyme" meant 1) not rennet and 2) vegetarian. We have recently learned that some products labeled "enzymes" are actually from the stomachs of calves and pigs. Can you clarify whet your enzymes are in your various cheeses, please?

    Thank You


    • Owen Rumiano

      Owen Rumiano

      10 September 2015 at 17:15 |
      Rennet is a type of enzyme. Rennet is an enzyme found in the stomachs of animals, and it was commonly used to coagulate the milk for curd formation. In our organic cheese, we only use enzymes derived from fungal microbial sources. All of our Rumiano Family Organic cheese is vegetarian friendly.



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