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The History of Rumiano Cheese


1919

OUR FOUNDERS STORY

 

Like so many others, Fred, John, and Richard Rumiano emigrated from Italy just after the turn of the last century. After jobs from gold mines, shipyards, and liquor, they settled near Willows in 1919 and began the dairy operation. When Italian Hard Cheese wasn’t unavailable after World War I, the creation of the Monterey Dry Jack cheese launched the company mostly serving the regional market and San Francisco.

 

 


1930s - 1945

INNOVATION & GROWTH IN WAR YEARS

 

Constant experimentation and investment in the hand-dug cellars, equipment, and transportation lead to growth into California’s largest cheese company. Supporting the war effort and local demand results in 8 cheese factories on the West Coast.

 

 

 

“The house of Rumiano, if the expression may be permitted, has tried to do its share to help the unfortunate to bring back prices and to give at all times full values to our patrons.” Fred Rumiano

 

 

1950s - 1960s

RE-INVENTION & SECOND GENERATION

 

As the founders passed away or retired, second-generation manager Ray Rumiano focused on new markets such as Asia and outside of California. The company also invented new techniques for processed and plant-based cheese. Rumiano Cheese supports the Apollo crew in the first lunar landing.

 

 

 

“The best teacher to really learn the cheese business is hands-on experience at each step of the process. From collecting the milk to packaging to listening to a customer’s problems. No classroom can really teach you what it takes.” Raymond Rumiano

 

 

1980

PASSING THE TORCH

 

After the untimely death of Ray Rumiano, his two sons Baird and John return to the company in their early 20’s to try to save the company. They open up new markets for both manufacturing and packaging. They become leaders in bringing cheese from across the U.S. and Europe to support the West Coast’s growing population.

 

 

 

“Knowing that there are future generations who are committed to our core values of community and caring for the animals and the land gives us comfort and hope.” Baird and John Rumiano

 

 

2005
 

ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABILITY PIONEERS

 

With a deep commitment to healthy products, care for the land, and animal welfare, Rumiano becomes the first plant on the West Coast to produce Organic cheese at scale. Continued reinvestment in farming capacity and sustainability result in new organic lactose and whey protein products and zero waste. Today, our organic cheese is found in all 50 states and is a market leader.

 

 


2019

THE NEXT 100 YEARS

After celebrating our 100th year in 1919, the Company’s management includes fourth-generation Joby, Tony, and Ray Rumiano. A second packaging and research site in Willows is set for Summer 2021, and expansion of both dairy and plant capacity is occurring in Humboldt County.

 

 

2021
 

NEW WILLOWS PLANT

 

The completion and operation of our new plant in Willows, California, realize a 40 plus year dream for third-generation cheesemakers, Baird and John Rumiano. This will enable Rumiano to double its current packaging volume by the end of 2025.

And, first and foremost, it’s about Rumiano employees, who are the people who drive our success every day. This new facility has both career advancement opportunities and ergonomic innovations. People can stay here and grow here. Secondly, we have several new capabilities, such as a retail shredding operation and an R&D site to test innovations in the market.