California Cheese Trail promotes artisan cheesemakers and family farmers, connecting cheese lovers to cheesemakers, cheesemaking classes, events, and tours throughout California.
Since 2010, the map (500,000+ distributed) has increased the visibility, sales and appreciation of local cheesemakers throughout the country. A labor of love, Vivien (below) created the Cheese Trail because she simply wanted to help … and today, many of California’s 79 cheesemakers attribute 20%-80% of their sales to customers discovering them via the Cheese Trail! During the 2020 Covid shutdown, Vivien and her brother Michael saw local cheesemakers and farmers being decimated (some losing 50% or more of their overall sales), and decided to launch ‘home delivery‘ as another way to promote cheesemakers and generate new sales.
The Cheese Trail has been featured widely in the media, including in National Geographic, the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, KCBX (NPR affiliate) and has even gone queso-viral on BuzzFeed. Vivien has received requests from around the world (including Finland and Uruguay) to help start cheese maps … kinda cool, right??
Here in California, use our Cheese Trail Map to discover cheesemakers near you, browse our Events Calendar to find tastings, classes, and more, or visit our Cheese Trail Shop to purchase artisan cheeses online. Enjoy!
Vivien Straus, Founder & Managing Partner
Vivien, a woman with a slight addiction to cows, grew up on her family’s dairy in Marshall. She ran away to Hollywood to become an actress until the cows wooed her back. Upon returning home, she helped build her brother’s company, Straus Family Creamery, serving as VP of Marketing. Later, she served as Public Relations Coordinator and led creamery tours for Cowgirl Creamery. Currently, she co-manages Straus Home Ranch on Tomales Bay. Her one-woman show, E-i-E-i-OY! In Bed with the Farmer’s Daughter, played to sold-out audiences, her storytelling won a MOTH StorySLAM contest, and she’s currently working on a new performance piece about her mom.
Michael Straus, Partner
For 25+ years, Michael has dedicated his life to organic food and sustainable agriculture’s development. After working with his sister Vivien to help launch Straus Family Creamery, Michael founded Straus Communications, one of the first public relations agencies specializing in organics and sustainability. Michael also created the nationally-syndicated Beyond Organic Radio Show, and served as Senior Editor for Green Traveler Guides, where he interviewed eco-pioneers in Mongolia, Nepal, Indonesia, Lebanon and beyond. Currently, Michael and Vivien co-manage Straus Home Ranch. Unrelated, Michael is also a good Remote Viewer.