Pedrozo Dairy & Creamery

I love talking to Tim Pedrozo about the issues of small dairies. Because he’s a dairyman and I grew up on a dairy and manage a farm. We’re both looking for solutions.

Cows grazing at Pedrozo Dairy and Creamery

I’d been meaning to visit Tim’s farm for years. I finally made it. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I saw was so – dare I say it – delightful. Tim and his family have collected an assortment of different breeds of cows. And there are just a handful. Maybe 25. And they wander around right outside their home.

Tim takes care of the cows. His son Tom makes the cheese. His daughter Laura does the marketing. His wife Jill works both off the farm and on.

The Pedrozo Family with one of their award-winning cows.

The cheese is fabulous. It’s raw, tasty and great to eat on its own or in recipes. As a matter of fact, while celebrating Raw Milk Cheese Day, they had a crockpot full of homemade Mac ‘n Cheese that was to die for.

The Pedrozos show their cattle at various fairs, often winning top honors. A couple of times a year, they open their farm where you can get up close with the cows and buy wheels of cheese at a very reasonable price. They also ship cheese direct to your door.

Pedrozo Dairy and Creamery is located in Orland, in the north Central Valley, near Chico. I enjoyed my visit. You can stop by yourself during the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend on October 12th and 13th.

If you have a chance, pick up some of their cheese at your local store. Check where it’s sold HERE.

Sign at Pedrozo Dairy and Creamery

Shooting Star Creamery Wins Big at ACS

Yet again, California has a lot of winners at the American Cheese Society’s 36th Annual Competition! Let’s take a look at Avery Jones.

Meet Avery Jones. She is the daughter of Reggie and Kellie Jones of Central Coast Creamery. She is 15 years old.

Avery is the founder of her own brand called Shooting Star Creamery.

And she just won 3rd place Overall in the Best in Show class at the 36th Annual Competition at the American Cheese Society! With 1,742 entries.

Down below you can see Shooting Star Creamery’s Aries which is an aged alpine style sheep’s milk cheese that took home the accolades.

Reach for the stars Avery!

You can stay up to date with Shooting Star Creamery on Instagram at @shooting_star_creamery

Abroad: The Cotswolds

Welcome to our Abroad series, where we document our encounters with cheese and cheesemakers on our travels!

Here at the California Cheese Trail, our heart and soul is California. We’re proud of our dairy farmers and cheese makers. That is why we created the Cheese Trail to support them.

But once in awhile, travel takes us to far out places and we encounter cheeses from abroad. Here is our newest series to our blog, where we document our travels!

Our Abroad Series

Hi, I’m Philip. If you don’t know me, I’m the official sidekick here at the California Cheese Trail.

This past summer I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for two weddings. The itinerary included the United Kingdom, Spain and France!

My first stop was the the Cotswolds in the United Kingdom.

As I did some research before the trip I realized there are some great cheeses from the region as well as cheese shops. I made sure to make time to try the local cheeses.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is an area in the UK that is famous for its charming and quaint English towns and villages built from golden yellow brown stones. If you are into nature and hiking, you will also find the Cotswold Way National Trail which is a 102 mile long footpath that traverses though the whole area.

Picturesque to cut the story short. Back to cheese.

I was more than excited to find out about the Cotswold Cheese Co. They have several shops in the Cotswolds: Burford, Moreton-in-Marsh, Cheltenham and Stow-on-the-Wold. Founded in 2006, it was acquired by Jon and Lisa Goodchild in 2010. They stock more than 120 different artisan and farmhouse cheeses.

I was able to sample a bunch of the cheeses and took home some “Rollright” from King Stone Dairy (a washed rind soft cheese banded in spruce bark) and Cerney’s “Ash” (a goat cheese hand coated with a oak ash and sea salt mix).

I also learned that there is a cheese named after the region. The Cotswold cheese is a variation of the Double Gloucester which is made from cow’s milk and has chopped onions and chives added to it. It is one of the more popular pub cheeses in England.

There is nothing quite like walking around the town and stopping by the local cheese shop for a snack!

Kim, the cheesemonger at the Stow-in-the-Wold location kindly informed me that there were some local cheesemakers nearby, but unfortunately my schedule didn’t let me fit a visit in. There is always next time!

If you plan on visiting the United Kingdom, I highly recommend spending a couple of days in the Cotswolds.

The area has everything you need for a vacation: great scenery, charming towns and cheese!

Next up on “Abroad”, I head to Spain and the south of France to find more cheese.

Cheers!

Orland Farmstead Creamery

Paul Schmidt of Orland Farmstead Creamery, stokes the fire.

Paul Schmidt, a shy man of few words, heaves another log into the wood burning oven. It turns out that the water for washing the barn and pasteurization of milk is heated this way. No propane used here. It’s not a throw-back, as much as ingenuity.

I made a trip to visit three cheesemakers in the North Sacramento Valley, looking forward to a spring road trip. I found a thriving community of small dairies, including the industrious Orland Farmstead Creamery.

Paul Schmidt is a third generation dairyman and he has just 25-30 milking Holsteins. And one bull. And that bull, large as it is, will follow Paul wherever he goes.

Valerie Miller, who started out by teaching cheesemaking, is the cheesemaker and she also lives on the farm.

Valerie Miller and Paul Schmidt of Orland Farmstead Creamery

Valerie makes several fresh cheeses including Fromage Blanc, Feta, Queso Fresco, fresh Mozzarella packed in brine, and Ricotta, a cheese that lands somewhere between cottage cheese and ricotta. All cheeses are farmstead. Meaning the cheese is made from the milk of their own farm.

From April-September, tours are held on the 4th Saturday of the month. If you’re looking to see how a small farm works, this is the place to visit. Book a tour now.

Daily Driver – First Creamery in San Francisco – Ever!

San Francisco has never had cheese made in its city limits. Until now.

Rachel forms freshly made Jersey butter at Daily Driver, located in Dogpatch.

Located within a wide-open industrial space, and just behind a large viewing window, cheese and butter from fresh Jersey milk, are being made. I had a blast watching golden-yellow butter being molded by hand.

Quark, made with Jersey milk from the Silva Family Dairy

Daily Driver is a bagel shop (wood-fired bagels are made on site) and a creamery, and also includes the coffee roaster, Red Bay Coffee. Find your own nook in this vast space to sit and eat, or pick up cheese, bagels or coffee to go. Everything is delicious. I can attest. From lobster roll bagels to Turkish egg with quark, I tried all that my stomach allowed.

Wood-fired bagels are made on site.

The project is a collaboration between Tamara Hicks & David Jablons of Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery, and their long time cheesemaker, Hadley Kreitz, who makes Daily Driver‘s cheese, and her husband, David Kreitz, who built the wood-fired oven and developed the bagel recipes. In addition, Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee roasts their beans in the space.

The wide open space of Daily Driver.

Daily Driver is located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, at 2535 3rd Street. Hours: Sat & Sun, 7am to 3pm; Wed-Fri, 6am to 3pm.

Retro t-shirts and other swag are available on site.

Step Out to Stepladder

I wind around a narrow, forested road, about six miles off Highway 1 near Cambria on the Central Coast, thinking I’ve gone too far, until the sky opens and – voila – there is the hidden gem of Stepladder Creamery.

The farm, founded in 1871, with a central open field surround by barns and frolicking LaMancha goats, is the run by third generation farmer, Jack Rudolph, and his wife Michelle. They make cheese in their 100+ year-old barn. The farm is magical.

Jack & Michelle make goat cheese Spring through Fall in their tiny creamery tucked away away in the barn’s corner. Cow milk cheeses are made in the winter. This is in addition to the avocados, cherimoyas and passionfruit, also grown on site. There are also pigs and cattle. Wow.

Paso Vino, soaked in Syrah, ages on the rack.

The best part is, you can visit. Seasonal farm and creamery tours can be booked online. Spring tours allow you to play with the tiny kids (baby goats). And then they serve you cheese.

Right now, Stepladder’s Cabrillo, a Spanish-style semi-firm cheese made with a combination of cow and goat milk, is on promotion at Whole Foods Market in Northern California region. Whole Foods suggests pairing Cabrillo with the slow-roasted La Saison Herbs De Provence Almonds. However you decide pair it…you’ll enjoy.

Summer at Whole Foods

As summer heats up, picnics and sunny afternoons with friends become more and more regular activities. And these types of summer activities require snacks to share. With a platter of delicious local cheeses and accoutrements, you can bring out the flavors of summer for everyone to enjoy — because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to not like cheese. It’s even harder to not like these:

Cowgirl Creamery

Organic Mt Tam

One of their most beloved triple creams, Organic Mt Tam contains buttery hints of mushroom. This soft cheese pairs well with fruit jams — no crackers required. When paired with We Love Jam’s Blenheim Apricot, the pair creates a stunning color, intense ripe flavor and a silky texture you’ll want to share (actually, you might want to keep this for yourself). Don’t forget the napkins for this delicious yet messy combination!

Stepladder Creamery

Cabrillo

The Cabrillo is a Spanish-style farmstead goat’s and cow’s milk cheese, rich with hints of almond and brown butter.  On its own, the Cabrillo is a great cheese to pair with nearly any picnic assortment. However, when paired with the La Saison Herbs De Provence Almonds, a true match is formed. The almonds are slow roasted in olive oil infused with savory French herbs before getting seasoned with smoked salt — bringing the delicious flavor of toasted almonds to light.

Point Reyes Farmstead

Bay Blue

When hiking around Point Reyes, this may be the most appropriate cheese to have. The young, natural rind on the Bay Blue yields to an earthy and sweet, creamy interior. This juxtaposition also adds a punch with its salted caramel finish on the palate. To mix with that caramel finish, we recommend pairing with the silky Charles Chocolates Candied Valencia Orange & Almond Milk Chocolate bar. What’s a picnic without a little dessert, anyways?

Central Coast Creamery

Ewereka

The Ewereka, besides having an adorable name, is also an award-winning sheep milk cheddar. The cheese is delightfully sweet on the tongue with a little nuttiness that lingers throughout. To match, we paired the Rustic Bakery Apricot, Pistachio and Brandy Chips to go with the sheep milk cheddar for the perfect crunch.

With these cheeses in mind, it’ll be easy to make a cheese platter everyone will fall in love with. Even better yet, they’re all on sale right now at your local Whole Foods Market. Stop by to pick these up — and watch summer picnics become your new favorite hobby.

Wrapping Wedges Like a Pro

Let’s get started – Photo Courtesy of Fromagination

I’m constantly trying to figure out how to wrap those leftover wedges of cheese in my fridge so they don’t dry out before I have time to eat them.

I also want the packages look as pretty (and intact) as I see in the cheese shops.

Thanks to an instructional video from the famed Neals Yard Dairy of London, it seems to be all about the angle of the fold! Check it out.

Although this video uses cheese paper, I use wax paper. Works just as well, and it’s much cheaper.

Remember not to use plastic wrap to seal your cheese. Because cheese is alive! Don’t want to suffocate it.

Another day, perhaps I’ll find one on wrapping differently-shaped cheeses. Or you can find out how yourself by doing your own YouTube search.

Happy wrapping!