We recently stayed at Tomales Farmstead Creamery Farm House and got a first hand look at how artisan cheese is made. There are numerous creameries in Marin County that make up the California Cheese trail. Tomales Farmstead Creamery not only makes delicious cheese, but they are open to schedule farm tours as well as farm stays at their property.
Once we got settled into the farm house, we headed on over to the creamery see the cheese making process. We put on boots and hairnets, and Hadley, who manages the farm, gave us an in-depth look at how cheese is made. The day we visited, they were working on a soft goat cheese that they put into hydraulic presses and let sit overnight.
Cheese making is similar to winemaking in that it involves blending and aging. We got to see the rooms where the cheese ages. Different cheeses sit in the caves for different amounts of time. We were surprised that some of the cheese was moldy, but were assured that the mold is a good thing, and it gets scraped off when the cheese is ready to ship.
Tomales Farmstead Creamery makes four types of cheese from goat and sheep milk from the farm. The milk that goes into their cow milk cheeses comes from cows that live just down the street.
The next day we got to meet all the ladies that make milk for these delicious cheeses. The animals are milked every day in the morning, so if you are on a farm stay, you’ll definitely get a chance to see the sheep or goats milked. The goats got herded in around 8 AM, and we were able to see a few of them being milked. Apparently, they get a treat when they’re done so they all seemed pretty happy to go get milked!
You can purchase Tomales Farmstead cheeses at select stores and at the CUESA Ferry Building Saturday market. We tried all the the cheeses and of course made a cheese plate for our farm dinner. We also made delicious cast-iron skillet roasted fennel and goat cheese (recipe here) and summer squash crostini (recipe here).