Earlier this week, I climbed a steep dirt road, ending in a wide open pasture. Surrounding me on all sides were the golden hills of California summer, dotted with ranch rooflines and cows meandering through dusty fields. The land was dry and cracked, the stark reality of this historic drought we find ourselves in, but a beautiful vista nevertheless.
We were in the middle of the 2,500 acres that make up the Tresch Family Farms, a part of the Straus Family Creamery and Cowgirl’s primary organic milk supplier. On this dusky Monday night in August, we highlighted the stewardship of the Tresch family and their incredible dairying through our cheeses, in a dinner held in partnership with Outstanding in the Field. Kathy Tresch stood on an apple crate in front of a crowd, her long silver braid swaying in the breeze as she explained the work she and her husband Joe, standing quietly by in a cowboy hat, do on this pastureland. How they were the second organic dairy in the west, how they fought to save their valley from becoming a sewage site in the 1980s, how Joe’s grandmother brought two Holsteins and a wagon to this farm in 1905.
Later, next to a long, curving table where we broke bread and ate cheese, Kathy and I talked about bringing our newer cheesemakers to tour the ranch, to remind us of where the milk we so carefully turn into cheese comes from. She offered to walk us through her orchards, to pick apples under the watchful eyes of the nesting golden eagles who roost there. I imagined eating our own Hop Along, one of our newest cheeses and one that we wash in organic apple cider, under trees that echoed its flavor, next to the cows from whence it came— a pure taste of fall.
Integrity is one our core values at Cowgirl Creamery. Since our beginnings, we have celebrated our local milkshed, choosing to work with dairy families like Kathy and Joe Tresch as a way to invest in our community and support the land around us. It is with pride and hard work that we transform their milk—their own pride and hard work—into cheeses like Hop Along. We do it because we believe it’s the right thing to do.
- Amanda Parker, Cowgirl Creamery Managing Director