FRIDAY MARCH 23RD, 2018


Artisan Tours

These intimate Friday tours to various local farms, creameries and artisan purveyors are some of the most popular and coveted of events of the weekend. Get an “up close and personal” glimpse into the important role of the farmers and producers of the rich northern California agricultural farming area. Learn how cheese and other artisanal products are made on these guided walking tours. Meet the producers, farmers, and cheesemakers behind these stellar local foods and beverages. And, of course, prepare for generous tastings and in depth discussions with industry experts. Bring your ice chest as cheese and artisan products are available for purchase on most tours. Lunch is provided. Bus transportation by Pure Luxury Transportation. **All sales are final and event takes place rain or shine. Most tours depart and end at the Sheraton Sonoma County at 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma. Tour H begins and ends in Boonville and does not include transportation, and Tour I departs from Nugget Market in Woodland, California. Parking is complimentary.

Various locations.

Tour A
home, sweet home

SOLD OUT

Cowgirl Creamery, tour and lunch at Straus Home Ranch, "Gateway Cheeses" seminar with Liz Thorpe, and Sonoma Portworks

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Kick off your day with a visit to Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station where you’ll learn why the Cowgirls first made their home in this beautiful West Marin hamlet more than 20 years ago. You’ll watch cheesemakers craft rounds of Red Hawk, made with milk from nearby Bivalve Dairy, and taste through a flight of Cowgirl Creamery cheeses. Enjoy a tabletop curd-making demonstration for a closer look at curds and whey. Next, you’ll wind up Highway One to the historic Straus Home Ranch in Marshall for lunch and learning. Stroll the picturesque property and discover more about the Straus family’s deep roots in local agriculture and the family matriarch’s role in co-founding the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), a pioneering organization that preserves working farmland in Marin. Following lunch, join Liz Thorpe, author of The Cheese Chronicles and The Book of Cheese, for a cheese tasting seminar that employs her concept of “Gateway Cheeses” as a road map to explore some of California’s finest cheeses. Learn what flavors and aromas to expect and explore the tenets of food pairing with each gateway. Finish your day on a sweet note with Bill and Caryn Reading at Sonoma Portworks, the only winery in Sonoma County that specializes in fortified wines. Taste their unique ports alongside cheeses from a local cheesemaker.
 

 

Tour B
a winning combination

Marin French Cheese, tour and lunch at Straus Home Ranch, "Gateway Cheeses" seminar with Liz Thorpe, The Racers Group Shop & Adobe Road Winery, and Moonside Creamery

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Start your day like a San Francisco dockworker might have back in the late 1800’s: with cheese from Marin French Cheese. Breakfast Cheese from Marin French appeared on the city’s saloon menus alongside salted meat, pickled eggs, and a mug of steam beer to fortify longshoremen heading to the docks to unload cargo from around the world. Onsite at Marin French Cheese, you’ll learn more about the rich legacy of the country’s oldest continuously operating creamery, tour the verdant Hicks Valley Ranch, and taste their award-winning cheeses. Continue on to the shores of Tomales Bay and the historic Straus Home Ranch, where you’ll meet Vivien Straus, founder of the California Cheese Trail. Vivien will lead a tour of the family’s picturesque property where you’ll learn more about the Straus family’s deep roots in local agriculture and the family matriarch’s role in co-founding the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), a pioneering organization that preserves working farmland in Marin. Take a break to enjoy lunch from the Cowgirl Cantina before joining Liz Thorpe, former Vice President of Murray’s Cheese and author of The Cheese Chronicles and the recently released book, The Book of Cheese, for a cheese tasting seminar. Liz will introduce her concept of “Gateway Cheeses” as a road map to explore some of California’s finest cheeses. Learn what flavors and aromas to expect and explore the tenets of food pairing with each gateway. Just in time for happy hour, race over to The Racers Group Shop & Adobe Road Winery where you’ll meet owner, race car driver, and entrepreneur Kevin Buckler. Enjoy a winning combination of Adobe Road wine, cheese from special guest Moonside Creamery, and a rare collection of championship race cars.

 

TOUR C
a taste of tomales

SOLD OUT

Toluma Farm & Tomales Farmstead Creamery, lunch at Estero Café, AppleGarden Farm, and Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Travel twenty minutes west of Petaluma to Toluma Farms, where owners Tamara Hicks and David Jablons have lovingly restored a 160-acre former cow dairy. Toluma Farms is now home to a herd of goats, a flock of sheep, and Tomales Farmstead Creamery. You’ll tour the organic pastures, meet the goats, sheep, and their pink-nosed babies, and taste an array of cheeses. Meet Marissa Silva, a sixth generation dairywoman whose family dairy supplies rich jersey cow milk for some of Tomales Farmstead Creamery’s cheeses. Before leaving the farm, you’ll learn about Carbon Farming and how local ranchers are helping to battle climate change with a representative from the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. Next, enjoy lunch at Estero Café where chef/owner Samantha Ramey will prepare a delicious farm to table lunch using locally sourced ingredients.  Then head to AppleGarden Farm where you’ll meet owner Jan Lee. The Lees transformed former grazing land near the historic town of Tomales into an organic orchard to lay the foundation for their “gardening project.” Tour the farm, learn about cider apple selection, dry farming, and taste the fruits of their labor! Wrap up your day with Don and Bonnie DeBernardi at the DeBernardi Dairy and home of Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese. Meet the “kids” - the newest floppy-eared additions to their farm – and taste Don’s farmstead cheese.

 

Tour D
sensory sebastopol

SOLD OUT

Sharpen Your Senses seminar with Kirstin Jackson at Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma, Bohemian Creamery, Lunch at zazu kitchen + farm, Wm. Cofield Cheesemakers, and Spirit Works Distillery

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Sharpen your senses and start your day with Kirstin Jackson, author of It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping American’s Unique Culture of Cheese. Kirstin will lead you on a blind tasting to explore the flavors, aromas and science behind different milk types. Next, you’ll visit to Bohemian Creamery where you’ll meet Lisa Gottreich, one of the region’s most creative artisan cheesemakers. Just one mile outside of Sebastopol, Bohemian Creamery is perched on a hilltop overlooking the Laguna de Santa Rosa and the Mayacamas mountains. Lisa transforms milk from her offsite herd of Alpine dairy goats into a wide range of cheeses, whey soda, and even goat’s milk frozen yogurt! Head over to The Barlow where you will enjoy lunch at zazu kitchen + farm. Chef Duskie Estes, a regular guest on the Food Network and self-professed cheese lover, will prepare a delicious multi-course meal with a focus on cheese and locally sourced ingredients. After lunch, take a short stroll across the way to Wm. Cofield Cheesemakers. Keith Adams and Rob Hunter are behind one of California’s newest creameries. After pursuing different career paths, these two college friends reunited to produce classic English-style cheeses right here in Northern California. From fresh cheese curds to clothbound cheddar, to their Stilton-esque blue cheese, you’ll taste some of the latest additions to California’s dynamic cheese scene. Wrap up your day with a toast to Timo and Ashby Marshall, the husband and wife team behind Spirit Works Distillery. They’ll distill the basics of their grain-to-glass process and guide you through a tasting of their local spirits.

 

Tour E
Petaluma proud

SOLD OUT

Bleating Heart Cheese, Tasting Terroir seminar with Waldemar Albrecht and Rachel Perez, and lunch stop at Hotel Petaluma, Achadinha Cheese Co., and Lagunitas Brewing Company with Beehive Cheese

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Start your day with a visit to Bleating Heart Cheese where you’ll meet founder and cheesemaker Seana Doughty. After quitting her desk job in 2008, Seana first worked as a cheesemonger in San Diego before moving to the lush Sonoma-Marin area to start her own cheesemaking business. Ten years, and many American Cheese Society awards later, Seana is still living and breathing the Bleating Heart mantra: making seriously good cheeses without taking ourselves too seriously. Seana will guide you through a tasting of her cheeses – both new and familiar favorites – and regale you with tales from the vat. Next, you’ll head to Hotel Petaluma to continue your cheese education with Waldemar Albrecht and Rachel Perez, a dynamic duo who exude an irrepressible passion for cheese. They will lead you through a comparative tasting exploring the role played by terroir, or sense of place, in California cheeses. Following the seminar, you’ll enjoy lunch before heading out into the lush green hills of Petaluma. Nestled in this verdant landscape, you’ll visit Achadinha Cheese Company, a 300-acre family farm and creamery. Jim and Donna Pacheco, with help from their four children, milk goats and make cheese inspired by family legacy and the Old World traditions of Portugal. Tour the farm and meet the “girls”, learn more about why the Pachecos transitioned from a traditional cow dairy to a goat dairy, and taste their farmstead cheeses. Finally, you’ll visit Lagunitas Brewing Company just in time for happy hour. Taste a selection of their local brews paired with cheeses from special guest Beehive Cheese.

 

Tour F
Tradition and innovation

SOLD OUT

Sharpen Your Senses seminar with Kirstin Jackson at Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma, Achadinha Cheese Co., tour and lunch at McEvoy Ranch, and Nicasio Valley Cheese

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Sharpen your senses and start your day with Kirstin Jackson, author of It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping American’s Unique Culture of Cheese. Kirstin will lead you on a blind tasting to explore the flavors, aromas and science behind different milk types. You’ll learn more about why different milk types lend themselves to particular styles of cheese and why certain regions favor certain animals over others. Continue your morning at the Pacheco Family Dairy. On nearly 300 acres in Petaluma, Jim and Donna Pacheco, with help from their four children, milk goats and make cheese inspired by family legacy and the Old World traditions of Portugal. You will tour the farm, learn why the Pachecos transitioned from a traditional cow dairy to a goat dairy, meet the “girls”, and taste their farmstead cheeses. Next, you’ll head to McEvoy Ranch where you’ll tour the sprawling ranch that is home to both award-winning Tuscan-style organic olive oil and estate wines. Enjoy a tasting and lunch in this beautiful setting before continuing on to Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, California’s only organic farmstead creamery. Third generation dairy farmers, the Lafranchis have been ranching in Nicasio since 1919, and began crafting farmstead cheese with organic milk from their herd of Holsteins in 2010. Tour their beautiful pastures, visit the creamery, and taste their award-winning cheeses that capture both the essence of this 1,150-acre family ranch and the legacy of the family’s Swiss-Italian heritage.  

 

Point Reyes is really one of the most gorgeous places on earth, for cows and humans alike! Spend a day at the picturesque Giacomini Dairy to discover what makes this region so special. Since 1959, these beautiful pastures have been home to a working dairy producing the highest quality Holstein milk. Surrounded by rolling green pastures, you’ll kick off your day with a strolling tour of the farm. Meet the cows in their closed herd and learn about the history of the Giacomini family, the farm, and local agriculture. Head inside to The Fork, Point Reyes Farmstead’s on-farm education and culinary center, for a focused cheese tasting. You’ll learn to taste cheese like a pro and understand how factors like make process and seasonality influence the development of flavor in cheese. Finally, you’ll enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch and cooking demo with Chef Chris Cosentino, co-owner of Cockscomb in San Francisco, featuring cheeses from Point Reyes Farmstead and local libations. Chef Cosentino is an author, restaurateur, and passionate cyclist with restaurants in San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Portland, Oregon. 

Tour g
Farm to the Fork

SOLD OUT

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. & The Fork with lunch and cooking demo by Chef Chris Cosentino

$135 per person
9:15 am to 3:45 pm

 

Brought to life by friends and fellow UC Davis graduates Erika McKenzie-Chapter and Sarah Cahn Bennett, Pennyroyal Farm is a dynamic farmstead committed to sustainability and modern farming practices. After deciding to grow wine grapes and make cheese in 2006 Erika and Sarah have transformed a 100-acre former hay field into a vibrant and diverse farmstead. Start your day with a guided walking tour of the creamery and vineyard and learn more about the integrative farming methods behind Pennyroyal’s handcrafted cheese and wine. Stroll through the solar-powered barn to meet the animals. Spring is the season for kids and lambs, and there isn’t a more adorable time of year to visit Pennyroyal Farm! Next, head inside for a guided tasting of Pennyroyal Farm’s cheeses and wines with the farm’s cheesemaker and winemaker. Following the tasting, Pennyroyal Farm Executive Chef Izzy Leas will serve up a true farm to table lunch. Enjoy a seasonal multi-course lunch prepared from the bounty of the kitchen garden as well as farmstead meat and cheese. Finally, join Pennyroyal Farm cheesemaker Erika McKenzie-Chapter and Culture Magazine co-founder Lassa Skinner for a very special educational seminar. From the cheesemaker’s cave, you’ll be treated to a vertical tasting of Pennyroyal cheeses. This unique session will be a deep dive into farmstead cheese, milk, seasonality, ripening, flavor development, and more. 

tour h
pennyroyal farm

Pennyroyal Farm Tour, Cheese and Wine Tasting, Lunch, Vertical Tasting with Erika McKenzie-Chapter and Lassa Skinner

$100 per person
10:45 am to 2:45 pm

NOTE: Transportation is NOT provided for this tour. All guests must provide their own transportation to Pennyroyal Farm at 14930 Highway 128, Booneville, CA

 

Tour i
north Capital Area Tour

Pedrozo Dairy & Cheese, Orland Farmstead Creamery, lunch and talk and tasting with Rumiano Cheese Company

$135 per person
8:30 am to 3:30 pm

PLEASE NOTE: This tour starts and ends at Nugget Market in Woodland at 157 Main Street in Woodland, CA. This is about 75 miles away from the Sheraton – Sonoma County, Petaluma.

Meet your tour at Nugget Market in Woodland before heading north to explore the cheesescape of the North Sacramento Valley. First, you’ll head to Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Company, where you’ll meet Tim Pedrozo, a third generation dairy farmer and self-proclaimed “accidental cheesemaker.” Since 1996, the Pedrozo’s have been milking a small blended herd of Holstein, Jersey, and Milking Shorthorn cows on their 20-acre farm in Orland and two years later began transforming that milk into a diverse range of farmstead cheese. Next, you’ll head to Orland Farmstead Creamery. Owner Paul Schmidt’s passion for farm life started early - he raised and showed cows through 4-H while still in elementary school. Over thirty years after founding his own dairy, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of making farmstead cheese. Orland Farmstead Creamery focuses on fresh cheeses that highlight the quality of milk from their grass-fed cows. Stop for lunch in Orland and meet Owen Rumiano of Rumiano Cheese Company, California’s oldest family-owned cheese company. Owen, a fourth-generation contributor to the family business, will talk about how the creamery has evolved and changed over the years and sample a selection of their cheeses.

 

THE BEST BITE - a tribute to first responders

$80 per person

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Hall of Flowers
Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Cheesemakers, Chefs and Cheesemongers share the stage with California First Responders at Friday night's Best Bite Competition. This year’s competition, showcasing over two dozen cheesemakers, two dozen chefs and two dozen mongers, pays tribute to the brave men and women who risked their lives during California’s destructive fire storms in October. Meet our local heroes as they take on the role of judges during this light-hearted yet energetic competition to see who can create the best bite using California artisan cheese. Each cheesemaker is paired with both a cheesemonger and chef. Our pros will create a delectable bite featuring their cheesemaker’s cheeses, all accompanied by regional artisan wine, cider and beer. This interactive, fun night of great cheesey nibbles culminates in guests voting for their favorite cheese creation and an exciting awards ceremony. Bring a hearty appetite to this not to be missed event. **All sales are final and event takes place rain or shine. Most tours depart and end at the Sheraton Sonoma County at 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma. Tour H begins and ends in Boonville and does not include transportation, and Tour I departs from Nugget Market in Woodland, California. Parking is complimentary.