From Family Farm to Family Farmstead:
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company is known for its Original Blue Cheese, a firm and piquant but creamy blue cheese made at the Giacomini family farm near Tomales Bay in Sonoma County, California. Bob Giacomini bought the ranch in 1959. He turned the certified organic dairy farm into a farmstead cheese company in 2000 as a way of keeping his four daughters interested in the farm. It worked. All four work in some capacity with the company.
How Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese Is Made:
It begins with organic milk from the farm's organic cows. One advantage of farmstead cheese is that the milk doesn't need to be chilled, transported, and heated back up. It goes straight from the cows to the cheese makers who homogenize it (which allows for white cheese without bleach), coagulate it with a microbial rennet, cut it into curds, drain off they whey, set it into molds, and inoculate it with mold. The cheese is then turned a quarter turn everyday for three weeks, after which it goes into the aging room for four months to allow the creamy texture to develop before it's sold.
In 2009 the family added a commercial kitchen and garden in order to host cheese cooking classes and events. They also added another aging room that will allow them to make another kind of cheese (they're working on a nutty Italian-style fontina). They need a separate facility to make it because, to encourage the unique flavor of Point Reyes Original Blue, they allow the mold to grow on the banisters and racks in the aging room, and it infects any cheese that comes near it – turning anything to Point Reyes Original Blue!