Visit a Farm or Ranch - California Agricultural Tourism Directory
California Agricultural Tourism Directory
California Agricultural Tourism Directory
California Agricultural Tourism Directory
University of California
California Agricultural Tourism Directory

CA Artisan Cheese Festival - Sonoma Co.

Dates: March 24, 2017 - March 26, 2017

Time: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Contact: 707-837-1928

Sponsor: California Artisan Cheese Festival

Location: 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma, California 94954

Event Details

cheese tasting

Artisan Tours & Lunch

One of the most popular and coveted of events, the intimate Artisan Tours are held at various local farms, creameries and artisan purveyors, giving visitors a glimpse into the important role of the farmer and where cheese gets its start. Guests will be guided on walking tours where they can learn how cheese, ciders, and other products are made, meet the producers, farmers, and cheesemakers behind their favorite local products and, of course, taste the fruits of their labor.  The tours will feature an educational component, such as a discussion or tasting led by an industry expect providing insights and further exploration on a variety of topics about cheese. Bring your ice chest as cheese and artisan products are available for purchase on most tours. Tours are rain or shine and lunch and transportation by Pure Luxury Transportation is included. All tours depart from the Sheraton Sonoma County, in Petaluma except Tour G which departs from Nugget Market in Woodland, Ca.

Tours are $135 per person, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, Various locations

website, buy tickets, learn more

Tour B

Rich TraditioN

Marin French Cheese, Nicasio Valley Cheese Co., tour and lunch at Straus Home Ranch, Innovation Meets Tradition seminar with Waldemar Albrecht

Start your day with a taste of tradition at Marin French Cheese. Known by locals as “The Cheese Factory,” Marin French Cheese is the country’s oldest continuously operating cheese company and celebrates its 152-year anniversary in 2017. Take a historical walking tour, enjoy the vistas of the Hicks Valley and the surrounding lush landscape, and taste their signature cheeses, including Brie and Camembert. Continue the journey of local dairy tradition with the Lafranchi family at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. 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 the cheeses that capture the legacy of this 1,150-acre family ranch. Next, you’ll travel to the historic Straus Home Ranch in Marshall for lunch and learning. Stroll the picturesque property and 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. Wrap up your afternoon with the inimitable Waldemar Albrecht, of Cheese Plus, for a guided cheese tasting exploring the relationship between innovation and tradition. Taste local California cheeses alongside the European cheeses that inspired their creation while discussing differences in terroir, craftsmanship, and animal husbandry methods.


Point Reyes Farmstead & The Fork with guest Fiscalini Cheese Company, Lunch and Cooking Demo

What’s the secret to a successful dairy business that lures four daughters back to the farm? Spend your day at the picturesque Giacomini Dairy to find out! 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 start your day with a strolling tour of the farm, meet the cows in their closed herd and learn about the history of the family, the farm, and agriculture in the region. Head inside to The Fork, Point Reyes Farmstead’s on-farm educational and culinary center, for a focused cheese tasting with Point Reyes Farmstead and guest cheesemaker Fiscalini Cheese Company. Like the Giacomini’s, the Fiscalini family has deep dairy roots in California that inspired a more recent foray into artisan cheesemaking. With these two legendary families, you’ll learn to taste cheese like a pro and how factors like make process and seasonality influence the development of cheese. Finally, you’ll enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch and cooking demo with a celebrity guest chef featuring cheeses from both Fiscalini and Point Reyes Farmstead specially paired with local libations.

Tour F
The Pride of Petaluma

The Language of Cheese seminar with Janet Fletcher, Rustic Bakery, Achadinha Cheese Co., lunch at Lagunitas, and Sonoma Coast Spirits

Rich and buttery are common words to describe cheese, but the flavors in cheese are too nuanced and complex to be reduced to two words. James Beard award-winning author and educator Janet Fletcher will teach you “The Language of Cheese,” and help you develop a vocabulary for cheese in all its sensory aspects. You’ll have plenty of time to practice your new language skills over the next couple of days! Following the seminar, you’ll head to Rustic Bakery, a local temple of tasty treats. Their flatbreads and pan forte crostini are perfect for every cheese course and their buttery cheese coins feature cheeses from our California cheesemakers. If you thought wine was cheese’s perfect pairing partner, think again. Next, head into the green hills of Petaluma where Achadinha Cheese Company is nestled on nearly 300 acres. 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, and taste their farmstead cheeses. Then you are off to enjoy a cheese-inspired lunch and brewery tour at hometown favorite Lagunitas Brewing while learning more about the hops and malts that make their local beers unique. Finally, visit and taste with local distillers Jill and Doug Olson of Sonoma Coast Spirits. Born into a winemaking family in St. Helena, Jill has long had a creative streak and an exceptional garden. An early love of canning turned into the grown-up pursuit of cocktails, and since 2011, she has creatively spun the bounty of the local harvest into their signature fruit-driven spirits.

Tour G
North Capitol Area Tour

Pedrozo Dairy, Orland Farmstead Creamery, Lunch at The Coffee House at Salvagno’s with Rumiano Cheese and Chico Honey Company

PLEASE NOTE: This tour starts and ends at Nugget Market in Woodland which 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 at Salvagno’s Coffee House and Eatery 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. End your afternoon on a sweet note with a honey tasting from Chico Honey Company. Learn more about bees, beekeeping, and what makes their honey so darn good.

Event Reminder

Webmaster Email: