Friday, March 20, 2015

MORNING SESSION – 8:30 am to 3:30 pm 

Behind-the-Scenes Cheese Country Farm Tours & Lunches 

One of the most popular and coveted of events, the intimate Farm Tours are held at various local farms and creameries, giving visitors a glimpse into the important role of the farmer and where cheese gets its start.  Guests can taste the differences between cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk cheeses, tour area farms, watch cheese being made and learn about how an animal’s diet affects a cheese’s flavor. We have included a lunch stop into each of the tours and transportation will be provided to and from the Sheraton Hotel by Pure Luxury Transportation.  **Pack your boots and ice chest! Tours are rain or shine; no refunds will be given.

SOLD OUT - Farm Tour A – Marin County Milk Magic
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company; Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. and lunch at The Fork with guest chef; Heidrun Meadery; Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese
Don’t miss this special cheese lover’s culinary expedition winding through the beautiful rolling hills of Petaluma, western Marin County and Pt. Reyes. Your day starts with a tour and tasting at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company and LaFranchi Ranch, the 1,150 acre organically certified dairy farm continuously operated for 90 years, now run by the third generation of the LaFranchi Family. Experience the exquisite, award winning soft ripened cheeses that have put the LaFranchis on the “must taste” list of California artisan cheeses. Next it’s back on the bus for the short drive to Point Reyes Station where we will meet the Giacomini Family of Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. You will tour their dairy farm and learn how they made the transition from contract dairy to award winning farmstead cheese producer. Lunch at The Fork, the Farmstead’s state-of-the-art event space, begins with a cheese tasting of the Pt. Reyes award winning cheeses followed with a multi-course cheese focused lunch prepared by a celebrity guest chef. During the lunch, your hosts will provide commentary on the pairings and field questions about cheesemaking and product development. As you head back to the Sheraton, enjoy a final stop at Heidrun Meadery where they produce naturally sparkling varietal meads (yes, made from honey) using the traditional French Méthode Champenoise. Their trademark Champagne-style mead is light, dry, delicate and refreshing, and will be paired with cheeses from Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese out of Modesto. This tour will undoubtedly be a special day for any cheese lover! $135.00 per person.

SOLD OUT - Farm Tour B– The Best of the Tomales Bay and More
Cowgirl Creamery; Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. and lunch at The Fork; Heidrun Meadery; Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese

Board the bus and drive through the rolling green hills of Sonoma and Marin Counties. Once you arrive in Point Reyes Station your first stop is at the world famous Cowgirl Creamery. Take a guided tour of their original creamery and hear how the Cowgirls, Peggy Smith and Sue Conley, achieved rock star status in the cheese world and how they continue to make history. Next it’s back on the bus for the short drive to Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. where we will meet the Giacomini Family. You will tour their dairy farm and learn how they made the transition from contract dairy to award winning farmstead cheese producer. Lunch at The Fork, the Farmstead’s state of the art event space, begins with a cheese tasting of the Pt. Reyes’ award winning cheeses followed with a multi-course cheese focused lunch prepared by a celebrity guest chef. During lunch, your hosts will provide commentary on the pairings and field questions about cheesemaking and product development. As you head back to the Sheraton, enjoy a final stop at Heidrun Meadery where they produce naturally sparkling varietal meads (yes, made from honey) using the traditional French Méthode Champenoise. Their trademark Champagne-style mead is light, dry, delicate and refreshing, and will be paired with cheeses from Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese of Modesto. This tour is sure to make memories.   $135.00 per person

SOLD OUT - Farm Tour C– Family Operations
Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese Company; Pug’s Leap/Gypsy Cheese Company; ZAZU Restaurant; and Haverton Hill Creamery

Early Spring is a beautiful time to visit the tender green pastures of our California cheesemakers. Pull on your mud boots and get ready to spend the day out in the fields meeting the glorious four legged creatures – and two legged talents – that produce our world famous artisan cheese! Your first stop is Two Rock Goat Cheese where you will meet Don and Bonnie DeBernardi. Milking dairy cows since 1968, Don and Bonnie got their first goats in the late 1990’s and started making cheese. Learn how they divide up the duties – Bonnie takes care of the kids and Don makes the cheese! Next stop is Pug’s Leap which is also the home of Gypsy Cheese Company. Here you will meet Anna Hancock – who ran White Whale Farm before entering the cheese world in 2010 – and recovering lawyers Lauren and Jon Bowne. The Bownes traded in their city life and moved to West Sonoma County to pursue their longtime dream to be cheesemakers under the brand of Gypsy Cheese. Then we are off to ZAZU Kitchen & Farm at The Barlow where we will lunch with owners/chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart, “farm-to-table” specialists and long-time supporters of the California artisan cheese movement. This dynamic duo will serve up a cheese-centric lunch in their always delightful New American-Northern Italian style. The menu will be paired with some of California’s best wines and/or beers. Our final stop in this tour showcasing family operations is the new Haverton Hill Creamery sheep dairy where you will meet Joe and Missy Adiego, along with Tony and Jolene Adiego. Each member of the family is involved in production, whether applying their expertise of dairy equipment, their love of animals, and/or a passion for agriculture – all skills are put to excellent use in making 100% sheep milk products from their nine hundred East Friesian dairy sheep. What a wonderful day in cheese land! $135.00 per person.

SOLD OUT -Farm Tour D – Family Farms, World Class Dairies and Magnificent Cheese!
McClelland’s Dairy; Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese; Petaluma TAPS Restaurant; and Nicasio Valley Cheese Company
Start your day at McClelland Dairy where you will tour the family dairy and learn all about the history and day-to-day operations of this state of the art farm. Visit the nursery; pet the baby calves; watch the cows being milked in the parlor. You’ll even have a chance to milk one of the beloved McClelland cows by hand! The tour finishes with a tasting of McClellands’ award winning European Style Organic Butter made in small batch, tumble churned artisan style. Then it is off to the Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese Company where you will meet Dairyman Don DeBernardi and his wife Bonnie, along with the newborn “kids” at their family run dairy and farmstead creamery. You’ll taste their award winning aged goat tommes that are typical of Don’s ancestral region in Switzerland. To quench your thirst and ease your appetite, we are off to Petaluma TAPS where you will meet owner Eric LaFranchi, (yes, part of the LaFranchi Ranch family). Eric will guide you through a tasting of local brews and a three course cheese-inspired lunch. Next on your itinerary is a tour and tasting at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company and LaFranchi Ranch, the 1,150 acre organically certified dairy farm continuously operated for 90 years, now run by the third generation of the LaFranchi Family. Experience the exquisite, award winning soft ripened cheeses that have put the LaFranchis on the “must taste” list of California artisan cheeses. $135.00 per person.

SOLD OUT - Farm Tour E– European Heritage Shines in California’s Artisan Dairy Products
Valley Ford Cheese Co.; Achadinha Cheese Company; Scoggins Wines at the former Denman Creamery; Bruno’s on Fourth; and McClelland’s Dairy
First stop on today’s itinerary is the Valley Ford Cheese Company, a 640 acre Jersey dairy farm continuously milking since 1918. Overlooking the unique waters and wetlands of the Estero Americano in Valley Ford, its lush, rolling pastures have been home to five generations of the Bianchi/Grossi families, practicing sustainable agriculture just as their ancestors did in the Ticino district on the Swiss-Italian border. Meet the Bianchi Family and taste their award-winning farmstead Italian style cheeses. Then you are off to meet the Pacheco Family whose Portuguese roots show in the rich complex flavors of their cheese. Visit Jim and Donna Pacheco’s ranch and family run Achadinha Cheese Company and visit their herd of dairy goats. The “girls”, as the goats are called, are able to graze pasture all year long on 290 acres. Coincidentally, their diet is supplemented with alfalfa and brewer’s grain from the local breweries which gives their cheeses their distinct flavor. Your lunch stop is Scoggins Winery in Penngrove at the historic Denman Creamery. Meet winemaker PW Scoggins who will take you on a tour of the Creamery turned winery, then sample some of his Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wine as you enjoy a three course cheese-inspired lunch specially prepared for you by Chef Rick of Bruno’s on Fourth. Your bus then rolls on to McClelland’s Dairy where you’ll tour their state- of- the art dairy, learn about the history and the day to day operations on the family farm. Visit the nursery, where you can pet the baby calves; watch the cows being milked in the parlor; you’ll even have a chance to milk one of the much loved McClelland cows by hand! The tour finishes with a tasting of McClellands’ award winning European Style Organic Butter made in small batch, tumble churned artisan style.  A perfect finish to a perfectly delicious day!  $135.00 per person

SOLD OUT - Farm Tour F – Petaluma Perfect Pastures
Barinaga Ranch; Marin French Cheese Company; McEvoy Ranch; and Petaluma Creamery
This culinary adventure proves that perfection exists in our own “back pasture”! Your experience begins at Barinaga Ranch where owner and cheesemaker Marcia Barinaga is continuing the ancient shepherding and cheesemaking traditions of her Basque family and ancestors in Euskadi, the Basque region of Spain. Meet her small flock of dairy sheep and lambs who graze year-round on nearly 100 acres of hilly, organically managed pastures. Next stop, the award-winning Marin French Cheese Company – celebrating its 150 year anniversary. Meet the cheesemakers as you take a walk through the recently renovated creamery learning about the cheesemaking process and changes that have occurred over the last 150 years. Complete your visit with a tasting of their landmark cheeses. Next is a rare treat – a visit to McEvoy Ranch. Take a short tour and learn how Nan McEvoy’s vision and her spirit of adventure took her from Chairwoman of the Board of The San Francisco Chronicle to a sprawling 550 acre ranch in Petaluma producing artisan olive oil and olive oil based products and wine. Enjoy a delicious box lunch as you relax and take in the beauty of McEvoy Ranch. Your final stop is the historic Petaluma Creamery. Started in 1913, since its founding the “Creamery” has been an integral part of the farming tradition in Sonoma County. Dairyman and creamery owner Larry Peter makes certified organic Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, specialty cheeses, butter and ice cream.  $85.00 per person.

SOLD OUT - Farm Tour G Meet the Families Behind the Scenes
at The Achadinha Cheese Company, Haverton Hill Creamery, Olympia’s Valley/Tresch Ranch, Valley Ford Cheese Company and Sonoma Portworks with a special sampling by Cypress Grove Chevre
It is amazing how many family run operations we have to share with you. Your first stop is the Achadihna Cheese Company, a family run adventure, with Jim and Donna Pacheco leading the whey. Hear stories about how cheese was made in the old country (Portugal) and visit their herd of dairy goats. The “girls”, as the goats are called, are able to graze on 290 acres of pasture all year long. Their diet is supplemented with alfalfa and brewer’s grain from the local breweries which gives their cheeses a distinct flavor. Then you’re off to the new Haverton Hill Creamery sheep dairy where you will meet Joe and Missy Adiego, along with Tony and Jolene Adiego. Each member of the family is involved in production, whether applying their expertise of dairy equipment, their love of animals, and/or a passion for agriculture – all skills are put to excellent use in making 100% sheep milk products from their nine hundred East Friesian dairy sheep. Next it is time for lunch, we have boxed lunches for you, and we will visit the beautifully maintained Olympia’s Valley event center at the Tresch Ranch. Olympia Nonella Tresch was 15 years old when she arrived in Petaluma with her family in 1905 in a horse drawn springboard wagon with 2 Holstein dairy cows tied behind it. Over 100 years later, cows are still being milked twice a day and the farm has expanded to include organic apple orchards on over 2,000 acres of land. Olympia’s grandson, Joe Tresch, owns and operates the farm along with his wife, Kathy and their three children. After lunch and chatting with the Tresch Family it is off to the Valley Ford Cheese Company, a 640 acre Jersey dairy farm continuously milking since 1918. Overlooking the unique waters and wetlands of the Estero Americano in Valley Ford, its lush, rolling pastures have been home to five generations of the Bianchi/Grossi families, practicing sustainable agriculture just as their ancestors did in the Ticino district on the Swiss-Italian border. Meet the Bianchi Family and taste their award-winning farmstead Italian style cheeses.Your final stop will be Sonoma Portworks, the only winery in Sonoma County specializing in ports and after-dinner wines. You will meet and visit with Caryn and Bill Reading as they talk to you about their family business and sample you on some of their award-winning ports and wine. As a special treat, our great friends at Cypress Grove Chevre will meet you there and sample you on some of their cheeses. What a great way to spend your day! $85.00 per person.

 

EVENING SESSION – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Cheesemongers’ Duel — The Best Bite, Sheraton Sonoma County, Petaluma
This year, we are giving you the opportunity to warm up your taste buds for the weekend’s events as you meet our rock star cheesemongers in a light hearted competition. More than two dozen cheesemongers will take center stage as they are provided with a block of cheese from one of our artisan cheesemakers and asked to create The Best Bite!  Audience participation is a must! Chef Ryan Scott will join us as a judge and emcee. Artisan wines, beers and cider will also be available for sampling.

$50 per person.