| 9:00 am – 3:00 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, sheep and goat milk cheeses, tour area farms, watch cheese being made and learn about how an animal’s diet affects the flavor. Lunch and bus ride to and from the Sheraton are included. Farm Tours A, B and C are $75 per person; Farm Tours D and E are $135 per person.
Farm Tour A & Box Lunch – Goats, Sheep and Cows, Oh My!- SOLD OUT
Spring is a beautiful time to visit the seasonally green pastures of our California cheesemakers. Pull on your boots and get ready to spend the day out in the field with the sheep, goats and cows where you get a first-hand look at what it takes to make cheese. The tour starts at Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese where you will meet Dairyman Don DeBernardi and the newborn “kids” at their family run dairy and farmstead creamery. Learn about their organic goat and cow’s milk cheeses and how cheesemaking started as a family project. Then it is off to meet Seana Doughty of Bleating Heart. In 2009, Seana bought 10 pregnant ewes from a sheep dairy in Wisconsin and drove them to California as the start of her flock. Hear about Seana’s adventures as you tour her brand new creamery, built to meet the ever increasing demand for her sheep and mixed milk cheeses. Next is Pug’s Leap Cheese at White Whale Farm where you will meet cheesemakers Dan and Anna Connor and their 150 milking goats. Tour through their new creamery and sample some of their goat’s milk cheese. (And, there is sure to be cheese sampling at all stops, oh my!)
Farm Tour B & Box Lunch – A Tour of Firsts – SOLD OUT
There are sure to be a lot of firsts on this tour! If you have never experienced hand milking a cow, this will be a first for you at our first stop – the McClelland Dairy. See how this family run dairy has turned their organic milk into European-style butter, made the old-fashioned way. Then we are off to Di Bufala Dairy, where you will meet Andrew Zlot’s and his herd of water buffalo! And, for one more first, we are off to the beautiful Toluma Farms where their new creamery will be operational for the first time in 2013! We will be some of the lucky first people to taste their farmstead cheese from their beloved 200 individually named goats!
Farm Tour C & Box Lunch – Petaluma Heartland – SOLD OUT
There are few better ways to start the morning than with a beautiful scenic drive in western Marin County. We will start early and head into the country to meet Marcia Barinaga’s of Barinaga Ranch and her small flock of dairy sheep that graze year-round on over 100 acres of hilly, organically managed pastures. See the newborn lambs and sample her handmade cheeses. Next we’re off to Marin French Cheese Company to meet cheesemaker Alex Borgo will guide us through the cheesemaking process and a special presentation of their recently renovated creamery followed by a pairing of Marin French’s soft ripened cheese and wines from a local winery. Then we will stop at Jim and Donna Pacheco’s ranch to see their goats and Jersey cows. We will tour the family run Achadinha Cheese Company followed by a cheese tasting that is sure to make a memorable end to the day.
Farm Tour D & Three-Course Lunch – A Food Lovers Fantasy – SOLD OUT
Don’t miss this special culinary expedition – we’ll take a short drive out to Point Reyes Station where you will meet the Cowgirls, Peg Smith and Sue Conley, the masterminds behind the successful Cowgirl Creamery. Take a guided tour of their original creamery and hear how these two ladies have made their mark in the cheese world. Then we are off to meet the Giacomini Family of Point Reyes Farmstead where you will tour the farm and see how they have turned their dairy into a successful farmstead cheesemaking operation. Meet cheesemaker Kuba Hemmerling who will take you through a focused cheese tasting before you sit down at The Fork, a state of the art event space, for a three course lunch with each course specially demonstrated by a celebrity chef Lizzie Binder. Chef Binder, formerly of Jardiniere and Bar Bambino was also recently a cheftestant on Top Chef: Seattle. This tour will undoubtedly be a special day for any cheese lover!
Farm Tour E & Three-Course Lunch – Picture Perfect Day – SOLD OUT
See why we call this amazing part of the world “God’s Country” as you head out to the 1,150 acre organically certified LaFranchi Ranch and Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. Tour the farm and creamery and sample the farmstead cheeses that the Lafranchi Family has proudly brought over from their Swiss ancestors as they fulfilled their Father’s dream. Take in the beauty as you hear their success story. Next stop is another stunning location, Keller Estate Winery, where you learn everything from vine to bottle. Everything is grown and vinified at the family property in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast. After a winery tour and a special cheese tasting and presentation by special guests Cypress Grove Chevre and Beehive Cheese. Then you will enjoy a three course cheese-inspired lunch prepared by guest chef Mayet Cristobal, the Executive Chef for Bon Appétit at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA. This will truly be an unforgettable day of real beauty.