Our Farm Practices
Jim Pacheco is a third generation dairyman on both sides of his family. His family's history of dairy farming in California was established in 1955. In 2000 Jim and his wife, Donna, began to produce cheese in order to sustain the family business. He has passed his passion onto the fourth generation, consisting of his four children, William, Daniel, Elizabeth and David. They are all involved in the day to day decisions. Running a dairy is a labor of love despite the long, countless hours that go into it. We love what we are doing and are very fortunate to spend this time together as a family.
While we tell people our girls are not pets and we are a working farm, we do certainly have our favorites and they do have names and personalities. For example, William's Jersey cow herd, #44 is know as "The Queen". She is the first in the milking barn and the first to eat and is also known to be the bully of the herd. Macy,#77 has a tendency to walk in front of the cheese plant so she can look at her own reflection in the windows. This breed of dairy cows are not preferred by the older dairymen because they tend to be high maintenance. We love the high butter fat that they produce for cheese making. Nubian goats are similar to the Jersey cows in both milk quality and personality. One of our favorite goats has been named the "Holy Goat" because we bought her from nuns in southern CA. She loves attention. However, in our experience, we have found that, like most girls, our cows and goats just need a little more attention. Molly, the midwife to the goats, has a tendency to adopt any stray babies and she is very sweet. They do not generally share their babies. We do leave the baby goats with their moms for 3 months because they need to be fed every 2-4 hours. Jersey calves, on the other hand are very difficult to raise, so we hand raise them with goats milk and monitor them strictly. The Jerseys are breed through artificial insemination to obtain a better quality herd. The goats are bread with bucks we rotate out every 3 years to avoid inbreeding.
We believe in feeding our girls a more alkaline diet so that the milk they produce is more alkaline, making the cheese easier to digest and better for us. We do not feed corn, as we have found their bodies cannot digest it and it shortens their lifespan by at least 3 years. Instead we feed them brewer's grain front Bear Republic and Russian River Brewing Company. Brewers grain and yeast is a fermented byproduct of making beer with a great deal of nutrition. After making cheese we take the whey (which is known for its high protein) and feed it back to the girls with the scobie from making Kombucha to increase the probiotics in the whey. We pasture them all year long. We do not use pesticides on the pasture or give them hormones. The season completely affects the flavors in the cheeses, due to what the girls are eating. In the winter months you can taste the sweetness from the grass; in the summer you can taste the bitterness from the brewers grain. We do need to supplement the animals with Alfalfa and Oat hay to give them a balanced diet.
We believe it is very important to know where our food is coming from and how it has been treated. We believe our girls live in a healthy environment.