Dan O’Brien and family raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) and…
Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery – Tomales, CA
Toluma Farms raises Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) dairy goats and sheep on 160 acres in Tomales, 20 minutes west of Petaluma, California. Tomales is a unique coastal community nestled above Marshall and the Tomales Bay estuary—and the gateway to Dillon Beach and Bodega Bay.
Owners David Jablons and Tamara Jo Hicks, along with their two daughters, Josy and Emmy, purchased the 160-acre property in 2003. They spent the first four years focused on significant land restoration in collaboration with various conservation organizations throughout northern California. Since the farm was a cattle dairy for many generations, the family decided to restore the land’s dairy operations. In 2007, the property transitioned to a goat and sheep dairy by means of a grant from USDA Rural Development and capital that the couple received by placing the land into the Marin Agriculture Land Trust, protecting it for agricultural use in perpetuity. After establishing the new dairy, Toluma Farms began a third and final phase: building the facilities to make their own cheese.
The state-of-the art Tomales Farmstead Creamery, which is based on the farm, began producing artisanal goat and sheep cheeses in April 2013. Their goat’s milk, like any good goat’s milk, has a delicious and slightly sweet taste. The goats are milked twice a day and each goat produces a gallon of milk, which translates into a pound of cheese per day. “We are proud to declare that we can identify every one of our 200 goats by name. Our goats are comprised of Saanens, Alpines, La Manchas, Oberhaslis, Tobbenbergs and Nubians,” states Tamara.
Toluma Farms also has over 100 East Friesian sheep. “The world’s commercial dairy sheep industry is concentrated in Europe,” Tamara explains. “The dairy goat and sheep industry is still in its infancy in the United States. We are doing our part to move the industry forward and provide an amazing product for the San Francisco Bay Area.” In 2014, Tomales Farmstead Creamery was recognized for the quality of their farmstead cheese when they won second place at the American Cheese Society Competition for their Atika cheese, one of the few mixed goat and sheep’s milk cheeses available in the U.S. They also received a Good Food Award for Atika later that same year, which recognizes exceptional taste as well as sustainable practices.
In addition to focusing on the welfare of their animals and production of quality cheese, Toluma Farms is committed to educating children and adults who might not otherwise have an opportunity to see where their food comes from. On the first Sunday of each month, David and Tamara Jo offer tours of the farm and creamery; additionally, they offer private tours and host an array of events.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW sheep and goat milk cheeses from Tomales Farmstead Creamery are available at retail locations throughout California and at select stores throughout the U.S. For more information about Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery, visit tolumafarms.com or contact the farm at email@example.com and 707-878-2142. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.