Every year we gather our managers together for a retreat. We usually stick somewhat close to home and do something fun like river rafting in Leavenworth, hanging out at Lake Chelan, boating around the San Juans or enjoying the great outdoors at Whistler. For this year’s General Manager retreat we trekked down to the California border to check out how our mozzarella cheese is made at Rumiano Cheese Company. Rumiano is California’s oldest family-owned cheese company. Three Italian immigrant brothers founded the company in 1921 and four generations of Rumianos have run the business. It is the first and only cheese company in the world to achieve Non-GMO (no genetically modified organism) project verification. They produce all natural, grass-fed, rBST-free (no artificial growth hormones), kosher cheese.
We have topped our pies with Rumiano Danish Mozzarella for the last 5 years. It is a recipe we developed with them to create the flavor profile we desired for our pizza. Although our mozzarella is not certified as organic cheese, it is essentially organic. The milk they use to make all 67 varieties of Rumiano cheese comes from 24 third and forth generation dairy farmers located within an hour of the plant, all of which are certified through American Humane Association’s Free Farmed program. Joby and Baird Rumiano were gracious enough to give our managers a tour of their facility. It just so happened that our mozzarella was in production and we witnessed the final product being packaged. We saw the separation of butterfat and pasteurization of the whey. Joby and Baird showed us their ultra filtration feed tanks and the equipment they use to measure fat, moisture, ph levels, protein, salt and bacteria. They have a one-of-a-kind water recirculation system that reduces their demand for water by 1,347,840 gallons per year. They also showed us how they treat their wastewater. Their cheesemaking produces 20,000 gallons of wastewater per day and they treat it in-house making it usable and drinkable. After our tour, Joby loaded us up with tons of samples of their award-winning cheeses – Smoked Mozzarella, Habanero Pepper Jack, Peppato, Mediterranean Jack and a horseradish cheese. They were all amazing! However, it’s likely their organic butter was the biggest hit with our managers.