One of the many reasons that our 100% whole milk mozzarella tastes so great is due to the source of the milk. Rumiano Cheese only uses milk from grade A, pasture-fed, hormone-free Jersey cows (the brown ones with the big eyes). While our managers were in Crescent City, Joby Rumiano took us to Wetherell Ranch, one of the dairy farms that provides the milk used to produce our mozzarella. Rich and Celia Wetherell kindly took us on a tour of their 190-acre farm which has been in business since 1868 (nearly 150 years). They’ve been providing milk to Rumiano for over 80 years and the milk they produce is virtually organic. Rich informed us that approximately 190 cows (“girls”) graze on 150 acres of organic coastal pastureland. They feed freely on the pasture for about 300 days a year depending on the weather and are only confined to stables when the weather is bad. In the past people have commented that the color of our mozzarella is not consistent throughout the year. That is because the cows diet directly impacts the color of our cheese. During the summer when the grass is at its greenest, our mozzarella is likely to be more golden.
Rich proudly showed us their million-gallon waste holding tank, which has set a precedent for waste handling systems in the State of California. In addition to preventing waste runoff contamination to the surrounding areas, this tank allows the ranch to produce their own fertilizer for the pasture. At the end of the tour we spent some time bonding with the young calves in the stables. Some were a little skittish, but many were friendly. Then it was off to the Redwood Forest. We really enjoyed our time in Crescent City. We learned a lot about our mozzarella, ate a lot of cheese, spent some time on the beach and saw some really big trees!
The cows in the pasture.
Rich shows off the milking equipment.
Rachel Robillard from Pagliacci Support Central bonds with a calf.