California Cheesemakers' Select

Curated Cheeses Imported from California

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Featured Cheesemakers

Bellwether Farms - Carmody

A former nurse, Cindy Callahan founded Bellwether Farms in 1986 in her 50s as a sheep dairy farm. Cindy’s son Liam was finishing his degree in Political Economy at U.C. Berkeley when his mother suggested he learn about sheep milking and cheesemaking with her. He made the jump from Political Economy to the dairy business without missing a beat and it was a match made in cheese heaven. Liam’s dedication to creating cheese of the highest quality has made his work more a labor of love than a job. Using traditional methods, Liam makes every pound of cheese produced by Bellwether Farms. A true family business, Liam’s wife Diana focuses on the customer service and office side of the business, down the last detail. Bellwether cheeses are now featured in the finest restaurants and featured in The New York Times, Martha Stewart, Sunset Magazine and gourmet food publications everywhere.

Summer Celebrations

Fiscalini Cheese Company – Bandage Wrapped Cheddar

After a trip to Switzerland connects him with his ancestors and their heritage of cheesemaking, fourth generation dairy farmer John Fiscalini decided to follow in their footsteps and begins processing cheese with a portion of the milk produced by his herd. A year later, in 2001, he meets cheesemaker Mariano Gonzalez and the two partner to produce some of the best cheeses in the world. By 2002, Fiscalini Farms Bandage Wrapped Cheddar is proclaimed "Best Farmhouse Cheese in America". Today, two of John’s children, Laura Genasci and Brian Fiscalini, oversee the day-to-day operations along with their father. Both Laura and Brian graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo just like their great-grandfather did 100 years ago.

Summer Celebrations

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company – Bay Blue

It’s a journey that started back in 1904, Tobias Giacomini left Northern Italy to pursue his vision of farming the fabled, fertile lands of California. Fast forward to 1959 when Bob and Dean Giacomini purchased a dairy farm on Tomales Bay and started making milk to sell to the local creamery. By the mid-1990’s, Bob had grown the herd to over 500 cows and the farm established a reputation for producing the very highest quality milk.

After pursuing various business careers, Bob’s daughters came back to help reduce the size of the dairy and transition the business into an artisan farmstead cheesemaking facility. In August of 2000 the first wheels of Original Blue, California’s only classic style blue cheese, were introduced to Bay Area consumers, adding to a family legacy of farming that dates back well over 100 years.

Summer Celebrations

Sierra Nevada Cheese Company – Sierra Jack Habanero

Sierra Nevada Cheese Company was founded by Ben Gregersen and John Dundon, both with deep roots in the dairy industry. Ben’s parents emigrated to the U.S. from Denmark as third generation dairy farmers and started a creamery. John’s experience in dairy started early while working at a family creamery in Mt. Shasta. He eventually worked for Ben’s family at Foothill Home Dairy in Sacramento. The two friends shared a passion for specialty products and in 1997, they founded Sierra Nevada Cheese Company with the idea of using traditional manufacturing processes to create wholesome dairy product with old fashioned flavor.

Summer Celebrations

Rumiano Cheese Company - Dry Jack

Brothers Richard, Fred and John Rumiano emigrated to the United States from Italy at the turn of the century. After years of working in the Amador County mines, the brothers pooled their resources and in 1919 purchased a small dairy in Willows, California. Within a few years, the dairy had grown enough so the Rumiano brothers could experiment with butter and cheese production. By the mid-1930s, the enterprise had developed into the largest cheese company in California with eight factories. The Rumiano Brothers were known for their high-quality products and for their development of Dry Jack cheese. Dry Jack was originally sold “fresh” to Italian businesses and distributors in the San Francisco region, where the cheese would be aged in the cool cellars below the merchant’s shops. The Rumiano Brothers changed this process by aging the cheese in their own hand-dug cellars. This allowed them to take the fully matured Dry Monterey Jack Cheese product to market. Today, Rumiano is California’s oldest family owned cheese company, celebrating 100 years in 2019.

Weekend Party

Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery - Estero Gold

Karen Bianchi-Moreda and her son Joe Moreda, Jr. are the 4th and 5th generations to be involved California’s dairy industry. Karen grew up on her family’s dairy farm and in 2008 began exploring ways to carve her own niche in the industry. Whenever Karen would go visit her grandparents for lunch or dinner as a child, they always had a certain cheese on the table, served with an ice-cold glass of milk or a nice red wine. When Karen decided to start experimenting making artisan cheese, it was only natural to produce that same cheese that was a staple in the family for years. After revamping an old dairy barn into a small cheesemaking facility (and lots of hard work) Karen was able to produce a semi-hard cheese with a nice subtle bite, a hint of nuttiness, and a smooth and desirable texture. The cheese was named “Estero Gold” after the Estero Americano which runs adjacent to Valley Ford.

Weekend Party

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company - Nicasio Reserve

Over 100 years ago, Fredolino Lafranchi immigrated to America from Maggia, Switzerland, with a dream to one day own and operate his own dairy. In 1919, that dream became reality when Fred and his wife Zelma established the Lafranchi Dairy in the western Marin town of Nicasio, California. Fred and Zelma raised their five children on this beautiful ranch and their eldest son, Will, continued the family business with his six children. Will was able to visit Switzerland frequently and developed a special bond with his Swiss relatives, enjoying many wonderful meals together, which included a distinctive selection of cheeses handmade by local artisans. The appreciation of these cheeses inspired the Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. Founded in 2010, the company has given Will’s children the opportunity to bring to reality something their father only dreamt of – cheeses made with the milk from their 100-year-old family farm.  

Weekend Party

Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Company - Mild Gouda

Rick and Ansally Stuyt both come from five generations of dairy farming in the Netherlands. During World War I, each had uncles who made cheese in exchange for goods so the family could survive. Born in the Netherlands, Ansally immigrated to the United States with her parents in 1961. They purchased the dairy she and Rick now own and operate in 1965. Rick grew up in the Netherlands always having a passion for the dairy industry. He interned on several small farms where he learned the process of cheesemaking. In 1985 Rick came to the states and as the years progressed, he developed a deeper passion to pursue a childhood dream of cheesemaking. What began as a small project making cheese for the family, developed into Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Company, which launched in 2015. Rick and daughter, Anastasia, are the cheesemakers and use a small percentage of the milk produced on the farm to make a Dutch-style artisanal farmstead raw milk cheese.

Weekend Party

Why travel to Normandy when the world’s best cheese producing region is right here in the United States?

 Road Tripping Along Northern California’s Cheese Trail

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