Exploring the California Cheese Trail: A Culture Magazine Feature

Culture Magazine discovers the story behind The California Cheese Trail with founder Vivien Straus, uncovering exciting cheesemakers along the way
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The Cheese Trail is featured in the latest issue of Culture Magazine. Linni Kral interviews Vivien Straus, the founder of The California Cheese Trail, on what inspired her to start the cheese trail and what exciting cheesemakers you will discover on your adventure.

This value bump is what Vivien Straus had in mind when she created the California Cheese Trail Map in 2010. She grew upon her parents’ dairy farm in the Tomales Bay, surrounded by cheesemakers like Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Redwood Hills, and Marin French Cheese; Vivien’s mother often made quark with Sue Conley of neighboring Cowgirl Creamery. It was this family of dairy folks Vivien sought to sustain by drawing tourism to California’s cheese-dense regions.

“I had a meeting [about creating the map] at my house and I couldn’t believe it, every nonprofit and every cheesemaker showed up,” she says. At that point, very few of the makers were open to the public; now about 50 of the state’s 70 cheesemakers have a tour or retail shop. “Somebody told me their retail sales went up 25 percent and I thought, Oh my god, this is gonna work! Now I know some cheesemakers [who] tell me 80 percent of their business comes from it,” she says.

You can read the interview in the latest printed copy of Culture Magazine as well as the online version of the article here!

Straus Home Ranch, where founder Vivien Straus grew up, is available for stays, farm tours, and weddings.


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