North Coast

3 Locations | 264 Miles

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A trip up the coast of California brings spectacular ocean views and redwood groves, and also includes three cheesemakers. This might be a two-day excursion. 115 miles north of San Francisco, in the Alexander Valley, where there's wine aplenty, make your first cheese stop at Pennyroyal Farm, where you can take a farm tour (goats and sheep), see cheese aging, taste cheese and have some cheese with your wine, as the co-owner is also of Navarro Winery. If you're heading over to the coast, amble north. If you're there on a Sunday, Spring Hill Farmstead Goat in Bayside (near Eureka) has a small creamery with goats, which can be visited by appointment (Sundays only). Keep heading north, first allowing yourself to be distracted by the scenery, stopping often. A stop in the charming and historic town of Ferndale, where many small dairies dot the landscape, is not to be missed. Heading even further north, you'll end up in Crescent City (just south of the Oregon border). Once there, stop by the Rumiano cheese shop and creamery, makers of Dry Jack and organic cheese, to view the cheesemaking and pick up cheese.

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01Pennyroyal Farm

Pennyroyal Farm produces handcrafted cheese exclusively from goats and sheep that are raised on their own family farm. Pampered animals munch on wild grasses and pennyroyal mint that blanket their 100 acre farmstead and vineyard in Boonville, California. The milk is transformed into fresh and aged cheeses just steps from the animals’ pastures. Pennyroyal integrates animal husbandry with viticulture to avoid many of the pitfalls of monoculture. Each farming endeavor enhances and compliments the other.

Wine and cheese tasting are available from 10am to 5pm. The estate kitchen offers a Farm Fare menu featuring small plates of cheesy bites and more from their culinary garden. Tours Day & Time: Thursday-Monday, 10:30 am Creamery and farm tours are offered at 10:30 am and include a wine and cheese tasting.

02Spring Hill Farmstead Goat Cheese

In April 2016, after almost 27 years at a local CPA firm, Karin retired to follow her dream of raising La Mancha dairy goats and making farmstead goat cheese for her community in Humboldt County. After one very long year of construction (she said it was like building a rocket ship!) she started Spring Hill Farmstead Cheese LLC in Bayside California making Farmstead Goat Cheese exclusively from the milk of her small herd of La Mancha dairy goats. She brings her cheese to local farmer’s markets, with plans of building a thriving, sustainable small business benefiting the local economy and beyond for many years to come. Karin LOVES goat farming and cheesemaking. Prior to getting licensed she had been raising dairy goats and making cheese for over 10 years as a hobby. In the beginning she was milking the goats in the pasture under a beach umbrella and later put a small shed, dubbed The Milk Parlor! No power, no running water, but there was a roof over their heads and walls and even windows! Cheese was made in the kitchen, and the accumulation of “necessary” utensils and cheesepots began! Karin makes fresh and aged goat cheese using a thistle-based rennet. Once a year, in the spring, she holds cheese classes. Email for details.

03Rumiano Cheese

Brothers Richard, Fred and John Rumiano emigrated to the United States from Italy and are known for their development of Dry Jack cheese, especially one rubbed with a coating of black pepper dust, cocoa powder and oil. Rumiano’s cheese production takes place in Crescent City, getting its milk from dairies in nearby Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Retail shops are located in Crescent City and Willows, with a viewing window in the Crescent City location.