Each week it is an honor to drive west and meet up with Karen Bianchi-Moreda and Joe Moreda Jr. at their 95-year-old dairy, which has included five generations of dairy farmers and cheese makers.

The family is fully committed to their land, their cows and embracing their Italian heritage. Their dairy – Mountain View Jerseys – milks 450 prize-winning Jerseys cows twice a day and is on 640 acres overlooking the wetlands of the Estero de Americano and located on Highway One, which gives the prize-winning cheeses their name.

The un-pasteurized farmstead cheese comes from a “closed” herd that is dedicated to top quality health and nutrition programs. Valley Ford Cheese Company is a Certified Humane farm and they continue to work with local and state organizations to promote sustainable practices and quality dairy products within the farm.

Anyone who can understand the unique qualities of a region – its sun, soil and water contribute to the flavor – will see that the cheese deliciously reflects the perfection of the place that produces it.

Pairings
Estero Gold  (aged 7-month Montasio)
This is a beautiful cheese of superior versatility.  It has an open texture with a straw-like coloring, a creamy buttery taste and a subtle bite of nuttiness. This is a perfect table cheese. Estero Gold has received Double-Gold awards.
Pair with Dempsey’s Alehouse 707 Wet Hop Ale

Estero Gold “Reserve” (aged 16-month Montasio)
This is a cheese worth the wait. It has a taste that lingers with deep flavors of sweetness and nuttiness. A must with a beautiful red wine. The “Reserve” has received “Best of Show” for Sonoma County Harvest Fair and California State Cheese Competition.
Pair with Hen House Brewing Company “Hen House Saison”

Highway One (aged 6-month Rustic Fontina)
This is a superior melting cheese. It has a mild fruity flavor and aroma while rich and creamy. A perfect anytime cheese. Highway One has received Gold and Double Gold awards.
Pair with Lagunitas IPA

Look for Valley Ford Cheeses at Oliver’s Market, The Epicurean Connection, The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg and your local independent cheese shops.

 

TRUE GRASS MEATS
The first time I had True Grass Meats, Chef Matt Elias told me it all begins with the grass.

At True Grass, they are totally committed to maintaining healthy pastureland by embracing a process of rotational grazing that depends upon the stewardship of a natural ecosystem, of which we, as well as the grass, are only two elements. When visiting the True Grass Farms, we were impressed by the animals they had selected, including Black Angus cows, California Kobe, a Japanese breed renowned for its flavor and tenderness, along with American Guinea and Blackworth hogs, rabbit and heritage chicken breeds. It is always an honor to work with True Grass – as they are true to their words and strive toward a more harmonious relationship with our environment to provide the best local source of fine beef, pork and other pasture-raised USDA-certified organic meats to our community.

Chef Matt Elias invited our shop to be part of the true farm-to-table concept; we purchase our meats from True Grass for the shop, and Chef Matt will oftentimes be a guest chef at the shop and prepare a three-course meal featuring True Grass Meats and include the Valley Ford Cheeses in his menu since they are neighbors on Valley Ford.

I love their statement direct from their website: “We invite you to join us in forging a creative new reform of our food system while savoring the best that nature can offer. Find us at Bay Area farmers markets or connect with us directly; we thrive upon a foundation of transparency and open communication. I pledge to provide delicious products that contribute to the health of our environment as well as to the future of our world, one plate at a time.”
Please visit True Grass Farms for retail locations and to join their meat club.

Chef, cheese maker, caterer, culinary educator and owner of The Epicurean Connection shop in Sonoma, Sheana Davis has been supporting the artisan and farmstead cheese movement for more than 20 years.  

Resources:

Valley Ford Cheese Company
valleyfordcheeseco.com

True Grass Farms
truegrassfarms.com

Certified Humane
certifiedhumane.org

Animal Welfare Approved
animalwelfareapproved.org

Hen House Brewing Company
https://www.facebook.com/pages/HenHouse-Brewing-Company/211269008902745

Dempsey’s
dempseys.com

Lagunita
lagunitas.com