After several years of renting creamery time from other cheesemakers, we finally found a suitable location to build and equip our own microcreamery. We leased a small building, which used to be the milk house for a cow dairy, located on the 1,000+ acre Thornton Ranch in the little town of Tomales, CA. Renovation work began in earnest January 2013. On the evening of February 23, 2013, we received the blessing from our inspector and made our first batch of cheese there the very next morning. Many months of design, research and planning went into this microcreamery, which will be the base of operations for Bleating Heart Cheese for the next few years - until we move into a much bigger creamery (yep, already planning that!).
Our partnership with our landlords is an uncommon but logical - and synergistic - model for dairying and cheesemaking. We lease a small portion of their farm where we operate our creamery and make cheese, while a just a few feet away they operate their dairy and supply us with milk for our cheese. The dairy and the creamery are separate business entities, but are located in the same building, operating side-by-side, day-by-day, producing milk and cheese.