Nestled off Northern California's rural Sonoma County coastline, Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery crafts award-winning farmstead Italian cheeses.

Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery was founded in 2008 and is located on Mountain View Jersey Dairy, off the rural coast of Sonoma County, California. The Bianchi family has owned and operated the 640 acre ranch since 1918 is now occupied by the third, fourth, and fifth generations. Pietro Bianchi and his wife Maria immigrated to America from Northern Italy in the early 20th century and purchased the ranch in 1918. In the late 1940’s, the farm was handed down to their son John Bianchi and his wife Helen, who ran the operation until the late 1970’s when their son Paul purchased the business from his parents. Today, the farm is still operated by Paul along with his son Steve and daughter Karen. In 2010, upon graduation from Cal Poly, Karen’s son Joe decided to come home and join the family operation as the first member of the fifth generation. Karen’s other son, Jim, is currently working an internship on a dairy in New Zealand, but plans to eventually come home and join the family business.

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. So years later, when Karen decided to start making artisan cheese, it was only natural to produce that same cheese which was a staple in the family for years. After months of research, trial and error, she finally had it. A semi-hard cheese with a nice subtle bite, a hint of nuttiness, but yet a smooth and desireable texture. The cheese was named “Estero Gold” after the Estero Americano which runs adjacent to Valley Ford. Excited and relieved that the product development stage was over, now it was time to find a store or two to see if the public would be interested. Little did she know that 5 years later, her company would have product in stores, wineries, and restaurants all over the state of California and growing all over the country. 


THE FAMILY

Karen Bianchi-Moreda

Founder / President

Growing up on the family dairy, Karen always enjoyed working with her hands and helping to do her part to make the business survive. For years, she handled all of the bookkeeping and financial matters for the dairy, but in 2008, she decided to follow her dream and began the process of making artisan cheese.

After months of research, trial and error, and completion of Cal Poly’s Cheesemaking Short Course, she came up with her signature cheese, “Estero Gold.” The first wedge of cheese was sold at the Valley Ford Market, and from then on, Karen’s business has turned state-wide, with three cheeses currently on the market. She has recently handed over much of the plant management responsibilities to her son Joe, giving her more time to focus on marketing, sales, public relations, and business growth. You can find Karen at the Occidental, Healdsburg, and Windsor farmers markets as well as demo’s in local stores and at trade shows across the state. As the business has grown over time, her favorite part of this whole journey continues to be educating the public and interaction with consumers.

Joe Moreda

VP / Head Cheese Maker

Joe is a California Polytechnic State University graduate with a Dairy Science with an emphasis in Dairy Products Technology a minor in Agricultural Business. Throughout Joe’s time at school, he worked at the Cal Poly Creamery, gaining hands on experience in the production of cheese, ice cream, yogurt, butter, egg nog, and fluid milk. He spent three of his summers completing internships with different cheese companies, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Spring Hill Cheese Company, and Leprino Foods (Grand Rapids, MI). Upon graduation in December of 2010, he decided to turn down other offers to join the corporate dairy world in order to come home and join the up-and-coming family business.


THE FARM

Mountain View Jerseys is a 640 acre dairy farm in Western Sonoma County, continuously operated by the same family since 1918. Overlooking the unique waters and wetlands of the Estero Americano in Valley Ford, its lush, rolling pastures have been home to five generations of the Bianchi dairy family, practicing sustainable agriculture as their ancestors did in the Ticino district on the Swiss-Italian border for so many generations past. The farmstead cheese comes from a “closed” herd that is dedicated to top quality health and nutrition programs. There are around 500 Jersey cows milked daily, continuing with outstanding genetics for longevity and productivity. 

We use the sustainable practices our great grandparents brought with them, and taught us, knowing sustainability is our future. It is our job to work closely with nature to grow our crops, produce a healthy dairy product and protect our earth’s resources. Our location allows tourists driving by to enjoy the beauty and appreciate the scenery of the dairy, the open fields and the fresh air. We are working with many local and state organizations: Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Dairy Quality Assurance Program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation, the Milk Advisory Board, and the California Cheese Board, among others.


OUR CRAFT

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The Italian style cheeses produced at Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery are reminiscent of cheeses the public would find in Italy itself. Our 240 gallon vat is state-of-the-art and allows multi-tasking and efficiency while making the award-winning cheeses. The cheeses are made from Raw Jersey Milk, and aged for 3, 6, 12, and 18 months depending on the specific type. They are all brine-salted, and during  the aging process each room is carefully monitored for correct temperature and humidity.

AWARDS & ACCOLADES

Estero Gold (Montasio Style)

'Best Division of Hard Cheese' California Cheese Competition (2012)
'Double Gold' Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2011)
'Double Gold' Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2010)

Estero Gold 'Reserve' (Montasio Style)

'Best Division of Hard Cheese' California Cheese Competition (2016)
'Best of Show' California Cheese Competition (2015)
'Best Division of Hard Cheese' California Cheese Competition (2012)
'Best of Show' California Cheese Competition (2012)
'Best of Show' Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2011)

Highway One (Rustic Fontina Style)

'Gold' California Cheese Competition (2012)
'Best of Show' Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2012)
'Double Gold' Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2011)
'Double Gold' Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2010)