A century ago, the Rumiano Brothers (Richard, Fred, and John) emigrated to the United States from Italy, drawn by the promise of the Gold Rush. After years of working in the mines in Amador County, the brothers purchased a small dairy in Willows, CA in 1919. The dairy grew quickly, and after Fred Rumiano attended a four-day cheese making course at UC Davis, the brothers began producing butter and cheese; by the mid-1930s, they had the largest cheese company in California. The brothers began to age their cheese in their own hand-dug cellars, enabling them to take a fully matured product to market, increasing demand and sales - and making the Rumianos the original developers of Dry Monterey Jack Cheese.
Today, brothers and third-generation family members Baird and John Rumiano are the president and vice president (respectively) of the oldest family-owned cheese company in California. Rumiano’s production is now centered farther north than the original dairy, in Crescent City, and receives milk from independent, third and fourth generation dairy farmers from nearby counties, including Alexandre Family Farm, though the company’s distribution center is still in Willows. The mild climate and abundant rainfall allows the (mostly Jersey) cows to graze year-round on the coastal terraces of Northern California, and the beta-carotene rich grass lends the milk a beautiful yellow color.
Rumiano Cheese Company earned a 5-Cow Beyond Organic rating from The Cornucopia Institute, which praised Rumiano’s transparency in its disclosures and the legitimate pasture access provided for the cows at the dairies, which are all within a 90-mile radius. In addition to sourcing dairy locally, Rumiano boasts energy efficient lights, water recirculation pumps, short commutes for employees (many of whom have been with the company for decades), and even an old cheese recycling system! The old cheese is sent to Glenn County Vector Control and used as feed for mosquito fish, which are then introduced into insect breeding areas as a biological, environmentally sensitive means of insect control.
The company’s organic line of cheeses is American Humane Certified, and their entire line of organic cheese, organic butter, and organic whey was the first in the world to achieve Non-GMO Project Certification. Importantly for vegetarians, all Rumiano cheeses are made using a vegetable-based, Non-GMO Project Verified microbial coagulant instead of animal rennet. Importantly for everyone, all Rumiano cheese is produced from fresh milk minimally salted with sea salt and without artificial hormones, pesticides, or herbicides (and it’s certified Kosher!).
Pick up some truly vegetarian, non-GMO, organic, Californian cheese by Rumiano Cheese Company at your local co-op and taste the grass-fed difference!