2009 ACS Best of Show Second Place - Cowgirl Creamery
Many an award-winning cheese has its beginnings in a make-room experiment. Very few, however, go from complete failure to utter masterpiece and win twin Best of Show awards from the American Cheese Society. Such is the story of Red Hawk, named the 2009 Second Place Best of Show at the American Cheese Society Competition. This triple-cream, washed-rind, full-flavored cheese made at Cowgirl Creamery in California began its rise to fame as a problem child sent to sit in the corner. Cheesemakers and co-owners Peggy Smith and Sue Conley were frustrated with the amber hue their experimental cheese had assumed, and in frustration “threw it in the aging room” and moved on to other creations. “A month later, we took it out and tried it. It was the best cheese we’d ever made,” Conley says.
Since then, Cowgirl Creamery, located in a renovated hay barn in downtown Point Reyes Station, has gone on to win dozens of national awards, and now promotes a wide array of American artisanal cheeses. In addition to crafting five aged and three fresh cheeses of their own, Conley and Smith market more than two hundred cheeses crafted by small cheesemakers across the country and sold in three Cowgirl Creamery retail stores in Point Reyes Station, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C