Achadinha Cheese Company
I had to save the best post (for me) for last, the one that lets me talk about goats. I don't know what it is about cuddly animals, but I can't resist them!
After a whirl around Achadinha Cheese Company’s creamery, Donna led us around to the “teenager” area of the farm. Here, adolescent goats can frolic in their own space before joining the rest of the herd in their enormous barn and pastures. From this vantage point, we had a superb view of Donna’s nearly 300 acres, vast emerald green fields with rolling hills. Larry Peter of Petaluma Creamery is a neighbor, and across the way, we saw McEvoy Ranch (think olive oil). All we heard were goats, birds of prey, and the wind. It was awesome. The farm cat, adopted from Peter, immediately came to inspect us newcomers as we held out our hands for the goats to sniff/nibble.
Here is part 2 of a series of 3 posts about visiting Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma, CA.
Just before we left the Achadinha creamery, where owner Donna Pacheco's full-time employee Fernando and another helper were packaging cheese for market, Donna invited my photographer Gavin and myself to taste some. We started with curds made the week before. They were almost bright yellow, wonderfully full-flavored, slightly tangy, and slightly springy. (I don’t think they were squeaky, for those who are asking.) It’s not surprising that a good amount of Achadinha’s sales are in curds. We tasted some fresh curd as well, made that morning, originally destined for Broncha. This mixed-milk curd tasted almost like sweet butter, but with a fluffy marshmallowy consistency (squeak!). I could have easily eaten just curds, but we had to move on to the cheeses.
Farm visits are always exciting to me. After a certain point, cheese alone doesn’t satisfy me, and I really begin to hunger for the history behind the plate. My recent visit to Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma, California, was richly rewarding. Joined today by my friend Gavin (wedding photographer by day, cheese and farm photographer a couple times a year), we wound our way along Chileno Valley Road, past rolling green hills, up to the wagon wheels gracing the Pacheco Dairy entrance. Along the driveway, we could see grazing goats, but also nearly 30 cows, some chickens, a dog, and a cat. There are also pigs on the property, but I think they kept out of sight that day.