Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company
By: Leopold Conservation Award Program
Bob and Dean Giacomini purchased a dairy from Bob’s father and ran their fluid milk business while raising four daughters on the farm in coastal Marin County.
Forty years later, as Bob considered the need to diversify the business, his daughters came home to be part of the re-invented Robert Giacomini Dairy. They launched an artisan farmstead cheese business that not only sustained the farm, but became a model and example for others.
For Dean, who passed away in 2012, one of her greatest joys was that all four daughters returned to the farm to be part of the family business. Today, Bob operates Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company with daughters Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill. They produce Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese and operate The Fork, a culinary center focused on education and entertainment for visitors to the farm. The venue hosts meetings of agricultural organizations, culinary students, fellow artisan cheesemakers and others interested in environmental stewardship.
The picturesque 720-acre dairy is a showcase operation where the Giacominis craft award-winning cheeses and demonstrate exemplary land stewardship through their dedication to voluntary, sustainable farming practices and human animal care.
The family was one of the first participants in the NRCS’s Conservation Stewardship Program and one of the first dairies to install a methane digester to harvest methane and convert it into clean, renewable energy to power the dairy the cheese facilities.
Rotational grazing of their cows keeps soils healthy and helps prevent harmful erosion into Tomales Bay. Steep slopes are densely vegetated with trees and shrubs to manage erosion, and a comprehensive nutrient management plan was implement to ensure there is no runoff of nutrients that could harm coastal wetlands.
“The Robert Giacomini Dairy is a model of a successful family business adopting land management practices that are environmentally sustainable and repeatable,” wrote Marin County Ag Commissioner Stacy Carlsen in a nomination letter. “For over 50 years, this dairy has evolved into the finest family-run and operated dairy business in the Western United States.”