Tresch Family Farm
Joe and Kathy Tresch
Organic cows at the Tresch farm
The Tresch family with two of their three children
The Tresches have been with Straus since 1996
With almost 2,100 acres and 900 Holstein milking cows the Tresch Family Farm, located in beautiful Sonoma County, is Straus Family Creamery's largest milk supplier. Joe and Kathy Tresch own the farm that also hosts an organic apple orchard with more than 50 apple varieties and two cultivated acres of organic vegetables. Joe and Kathy are deeply connected with their land and started their conversion to organic in 1995. This was only two years after Albert Straus converted his dairy and in 1996 their cows became the second certified organic herd in the California.
The Tresch family has been in the California dairy business since Joe’s family emigrated from Switzerland to California in the 1870s. The family’s journey took them from Cayucos Valley to Rio Vista in Northern California and finally to its current location in Petaluma. The land remained within the family and after Joe's father passed away, Joe purchased the 320 acres from his step-mother in 1988 and leased an adjacent 1,189 acres.
It was this leased land that would bring Joe Tresch and the Straus family together for the first time. In 1988, the City of Santa Rosa attempted to acquire the leased land so they could pump wastewater into the entire valley and create a sewage reservoir. Joe and Kathy chose to fight this plan and found allies in the Straus family, who were active members of the Friends of Estero organization, which tried to prevent the creation of the reservoir. After six long years they succeeded in saving the valley and in 1996 the Tresches won the Sierra Club’s Environmentalists of the Year Award.
Working with Straus Family Creamery
It was during that time that Kathy saw a Straus Family Creamery ad in a local newspaper about “organic cows looking for likeminded sisters”. Joe had always been committed to being a pasture-based and herbicide-free operation and was already following numerous organic farm practices. This was unusual at that time. Their philosophy of producing healthy food and taking care of their land and cows was aligned with the values of the Straus family. Straus Family Creamery needed more milk and the Tresches wanted to transition to organic - the collaboration was a natural one. Within 5 years they achieved their conversion and have been organic milk suppliers of Straus Family Creamery ever since.