Tresch Family Farm
Joe and Kathy Tresch
Lydia and Lindsay Tresch
Organic cows at the Tresch farm
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 working alongside their three adult children Joey, Lindsay, and Lydia. Joe and Kathy are deeply connected with their land and started their conversion to organic in 1995, two years after Albert Straus converted his dairy. 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 led them to their current location in Petaluma where Joe’s 15 year old grandmother Olympia Nonella Tresch arrived with her family in 1905 accompanied by two Holsteins tied to the back of a springboard wagon. The land remained within the family and after Joe's father passed away, Joe purchased the 320 acres from his stepmother in 1988 and leased an adjacent 1,189 acres.
The leased land brought Joe Tresch and the Straus family together for the first time. In 1988, the City of Santa Rosa attempted to acquire the leased land to create a sewage reservoir. Joe and Kathy chose to fight this plan and found allies in the Straus family, active members of the Friends of Estero organization, which tried to prevent the creation of the reservoir. After six 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
During that time 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 following numerous organic farm practices. 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.
The values that began with their great grandmother Olympia Nonella Tresch and nurtured by their parents Joe and Kathy are evident in the new generation of the Tresch family. With the dairy and their Olympia’s Apple orchard, which grows over 50 varietals of apples, Lydia and her twin brother Joey, and their older sister Lindsay are integral parts of the dairy. Lydia and Lindsay began raising calves in elementary school and now care for all of the new calves in addition to handling much of the business side of things. Brother Joey is hands on with the day-to-day dairy operations and states that, “I never thought of doing anything else. It’s important to me that we have our own business.” According to Lydia and Lindsay, one of the biggest changes over the generations has been the amount of reporting required for the various certifications including organic held by the dairy, but being part of the Straus Family Creamery gives them a lot of support. Lydia and Lindsay shared that, “Nothing is guaranteed in life and we work 16 hour days. Our friends think we’re crazy, but we love it and we’ll do everything we can to make sure our family is still here doing this 100 years from now.”