Sweet Coastal Grasses
The authentic flavor of our Organic Milk is a result of a combination of things -- sweet pasture grasses, climate, soil, and terrain.
The coastal prairie in Northern California, where our cows graze, is considered one of the most diverse grassland systems in North America. Many native California grasses and forbs can be found, such as Purple Needlegrass and Cow Clover (on image). They mingle with non-native species that were first brought in by the settlers in the mid-18th century.
Fog, which occurs almost daily during the summer months, provides a constant, high level of moisture, which the grasses absorb. This contributes to the rich, abundant and nutrient-dense pasture grasses that our cows feed on. Over time, non-native grass species have proven to dominate native ones, posing a threat to California’s Coastal Prairie habitat. Today, cattle grazing is considered an essential tool to keep non-natives under control and to assure the survival of native species. At Straus Family Creamery we are studying ways to promote native coastal grasses.
Mild, Coastal Climate
A typical summer day along the coast in Marin is foggy and quite cool. The fog from the Pacific Ocean rolls in on most days, and often doesn’t leave. In the summer months, temperatures are often in the 50s, 60s and 70s with high relative humidity. Trees, plants and pastures thrive in this climate, absorbing the water from the fog drip. The fog is after all, the reason why the majority of the majestic Redwood Trees can be found in Northern California.
While most people dislike the coolness and prefer to stay further inland, our cows love it. Cows don’t have the ability to sweat, and it greatly improves their quality of life to have cool summers and mild winters. During the winter months it rains a lot, but it hardly ever freezes. During times of heavy rainfall, we don’t allow our cows out into the pasture and they stay in the barn, where they have individual stalls with cow mats and natural bedding. The combination of cool summers and mild winters is ideal for dairy farming.
Marin and Sonoma Counties
The Straus Dairy and the seven other dairies from whom Straus Family Creamery buys milk are located in Marin and Sonoma Counties, along the Northern California Coast. Our area is known for its picturesque, rolling hills, featuring a combination of soils and climate that is very good for pastures.
Marin and Sonoma Counties are also known for their vibrant leadership role in organic agricultural and urban sustainability efforts. An abundance of non-profit organizations and companies are working on sustainability projects and the implementation of such practices into business. From bee pollination sites along vineyards, to rainwater-capture systems, to solar-panel installations, people in Marin and Sonoma have found ways to reduce their carbon footprint and help preserve the environment for generations to come. We are proud to be part of this community.