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Latest Issue of Sysco Foodie

Cheesemaking Driven by Heart, Delivered with Care

A piece of cheese topped with honey and cherries, a delicious and colorful snack.

For chefs in search of top-tier ingredients, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company delivers quality and conscience in every wheel of cheese. What began in 1959 as a family-owned dairy farm famous for its high-quality milk blossomed into an internationally renowned cheese maker. Today, Point Reyes sustains the legacy through innovation and uncompromising care from farm to kitchen.

Rooted in Tradition, Defined by Innovation

The story began with Bob and Dean Giacomini, pioneers who dedicated 40 years to cultivating a successful dairy farming business. Passing the baton to their visionary daughters—Lynn Stray (COO), Jill Basch (CMO), and Diana Hagan (CFO)—the family took a bold leap. Rather than abandoning tradition, the sisters redefined it, transforming the dairy farm into an eco-conscious, artisanal cheesemaking farmstead. 

To diversify themselves, the sisters set their sights on blue cheese production, birthing their iconic Point Reyes Original Blue™ and Bay Blue. In a market lacking high-end blue cheese alternatives, they embraced the challenge, navigating the intricacies of handling blue mold spores and achieving the delicate balance of oxygen. 

The result? An exceptional, award-winning product that has stood the test of time. 

From there, their offerings expanded, encompassing a distinct Italian-inspired line called Toma, featuring award-winning Point Reyes Toma and TomaTruffle. Crafted with Precision, Sourced from within what sets Point Reyes apart is their farmstead approach—crafting each wheel mere yards from the milking parlor, using only milk from their own cows. 

This meticulous oversight guarantees unparalleled consistency from barn to aging room. Their commitment to education and entertainment is evident as they invite you to tour and explore their farm and culinary center, “The Fork,” where you can immerse yourself in the experience of their cheeses, handcrafted with love and a profound connection to the land. 

Partnerships for Reach and Impact

In 2005, Point Reyes forged powerful alliances with Sysco and European Imports, propelling their artisanal cheeses from local gems to national sensations. This partnership wasn’t just about distribution; it was a symphony of values, bringing the company’s mission and commitment to sustainability and ethical ingredients directly to tables across the U.S. 

“Chefs were key in our growth and brand development,” said Lynn Stray. “Sysco’s specialized program with European Imports expanded our geographical footprint and heightened accessibility for chefs seeking sustainable, ethical ingredients.” 

These alliances were more than just a leap; they were a catapult for Point Reyes, enabling them to ascend while maintaining their dedication to sustainable practices and core values. Earlier this year, the Sysco Team visited the Point Reyes farm, witnessing firsthand the synergy of passion and precision that goes into crafting each wheel. 

Pioneers in Sustainability

The Giacomini family wove sustainability into their company from the very beginning. Beyond using the farm’s milk as the raw material for their cheese, they implement eco-conscious practices that impact their farm, product, and the planet. 

The farm’s renewable energy program uses technology and innovation to capture harmful greenhouse gas emissions. They’re one of the first dairies to install a methane digester to harvest methane and convert it into clean, renewable energy and fertilizer, powering their farm sustainably while reducing emissions. 

They use all the wastewater in their energy program and compost the solids into nutrient-rich soil that nourishes the land and makes cozy bedding for the cows. Recycling everything helps them drive lasting environmental change. 

It All Starts with the Cows

At Point Reyes, happy cows create happy cheese. Raising and breeding calves on the property, their cows graze year-round on organic pastures in ideal mild temperatures, resulting in milk of unparalleled quality. They optimize cow health and comfort by controlling genetics and nutrition, ensuring they’re actively shaping their well-being. 

In 2019, they took cow care to new heights, implementing a revolutionary robotic milking system that allows cows the freedom to be milked when they want–unlike traditional systems where cows are milked every 12 hours. Executing this system resulted in happier, healthier cows and a remarkable 10 to 12 percent increase in milk yield. Plus, the introduction of cow collars, similar to Fitbits, provides valuable data on their well-being, from temperature to medical history, allowing the team to stay ahead of their health needs and ensure a healthier herd. 

Powered by Women, Driven by Values

“We’ve built this company on empathy and relationships,” said Lynn Stray. Point Reyes employs a total of 105 employees, with nine families and three dedicated cheesemakers calling the farm home. Their unique approach creates a genuine family culture, driving high employee retention. As sisters turned CEOs, they foster an environment where empathy, connection, and care fuel innovation. Being 100% women-owned and certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Point Reyes is a leader in their field. 

Trailblazers recognized by Oprah – A Point Reyes Gift Basket was selected as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things – these women use empathy without sacrificing quality or sustainability. Being women-led is about recognizing employees, animals, and the planet as partners to be empowered, not resources to be exploited. Above all, it means bringing compassion into culinary craft. When women have equal opportunity to lead, positive change follows; Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company is proof. 

For chefs seeking sustainable ingredients without sacrificing flavor, Point Reyes delivers. Their commitment to stewardship and quality from pasture to plate results in exceptional cheese you can feel good about serving. When ethics and excellence unite at the source, you taste the difference.