Paula Downing, manager of both the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market and the Sebastopol Farmers Market, and her assistant, Genevieve Gage, have planned tours of some of the farms represented in the market. The first one takes place on Monday, May 9, at the stunningly beautiful Bodega Yerba Santa Farm, Bodega Goat Cheese in Lakeport.
The visit includes a tour of the USDA certified cheese-making facility, an opportunity to hang out with the herd of 100+ goats and lunch prepared by Genevieve. Guests are invited to swim in the creek, too, if the weather inspires a plunge.
Founder and cheesemaker Javier Salmon moved from his native Peru to Northern California in 1982 and his brother and father followed in 1985. He grazed his first goats, purchased in 1984, on rented land in Martinez before moving to the town of Bodega. When he purchased the 20-acre Yerba Santa Dairy in Lakeport, he shifted his entire operation there.
The cost of this first farmers-market sponsored tour is just $10 per person. You can register at the market this Sunday or call 522-9205. Javier always has cheeses available for tasting. He also makes a delicious goat milk caramel, similar to dulce de leche but be careful if you taste it, especially if you are addiction prone. The stuff is beyond delicious.