This week Pastoral is hosting the folks from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. for tastings and featuring Point Reyes Toma paired with Tensley Blanc (65% Grenache Blanc/ 35% Roussanne). This occasion presents itself as an opportunity to feature a sustainable, top-notch farmstead creamery. Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese uses the dairy of its 300 heads of cattle to produce award-winning cheeses, from the Point Reyes blue to their take on an Italian classic, Toma.
(Picture courtesy of pointreyescheese.compointreyescheese.com/farm/the_land)
What sets this creamery apart, however, is not the pastured milk in the production of their cheese or their small-batch philosophy. Point Reyes Farmstead Creamery is re-imagining what it means to be a responsible, organic creamery. They are converting the energy in their cow’s waste by way of an anaerobic digester.
(Picture of a covered lagoon digester, courtesy of epa.gov/region9/ag/dairy/tech/energy.html)
This digester works to produce methane (biogas) in the absence of oxygen. Not only does the digester create energy (about $10,000 worth a month!), but it prevents the methane from escaping into the atmosphere, where it acts as a greenhouse gas. Point Reyes is acting within a larger context of increasing attention to biogas production not only in California, but in the world.
As a result of the energy black-outs in California in 2001, the California Energy Commission enacted legislation to “encourage the development of biologically based anaerobic digestion and gasification (“biogas”) electricity generation projects on California dairies” . This ten million dollar program includes a matching donation to participating dairies that build digesters. For more information on how biogas production is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, follow the link below. Stop by our cheese counter and taste the future of sustainable dairy agriculture!
Biogas Bonanza for Third World Development
Pat Huber is a cheesemonger at Pastoral's Loop location. Hailing from the home of Tennessee Williams and the world-renowned lyricist Nelly, this
southpaw cheese monger is a lover of all things wild and raw.