Jim and Donna Pacheco tend the goats and make the cheese with help from their 4 children, William, Daniel, Elizabeth, and David.
230 Acres in Petaluma, about 47 miles from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
Jim Pacheco is a third-generation dairyman and cheesemaker. The Pachecos raise more than 600 goats and 50 cows who roam freely on their 230 acres, along with horses, cows, sheep, and pigs. Depending on the season, the animals eat varying amounts of pasture supplemented with feed hay and brewer’s grain purchased from local breweries. The goats are never fed hormones or antibiotics.
Most of the milk from the Pachecos’ goats goes into making their cheeses; the remainder is sold to other cheese companies. The Pacheco family strongly believes that it is important for people to know where their food comes from.
All the goats are milked by machine. In keeping with their award winning formula, goat milk is first pasteurized then separated into curds and whey with vegetarian rennet. The curds are collected and formed into balls by hand (Capricious), or for their Broncha cheese, formed using a mold. The feta, which Donna makes by hand, is cured in a sea salt brine. To insure quality the whole process is done on site and by family members.
For their sausage, Jim and Donna only use older goats that have passed their milking age. The summer sausage is made by Taylor Sausage, in Oregon, a USDA approved facility.
An on-site spring is used for both drinking water for goats and irrigation water for fields.
Whey is fed to baby goats to increase their butterfat. The manure from the goats is used in their fields and personal gardens. Their goats produce so much manure that Jim and Donna are going to start composting for future sales. Any cheese that does not meet their standards is fed to their pigs.
According to the Pachecos, it’s the goats, not Donna and Jim, who run the farm.
Petaluma, California 94952
CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »