PETALUMA, Calif. – Straus Family Creamery, a leader in organic farming and sustainable dairy innovation, announces a year-long celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary to highlight its significant impact in the organic farming and organic food movement. Founder and CEO Albert Straus, whose accomplishments include many industry firsts, continues his family’s legacy, remaining committed to his independent family–run business while producing premium organic dairy products honoring the company’s mission.
Straus Family Creamery is known for pioneering a new sustainable organic farming model in the organic dairy industry back in 1994 when the Straus Dairy Farm became the first certified organic dairy west of the Mississippi River. That same year, the company became the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the United States. Organic integrity remains central to Albert Straus’ farming and business practices today.
“As we celebrate our 25th year in business, I am committed to continuing to honor the values that we instilled back in 1994. I remain dedicated to the organic farming community, our climate-positive innovations and our support for independent family farming and rural communities,” said Albert Straus.
Long before recyclable packaging was in vogue, Straus introduced organic cream-top milk in reusable glass bottles. Today, Straus reusable glass bottles help keep about 500,000 pounds of milk containers and plastic out of landfills each year. This program is essential to achieving the company’s zero waste goals, which are also supported by the recycling, repurposing, and reusing of 92 percent of all materials at the creamery.
In 2010, long before the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture and the food supply raised international concern, Straus became the first non-GMO project verified creamery in North America, a vocal proponent of feed testing and verification and a steadfast advocate of keeping GMOs out of farming and the food system.
Environmental and economic resilience in their rural farming community has long been a priority for the Straus family. The family’s dairy farming story began in 1941, when Albert’s father Bill, a refugee from Nazi Germany, purchased a small dairy farm with 23 Jersey cows in Tomales Bay in rural West Marin County. By the 1970s, Albert had joined his father in managing the farm, and all pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers were eliminated. In 1980, Ellen Straus, Albert’s mother, co-founded the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), the first of its kind in the country, which protects Marin’s farmland from urban development. Ellen and a cohort of local environmentalists recognized the importance of land stewardship in the farming community and developed an approach that would strengthen rural families’ chances to remain in agriculture by permanently protecting farmland. The green hills of rural Marin County are a direct result of her work.
Realizing that his mother’s vision of a robust rural community was predicated upon the health of the region’s dairy farms, Albert Straus created a replicable, relationship-centered farming and milk processing model. By 2013, Straus’ certified organic milk supplier program had grown to support nine independent organic family dairy farms in Northern California’s Marin and Sonoma counties. In an ever-changing milk market, the collaborative relationship between the creamery and the family farms which supply its organic milk has been instrumental to these farms remaining viable. Today, nearly 90 percent of the dairy farms in Marin and Sonoma Counties are certified organic.
Climate resilience is central to Straus Family Creamery’s current sustainability programs. Driven by the dairy sector’s methane emissions as a global environmental threat, Albert Straus has become a leader in climate-positive farming practices. He has implemented California’s first carbon farm plan on a dairy and is working to develop and trial a replicable dairy model where climate emissions are zero (carbon neutral) by 2022. Working towards this goal since 2004 –when he installed one of the state’s first methane digesters – the carbon farm plan increases the farm’s soil health through rotational grazing practices and the use of compost. Around 320 metric tons of CO2e is sequestered from the atmosphere back into the soil through carbon farming practices.
And it is those sweet grasses from the lush green coastal pastures that make all the difference in the fresh, pure taste of Straus milk. Crafted with pure, simple ingredients, always minimally processed, Straus organic dairy products have become family favorites and preferred by chefs. This February, Straus debuts a whole new look. The company has updated its retail packaging to more clearly communicate its mission, brand benefits and offer greater consistency across categories. The great taste remains the same.
As the company looks to the future, one significant change is on the horizon. In its quest to remain a family-owned and -operated company and to continue innovating its product line, Straus will move out of the current creamery in Marshall where its products have been made for the last 25 years. Within months, it will break ground on construction of a new production facility located in Rohnert Park; this move will enable the next 25 years of the company’s growth.
Follow Straus Family Creamery on social media to keep abreast of the anniversary celebration, as they share early accomplishments, stories, and historical photos throughout the year. Look for ways to join the conversation with the hashtag: #Straus25.
About Straus Family Creamery
Based in Marshall, CA, Straus Family Creamery is a Northern California, certified organic creamery offering minimally processed milk, cream, yogurt, butter, sour cream, ice cream, and a variety of wholesale and specialty dairy products distributed throughout the Western United States. The Creamery makes minimally-processed dairy products from organic milk supplied by family farms in Marin and Sonoma Counties, including the Straus Dairy Farm, which is the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River. Straus Family Creamery, the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the United States, continues to make business decisions based on its mission to help sustain family farms, revitalize rural communities, and protect the environment. The family-owned business sustains collaborative relationships with the family farms that supply it milk, offering stable prices and predictability in what can otherwise be a volatile marketplace. Learn about the Straus difference at StrausFamilyCreamery.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and LinkedIn.