As anyone who’s hangs out with us knows, we’ve been raving about the fabulous quality compost from Point Reyes Compost Company for some time now. We love the company’s rich, dark ‘Double Doody’ compost and their lighter weight, more textured ‘Bob’s Best’ compost for amending and top-dressing our vegetable and ornamental planting beds. What a lot of folks might not know is the great story behind this great compost — who are these people who come up with these with this wacky product names anyway?
Well, to start with, there’s Teddy, Robert, and Rhonda. Teddy’s wonderful wife, Lynn, was raised at her family’s dairy farm – the Robert Giacomini Dairy Farm in Point Reyes and is now at the helm of another family business, Point Reyes Family Farmstead Cheeses, working to create the most delicious artisanal cheeses (Point Reyes Blue anyone?!). Once he joined Lynn at the farm, Teddy had the brilliant idea to start another business — putting the natural byproduct of all the cow manure produced on the property to sustainable use as bulk and bagged organic compost! He, Robert and Rhonda, are the ones who make this great quality compost available to us all.
A few weeks ago, Teddy, Robert and Rhonda invited us out for a Day at the Farm to show us how they make their compost and explain what the process is all about.
Unsurprisingly, making great cheese and fabulous compost has everything to do with what you feed your cows. The cows at Point Reyes Compost Co. are pastured on organic certified land near Tomales Bay for much of the year and also have their diet supplemented with a bunch of really healthy sounding organic things like brewer’s grains (sustainable leftovers from Lagunitas Brewing Co!), crushed almond hulls (for roughage) and some cottonseed meal and corn.
The cows eat — then, what the folks at Point Reyes (never ones to mince words) call the “shit river” is carried away and allowed to dry out. Amazingly, the methane from this process is all captured and used on site – about 80% of operations at the dairy are run off this methane! Totally impressive and, really, a sustainable, smart business approach.
While the manure is given the time it needs to turn into compost, all kinds of other wonderful things are happening at the farm: cows are being milked (700 cows are milked each day, starting at 3pm and going until 3am!), adorable baby cows are being born and raised, and award-winning cheeses are being made!
Our tour of the farm ended with the most delicious cheese-tasting and lunch at the farm’s beautiful new onsite culinary and educational center, The Fork.
We got a special tour of the edible garden afterward too – those vegetables have some awe-inspiring views!
As Teddy, Rhonda and Robert always say: “Thanks for taking our crap!” This time, we have to say — thank you guys!