Two friends, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith have earned their stars in some of San Francisco's most famous kitchens, like Chez Panisse, and Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley, but in the early 1990s, they were ready for a new challenge; a cheese making company. They found it in Pt. Reyes Station, a picturesque postage-stamp-of-a-town on the coast about an hour north of San Francisco. This first location, a renovated hay barn in downtown Point Reyes, featured a small cheesemaking room at the entrance to the building. It gave them ideas. Using milk from neighboring Straus Family Creamery, they began making delicious fresh cheeses.
Legend has it that when Peggy and Sue were exploring names for their budding cheese business, two women on horseback pulled up in front of the barn, hitched their horses to the bike rack and ran into the grocery store for supplies. Ellen Straus, who was visiting at the time, looked at Sue and Peggy and said: 'We’re living in the Wild West out here'. Peggy’s response: 'Then we must be cowgirls! and this must be the Cowgirl Creamery'.
At the start Cowgirl Creamery's goal was to make wonderful, fresh, organic cheeses – cottage cheese, creme fraiche, fromage blanc, and quark, later aged and soft-ripened cheese were developed.
Our featured Cowgirl Creamery Cheese
Red Hawk Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery is a triple-cream, washed-rind, fully-flavored cheese made from organic cow's milk. This small cheese is aged for 6 weeks and washed with a brine solution that promotes the growth of a bacteria that tints the rind a sunset red-orange.
Red Hawk is named after a raptor that circles the skies in northern Marin County where this gourmet cheese is made and it has a presence, like all washed rind cheeses. If you like Epoisses, you will most likely like this Californian cheese.
Red Hawk won a 2nd Place Ribbon in 2007 in the Washed Rind Cheeses Category and a second place in all categories in 2009 and 2012 at the American Cheese Society Competition.