Ramini Mozzarella of Tomales, CA was founded in 2009 by my husband Craig and myself (Audrey), with a dream of raising Italian water buffalo and becoming the only Americans currently making authentic, artisan buffalo mozzarella. We love animals and wanted to spend our days with these amazing, exotic creatures. We’d learned they could be as loving as dogs if treated with affection and care. We also learned no one at that time was producing buffalo mozzarella in the US. We knew the cheese was incredible and thought; Americans should have this cheese produced domestically and experience what the Italians have discovered in these rich, porcelain white, creamy balls of fresh cheese. It’s shelf life, if made as the Italians do, should only be 3 days. Importing it from Italy means we are getting it, more than likely, past it’s prime or previously frozen. The challenge was on and we were ready!
We began with 5 water buffalo, a shoe string budget and a big dream. The first 4 years were amazing as we learned and grew with the herd, living our dream, building relationships with the buffalo, and learning to make the cheese. We rented a small farm and pasture, renovated the dairy and designed a farmstead creamery. By 2012 we were successfully selling out of all the cheese we could produce.
Tragically in 2014 Craig was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. I strapped on my boots and rubber pants and ran the dairy and creamery alone while Craig underwent his treatment. He was in complete remission after 6 months and we were elated. Then it hit, a month later he felt poorly. Scans and tests revealed the cancer was now in his brain and spine. Three months later Craig passed away with the dairy by then shut down and I by his side. I reopened a month later at the request, and with the support of our customers. I have kept the dream alive now for a whole year without him, proving to myself I can do this, but the herd is growing fast and now the buffalo and I need your help.
The herd has grown to 45 and I expect 10 babies in early 2016. In the past year I processed 25,000lbs of milk, making 60-80 lbs of cheese twice a week and personally delivering to the 8 local restaurants that love it. I also sell direct to the public from the creamery for those willing to make the trip to Tomales. I am currently doing this with two milking stalls and one wheelbarrow. We sell out with in 24 hours of each batch, have a public cry for retail and a waiting list of restaurants who want the cheese on their menu.