Bravo Farms began as a small dairy in 1979 in the town of Visalia, California, located in Tulare County in central California. Owners Bill and Pat Boersma ran the dairy for several years before deciding to convert to a farmstead cheesemaking operation in 1995. The Boersma’s were the first farmstead cheese makers in the San Joaquin Valley and became known for their farmhouse white cheddar.
Shortly after venturing into cheesemaking, they met Jonathan Van Ryn, a graduate of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he studied animal husbandry and cheese making. Van Ryn was building a cheese making facility near by in Traver, when the Boersmas approached the Van Ryn family with proposal of renting space in the facility.
The partnership resulted in Jonathan becoming the cheese maker for Bravo Farms, while the Boersmas decreased their cow herd, from 800 cows to about 80 milking cows in order to focus on premium quality milk for cheesemaking. Appropriately, most of the surplus cows were sold to Jonathan’s father, who has a dairy in Arizona.
Today, milk for cheesemaking is supplemented with milk from Jonathan’s Uncle’s farm which still allows them to have control over milk quality while being able to expand production.
Tulare Cannonball cheese is Bravo’s version of a 500- year old Edam recipe. Produced from raw whole milk cow’s milk, the cheese is molded in a traditional ball shape and aged for 6 months before being sold. The texture is rich and smooth.
Flavors are mild and yet have a slight ‘spicy’ tang and pleasant saltiness.