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Cowgirl Creamery Sold to the Swiss

Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, founders of Northern California’s widely beloved Cowgirl Creamery, are selling their business to Swiss dairy conglomerate Emmi.

The pair drew from their extensive culinary background in the Bay Area and knowledge of the Marin food scene when they started making cow’s milk cheeses over two decades ago. Now their luscious wheels grace cheese counters across the country, such as the triple-cream and perennial favorite Mt. Tam, the striking washed-rind Red Hawk, and their rotating seasonal cheeses like the nettle-leaf-wrapped St Pat, which was recently featured as culture’s centerfold cheese for spring of 2016.


Cowgirl Creamery is following in the footsteps of several California artisan cheesemakers by finding a new home under Emmi, Switzerland’s largest dairy processor: Cypress Grove Chevre, makers of Humboldt Fog, was bought up in 2010, and Redwood Hill, known for a variety of fresh chèvres, joined Emmi just this past December.

Part of the appeal for Peg and Sue in selling Cowgirl Creamery to Emmi was the level of independence allowed them in continuing to run and grow their business. “We are really happy,” Sue told culture. “We watched how it’s working with Cypress Grove and think that’s going really well, so we feel great about this.”

New investment from higher up is attrative, too: They plan on building a new creamery for expanded production and distribution and fostering additional growth at Cowgirl’s Sidekick Cafe & Milk Bar in the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

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