Cowgirl Creamery, based in Marin County, California is the vision of owners Sue Conley and Peggy Smith.
Friends since college days on the east coast, they moved to California together in the 1970's, and, since both women were passionately interested in the food business, Peggy went to work at Chez Panisse in Berkeley with Alice Waters, while Sue became co-owner of the famous Bette's Ocean View Diner.
Twenty something yars later in 1993, Sue sold her part of the business in order to form Tomales Bay Foods, a business designed to provide a marketing outlet for local agricultural food products in Marin County. Discovering that her new company was fulfiling a tremendous need and niche, Sue asked Peggy to join her in launching a greatly expanded business, including a permanent farm-market type store selling locally made food products and a cheesemaking operation. The cheesemaking business and retail stores became known as Cowgirl Creamery.
The business flourished, and it quickly became clear that the cheese retail, wholesale and cheese making operations were the most successful. Today, Cowgirl Creamery has additional retail stores in San Francisco and Washington DC together with a much larger cheesemaking operation and warehouse based in Petaluma, CA.
Cowgirl Creamery, under the guidance of head cheesemaker Maureen Cunnie, produces a range of fresh and mold ripened cheeses using organic cow's milk from small local dairies.
Named after a local ravine that runs along the base of Mt Barnaby, Devil's Gulch is the latest addition to the Cowgirl Creamery's range of seasonally available cheeses and is made only during the winter season.
For production, organic Jersey milk is sourced locally from John Taverna's dairy to form the curd. Newly formed cheeses are allowed to drain naturally without pressing, and are then transferred to maturing rooms for a period of about 4 weeks. Shortly before their release, cheeses receive a light coating of sweet and spicy dried red pepper flakes.
The interior paste of Devil's Gulch is dense and deep straw yellow in color with occasional slits or eyes. Flavors are rich and buttery, with hints of grass and spice imparted by the peppers on the rind.