Meet the Pennyroyal Farm Cheesemaker: July 27 at 6pm on Zoom

Roosevelt (left) helps cheesemaker Erika McKenzie-Chapter with her craft at Pennyroyal Farm in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. (Photos courtesy of Pennyroyal Farm)


Coming up on Thursday, July 27, 6–7pm is a chance to hang out on Zoom with Erika McKenzie-Chapter, herd manager and head cheesemaker at Pennyroyal Farm in Mendocino’s Anderson Valley. At this California Artisan Cheese Guild event, you’ll discover the secrets behind Pennyroyal’s award-winning cheeses.

Pennyroyal Farm is a goat and sheep dairy, farmstead creamery, and vineyard located at the entrance to Anderson Valley, in Mendocino County. Their estate wines and handmade cheeses are produced entirely from what they grow on their regenerative farm, maximizing the symbiotic relationships of diversified crops and animal husbandry while utilizing a mix of traditional and modern techniques. Their tasting room is open daily, and they host farm events seasonally with special events and menus highlighting the uniqueness of their farmstead.

Erika is a northern California native with a family history in cow dairies. After graduating from UC Davis, she apprenticed at a goat dairy and creamery in France before returning to Davis to complete her M.S. in Animal Biology. There she met fellow graduate student Sarah Cahn Bennett, who had grown up in her family’s winery, Navarro Vineyards of Anderson Valley and was earning her M.S. in Viticulture and Enology.

With a shared commitment to sustainable farming, they dreamed of integrating their ecological values into a new combined winery/creamery operation and home to a herd large enough to produce manure for 100 percent of the vineyard’s fertilization needs. After two years of planning, three years of building, and the arrival of Erika’s 85 goats, the creamery at Pennyroyal Farm opened in May 2012. Erika has earned numerous awards and national accolades for her cheesemaking as a dairy goat breeder and was the first recipient of the Jennifer Bice Artisan/Dairy Cheesemaker Grant Award.

Meet the Maker is an educational series brought to you by The California Artisan Cheese Guild in an effort to create an opportunity for cheese enthusiasts and industry members to meet the makers that make our cheese industry so special. The series is held virtually via Zoom and includes conversation and Q&A with each guest.

If you would like to purchase a tasting add-on for this event, visit Pennyroyal Farm’s website to purchase the Bahler’s sampler. You’ll get 10% off when you enter discount code CACG10 at checkout. Order by July 24 to ensure delivery in time for the seminar. For the perfect pairing Erika suggests a light bodied and more acid-forward white or Pinot.

The California Artisan Cheese Guild is a non-profit and a collaborative community of makers, mongers, distributors, food writers, and food safety experts. Its mission is to celebrate the quality and diversity of artisan cheese produced in California through partnerships, outreach, and education.