Califonia Bountiful

Happy, healthy goats equal great cheese

How Drake Family Farms does cheese right

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Around noon in Los Angeles, you're bound to hear that famous phrase "Let's do lunch" at least once.  And at the Mendocino Farms restaurant in West Hollywood, they're doing more than just lunch. They're celebrating the midday meal in their own special way: pumping up traditional sandwiches by adding unique, local ingredients.

For example, here's their take on grilled cheese: apples and greens on walnut bread with goat cheese melted in. But wait—goat cheese that's local in Los Angeles? We just had to investigate! And sure enough, located a mere 40 miles from the restaurant, you'll find one of their star ingredients: goat cheese from Drake Family Farms in Ontario. The dairy is run by Dan Drake, and it's actually one of the few goat cheese dairies in Southern California.

Drake Family Farms is a relative newbie to the SoCal scene, but it has old roots. Dan Drake grew up on his century-old family dairy farm in Utah, and when he moved west, he decided to take the plunge here in California with his own goat dairy. So now you'll find Dan and his crew waking up early, milking the goats and then making a variety of cheeses to sell to restaurants like Mendocino Farms, as well as at farmers markets and Whole Foods Market in Southern California.

Dan's secret to making the best cheese is to use the highest quality milk, and he has found that the best quality milk comes from a healthy group of goats. Dan knows a thing or two about a healthy goat because in addition to being a dairyman and cheese maker, he's also a large-animal veterinarian. So when he's not tending to his own herd, you'll find him tending to the few other herds that remain in the area. 

When he's done with his vet checks, Dan is right back where he started the day—at the farm doing what he loves most: hanging with his favorite herd of goats!

To find out more information about the dairy, visit

To find out more information about Mendocino Farms, visit

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