Last week, I was visiting my relatives in California and was checking the places to visit near San Francisco. We visited usual places such as the Napa Valley, Golden Gate, etc and luckily, I was also able to visit a buffalo farm as well.
Ramini Mozzarella Water Buffalo Farm
This farm had a very interesting story. This farm was started by a person named Ramini. He was an IT professional working in the silicon valley and when he turned 50 – while evaluating his professional life – it seems he decided to do something else other than IT for the rest of his life. So that’s when he decided to start a dairy farm.
Italian, Mozzarella, Buffalo and Fate
Ramini’s family is of Italian descendant and Italians love real Mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) cheese. And original mozzarella di bufala cheese is only made from Buffalo milk. And in US, there are no water buffalo’s, so they make mozzarella from cow’s milk or export it from Italy which is stale by the time it reaches US. So Ramini decided that he will raise buffalo’s in US and make fresh mozzarella di bufala using buffalo milk. The challenges were many – he did not have farming experience, good quality buffalo’s were not available in US and most importantly he did not know how to make mozzarella di bufala. So he spent years raising his herd and mastering the mozzarella di bufala cheese making process. Sadly, that’s when he had cancer and passed away. Now the farm is run by his wife, Audrey, with lots of support from locals and well wishers. She is now making profit and increased the herd size to 50. Probably, she is the largest water buffalo dairy farmer in US.
Ramini’s farm can be visited on every Saturday – the fee is $25 per person and the tour starts at 4 PM. Local visitors were very excited to see the buffalo’s and touch the calves.
For more details – check http://raminimozzarella.com/
I met Cale who assists Audrey in the farm. He recently graduated in agriculture from University of California. He is learning dairy farming by working in the Ramini farm and was doing every work in the farm. In US, the system is that new dairy farmers work in a farm and also slowly build their herd with the owner and when they are ready, they move out to their own farm with their herd and the knowledge. This is a fantastic approach and was wondering why this can’t be followed in India – this will give the knowledge and confidence and also eliminates the risk in starting a dairy farm.
Pictures from the visit