Tomales Bay Foods' Logo (mobile)
Tomales Bay Foods' Logo

Laura Chenel


In the 1970’s, after spending a decade bouncing between San Francisco, New York and Europe, Laura Chenel decided to return home to Sonoma. Wanting to eat healthy and learn more about being self-sufficient, she purchased her first goat. Her herd slowly grew, and hoping to do something with all the excess milk, she tried making goat cheese. Unfortunately, her first attempts weren’t all that good, so in 1979, Laura traveled to France and lived with four different farmstead goat cheese producers. Returning back to Sonoma, she was ready to create cheeses of her own. In 1981, Chenel’s cheese gained quick notoriety in kitchens throughout the Bay Area when Alice Waters, of the famed restaurant Chez Panisse, placed a weekly standing order, using it in her signature salads. Shortly after, demand began to soar and Chenel decided to sell her herd and move to a larger creamery in Santa Rosa in order to focus exclusively on cheese production. Over the next 30-years, demand grew and grew and in 2011 Laura Chenel moved to a new LEED Gold certified cheese production facility - the first of its kind in the country. Purchased by the Triballat family in 2006 (a French family famous for their artisan goat cheeses), Laura Chenel herself has moved back to raising goats and focusing on sustainable production for the company. Today, in partnership with small, family-run, sustainable farms in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, Laura Chenel sells more than 2,000,000 pounds of goat cheese a year. The success of this company is truly based in never compromising on the quality of milk or straying from sustainable practices.