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John Fiscalini is the third generation in his family to run a dairy farm on the same piece of land in the San Joaquin Valley, also known as California’s “fruit basket." The tagline on John’s email reads, “Merging technology with reverence for our land and our cows to achieve sustainability.” This is exactly what he has done with his family’s farm. He has transformed it into a state of the art operation, supporting 3,000 Holstein cows. The farm and cheese plant are powered entirely with electricity from the methane digester he constructed in 2009. Prior to 2000, Fiscalini was selling into the fluid milk pool. John realized his children were becoming interested in the family business and that meant he needed to expand somehow, but he was happy with the size of the herd and the farm so he attended a seminar by the CA Milk Advisory Board on farmstead cheesemaking. He liked the idea that he could make room for his kids in the business while adding value to his high quality milk, and that there would be a handcrafted product on market shelves with his family’s name on it. Months later he built a cheese plant on the farm. Fiscalini family heritage traces back to Switzerland so John and his first cheesemaker started with a recipe modeled on an alpine cheese; They called it San Joaquin Gold. In 2001, John hired Mariano Gonzales, one of the most celebrated cheddar cheesemakers in the country, and Fiscalini began producing a collection of award-winning aged block and clothbound cheddars.
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