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Dec 29, 2012 10:05 PM

Last batch of Cowgirl Creamery Clabbered Cottage Cheese

Just got a message from a contact at Cowgirl Creamery that the last batch of organic clabbered cottage cheese was produced today.

Apparently the production of cottage cheese is more resource intensive than the original creamery in Point Reyes can continue to sustain under current water conservation limits. And the equipment at the new facility in Petaluma is not geared for making this product.

This was the first cheese that co-founder, Sue Conley, learned to make ( ) and it could not have been easy to make a decision to suspend production. Figuring out how to bring it back is on the table, but I was advised not to expect to see it again in the near future. So this would be the time to stock up.

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  1. What saddened me was that when Cowgirl put theirs on the market it replaced one made by Straus that I preferred. Now we have neither.

    1. It's seriously difficult to market a better quality cottage cheese. Many people consider it to be on the lowest rung of the cheese ladder, even if they don't have unpleasant memories from their earlier years, such as being served mama's canned peaches with cottage cheese or forcing themselves to eat it daily for lunch for months while dieting. Still, it's sad that Cowgirl isn't able to continue with their superior product. The only other premium cottage cheese I'm aware of is made in Zionsville, IN. It is available primarily in the midwest:

      9 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          So two industrial cottage cheeses sold in supermarket chains beat all others, including the artisanal one? Can we look forward to this tasting panel naming Kraft the world champion cheddar?

          I haven't tasted Cowgirl's clabbered cottage cheese, so can't say anything good or bad about it. I assume that you are familiar with it and think better of it than this panel did.

          1. re: cheesemaestro

            The Cowgirl product had a very distinctive flavor and texture, which people who are accustomed to and like "regular" cottage cheese might not like. As noted above, I wasn't a particular fan, and there are artisanal cottage cheeses I've enjoyed more.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              You raise a valid point. When someone has grown up with a particular food product or frequently eaten a dish at home made from the same recipe, it can become the paragon to which other versions are--usually unfavorably--compared. How many times have we heard things like, "I've had lasagna at a lot of places, but my mother's is the best."? Still, given the credentials of the panel that conducted the cottage cheese tasting, all professionals in the food industry, I would expect them to have broad experience with trying different foods and not necessarily be wedded to a single flavor/texture profile.

              There are a couple of other possibilities. The first is that the rankings reflect nothing more than the likes and dislikes of the particular people on the panel. That seems obvious, but it's why I place little stock in published ratings (Cook's Illustrated, Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, etc.). Just for fun this past summer, I looked at several reports on the Internet that rated "premium" vanilla ice creams. Assessments of the various brands were all over the place. In one report, a brand was ranked very high; in another, the same brand was ranked much lower. There's always a "There's no accounting for taste" component in any opinion of a food.

              Second, the Cowgirl cottage cheese may not have been in tip-top condition when the panel tasted it. Unlike mass market brands, which are formulated to have a reasonably long shelf life, Cowgirl's cheese is at its best when eaten fresh, within a day or two after it is made.

              1. re: cheesemaestro

                This discussion illustrates why many 'hounds don't find the America's Test Kitchen "taste tests" to be useful (unless we use 'em for what we "won't" choose).

                1. re: MGZ

                  Yup. I looked at the actual scoring for the products, and it didn't seem to apply in this case, but I find that often the choice of a panel is the one that is the least objectionable to the most people. ATK in particular seems to skew to safe and bland. And yes, they're often more useful in eliminating choices than making them!

            2. re: cheesemaestro

              I've actually not tasted it either. I regret not going to Cowgirl's store in San Francisco's Ferry Building on Monday morning to buy some, but I couldn't spare the time to cross town. I called two other Whole Foods in Silicon Valley and both said they can't get any more. When I informed the cheese guy at the Cupertino store that another batch had been made over the weekend, he was delighted and said it was the best ever cottage cheese and he was going to order it right away. Then Monday afternoon, I stopped by my regular cheesemonger, Michael Burke, at Star Market in Salinas to see if it might have any. He said he'd been ordering two cases at a time, but Cowgirl had informed accounts that there would be no more a couple weeks ago. So, I suspect that the last batch was to stock their own store.

              Michael has been in the cheese biz for 38 years and was one of the founder's of Carmel Cheese Shop. When I expressed my surprise that he was selling so much of the cottage cheese, he did say that it was not for everyone. He explained that he grew up in the dairy biz and enjoys the tanginess of freshly made cheese. He said that many customers do not like the lactic acid tang and would describe Cowgirl cottage cheese as too "lemony".

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                When l was growing up, Breakstone made a tangy, small curd cottage cheese that for me was perfect, expect the CC was similar, too late for me.

            3. re: Melanie Wong

              I recently tried Cowgirl's cottage cheese after a friend raved about it and thought it was awful. What really stood out was how salty it was. I could only have a few bites before setting it aside. On this one, I agree with the taste-off.

              And I love most of the Cowgirl cheeses I've tried. Red Hawk and Mt. Tam are two of my regular cheese selections and I often pick up cheeses like Inverness when my local cheese shop manages to get them in stock.

          2. We first found out about this when we visited their Point Reyes Station store last May, & it was **really** good. We had been planning to return again this spring but I wonder now if it's worth the trip to California. ( joke )

            Thanks for the sad news. I'd rather know now than when we got back to the store.