Marin French Cheese Company Honors Jim Boyce – You’re Invited Saturday August 15, 2015

A Tribute of Art and Music to Visionary Cheese Factory Owner

Jim BoyceFounded in 1865, Marin French Cheese is celebrating 150 years of fine cheesemaking in its historic Hicks Valley location. To mark this milestone the company has held events throughout the year for trade partners, loyal customers and friends in the community. The coming event on Saturday August 15th is set aside as a celebration and remembrance of Jim Boyce. Boyce purchased Marin French Cheese Company in 1998 and operated it until his untimely death in 2010. Boyce catapulted Marin French to international fame with a first-time Gold medal award for an American Brie in a prestigious 2005 European competition.

Marin French Cheese Company 150-Year Anniversary Celebration, Photo By Ashley Collingwood
Marin French Cheese Company 150-Year Anniversary Celebration, Photo By Ashley Collingwood

The August 15th tribute event will be open to the public at no charge. The full-day event takes place outdoors on the grounds surrounding the creamery from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event features a few of Jim’s passions – art, music and great cheese. Central to the event is the exhibit and sale of contemporary local art curated by Art Contemporary Marin, a nonprofit contemporary arts organization that Boyce helped found. Original works from twelve featured artists will be on display and for sale through Sunday the 16th. On Saturday, guests can enjoy market-style samplings of artisan cheese and beverages while music from the Copeland Creek Jazz Quintet and John Burdick Band plays outdoors on the lawn.
History of Marin French Cheese FactoryFounded by Jefferson Thompson in 1865, Marin French was owned and operated by Thompson family descendents until the family sold the business in 1998 to Jim Boyce from Bishop, California. Jim was an organic cattle rancher, architect and land developer. He appreciated the unique Hicks Valley “terroir” of the cheese and the burgeoning growth in artisan cheesemaking across the U.S. in the early 2000s. He increased the number and types of cheeses being made, improved and expanded the Marin French Cheese 1factory and retail store, energizing the brand, Rouge et Noir, with national marketing and distribution. Under his leadership Marin French became the first U.S. cheese company to win a Gold medal and Best of Class award in a European competition – the 2005 World Cheese Awards in London. Beyond his contribution to the resurgence in cheesemaking, Jim and his wife, Kris Otis, created a nonprofit organization with local arts leaders, Art at the Cheese Factory, now known as Art Contemporary Marin. The exhibits featured art they loved – contemporary painting and sculpture by artists from the North Bay. Thousands attended the exhibits, expanding the experience of visiting the Cheese Factory to an elegant, educational celebration.

Following Boyce’s death in 2010, Marin French Cheese was sold to Rians, a respected French family cheesemaking business. Rians completed Boyce’s expansion activities, updated the production areas with state-of-the art equipment and is committed to the future of this venerable 150-year-old local institution.

Marin French Cheese SignAbout Marin French Cheese Company
Founded in 1865 Marin French Cheese Company is the longest continuously operating cheese company in America, celebrating 150 years in 2015 with a unique history of handcrafting traditional and original soft-ripening cheeses. Since the days of the Gold Rush, Marin French has practiced time-honored cheesemaking techniques, using only fresh milk from neighboring family dairy farms. It has grown from a small family business to an expanded, state-of-the-art facility, producing cheeses that are sold nationally and regularly earn top honors in international cheese competitions. At its idyllic Hicks Valley Ranch location in Northern California, Marin French hosts visitors from around the world to sample its distinctive cheeses, enjoy a picnic on the lawns and visit its retail shop open to the public year-round.

“Cheese Factory” Celebrates 150 Years!

Mallard at Marin French Cheese Factory
Mallard at Marin French Cheese Factory

Marin French Cheese SignWhen growing up in the area, I always remembered our family visits and school field trips to the “Cheese Factory”.  Taking the tour and watching the cheese making process is a lifetime and memorable experience.  A great spot to ride your bike on country roads making it your half-way point-rest stop for a picnic with a glass of wine, cheese and french bread while watching the ducks swim in the pond.

This dairy started in 1865 during a time the civil war railroads were lined west to east and western immigrants started settling in Marin County to farm the rich coastal territory.

History of Marin French Cheese FactoryAt his West Marin dairy farm just on the border of Petaluma, Jefferson Thompson built deliciously fresh cheese utilizing the dairy from his cows. Thompson could then deliver it to the dockworkers in the Bay Area by schooner. He soon gained recognition for his European style cheeses – smooth – Camembert ripened Brie and a basic treat named Petite Breakfast cheese – and launched a creamery that would ultimately be called Marin French Cheese.


VIDEO UPDATE: Jewish Community of #Petaluma Celebrates 150 Years

A celebration in August 1925 for the opening of the Petaluma Jewish Community Center photo/courtesy b’nai israel jewish center


Posted by the Producer, Director and Editor Mac Weinstock on YouTube on November 3, 2014.


An old photo of B’nai Israel Jewish Center’s current building
An old photo of B’nai Israel Jewish Center’s current building


We didn’t see this report elsewhere, so we felt it was important to share for its historical significance of our great city. On October 23 the wrote and article announcing the Jewish community of Petaluma celebrates 150 years by shoshana hebshi , j. correspondent.  The congregation started in Petaluma in October 22, 1864, and they were incorporated as Congregation Society B’nai Israel by the state in 1871.

During our famed “Egg Basket of the World” in 30’s and 40s thousands of chicken farmers were jewish farming families. More came from Russia after WWI in postwar years. The Petaluma Jewish Community Center was dedicated on 740 Western Ave near the downtown in 1925.