Albert Straus, Founder/CEO & Organic Dairy Farmer
The Creamery began in 1994 when Albert Straus, our Founder/ CEO, made a choice that had a lasting impact on the entire landscape of dairy farming in the United States. Inspired by ethical and economic considerations, Straus converted his family farm to organic, becoming the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River. While his peers thought, he had gone crazy, Straus had practical reasons for the shift — he and other family farmers were selling milk to local co-ops or regional processors that set the price for their milk, an amount that often did not cover the costs of production.
Finding this approach short-sighted, Straus spearheaded the movement for inventive farming practices and small-scale artisan dairy production critical to the survival of family farms. Because industrial agriculture was on the rise and milk prices were unrealistically low to sustain family farming, Straus saw an exciting opportunity — Create an organic marketplace; one which reflected the true costs of production and promoted responsible land stewardship, offering a viable, principled, sustainable business model for small dairy farms.
All Organic, Always
Going organic freed Straus to fully embrace his deeply held belief in stewardship of the land. The emerging community of organic consumers in California represented a vital economic and health-oriented marketplace that was socially responsible, while also allowing for the challenging realities of family farms.
This led to the founding, in 1994, of Straus Family Creamery, the first 100% certified organic creamery in the country. But Straus kept innovating. After detecting GMO contamination in his certified organic purchased animal feeds, Straus developed a GMO testing and verification program in 2005. Every source of feed for cows on the Straus dairy and the eight other local, organic family farms that provide milk to the Creamery is tested for GMOs. When the Non-GMO Project emerged in 2010, Straus Family Creamery became the first creamery in the country to be verified.
Today, Albert Straus, still oversees the dairy farm, getting up early every morning before heading to the office to manage daily operations.
Stewards of the Land
Albert Straus inherited his sustainable ideals from his parents, Bill and Ellen Straus.
“I know that with farming comes an inherent responsibility of being a good steward of the land. My decisions are made to minimize our impact on the land. Growing up with parents who were actively trying to preserve our rural community and create a collaborative group of farmers, environmentalists, government agencies, and community members influenced me. I became active in our local community.”
Albert Straus continues to be a leader in sustainable farming practices, broadening the vision of environmentalism, sustainable practices and stewardship of the land, while also embracing the benefits of modern technology. The resulting innovations include a methane digester, which converts cow waste into renewable energy; a carbon farming program, designed to measure and optimize carbon capture; and an extensive water-reuse system, which recycles waste water from the Creamery. The Creamery also operates on 100% renewable energy.
Fights Climate Change with Methane Powered Farm Truck
In 2017, Straus introduced his new full-scale electric feed truck to close the conservation loop on his dairy farm, proving that sustainable organic farming is a critical part of feasible solutions to reversing climate change.