Straus Family Creamery Founder/CEO and organic dairy farmer Albert Straus is the oldest son of Bill and Ellen Straus. Bill began his dairy farm in the early 1940s in Marshall, on the beautiful shores of Tomales Bay, and Ellen joined him in 1950. They started out small, with only 23 Jersey cows, which they named after family and friends.
Bill and Ellen’s four children were raised on the ranch. By the time they reached adulthood, the California dairy industry was in transition and a different, much larger, industrial type of dairy farm had begun to spread itself on the land.
By the 1970s, the typical landscape of small family dairy farming in Northern California had shifted dramatically. Over a few short decades, the number of licensed dairy farms in the United States sharply declined from 4.6 million in 1940 to just more than 40,000 in 2018. The number of cows had also declined, from 22 million in 1940 to slightly over 9 million in 2016, according to the USDA.