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Silva Family Dairy

Silva Family Dairy, nestled in Tomales in West Marin County on the Northern California Coast, became a certified organic milk supplier for Straus Family Creamery in April 2019. Farmers Louis and Marissa Silva, who have two young children, Paisley and Reed, operate a 220-acre farm with an organic herd of 125 Jersey milking cows.

The Jersey cows produce high butterfat milk, rich in protein, butterfat, and milk solids, creating an incredible high-quality flavor. Jersey cows are smaller than Holstein cows.

Their farm was certified organic in 2017. The decision to become organic was motivated by their desire to improve and protect the soil, water, and health and management of the animals that live on the land and get their nourishment from the region’s coastal grasses.

“Organic dairy farming supports the animals and environment, contributing to healthier soils and better water for the next generation,” says Louis.  Marissa adds, “Organic dairy farming practices give consumers confidence that their dairy products are pure in every sense.”

Both Louis and Marissa have dairy farming in their family lineage. Marissa is the sixth generation to operate a dairy on this land — her ancestors came to Tomales in 1852. They were the Marshall brothers for whom the town of Marshall is named. The historic equipment used to separate cream from milk on her family’s farm back in the 1800s remains untouched in one of their barns today.

Marissa grew up knowing she would someday have a dairy to honor the history of the land and of her family. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from California State University, Chico and gaining experience at another local dairy, Marissa started a dairy on her family’s farm in Tomales in 2014. She sold milk from a herd of 20 Jersey cows to small local cheesemakers.

Louis, who grew up influenced by his dad and grandpa’s dairy farming in the Central Valley, started a dairy in 2011 on a leased property in Petaluma. Louis and Marissa were introduced to each other in 2014 by one of the cheesemakers buying milk from each of their individual dairies. In 2017, they combined businesses to create Silva Family Dairy at Marissa’s family’s property in Tomales.

“Dairy farming is in my DNA. I have never wanted to do anything else,” says Louis.

Silva Family Dairy Facts

The year their farm was certified organic.
Acre farm

Improving Soil Health

The Silva Family Dairy received grant funding from California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Healthy Soils Program to implement compost application and pasture seeding projects over the next three years. Increasing organic matter increases infiltration and biological activity, making soil a more effective filter, among other benefits.

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