An Ode to Cowgirl Creamery Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese that will change your mind about cottage cheese.

My early recollections of cottage cheese are not the best of ones.

Like so many of you way back when, I ate it — but not happily.

It was, of course, diet food, associated with canned cling peach halves or bare burger patties alongside a forlorn leaf of iceberg lettuce. We ate the white, creamy curds because they were supposed to be good for us, because we were counting calories, because we wanted to feel virtuous.

We certainly didn’t spoon them into our mouths because we wanted to.

But I do now.

That’s because I’ve discovered a cottage cheese that actually makes me revel in eating cottage cheese. It’s the clabbered cottage cheese crafted by Cowgirl Creamery of Point Reyes Station.

It starts with organic non-fat milk from Marin County’s Straus Family Creamery. Clabbered cream (similar in taste to creme fraiche) is then added. The result is a creamy, rich cottage cheese. Unlike the standard mass-produced ones that have a sort of sour milk-taste to them, Cowgirl Creamery’s has a pure, fresh milky flavor.

One ounce of the cottage cheese has 60 calories and 2 grams of fat. An 8-ounce tub is $4.25, and available at the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop in the San Francisco Ferry Building, Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station, and some farmers’ markets.

Founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, who started making their cheeses in 1997, helped pioneer the artisan cheese movement in Northern California.

Now, like Johnny Appleseeds, they are spreading their know-how and can-do-spirit around the globe. Thanks to Conley’s efforts, artisan cheese will be made for the first time next year in a tiny village in the Himalayas. And with Smith’s help, a cafe will open in the Peruvian Andes that will showcase ingredients grown by local organic farmers.

Read more about their endeavors in my story in the June issue of San Francisco Magazine.

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  • This must be a real good Product. Too bad that it isnt available in Germany, Grrr.
    Greets Dirk

  • “diet food, associated with canned cling peach halves” is exactly what I picture when I hear the words “cottage cheese” after reading this, I’m inclined to give it another shot.

  • This cottage cheese looks like a great one! I didn’t always like it, but I’ve come to enjoy it alongside a salad.

  • It really looks good! Most of the cottage cheese is full of salt and not very good. Too bad that it is not available at a regular grocery store!

  • I remember how good Cowgirl Creamery cottage cheese was when I visited their facility in Point Reyes. I’d love to read your article in SF magazine. Can you provide a more direct online link? (I had trouble finding it.)

  • Cheryl: Alas, San Francisco Magazine’s online site doesn’t always provide links to every story in its issues. I’m afraid that might be the case with this story. You might have to just have to pick up a copy on the newsstand. I know, that means forking out money. But just remember: It’s a small investment to keep working writers employed. Yes, like yours truly. 😉

  • cool post. i’ll look for the cottage cheese at the Ferry Bldg. Glad you’re working for SF Magazine.

  • Will have to pick some up the next time I am in the Ferry Building. And will pick up a copy of SF magazine as well 🙂

  • Don’t even mention Cowgirl Creamery Cottage Cheese! When I was out west last month, my mother-in-law had some in her fridge. Let me emphasize the word “had.” Sheesh!

  • I adore cottage cheese bizarre…here have a lot of brands because the dairy production is enormous.

    Anyway, the creamy one of Cowgirl Creamery must be delicious also 🙂
    The first pic is awesome as always!



  • I love Cowgirl Creamery! We had their cheese for the first time when my boyfriend’s parents visited us. They were walking around the Ferry Building and decided to get us some cheese spread. I don’t remember what kind of cheese it was but it was SO creamy and delicious! I think I ended up just scooping out the cheese and ditching the crackers!

  • The cottage cheese looks sooo good on your picture! Back in Ukraine, I used to really dislike cottage cheese as it was not so good and really different from the one here but I do like the American version a lot better.

    I just got the book in the mail today – thanks so much! I’m looking forward to reading it tonight!

  • I have to admit to liking cottage cheese, but the Cowgirl Creamery type looks MUCH better. Great article, I could read and learn about cheese all day long.

  • I love SF magazine, just wish it weren’t so humongous and available online! I’ve had that cottage cheese and for some reason I love it with jam…

  • You actually make me want to try cottage cheese again! Usually the only reason I ever have it in the house is for my daughter.

    A few months back I tried Cowgirl Creamery’s truffle infused soft cheese (I forget the name) – it is to die for. Pretty difficult to spread on a cracker because it is all crumbly, so we pretty much ate it with a spoon, with no shame whatsoever.

  • One of my favorite cheeses is from Cowgirl Creamery. Red Hawk is not for everyone but it is quite, um, intense.
    Didn’t even know they made cottage cheese. The photos really show off the texture and I’ll have to try this out.

  • Hmmmm, I’m intrigued! I don’t dislike cottage cheese, but I know exactly what you mean about the commercially produced kind. Now that I have it on the brain I’ll have to seek out the good stuff.

  • I never ate cottage cheese until just a few years ago and all I’ve tried so far are your standard national brands found at the grocery. I’ve heard a lot about Cowgirl Creamery and hope I might find it somewhere here – Whole Foods, perhaps? I just tried my hand at making fresh crème fraîche (not perfect but better than sour or whipped cream for my little cakes) so the clabbered cream has hooked me!

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