Chat with Vivien Straus, a Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) board member, at Straus Home Ranch in the rolling hills of Marshall, California.

The organization works with local ranchers—many of whom are struggling now because of the drought—to help them stay on their land, address climate change, and experiment with innovative ways to manage water.

Vivien knows the creameries in West Marin and Sonoma, and has been impressed with the area’s particularly skillful craft cheese makers.

She founded the Cheese Trail to help draw attention to them, eventually expanding to include cheese makers all the way from Crescent City to San Diego, including a significant cluster on the Central Coast. Vivien gives us the inside scoop on where we can sample cheeses, take cheese making classes, go on farm tours, experience goat yoga, and even pet a water buffalo—they apparently get ecstatic if you brush them the right way.

Hear Laurie's chat with rancher Vivien Straus