Crowd-sourcing for boutique herd


As part of a growing trend of appealing to the pocketbooks of the masses to fund community projects, a sixth-generation Tomales rancher launched a Kickstarter page on Christmas Eve to start a boutique cow dairy that would provide milk to a tiny creamery located on her family ranch. As of Thursday evening, Marissa Thornton had collected just over $8,000, almost a quarter of the $35,000 she is seeking to purchase 20 organic jersey cows. These animals would graze on 1,000 acres of pasture and produce milk for Bleating Heart Cheese, a small award-winning creamery that moved to her family’s ranch last February. The creamery currently makes sheep milk cheese but has long been on the hunt for a source of cow’s milk, which Ms. Thornton’s dairy would provide. The Thornton family began dairying in Tomales in 1852; they stopped in 2001 after getting slammed with estate taxes after Ms. Thornton’s grandfather’s death. Now, Ms. Thornton, who already runs a sheep dairy, has a vision of a small cow herd she can manage herself. Her small herd, she writes, “will bring delicious new cheeses into the marketplace that we can truly say capture our terroir.” The Kickstarter campaign ends on Jan. 25. To learn more, visit