Point Reyes, California

“This is Andante’s Minuet,” Ricky says, by way of introduction to a soft goat cheese he cradled in his hands. It was one of dozens at the Palace Market deli, where shelf after shelf of fine food is labeled ‘Local.’ “The cheesemaker is a biochemist up in Petaluma. Until recently, her cheese was only available through The French Laundry and Charlie Trotter.”

At the corner of A Street and 3rd, Table Top Farms operates on an honesty system. They trust you to put $4 in the kitty for a basket of sungold tomatoes or a kilogram of zucchini, “all grown within 1 mile of here!”

I got a similar response at Toby’s Feed Barn when I asked about the Point Reyes Bay Blue cheese. “They’re 3 miles up the road,” the proprietor explains, tilting his head in the general direction of Route 1. He had the word “Carnivore” on the back of his shirt. “Come back for the Farmers Market on Saturday. The locals come and interact in the back, where the feed is.”

Point Reyes Station, population 1500, is still a rancher town, and “there’s lots of dairy.” Everyone has received the “local and sustainable” memo, but there are dissenting voices at the fringes. On the Community Wall, one resident has gone rouge, putting up stickers that say, “Go vegan. Dairy is evil.”

It’s easy to imagine all this dairy. On the drive up, brown cows grazing on mint stood on yellow hillsides that have come to life this first summer after six years of drought. The Nicasio Reservoir is full to the brim again. Along the town streets, old cowboys with steely blue eyes go about the business of livestock.

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