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Straus Home & Dairy Ranches, Marshall


Save More Farms - donate nowThe story of the Straus family in West Marin began when Bill Straus started farming here on the beautiful shores of Tomales Bay in 1941 with a herd of just 32 cows. In 1950, Bill was joined on the ranch by his newlywed, Ellen. 

In 1980, Ellen Straus co-founded MALT, which was the United States' first agricultural land trust. In 1992, the Straus family sold a conservation easement to MALT, and those funds helped Ellen and Bill's son Albert turn the dairy into the first certified organic dairy and creamery west of the Mississippi River.

The milk used to make Straus Family Creamery organic dairy products is from cows that are born and raised on their farm and from seven neighboring certified organic farms. The glass bottles, which Ellen Straus helped design, still bear the image of her hand-drawn calf licking the raindrops from a drought-breaking winter storm.

Straus siblings Vivien, Michael and Miriam with Phyllis FaberThe Straus family has a long history of being active in farmland protection and environmental issues. Ellen Straus read the book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson in the early 1960s and began the family’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability. When the phone rang in their Straus ranch house, Bill would proclaim to Ellen, “It’s the environment calling.”

Today, Bill and Ellen's children – Albert, Vivien, Miriam and Michael – continue to consider stewardship of the land one of their most important responsibilities. At the 500-acre dairy, Albert has taken a bold step in reducing the impact on the environment by installing a methane digester to produce the dairy’s own electricity. Meanwhile, at the 160-acre Home Ranch, Vivien, Miriam and Michael have converted their family's 150-plus year-old home into a beautiful vacation rental and small events venue. Their certified organic pastures provide grazing and silage fields for the Bivalve Dairy, a sixth-generation dairy north of Point Reyes Station.

Where to find straus family creamery products

Today, Straus Family Creamery products include organic milk, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and frozen yogurt which are primarily sold in California and are also available in other western states. To learn more about Straus Family Creamery and where you can find their products, please visit

Vivien created an agritourism app, the California Cheese Trail, that can show you when and where you can visit artisan cheesemakers all over California.

Stay at Straus Home Ranch

The Straus Home Ranch – exquisitely renovated and beautifully furnished – is nestled amongst towering eucalyptus and cypress trees, set upon the shores of the magnificent Tomales Bay. To book vacations and events, please visit