Baserri is a 4-pound aged wheel produced from the farm’s own raw milk. Barinaga starts milking her sheep in early April and they dry up by early October, so cheese making occurs just six months a year. She now milks about 80 sheep, enough to make 300 to 500 pounds of cheese a week. Does that meager output constitute a living in West Marin?
No, admits Barinaga, whose supportive husband has a successful career in biotechnology. Retail shops get $35 to $45 a pound for her cheese, but her share of that – roughly half – doesn’t put her in the black.
“I’m not making any money on my cheese,” says Barinaga emphatically. “I’m barely paying salaries and feed.”