The new Rohnert Park creamery and its reusable glass bottle program, which currently includes its flagship product Straus Organic Cream-Top Milk, Organic Chocolate Milk, Organic Half & Half, and Organic Heavy Whipping Cream, are essential in the larger vision of reducing Straus’ carbon footprint. (Photo: Business Wire)
Innovative practices to reduce waste and use renewable energy are the primary focus of the mission-driven company’s sustainability strategy. These innovations are consistent with Straus Family Creamery’s history of doing business right. The new facility was designed to Straus’ specifications, focusing the company on becoming more efficient as a manufacturer while allowing more advanced sustainable practices, such as zero-waste production in the future.
In 2019, the Marshall creamery was the first in the world to receive TRUE ® Zero Waste Certification, and the goal is for the Rohnert Park location to obtain the same certification. The company is actively pursuing ways to eliminate fossil fuel-based plastic packaging, implementing a roadmap over the next several years to shift away from its current plastic packaging. The new creamery and its reusable glass bottle program, which currently includes its flagship product Straus Organic Cream-Top Milk, Organic Chocolate Milk, Organic Half & Half, and Organic Heavy Whipping Cream, are essential in the larger vision of reducing Straus’ carbon footprint.
“This is a huge step in our company’s history. This new facility gives us a greater focus on fulfilling our mission to sustain family farms and revitalize rural communities while creating a financially viable, replicable carbon-neutral farming model and sustainable food production,” said Albert Straus, founder and CEO, Straus Family Creamery.
With a larger and more modern manufacturing facility, Straus Family Creamery can increase the capacity of its current dairy products and enter new organic dairy categories. Straus Family Creamery looks forward to expanding its network of farmers from the current 12 certified organic dairy farms, thereby advancing its mission to sustain the next generation of family dairy farmers in the North Bay. This growth expectation is especially relevant at a time when U.S. dairy farms continue to suffer from not being paid the true cost of milk production, unpredictable pricing, and consolidation, which have caused the number of farms to plummet by 37 percent in the past ten years.
To help improve operating efficiencies throughout the production facility and help Straus Family Creamery achieve long-term growth, the company hired Doug Reid as Vice President of Manufacturing Operations and Supply Chain. He brings 30 years of senior leadership in operations and supply chain from a leading snack nut producer of California almonds and large global wine and spirits companies. Reid is an accredited Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Continuous Improvement / Operations Excellence leader. He grew up in a dairy farming family and is a fourth-generation farmer.
“In order to grow our mission to sustain local dairy farms, this facility enables improved quality and process controls to deliver on future growth,” said Reid. “This creamery also allows additional capacity to process more organic milk, producing premium organic dairy products to meet the demand in the marketplace.”
The original Marshall creamery could process up to 20,000 gallons of fluid milk each day; the new plant will double that quantity in the future. Qualtech, a company that specializes in designing dairy manufacturing plants, designed and built Straus Family Creamery’s state-of-the-art, eco-conscious, and efficient creamery.
“Our goal was to design new technologies that adapted to the existing minimally processed model that Straus has had in place for nearly three decades, said André Giguère, founder and CEO, Qualtech. “Our machines were built to ensure that the products would retain the texture and authentic Straus dairy taste while minimizing the impact on the environment.”
Straus has long pursued agricultural and business solutions to address climate change, innovating to make a positive environmental impact. Current climate-smart features at the Rohnert Park creamery include:
97% carbon-free electricity purchased from Sonoma Clean Power.LED lighting with smart controls throughout the new plant.Reduced employee commute: overall miles driven by approximately 85 creamery employees will be decreased by around 70 percent, reducing employee transportation emissions by more than 300 metric tons of CO2e per year.10 electric vehicle charging stations for employees to charge EVs at no cost.A 5,000 square foot drought-resilient landscape with more than 200 trees, flowering plants, shrubs, hedges, and grasses that conserve water, create pollinator habitats and foster ecological resilience. This landscape was built in coordination with the Conservation Corp North Bay.Other potential enhancements include new technologies related to water capture and reuse, heat recapture, and more sustainable processes for cleaning the plant.