P.S. - When asked by the Alexandre's if you want a "case of eggs," never assume that you'll just get one carton. If there's one thing I'll take with me after meeting Vanessa is that I will always trust that they are always good on their word.
There is a monumental feel to the Alexandre Dairy headquarters nestled in the northernmost reaches of the California coast. A crop of bright red bars and stables amidst a sea of vibrant green grasses emblazoned with a name that currently stretches two generations of leadership but will one day likely encompass many more. There are seven key Alexandre family members in the company; five kids and two parents, with wives and partners and family friends all wrapped up in the business as well. The kids, especially, have roots in this part of the world now.
They were raised on this stretch of farmland nestled between the sand dunes and the 101 freeway, steeped in the features of the land both wrought by nature and their parents. The small marshy patch abutting the state park was their dad’s handiwork; the result of strong irrigation and clever digging, while the dry thickets of oxidized grass between their property and the forest were the result of nature (one could argue it’s the result of poor land management in a changing climate under the auspices of state park managers rather than nature, but in the modern world the two are often the same). Vanessa, one of the youngest working family members but close to the operation’s heart, was warm and confident and serious in the way that a lifetime of training instills in a person. She talked on a timescale mostly foreign to me, about trees that wouldn’t make shade for decades and rivers that would refill over a generation.
To listen to her, a real-deal farmer at the start of her career, it seemed the easiest thing to successfully breed their herd for pure A2 milk, or for a slightly pitched down frame she referred to as “walking downhill” that allows them to graze more easily. It was only later that I realized she was talking about goals that wouldn’t be met before my fortieth birthday (and perhaps hers, too).