At Mendocino Farms our passion is to inspire and connect with our guests by preparing thoughtful, chef-driven sandwiches and salads. We believe our purpose as a company, however, extends far beyond the food itself and we strive to play a meaningful role in our community by having a positive impact on everyone whose lives we touch. The soul of our food comes from the farmers and food artisans who take such great care to produce the top-quality ingredients we serve every day, so today we’re launching a special Chef’s Pick to further support one of our most trusted partners, Drake Family Farms, and humbly honor the care, expertise, and craftsmanship that go into their fine cheeses.
Our friendship with “Dr. Dan,” the veterinarian owner of Drake Family Farms, has been forged over many years doing business together. As Dan can tell you, in a world that’s increasingly influenced by the efficiency and profit margin promised by more industrialized processes, it’s not easy to run a food business doing things the old fashioned way, but the quality of the end product makes it worthwhile to do so. We couldn’t agree more, which is why we go out of our way to support his local Ontario, California farm and share his delicious cheese with our guests. We actually created our “Save Drake Farm’s Salad” salad to increase our purchasing power and help support Dr. Dan through a particularly rocky financial period on the farm. The salad is now our #3 bestselling menu offering, with over 3,000 salads ordered every single week.
Drake Farm’s cheeses, as you’ll learn on their website, are both “farmstead” and “artisan.” “Farmstead” means that they are made right on the farm with milk exclusively from the farm’s own animals. Because of this, Dan actually increases the size of his goat herd and ramps up production as Mendocino Farms opens new locations, in order to keep up with demand. It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that the growth and success of our two businesses are linked, and that together we’re able to feed so many people a truly special product. According to the American Cheese Society, the word “artisan or artisanal” implies that a cheese is produced primarily by hand, in small batches, with particular attention paid to the tradition of the cheese maker’s art, and thus using as little mechanization as possible in the production of the cheese. The whole process begins with raising the goat herd with lots of love. Each goat on the farm has a name (there is actually one named “Mendo” and one named “Cino” after us!) and is treated like a pet. Since Dan is also a vet, they truly get the highest standard of care.
We want to thank all our guests for continually helping us support this incredible local food artisan, and we hope all the goat cheese aficionados out there will fall in love with our new Drake Farms Celebration Sandwich. Our Chef uses perfectly toasted buckwheat bread to bring together the creamy goat cheese, savory Creminelli prosciutto, and sweet fig chutney. Peppery arugula adds a tangy bite, and a sprinkle of fresh squeezed lemon juice provides the brightness to make all the flavors sing. Let us know what you think!
“Mendocino Farms has been such a huge help in getting my local dairy goat farm off the ground and running. They’re our single largest customer and even created the ‘Save Drake Farms Salad’ to increase their goat cheese usage to help save our farm. In a food climate where nearly every restaurant and chef wants to claim they are local and sustainably sourced, there are a large number of chefs and restaurants that drop the local to get a better buy. Unfortunately, local is not less expensive, it is more expensive and does impact the bottom line at the restaurant. It is especially difficult as a local farmer to see people drop the local yet continue to say they support local slow food. Mendocino Farms is the real deal, they say they are local and they support the local food system. I love Mendocino Farms and I personally would like to thank them for the huge contribution they have made toward making my dairy goat farm dream a reality.”
-Dr. Dan Drake, Drake Family Farms