Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hilmar Cheese Co. at Hilmar, California

As I mentioned yesterday, last weekend my mother and I rode the Amtrak, to visit my daughter in Turlock. We really enjoyed the train as it was the first time for both of us. We also did quite a few things while we were visiting, one of the best was visiting the Hilmar Cheese Co.

Hilmar Cheese Co., is located in Hilmar, CA a few miles from Turlock. In 1984, 12 dairy families got together to create the Hilmar Cheese Co. You can go here to get more information on the history, I'm not the greatest of historians, I prefer just being a humble visitor and photographer, so let's look at some pictures.

The picture below is of the entrance to the visitor's center. As soon as you walk in you are standing in the gift shop; and it has so many beautiful things, cheeses, jams, jellies, cooking supplies, various dressings and marinades and candy. I saw so many things I wanted I could fill up a year of Iwanna wishes at this place! There is also a Deli where they serve pastries, signature sandwiches, gourmet-style pizza, home-made soups and salads and ice cream. They have a full espresso bar and proudly serve Starbucks Coffees, Yum!

Let's go inside shall we?

I wish I had taken pictures of the gift area, but I was just overwhelmed by all there was to see and completely forgot about taking pictures, sorry :-(

Below is the cafe/deli. There was cheese everywhere and the best part was that you could sample every little type of cheese they made and it was so good. In the glass case there in the front under the chalkboard that says "Tri-tip Tacos" (yep people, this is California and we have Tri-Tip Tacos!), is a glass case filled with different types of salads. Macaroni al fredo salad, pasta salad, potato salad, all kinds. If you could see to the left of the picture and around the corner you would find another glass case filled with pastries which is where I scored my delicious Scone.

I have to admit that I let my daughter buy me a lovely Orange-White Chocolate Scone that I carried in my own two little hands all the way back home on the train to enjoy with my morning coffee at work the next day. It was sheer heaven. I love Scones and need to find that recipe. This one was as big as my hand and about two inches thick.

Here you can see their espresso and coffee bar. We had just had breakfast at the Hot Rod Cafe in Turlock (wish I had thought to get pictures. Next time, as it's a very unique little place as well) so we weren't too hungry. But April, my daughter had slept in and missed breakfast so she had a grilled cheese sandwich that was made with fresh Hilmar Cheese Co., cheese and it was so ooey-gooey wonderful that it was like a little bit of heaven in your mouth!

While I was there I had to visit the ladies room. And check out the tile work, isn't it so cute and so fitting?

A close-up, please feel free to click to enlarge and see more detail.

I just love the little cow tracks!

Once we were done with our shopping I had to go outside and take pictures of the outside of this gorgeous place.

This is the the west side of the Visitors Center. You can take a self-guided tour through this place and go through the whole process of cheese-making, but unfortunately on weekends after 11am the second floor is closed for private parties and there happened to be one when we visited, so we didn't get to take the tour, but you can do a virtual tour here. I took the virtual tour because I'm always interested in how things are made and it was interesting to watch and to see how there is no waste; even the water left after processing the cheese is taken to a water facility to be processed and used to water the crops which are grown to feed the cows!

I was a little confused by the fact that they say in the tour video that a cow must be a mother to produce milk. Ok, that makes sense, but then it goes on to say that the cows are milked three to four times a day? So what do the baby cows drink if all their mothers milk is milked out to make cheese? Anyone?

This is the same spot as the previous photo and I had to have a picture taken in such a beautiful spot. We were sitting in what was a little grotto, it was so pretty here and great photo-ops!

Here's another beautiful photo-op, so of course you know what I had to do right?

Why take photos of course. Here is my daughter April and her grandmother and my mom Tomasa.

And here I am standing by the waterfall.

There were a lot of lovely plants, but I especially loved this one. Anyone know what this is?

Here's a closer look.

And here's a parting shot taken from the car window as we leave the parking lot of the Hilmar Cheese Co. Visitors Center parking lot.

Hope you enjoyed the visit and feel free to go and take the virtual tour. It's a little sappy, but still educational. And if you're ever in the area, be sure and stop by and have a grilled cheese sandwich, mmmmmmm!


  1. Hi Alicia,

    I 've greatly enjoyed reading your description of the visit at Hilmar Cheese Center. The pictures are of good quality and I was really impressed by the tile work in the ladies' room.
    You, your Mom and your daughter are quite a triangle of Love, three generations of women very strongly bonded to each other.

  2. Hi Alicia,
    I am glad that you had a nice visit to Hilmar Cheese Company. In answer to your question regarding what do the calves drink, they drink milk or milk replacer from a bottle or bucket. has great information about modern family dairy farms take care of their calves.
    We hope to see you again in the future.
    Denise Skidmore
    Education & Public Relations
    Hilmar Cheese Company

  3. I live in Modesto, and was raised in Hughson. I guess I didn't realize u were a CA girl :) I have known people that have worked at Hilmar Cheese, but have never been. I think we will go now!

  4. Thanks for the tour - great photos. Don't remember the name of the plant, but around here it is an ornamental grass.


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