Rumiano Cheese Co., California’s oldest family-owned cheese company and a pioneer in organic and artisanal cheese, said construction has begun on its new 46,766-square-foot cheese processing and packaging plant one hour north of Sacramento in Willows, Calif.
The new state-of-the-art facility will enable Rumiano to expand its current headquarter operations in Willows and to double its current packaging volume by the end of 2025 as retail demand continues to accelerate. The company said it will be able to increase its processing and distribution capacity and will introduce additional product lines and capabilities for new retail package types, including shreds and snacks. The expansion also bolsters Rumiano’s ability to scale its cutting and packaging business for other West Coast cheesemakers and its Board at Home program, which supports California’s artisanal community.
Located at 101 Harvest Dr., a short distance from the existing plant at 1629 County Rd. E., the new site will occupy 4 acres of a new 38-acre commercial industrial park being developed by the city of Willows. The facility is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2021, Rumiano said.
“The city’s assistance with this industrial development site made it possible for us to remain here in Willows, where we’ve been successfully operating for 101 years,” said John Rumiano, vice president and third-generation co-owner at Rumiano Cheese Co. “We are eager to deepen our long-standing contribution to this wonderful community, and we remain committed to our dedicated employees, many of whom have been with us for thirty to forty years.”
Construction of the new facility is supported by a $1.8 million economic development grant from the city of Willows, along with private funding. Rumiano said it will retain all 150 current employees and is actively recruiting for additional employees to support the new growth plans. The company currently employs more than 200 people between its production plant in Crescent City, Calif., where the cheese is made, and its facility in Willows, where all products are processed and packaged for distribution.
Rumiano said it will move most of its packaging operations to the new facility, and the existing Willows plant will be renovated for cheese aging and storage, as well as a range of small-batch value-added processing. A new research and development space will be created for ongoing innovation in new products and packaging.
“Our new facility, along with equipment upgrades and cutting-edge technology, is going to provide a footprint for growth for years to come,” said Joe Baird, CEO. “As we push the boundaries of our product innovations and significantly increase our efficiencies, we’re also going to be able to give our employees more opportunities for advancement and career development.”
In line with Rumiano’s ongoing commitment to reducing energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions through sustainable and eco-friendly practices that mitigate the effects of climate change, the new Willows plant, like the company’s existing facilities, will run on 100% renewable solar energy generated on-site. The new plant will also be Safe Quality Food standards (SQF) certified, the company said.
“The city of Willows is proud to work with a family-run and community-oriented business,” said Wayne Peabody, Willows’ city manager. “We look forward to the continued growth of the business and the opportunities that will arise from Rumiano Cheese being in the city of Willows.”
View a video the company created about the facility's construction here.