Dairy Queen

Leilani Marie Labong | June 12, 2019 | Food & Drink Feature Story Eat

Hadley Kreitz with her husband, David, in the kitchen at Toluma Farms & Tomales Farmstead Creamery, the birthplace of the Daily Driver bagel. The Kreitzes will make butter once per week (about 500 pounds per batch), and bagels will be baked fresh daily, with a capacity to make around 7,500 per day.

Hadley Kreitz’s path to becoming San Francisco’s modern dairy queen was, as most callings are, circuitous. She grew up in rural Pennsylvania helping out on her grandparents’ “hobby” farm and hearing daily legends about her great-grandmother’s West Virginia dairy. But, Kreitz didn’t feel called back to the land until she had first completed a 15-year ice-hockey career, an undergrad art history education at St. Andrews in Scotland and a long stint as whole-sale high-end handbag rep in New York’s cutthroat fashion industry.

“When I was living in New York, I wanted to get out of the city every weekend,” says Kreitz, now 32. “I thought, ‘Why am I battling this? Why don’t I just go with it and see what happens?’” She’s sitting on the porch at Tomales Farmstead Creamery with her Australian shepherd, Buddy Lee, dozing at her feet. Fuzzy sheep and goats gruff graze on the hilly green pasture a few dozen yards yonder.

This is where Kreitz handcrafts small-batch butter, quark and cream cheese for Daily Driver, the new Dogpatch cafe she co-owns with her husband, David, who bakes bagels for the eatery in a wood-fire oven. In 2014, Kreitz arrived at the West Marin creamery, owned by psychologist Tamara Hicks and surgeon David Jablons (the husband and wife also share ownership of Daily Driver with the Kreitzes), through a fortuitous series of farm apprenticeships. Kreitz had rediscovered the strenuous activity and adrenaline forgotten during her days wandering the Scottish Highlands and slinging handbags in New York. “It wasn’t until I started working in agriculture that I felt that familiar adrenaline and sense of daily accomplishment,” she says. “It felt so good to use my muscles again.”

Banish now from your mind’s eye the vision of a gentle milkmaid. Simply transporting the milk—only superfatty Jersey cow milk from nearby Silva Family Dairy will do—involves wrangling heavy hoses and large steel tanks. Making quark (a yogurty soft cheese beloved in Europe for its high protein and pleasant tang) and cream cheese (Kreitz’s version is more spoonable than the iconic Philadelphia brand) requires hanging 40-pound bags of curd to drain. And lest you think handpaddling butter with ridged wooden paddles seems like tender countryside toil, note that Kreitz has mastered an old European technique—extracting moisture with every whack in the name of extra creaminess—enough to make it look easy. “Trust me, making butter is very labor intensive,” she says.

Even so, Kreitz finds the work deeply nurturing. “Butter is really a collaboration between man, animal and land,” she says Kreitz. “It tastes like grass. It looks like sunshine. It’s got real terroir.” 02535 Third St.

Kreitz at Silva Family Dairy in Tomales carrying a can of milk from the milking parlor. Her adorable assistant is Ginger, Marissa Silva’s dog.

Originally published in the June issue of San Francisco

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Photography by: Frankie Frankeny