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History


The area around and including Valley Ford was well established as dairy and ranching community by the 1850’s. The original Valley Ford Creamery was built in the early 1900’s as a co-op creamery to receive the milk from the surrounding ranches, where it was turned into bottled milk and cream, cheese, and ice cream. It housed the first automated milk bottling plant in the county. Its products were in great demand, especially during the first and second World Wars, and enjoyed more than 50 years of prosperity. In the early 1960’s, it was abandoned by its corporate parent, Carnation, as local creameries were consolidated into larger, regional operations.


It was discovered by local artists/artisans in the 1970's, and is fondly remembered for a colorful 25-year period as home to number of eccentric and enterprising personalities, many of who still live and work nearby.

In 1976, Cristo and Jean-Claude staged their well-known Running Fence Project, which framed the Creamery and the Estero on its way to the ocean, in this locale.

About 8 years ago, it was rescued from disrepair. With that the work began on the creamery's rebirth as an extraordinary studio complex.


photos courtesy Tomales Regional History Center


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