With June National Dairy Month, this is a good time to highlight a local business that pays homage to Fromage
(Full disclosure – that business, Froma Cheese, happens to be run by a Hollywood Riviera native who is very near and dear to my heart!)
Life on the wedge for Froma Cheese founder Aaron Nastaskin began seven years ago when he graduated from South High and entered Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as an Agricultural Business major. It was there that Aaron started learning about the dairy business and the art of cheese making in Cal Poly’s own student-run creamery. Several years of living in cheese-loving France, including earning his masters in International Business there, gave Aaron the knowledge and experience to finally launch his dream business, Froma Cheese, in 2018 right here in the Riviera.
Froma Cheese specializes in sourcing and distributing unique artisan cheeses to consumers, restaurants (including Baran’s in Hermosa Beach), caterers, hotels, private chefs, specialty cheese shops and wine boutiques, such as MB Wine Co and VIP Wines & Spirits in the South Bay. Most of the cheeses are small-batch, fresh off the farm and can’t be found in grocery stores. For example, Froma Cheese is the first and only distributor of Cal Poly Creamery’s cheeses to the Southern California market, including their delectable smoked gouda that won the Gold Medal in the 2019 American Cheese Society Competition.
For goat cheese lovers, Aaron partnered with Drake Family Farms in Ontario, one of the only humane-certified goat dairies in California. Aaron visits their farm each week to pick up hand-made small-batch cheeses, including Apricot & Honey, Jalapeno, Herbs de Provence and Garlic & Onion chevre. Other unique artisan cheeses sold by Froma Cheese include a rare Buffalo Mozzarella made by a small Northern California farm with one of only two water buffalo herds in California, and a 14-month Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar from Fiscalini Cheese Co, a family farm out of Modesto. Last year, Froma Cheese made news headlines when they became the first and only importer of Baldauf German Alpine Cheese, including the dairy’s Meisterstuck cheese which won the title of “Best German Cheese” at the 2019 World Cheese Championship.
Froma Cheese also helps cheese producers uncover new distribution opportunities and connect with retailers. This service is increasingly important during the pandemic as the decline in the foodservice industry leaves producers worldwide scrambling to find outlets to sell their excess cheese. Most recently, Froma Cheese facilitated a distribution deal that helped a family-run cheese producer in Northern California sell thousands of pounds of excess cheese that might otherwise have been wasted.
“As the market changes my services naturally evolve to fit the needs of the industry,” said Aaron. “That’s why I love my job, there are so many ways in which I can be of value to so many players. One day I may be on a home delivery bringing a couple wedges of brie to a customer, the next day I’m coordinating a cross-Atlantic import of several tons of European cheese. And both bring me an equal amount of satisfaction and purpose.”
Froma Cheese was a much-loved vendor at the Long Beach Farmers Market until non-produce sellers were prohibited due to COVID 19. As a result, the company now provides free home delivery to South Bay residents every Friday and Sunday. In addition to artisan cheeses, Froma Cheese also sells a selection of Farmers Market products from fellow vendors who had to shut down. Those products include fresh baguettes, specialty cured meats, homemade jams, gourmet olives and freshly roasted coffee. As part of its efforts to give back to the community, Froma Cheese recently donated 50% of its weekly sales to the Los Angeles Food Bank.
You can see the complete lineup of Froma Cheese products and place an order at fromacheese.com. Input the code SAYCHEESE for 20% off your first order and be sure to enter this week’s raffle for $25 gift certificate for fromacheese.com.