ATWATER -- Joseph Gallo Farms has added another feather to its cap.
The Atwater business, the maker of Joseph Gallo Cheese, won an award from the California Environmental Protection Agency. The agency gave the farm an award in the Waste Reduction Awards Program. The award recognized Joseph Gallo Farms for its environmentally friendly solid-waste recycling programs and policies.
Peter Gallo, a third-generation Gallo, said sustainability and conservation efforts are a big part of the running of the farms.
"We grow feed for our dairy cattle without using a lot of the chemical fertilizers," Gallo said.
The business also works closely with California wildlife agencies to make sure wildlife isn't disturbed by chemicals.
"A lot of times dairies can be a nuisance to an area, and we try hard to make sure we aren't," Gallo said.
In some dairies, the manure produced by cattle is the hardest thing to get rid of, Gallo said. But at Joseph Gallo Farms, that manure is used to fertilize crops. The business also takes wastewater and uses it to irrigate fields.
The beef cattle the Gallos raise eat a variety of feeds, including fresh produce that comes from the Monterey area.
"There's a lot of the produce that people don't want to eat, but it's still healthy," Gallo said. "Instead of dumping it, we feed it to our beef cattle."
Joseph Gallo Farms cheese has no artificial hormones, and the farm's cheese has won many awards. In 2009, the business brought home a gold medal for provolone cheese at the World Cheese Awards in the Canary Islands. It won 10 gold medals at the Los Angeles International Dairy Competition, and two silver medals at the California State Fair.
Joseph Gallo Farms was founded by Joseph Gallo in 1946, and the business has stayed local since then. In the late 1970s, Gallo built his first dairy, and in the early 1980s moved into the cheese business. Joseph Gallo died in 2007.
Joseph Gallo's son, Mike Gallo, is chief executive officer for the business.
"Our vertical integration allows us to oversee the entire process," Mike Gallo said. "From the feed we grow, to the treatment of our cows, to the cheese we make."
And that approach has won both customers and awards.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or email@example.com.