During the middle to late 1800s, these hard-working men had immigrated to the Cambria/Cayucos area from the southern part of Switzerland. Because they knew how to milk cows in their homeland, it was only natural for them to get jobs milking cows here. They saved their money until they were eventually able to purchase their own dairy cattle and establish their own dairy. The men needed a way to improve and sell their products, and so the Harmony Valley Creamery Association was formed in 1913 with 20 dairymen who paid a membership fee of $100.
Among those elected to the first Board of Directors was Giacomo (James) Barlogio—Harmony Cellars Owner Kim Mulligan’s great-grandfather. Dante Donati, Attilio Filipponi, John Filipponi, Costantino Lesnini, Silvio Maggioli and Victor Riccioli were the remaining members of the Board. These men signed the original Articles on September 15, 1913 and laid the foundation for a sound cooperative organization. On November 1, 1913, the Association began actual operation with Mr. M. G. Salmina employed as manager. Mr. Salmina was also the bookkeeper, tester, receiver, grader, butter cutter, butter packer and cheese maker. A total of 238,000 pounds of butter and 110,000 pounds of cheese were made during the first year.
From 1920 until 1956, the Association was a member of the Challenge Cream and Butter Association, and then it became an independent dairy cooperative. During this time, William Randolph Hearst was a familiar face at the Harmony Creamery, as he regularly stopped in for fresh dairy products on his way up to his ranch in San Simeon.
The Harmony plant discontinued cheese-making and butter-making in 1958, and switched to handling bulk liquid milk for pasteurization. Harmony became the collection point for North Coast area milk which was hauled to the plant in San Luis Obispo for processing. The Harmony plant closed in the early 1960s. The end of the Association and an era came in 1970 when papers were signed by Elmer Cherry (president) and Frederick Righetti (secretary) “. . . to wind up its affairs and voluntarily dissolve.”
Today, part of the original Harmony Creamery, one of the first buildings in California made of concrete and reinforced with steel, still stands in “downtown” Harmony. We are proud to include a special tribute to Kim’s great-grandfather, our Grandpa Barlogio Zinfandel
, in our wine portfolio. All are invited to enjoy this special Zinfandel, Grandpa Barlogio’s favorite varietal, and wander our hilltop grounds with views of the Old Creamery and surrounding coastal countryside below.
Special thanks to Milene Radford, local historian, for compiling this information.