“Vision, tenacity” of food pioneers to be honored

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The leader of an organic dairy focused on an environmental mission and the CEO of a company that produces an organic almond milk will soon be honored by the trade group representing area food producers.

North Bay Food Industry Group (FIG) has announced the 2019 honorees for its annual Pioneer Awards, to be handed out next week.

Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery, with offices in Petaluma and dairy operations in Marin County, is being recognized with the organization’s Industry Pioneer Award.

Ted Robb, founder and CEO of New Barn in Rohnert Park, will be honored as the Next Generation Industry Pioneer.

The sixth-annual FIG Pioneer Awards event will be held Thursday, Nov. 14, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the SOMO Village Sky Lounge in Rohnert Park. The event is open to the public and all members of the North Bay specialty food and beverage industry.

Straus Family Creamery is the first 100%-certified organic creamery in the United States, and its dairy farm is the first organic dairy west of the Mississippi River. This year, the creamery is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“I’m very honored to be recognized for my lifelong work creating an organic dairy farming model that is helping to sustain family farms and the North Bay’s rural communities,” stated Straus in FIG’s announcement. “I didn’t do this by myself. None of this could have been possible without the help of the Straus Family Creamery team, the Straus Dairy Farm employees, and the collaboration of 10 committed farming families. Sustainability and innovation are vital components of our core values, and have helped us build a farming and food system that can continue to support our mission and rural communities.”

New Barn, the firm Robb co-founded in 2014, produces organic refrigerated almond milk, as well as a nondairy frozen dessert lineup called AlmondCrème. He currently serves as the chairman and CEO.

“The North Bay is a special place for specialty foods,” said Mike Scheu, chair of the board of directors of North Bay FIG. “Industry pioneers like Albert Straus have started thriving businesses here and, just as importantly, given support to others building on their own dreams. We think it’s important to acknowledge and honor these individuals for their vision and tenacity, and for helping to create this special community.”

For event tickets, visit or email

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