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Honoring an outstanding dairy

The Gambonini family at their farm, Gamlake Dairy, in Petaluma. From left to right, back row: George Gambonini, Alexandra Gambonini, Stacey Gambonini, Frank Gambonini, Frankie Gambonini, and Margaret Gambonini. Front row: Samantha Gambonini

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 12:14 p.m.

Each year, the Sonoma County Fair and local Dairymen select one outstanding dairy within the North Bay as Dairy of the Year in memory of Edward J. Maddalena. The award honors ranch appearance, herd management and leadership in the dairy industry and community.

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The Gambonini family at their farm, Gamlake Dairy, in Petaluma. From left to right, back row: George Gambonini, Alexandra Gambonini, Stacey Gambonini, Frank Gambonini, Frankie Gambonini, and Margaret Gambonini. Front row: Samantha Gambonini

The 2013 Outstanding Dairy of the Year will be presented to Gamlake Dairy of Petaluma with the Edward J. Maddalena Memorial Trophy during Farmer's Day at the Sonoma County Fair on Sunday, July 28, 2013 in Chris Beck Arena.

Fifth generation farmers, Frank and Stacey Gambonini is celebrating 100 years of their Gamlake Dairy in Petaluma. Frank Gambonini grew up on the dairy following his father around in his little rubber boots, thinking he was a “big time” farmer. Today that perception has become his reality, and he loves every minute of it.

Along with their three daughters, Frank and Stacey operate an organic dairy farm with over 600 head of cattle. The farm boasts over 500 acres of rolling pastures where the cows, calves and heifers all graze together. In 2007 the ranch converted to organic, which has required education, dedication and the adoption of new technology. Every day over 250 cows are milked to fulfill the growing demand for organic dairy products. Frank and Stacey value being certified organic and believe that this type of production is better for the environment and produces a healthier product.

“Being recognized by your peers for how you run your dairy and what you mean to the industry and community through your ownership is a great honor”, says Frank Gambonini. This is the second time that the Gamlake Dairy has been presented with the Outstanding Dairy Award. Frank's parents, George and Margaret were honored by the Sonoma County Fair in 1989. Frank remembers going onto the racetrack as a kid to witness his parent's acceptance. Gamlake Dairy has also received the DHIA Top Ten Herd Award for milk production numerous times. Frank and Stacey are members of several local and national organizations that include the Western United Dairy Association, the North Bay Dairy Herd Improvement Association and the North Bay Dairy Women's Association.

The Gambonini's are long-time friends of the Sonoma County Fair. Frank grew up showing dairy cows and market animals and today his three daughters follow in his footsteps. His three daughters, Alexandra, Frankie and Samantha are members of 4-H and all raise animals for the Junior Livestock Auction. In 2012, Frankie Gambonini exhibited the Grand Champion Registered Holstein in the Junior Dairy Division. With the family tradition continuing, Frank and Stacey hope to one day turn the operation over to their girls.

Join the Gambonini's at the 2013 Sonoma County Fair July 25 to August 11 (closed Mondays). Enjoy 16 days of "Home Spun Fun”, including live horse racing, a giant carnival, tons of free entertainment and of course, the spectacular Hall of Flowers. For details, go to www.sonomacountyfair.com or call (707)545-4200. Like us on Facebook to keep up with all the fair fun!

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