Unless you can find a local source, it is likely to be difficult for you to find the Grande cheese without paying an arm and a leg, especially if it has to be shipped long distances. The best advice I can recall for locating the Grande cheese in the San Francisco area, south of where you are, comes from Giotto, a forum member. This was his advice, which I have placed in quotes:
"I get the Grande whole milk low moisture at $3.99 lb on the shelf at Whole Foods in the San Francisco area. Each section of Whole Foods (grocery/flour, cheese, bulk, etc.) has a list of "approved vendors". If Grande is not on their shelves, then ask the cheese department if it is on their "approved list of vendors". If so, they will order it for you (no shipping costs, available within a couple of days, and usually a 10% discount for bulk items if you ask). I have done this effectively with flours in the past. Another alternative is to ask any of your pizzerias if they use Grande (I found 3 in my area that do) and ask to purchase a couple of pounds from them."
"...the Whole Foods in N. California at 408-257-7000 carries Grande whole milk and skim milk, and that they've indicated that it is an accepted item in the Whole Foods computer system (it must be for them to sell it) , and request a "special order." They should not hesitate to do a "special order" under this circumstance. They will have to order it as a slab-- but at $3.99 lb, I've seen them range in the $20 arena. When you order large amounts, like a case of 6 flours, you get a 15% or so discount as well. Slabs may very well fall under this category. If you decide to order just one, I'd recommend the whole milk version."
There are a few other places where members have purchased the Grande cheese, but they all entail fairly high prices and shipping costs. They include Vern's (at http://www.vernscheese.com
), DiBruno (at http://www.dibruno.com
), and PennMac (at http://www.pennmac.com
). Vern's is in Wisconsin and DiBruno's and PennMac are in PA. You may find it necessary to call or email these sources to get price quotes, etc.
Another possibility is to call a wholesaler or distributor in your general area that carries the Grande product. One is BiRite, in Brisbane, CA, which I believe is about an hour or so south of where you are in Santa Rosa. BiRite's website is at http://www.biritefoodservice.com/index.htm
. I spoke to a customer service rep at BiRite some time ago and was told that if you call them in advance with a proposed order and show up at their facility with cash or a company check and can meet its $50 minimum purchase level, they will sell to you. I would want to check first to confirm all this before heading to Brisbane. Also, it's possible that you won't be able to buy in small lot size (e.g., a single slab).
If you find a local source, please let us know, together with all the bloody details. I'm sure there are others who are on the West coast who will be interested in what you find.