Long Meadow Ranch Acquires Historic
Dairy Property in Tomales in Partnership with John Williams
December 28, 2006, Rutherford, CA
Long Meadow Ranch announced today the acquisition of a historic 503-acre property in Tomales, California, in a partnership with John Williams.
Located in Marin County near the Pacific coast, the property is the site of a historic dairy farm and is located along Highway 1. Most recently owned by the Cerini family, the property was at one time owned by the founder of the unincorporated community of Tomales, Mr. John Keyes.
The property was quietly acquired in late December 2005. The project, known as Tomales Farm & Dairy, has incubated during the past year and is being formally announced today in concert with a major public announcement by the Marin Agricultural Land Trust and the Coastal Conservancy of a grant of a substantial conservation easement on a portion of the property (see related press release).
Williams, who is co-founder, winemaker, and president of Frog's Leap Winery in the Napa Valley, and Long Meadow Ranch hope to restore the property to active agricultural use. "One of my dreams has been to make cheese from milk produced by seasonally grass-fed cows," said Williams. "I grew up on a dairy farm and my degree is in fermentation science which is as relevant for cheese as it is for wine."
"This property is a logical extension of our diversified farming at Long Meadow Ranch," said LMR co-owner Ted Hall. "We are looking for additional high quality grass for our beef program and with this property we have the possibility of using our dual purpose Shorthorn cattle on a high-quality grass diet both to produce beef and to supply milk should plans for a dairy prove feasible. In the meantime, Long Meadow Ranch will lease pasture from Tomales Farm & Dairy as a way of increasing our supply of high quality grass-fed beef."
Williams and Hall are jointly managing the venture. "Our first step has been to carefully assess the property. We have developed an initial plan which can be seen at our website (www.tomalesfarm.com). Longer term plans for the property may include a dairy and cheese making facility, but both require further evaluation of the appropriate land uses, the state of the existing agricultural buildings,and sources of financing. We will continue to work closely with Marin County and other agencies to enhance the historic character of the property while seeking to create a viable agricultural business," said Williams. “However, we still have many hurdles to overcome if this possibility is to become a reality.”
"Probably the most interesting event will be the arrival of some our long-haired, long-horned Highland steers over the next few weeks," said Hall. "About 50 of our Shorthorn mother cows are already there."
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Long Meadow Ranch is an innovative organic farming operation - and purveyor of fine food - located high above the Napa Valley on the picturesque slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains where it produces extraordinary wine, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables for Napa Valley's finest restaurants. Long Meadow Ranch produces ultra premium wines and extra virgin olive oils, under the Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Ranch House Red, Prato Lungo, and Napa Valley Select labels. Beyond the Napa Valley, America's top chefs have regularly featured Long Meadow Ranch wines and olive oils.
Long Meadow Ranch has been known as such since 1872 when it was established as an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch continues to grow and prosper through Ted, Laddie and Christopher Hall's stewardship.
The Halls continue to restore and preserve Napa Valley's oldest olive groves, as well as add new plantings of olive trees and vineyards. They have also brought cattle, poultry, and vegetables back into commercial production. Appaloosa horse breeding, along with an extensive composting operation, round out the integrated farming activities at the Ranch.
"Excellence through Responsible Farming" is the motto of Long Meadow Ranch, bolstered by the belief that world-class products can be produced using sustainable, organic farming methods. Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its organic farming practices are certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers.
Click for more information about Shorthorn cattle.
Click for more information about cheese produced from Shorthorn milk.
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Contact: Chris Hall