Freestone Ranch is our home ranch. It’s mostly grass with trees along the creeks. It’s in the transition zone from the redwood forests to our north and the large ranches and grasslands to the south. It’s between the towns of Valley Ford and Freestone in West Sonoma County. In the late 1800’s it was a dairy. The train passing the ranch and through Valley Ford would have taken milk to the Sausalito ferry on it’s way to the city. Later it was a sheep ranch. In the 80’s a developer subdivided the ranch and sold 10 house lots with a plan to develop the remaining ranch into a vineyard using irrigation water pumped from the creek. We purchased the ranch in 2004 and have been growing grassfed beef for the local community over 10 years here.
Work we do
- Fencing and water troughs – We’ve installed wildlife friendly fencing, and water troughs to implement our rotational grazing program.
- Erosion repairs – Work to repair several gullies and other erosion issues keeps the soil on the ranch and out of our steelhead friendly Ebibias creek and the Estero Americano.
- Rotational grazing – A key goal of our grazing program is to reduce the density of the non-native velvet grass in favor of a more diverse mix of native perennial grasses.
- Invasive plant reduction – We graze, mow, pull and cut to reduce the populations of non native plants like blackberry, cotoneaster, multiflora rose, velvet grass, eucalyptus, and acacia on the ranch.
- Trees – Willows, oaks, madrone, redwood, and wax myrtle are our favorite trees to plant and protect from cattle and deer browsing.
- Barns – We believe in the value of investing rural agricultural infrastructure and have had the opportunity to build a hay and an equipment barn on the ranch.
- Water – Water is key to life and we invest in the health of our creeks and watersheds by fencing cattle out of the creeks, building a stock pond to increase our water resilience and create wildlife habitat, and treating all the water on the ranch with the reverence it deserves.
- Birds – Since we’ve been caring for the ranch, populations of swallows and red wing blackbirds have moved on the ranch. Quail scatter along the road. The raptors appreciate the grass cover that provides habitat for the rodents they depend on for food as they ride the updrafts where the coastal breeze sweeps over our hills.
Buying our beef is a vote of confidence for investing in and restoring neglected and abused agricultural and wildlands land in Sonoma County.