Food Forward TV

A show about people changing the way we eat in America

Environmental stewardship at TomKat Ranch, Pescadero, CA

with 2 comments

I figured I knew Pescadero pretty well since I covered the town when I worked for the Half Moon Bay Review many years ago. But I had no idea what was in store for me when I turned off Pescadero Road into TomKat Ranch.

The cattle at TomKat Ranch enjoy great views and an all grass diet.

The ranch was once a dairy farm, but had fallen into disrepair over the years. The owners were mining soil off the hilltops, an environmentally destructive activity right up there will clear cutting forests.  Enter Tom Steyer and Kathy Taylor (TomKat, get it?). The couple bought the 2,000-acre ranch with an eye on environmental restoration. They introduced cattle as a way to restore the scenic valley. Properly managed, cattle can perform a great environmental service, helping to restore the land, increase biodiversity of native species, retain water, and even sequester carbon, just like undulates used to do before man and his livestock ran roughshod over grasslands.

It was Kathy Webster, the ranch’s educational foundation director, who struck upon the idea of raising the cattle for beef and Leftcoast Grassfed was born. She also helped revamp the lunch program at the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District.

TomKat Ranch education foundation director Kathy Webster and ranch hand Jeremiah Stent.

There’s a growing demand for grassfed  beef and she thought the ranch could help supply a growing market. Today the ranch is home to 101 head of cattle with plans to grow the herd to 300 or so. While they’ve only been at it a few years, the grassy hills are already showing signs of restoration. Blue eyed grass, a native species, has made a come back along with several other species of grass.

Our friend Joe Morris of Morris Grassfed helped establish TomKat Ranch’s rotational grazing program. The ranch is now recognized for its commitment to the environment and animal welfare with certification from Animal Welfare Approved, the American Grassfed Association and the Food Alliance. Oh yeah, the beef really tastes good, too. For me, the ranch is another example of what the pay-offs are for doing right by the land, animals and people: environmental restoration, commercial demand and a delicious product. Everybody wins.

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Written by stettholbrook

May 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Great that you are spreading the word about TomKat Ranch and the good things going on there.

    Therese Kollerer

    July 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  2. I have a non profit that is focussed on no till farming growing and restoring habitat for birds and wildlife while growing food. We always speak about the harm that ranching does for the environment. I would love to learn the other side of this because I don’t know how cattle can help. I would love to know more about this:
    Properly managed, cattle can perform a great environmental service, helping to restore the land, increase biodiversity of native species, retain water, and even sequester carbon, just like undulates used to do before man and his livestock ran roughshod over grasslands.

    Veronica Stork
    http://www.storkpeterkin.org

    Veronica Stork

    January 26, 2013 at 5:08 pm


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