One very foggy morning last month, we took a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge and up into Marin County, to visit one of our favorite purveyors, Devil’s Gulch Ranch.
Sprawled over 65 beautiful acres, Devil’s Gulch produces a variety of livestock and premium wine grapes. In addition to supplying local restaurants (central kitchen, Salumeria, and flour + water get rabbits, pigs, lambs, and the occasional quail from Devil’s Gulch each week), the ranch also hosts educational camps for local kids.
“Our mission is to produce high-quality food utilizing sustainable, humane practices, and offer the opportunity for others to see what we do and learn from it,” explained Mark Pasternak, who founded the ranch in 1971 along with his wife Myriam.
In addition to Mark and Myriam, the farm is maintained by a small staff of three to fifteen people, depending on the season. “There is not any typical or average day [at Devil’s Gulch],” Mark said. “We are always feeding in the mornings and evenings, but the tasks for the rest of the day vary tremendously.”
On the day of our visit, Mark stepped away from all of this hard work to show us around the ranch, introduce us to all of its inhabitants, and tell us the story of how Devil’s Gulch came to be.
“My earliest memory is being on a pony at 2 years old and feeling that it was exactly where I wanted to be – in the country with animals,” he told us. “My sister moved to Lagunitas in 1970, and I came up to visit her and immediately knew I wanted to live in this area.” Shortly thereafter, Mark saw an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle for a ranch located in Nicasio. “As soon as I saw the old homestead and buildings,” he recalled of his first visit to what would become Devil’s Gulch, “I knew instantly that it was what I always wanted.”
Our morning at the ranch was made particularly special by the recent welcoming of an abundance of new life, including baby rabbits, puppies, piglets, and twin lambs born just the night before.
As we were getting ready to leave, we asked Mark to sum up what’s driven his work at the ranch for the past forty-plus years. His answer is just one of the reasons that we love sourcing and serving product from Devil’s Gulch: “Of highest importance to me is sharing the abundance that I have been so fortunate to be a part of in a way that helps contribute to the long-term well being of mankind.”