Barinaga Ranch, Marshall
883 Acres MALT-Protected Since 1998
Marcia Barinaga and her husband, Corey Goodman, are relative newcomers to West Marin ranching. When they purchased their ranch in 2001 they had no intention of becoming sheep ranchers. Fast-forward to today: Barinaga Ranch has made a name for itself producing the first farmstead sheep’s milk cheese in Marin.
"Once we started spending time here in West Marin, it became clear to us that we wanted to be sustaining, productive members of the agricultural community," says Barinaga. "It is a constant source of inspiration to us, and something we are very proud to be a part of. Here, agriculture is the community."
The decision to raise sheep was born of a nod to tradition and plain good business sense. Barinaga's ancestors raised sheep in a small mountain town in the Basque region of Spain, where families made sheep's milk cheese. Barinaga and Goodman sensed that artisan cheese was a growing niche market in the Bay Area, and sheep's milk cheese, in particular, would be a good bet. Since Barinaga started hand-making cheese in 2009, their creamy, small-batch Baserri and Txiki (pronounced like "cheeky") cheeses have received rave reviews and have quickly sold out.
The prime grassland that supports Barinaga Ranch has been permanently protected by MALT since 1988. Barinaga is quick to say that partnering with MALT has been very valuable. "Many people aren't aware of the continuing support that MALT provides landowners. Just this last season, MALT's stewardship staff helped us map invasive plant species on the ranch so we can develop a management plan. We are so grateful for their help."
Where to find Barinaga Ranch products
Barinaga Ranch's cheeses can be found at Tomales Bay Food Company and other select markets and restaurants around the Bay Area. Barinaga Ranch cheeses, along with additional products from the ranch such as lamb, wool blankets, and soaps can also be ordered directly via their website at www.barinagaranch.com.