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Cow Track Ranch

Nicasio, California

38° 4' 33.276'' N122° 42' 25.992'' W

woman owned & operated 

Farm Stay Reservations:

direct bookings welcome 

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The ranch sweeps from the floor of Nicasio Valley up through shady side-canyons to steep slopes overlooking  rolling hills. Lush grasslands in the valley give way to a mix of bay and live oak forests and coastal scrub on the slopes. Native bunch grasses persist in hard-to-reach hillside pockets, and redwoods tower in deep tributaries of Halleck Creek. Black Angus & Texas Longhorn cattle graze the land year-round where they raise their calves. We believe in sustainability and promoting agriculture for the generations to come.

The original ranch wedding venue in the Bay Area

We offer events with an authentic rural setting and a casual reception atmosphere. The ranch offers a truly unique and relaxed experience for guests near and far. The rolling hills are the backdrop for an exquisite reception setting, indoor or out, and the property accommodates celebrations of all types, sizes and styles. We offer lodging, portable restrooms, day-of coordination, décor, parking guide and vendor resources. A weekend wedding with the many food and sight seeing luxuries of West Marin for a truly unique guest experience. We encourage guests to stay local, eat local and shop local. 

Property tours by appointment only.

Farm Stay

We believe in sharing our love for agriculture to those near and far and allowing families to stay while teaching visitors about our ranching culture and to share the beautiful views of West Marin. We encourage you to get connected to the many amazing food sources in the area, from a vast variety of restaurants offering a local menu to award winning creameries offering the best cheese in the world. Take a farm tour, hike the dozens of incredible trails and visit the beach all in one weekend. Feel as though you are thousands of miles from home but just forty-five minutes North-West of the Golden Gate. Whether you are seeking an overnight escape or a full weekend getaway, we welcome you to the ranch. We encourage children to experience simple ranch tasks such as collecting eggs from the coop and picking herbs and vegetables from the garden. Our simple wish is to have the next generation get involved, learn the many wonderful things of farming/ranching and leave with a full heart - with memories to share. 

Enjoy a relaxing stay in our rustic and cozy Bunk House nestled beneath the rolling hills of the Nicasio Valley. The Bunk House comfortably accommodates up to five guests and is complete with a full kitchen for the food enthusiasts.  

The Guest House is a cozy farmhouse for two with an open floor plan, spacious master bedroom and wrap around porch with views of the front pasture and weeping Willow. A bright interior with hardwood floors and the best views of the ranch. Hike up the hill to catch a sunset and enjoy your morning beverage sitting in the rocking chairs as the birds sing.

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Events Hosting

The reception barn - an original 1970's hay barn displays a collection of antique gold mirrors, dimming chandeliers, bistro lighting and a built-in stage for entertainment. A large prep space with tables, refrigeration/freezer and wash area is available for catering along with a serving window for plated or family style service. Two oversized wood doors welcome guests into the tin barn which has one open side providing views of the rolling hills. With a tall roof and a sawdust floor, the barn is authentic and cozy. From the stage, there are views of the ceremony site and the valley through glass windows. Ceremonies take place atop the knoll behind the reception barn by a large rock or in front of the historic wood barn, built in 1871. Enjoy cocktail hour in the barnyard with wine barrels add umbrellas and the corral is a great space for guests to dance the night away under the stars. For photos, the barns, out buildings and natural landscape is endless. A drive up the back side of the ranch offers views of the Nicasio Valley scattered with oak trees, rocks and an array of wildflowers and greenery. Our event packages include a cozy stay at the Bunk House and exclusive use of the property which makes your special  weekend relaxing and enjoyable. Guests have many options for lodging locally, including farm stays, inns, B&Bs and more. West Marin offers an array of restaurants, wonderful cheese shops, kayaking, horseback riding, beach access, hiking and shopping where guests can fully enjoy a destination wedding with everything located within 10 miles. We have been hosting weddings for 15 years and welcome you to make this your special destination. 

 

Homegrown Artisan Goods

Our excess produce is made into artisan bar soap which is made by cold-process method. Our soaps are hand cut and carefully packaged with locally sourced  paper and is offered at local farm stands, markets, garden centers and boutique retail locations. Seasonal scents include lemon, carrot, pear-mint, carrot, rosemary, lavender and honey-almond. The ingredients are 100% natural and each bar is made with moisturizing essential oils. With natural ingredients, our soaps are better for the environment. 

Gourmet Garden Soap

Packaged Soap

Lavender + Rosemary Cooking Salts 

Our sea salts are made with sun dried rosemary and lavender hand picked at the ranch and are a delicious addition to any meal. A few dashes of this for the main course or add after a marinade to bring out the richest flavor. Potatoes roast to perfection when lightly coated with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Lavender or Rosemary salt is paired perfectly with beef, poultry, pork, fish, wild game and vegetables. A pinch of lavender salt on vanilla bean ice cream is a little secret worth sharing. In addition to the kitchen, the salt can be used for a relaxing and soothing soak to ease daily stress or use as a body scrub, just add a few drops of essential oils to turn it into a bath luxury. 

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Pasture Raised - Grain Finished Beef

Available for Purchase Exclusively at the Ranch 

Our Angus cattle graze the rolling hills, rotationally, year round and are fed high quality hay between seasons, based on live forage availability. Cattle enjoy year-round access to liquid protein supplements and minerals - keeping their health at peak performance. Feeding our cattle also provides a better bond with our mother cows and contributes to tame cattle that make it easy to gather when it comes time for sorting and round ups for vaccinations and general health checks. When you can pet your mother cows at feeding time, you can't ask for a more gentle herd. Our steers enjoy the best life possible with the great weather California has to offer, healthy forage + added nutrition with natural supplements along with clean water from our natural spring and stock ponds. Our calves are raised along their mother's side until weaning time. We check our cattle daily by horseback or ATV and believe that caring for our livestock ourselves makes for better quality of life and in turn, higher quality beef. Genetics are a large factor for beef quality, marbling and flavor and we carefully hand select beautiful Registered Angus bulls which have proven genetics for our breeding stock. Our cattle eat less and gain more, therefore being the most sustainable grazing animals which contribute to a healthy ecosystem. The land speaks for itself with the healthy soil and nutritious forage.
Our steers are raised with love and humanely processed with USDA certified mobile processing services by our good friend, JMF.

Melissa proudly serves on the Cattlemens Beef Boarand maintains Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification.
She is also a Certified Master of Beef Advocacy.

When supporting small businesses, you'll be rewarded with consuming the highest quality product - guaranteed.
From our ranch to your table, quality beef - raised with love. 

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Honey Bees

"Where there are bees there are flowers, and wherever there are flowers there is new life and hope.” - Anonymous
Bees are an essential part of our agriculture system, pollinating fruits and vegetables. The hives are located by our ponds where the honey bees have easy access to water. Bees pollinate one-third of the food that we eat and we support a healthy environment for them to do their busy work. Our honey makes the perfect addition to a charcuterie board paired with soft cheeses, assorted jams, nuts and fruit.

 

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The History of the Ranch

Michael McNamara and Cornelius Murray arrived in Nicasio in 1859 and bought the land. The two had a falling out and divided the land into two parts with this piece being the McNamara Ranch. Having built a fine two-story farmhouse, they chose to saw it in half. Using oxen and work horses, they moved one half on log rollers for about a mile to Murray's portion of the ranch where it was re-build into a whole new house. The ranch was leased out from the 1920's as a dairy farm and then sold in 1971 where it continued to be a dairy and eventually became a part of our family in 1987 when my father Dr. Bruce Daniels, a veterinarian, was treating a sick cow for Walt Tamagno in the milking barn where Walt offered the ranch for sale. Bruce and Walt made a handshake deal and Walt retired from the dairy business and remained a good friend where he and his family visited often. Liz and Bruce worked together, along with their daughter Melissa, to partner with the land. Together, they raised beef cattle and Liz grew Certified Organic produce on 5 acres. Produce was sold to local markets, farmers markets, farm stands, restaurants, catering companies, school lunch programs and food banks. Liz partnered with many non-profit organizations and hosted many different groups to learn about farming at the ranch. Her knack for having hands in the dirt was shared with hundreds of individuals where she took pride in making a positive impact in the lives of those needing it most, to teach people of all walks of life that anyone can become a farmer with a little patience and time.
Today, Melissa is continuing the legacy running the ranch and making homegrown products and has expanded the beef operation.

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Black Angus Beef Cattle

The smallest things in life are what make our hearts beat as livestock producers. The love and care which we carry through our daily activities, the implementation of improved genetics to contribute to our lifelong commitment to sustainability as ranchers - the work which we do to ensure animal health and well being is the highest level of quality. The partnership with our land and our business practices go hand in hand.  As ranchers, conservation is our top priority so that we may give back to the land which provides the canvas for this western way of life. Our cow-calf operation dates back to the 1970's when our cattle brand was first registered. Our cows are on a Fall calving program and raise strong and healthy calves which are born between August-November. Our greatest accomplishment with our livestock is the achievement of our sustainability vision, proving that genetics play a key role in land conservation. Our cattle eat less and gain more, leaving forage available for the following year while new growth takes place. Our cattle ensure healthy soils and every Spring, we are blessed with luscious new grass and the presence of many organisms which play a key role in our healthy ecosystem. We are committed to a healthy and sustainable partnership with our land and these practices will continue for the generations to come, so that our children and grandchildren may continue the legacy, and succeed at doing so. Melissa's pride and joy has been with livestock since she was young. With Melissa's father Bruce being a large animal veterinarian, she was exposed to learning all aspects of animal husbandry and health. We welcome you to visit the National Cattlemens Association (NCBA), California Cattlemens Association (CCA) and Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) to see the great things that these organizations do for the cattle industry and see what livestock producers are doing to care for our environment as stewards to the land so that we may continue providing great food to our town, our county, our state, our country and the world for generations to come. 

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We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within us this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise.

- Edward Sellner

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Support Your Local Ranchers & Farmers

U.S. Beef Community

Beef cattle are raised in all 50 states and equal 882,692 total cattle & calf operations. Of these: 

802,317 are cow/calf and stocker/backgrounder cattle farms and ranches 

96% are family owned and operated 

9% are operated by women 

Cow Track Ranch is 100% woman owned and operated

Melissa serves as a member of the Cattlemens Beef Board, appointed by the USDA and maintains active membership with county, state and national cattle associations and agricultural committees. She serves as a Master of Beef Advocacy certified by the National Cattlemens Beef Association and is an activist of regenerative agriculture.

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