As the afternoon sun begins to start setting in the west, Elizabeth Poett’s work on the 13,000 acre cattle ranch is far from over. It’s here on these lands in the Central Coast of California that Rancho San Julian has made its mark as one of the oldest and premier family-run ranches dating back over 200 years.
Here at Rancho San Julian, Elizabeth, along with the help of her father, are simply raising cattle in much the same way their grandfather and great grandfathers did before them. On this very land, their cattle continue to graze on open hillsides, remain free of any antibiotics or hormones and are never fed any animal bi-product, corn or soy. It is these very things that sets them apart as they remain deeply rooted in sustainable and humane farming practices that have been passed on for nine generations.
Ranch owner, Elizabeth Poett.
Upon sitting down to chat with Elizabeth in the luscious courtyard of the properties historic main house, it’s easy to get swept away in the peacefulness this space brings you. Surrounded by massive California Oak trees, spacious lawns, budding flowers and a robust garden… it’s truly a remarkable place that anyone would be lucky to grow up on and still call home.
|The main historical house consists of 3 phases — the oldest portion is an adobe style home built in the early 1800’s
The center area was added on in the mid 1800’s and the far right portion of the home with the front porch was included onto the home in the late 1800’s. No one lives in the house as it’s primarily used for family gatherings, events, etc.
Included on the property is a robust garden harvested by bio-dynamic farmer, Chris Thompson. These fruits and vegetables are sold mainly to local restaurants.
A typical day on the ranch is anything but typical. Depending on the time of year, Elizabeth can be seen, often on horseback, monitoring the pregnant cows, feeding the livestock, checking the fence & water lines, and tending to her bulls who require heavier feeds. This is all a part of managing Rancho San Julian Beef, a environmentally conscious business that blends the best components of agriculture and humane farming practices. The end result is the highest quality beef in all of Santa Barbara County.
A ranchers best friend is sure to be a dog. Roaming around the property at any given time are 4-5 short-haired Border Collies that play an important role in herding the cattle and tending to the needs of their owner.
Throughout my time spent with Elizabeth that afternoon, I was always keenly aware of the importance of family surrounding the ranch. When chatting about the significance of growing up on the very ranch that she is now raising her own family on, Elizabeth was quick to share with me that being a part of something that is so rich in family tradition leaves her with a sense of peacefulness and it makes her more aware of just how important that history is and being able to contribute to that legacy for future generations.
Rancho San Julian Beef can be found at local markets throughout Santa Barbara County, as well as at the Santa Barbara and Santa Monica farmers market. For more details on how to purchase, click here.
Written By: Kristin Mansky