It’s finally here! My recap on the most amazing “glamping” trip to Fort Jones, California, celebrating all things lamb and ranching with the wonderful family of Five Marys Farm. And it’s all thanks to the American Lamb Board! Enjoy all of the photos, and hopefully they make you as happy as they make me. It was truly a very special, rewarding experience.
Back in September, the American Lamb Board brought an inspiring group of women in the food industry together for a rejuvenating weekend in the beautiful mountains of northern California. We got to unwind, eat delicious meals, enjoy wine and cocktails, and learn a little something about the local family ranch of Mary and Brian Heffernan at Five Marys.
Apart from having simply a wonderful time, we got to see the (extremely) hard work and passion that goes into this family’s ranch. Their number one priority is taking good care of their animals, allowing them to spend their entire life on acres of green pastures, soaking in the sun and roaming around freely. This type of life for the animals is provided out of genuine care, as well as a goal to sell the best quality meat possible. Five Marys is a “ranch to consumer” operation. Building direct customer relationships is very important to them, and I think that’s one of the reasons they are so special.
The dedication to this mission is truly a daily process, from sunrise to sundown. The family (all four of the young girls included) works tirelessly each day to make it all possible. We got to hear all about the ranch chores, take a ride out into the pasture to learn about their Navajo Churro sheep and other animals, check out the Five Marys store where all of the meat is stored and packed, eat a bounty of home cooked meals prepared by the Five Marys in-house chef, and witness firsthand what wholesome, compassionate family ranching looks like.
And the best part, of course? The food!
While staying at “camp” (a piece of land high up on a hill with a stunning kitchen & gathering area, spacious white tents, an outdoor shower, and a view of the pastures below), we ate two seasonal dinners, a bountiful breakfast, and had a lunch at the Five Marys Burger House in town.
Each meal consisted of lamb, prepared in a variety of different ways – braised and served over creamy polenta, as merguez (a spicy lamb sausage) in a baked egg shakshuka, ground into the most perfect lamb burger with chimichurri and havarti cheese, as juicy meatballs, and last but not least…whole roasted over the fire on a spit. I mean, WOW.
It was unreal, incredibly delicious, and so cool to see all parts of the lamb being used in so many different ways.
Plus, to wash everything down, we got to try Mary’s signature sidecar cocktail, as well as some incredible Hayfork wines.
On top of it all, getting to connect with like-minded, driven women was really valuable. From chatting with the lovely ladies at the American Lamb Board to being inspired by Mary’s approach to running a business, I took away so much from this trip and was left feeling motivated to do everything with passion and intention.
And also to continue to support high quality, American-raised lamb! You can purchase Five Marys lamb directly from their website and get one of their M5 boxes sent to you right from the ranch. For lots of ideas on how to cook lamb and the best ways to use it, head over to the American Lamb Board.
I’ll for one be serving many herb-roasted racks of lamb this holiday season!
A huge thank you to The American Lamb Board for this wonderful experience!