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Barinaga Ranch

Animal Welfare Approved Listing


About Barinaga Ranch

Marcia Barinaga has deep sheep ranching roots, reaching back beyond her grandfather’s arrival on this continent from Basque country in the early 1900s. Her father moved from the family farm to upstate New York, but after receiving a degree in biology, Marcia decided to return to those roots. She bought 800 acres of pastureland in Northern California’s beautiful Marin County in 2001. In 2007, Barinaga Ranch got its first sheep and in 2012 will be milking about 80 sheep to produce her handcrafted sheep’s milk cheese, which is a “West Marin interpretation of the Basque cheeses you can buy from farmhouses in the Basque country. “ Marcia has had to undergo a steep learning curve for sheep ranching and cheese making. With animal husbandry and cheese-making advice and support from her husband, Corey, a biologist, and farm management assistance from José Cortes, Marcia enjoys every aspect of her new life as a rancher. “I love the ranching, book keeping, cheese making,” she says. It’s just finding time in the day for all these things that’s a challenge. Marcia’s found that mixing a little Katahdin genetics into her East Friesian herd, a breed known as excellent dairy sheep, gives them more hardiness without hurting their milk production. Barinaga Ranch lambs always impress visitors with their vigorous growth. The farmers at Barinaga Ranch allow lambs to stay on with their mothers for their first month, sacrificing some milk production, to grow healthy lambs. While her pastures are Certified Organic, her sheep are not because, in accordance with AWA certification, she administers medicine when her animals need it. “It’s AWA that I’m really proud of,” says Marcia. The standards are completely in line with her practices and philosophy of high animal welfare and sustainability. Barinaga Ranch’s handmade sheep milk cheeses are sold throughout California and around the country. To find out where you can buy Barinaga Ranch cheese, visit AWA’s Online Directory. For more information about the Ranch, visit or contact Marcia at [email protected].
9059 Marshall Petaluma Rd, Marshall, CA, 94940


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