Early every Saturday morning Charline Ford (and sometimes John) comes down the Willits grade to Ukiah and sets up her table and signs, John Ford Ranch and Here's the Beef, at the Ukiah Farmers Market. Their grass fed herd is on their ranch up the road in Willits.
John tells it that years ago they ran out of the beef they raised for themselves and bought some at the store…they couldn't eat it! So they began selling 1/2s and 1/4s. But one year they had 80 boxes left over - what to do? Coming home from school, their daughter told them they should be doing farmers markets. That was late August and with some resistance at first - they went - and sold out in October.
They took orders through November for another 20 boxes and in January when the boxes arrived, people were lined up in their Willits ranch driveway. And here they are 7 years later covering farmers markets all over Mendocino County and into Sonoma County. Their label and business card features a silhouette of John and Charline, drawn by their daughter when she was teenager.
So do they like doing farmers markets? Charline (pronounced Charlene) loves them or rather loves the friends she's made over the years. They swop stories, recipes, cooking techniques, catch up on family, the weather, and community issues. But its the beef everyone comes back for. Well and Charline's smile…and engaging conversation! My husband Jim and I look forward to seeing Charline every Saturday.
They offer grass fed beef from steaks to roasts to stew meat, london broil to hamburger. And sell it by the steak to the Rancher's Choice Pack. They've been told they could sell their amazing beef for far more, but they say they're grass fed, so it doesn't cost as much to raise and care for the herd and there is no middle man between them and their farmers market table, so they pass the savings on to us. And since John Ford's name is on every package, he guarantees there are no hormones, no antibiotics, no bull! Now, here's the beef!
Cindy Lindgren, The Mendocino County Landlady
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