Egg-cellence at Hicks Mountain Hens: Your Next Stop for Fresh Eggs

Matt Dolkas - MALT

By Matt Dolkas, Senior Manager, Marketing

May 16, 2024

Bill Dellinger is the kind of guy who gives good handshakes. We met recently at his family’s ranch, 344-acres less than an hour from the Golden Gate Bridge. Traveling to meet him here was an adventure itself—twisted mountain roads leading through thousands of acres of Marin County’s protected farm and ranchland—just getting to his farm stand was like traveling back in time.

“I started this egg business as a kid in 4H,” Bill shared, “and it’s just grown from there. Now we have nearly 1,000 laying hens.”

In recent years, the roadside farm stand has become somewhat of a destination for weekend travelers on their way to and from the Point Reyes National Seashore and open spaces of West Marin, a chance to slow down and sample some of region’s local flavors.

Have a look for yourself and plan your next visit:

Plan your next stop at the honor-based farm stand to sample the fresh eggs, honey, and butter.

Pastured-Raised for the Benefit of All

Unlike most conventional chickens, Bill’s birds are always on the move, rotating between pastures in an endless pursuit of fresh ground. Every few weeks, Bill and his girlfriend, Shelby Ronsheimer, move the birds and their mobile coop to a new paddock where they transform the newly available crop of insects, seeds, and fresh grass into high-quality, nutrient-dense eggs.

With access to a diverse range of feed, pasture-raised eggs have higher levels of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Buying local, fresh eggs, as it turns out, is good for your health. As Bill puts plainly, “You can pay the doctor, or you can pay the rancher, it’s a simple as that.”

Most customers, it seems, stop to see the animals and later stay to buy the eggs, honey, and butter at the honor-based farm stand. With the chickens visible from the stand, it’s a quintessential scene and if you could get any closer to this food source, you’d be standing in the coop.

Bill and his girlfriend, Shelby Ronsheimer, posing at the entrance to the family’s ranch.

A Lifestyle of Hard Work

Bill’s no stranger to hard work. Having moved to the ranch as a kid, he remembers most weekends growing up were spent helping his parents tend to the land, a lifestyle that he maintains to keep the business running today.

Like most ranchers in West Marin, Bill and Shelby both have work outside of the running the farm stand. “You have to like work to like farming and ranching. We come home from our jobs and get right back to work keeping the ranching going,” Bill said. “It seems romantic and it is, but it’s a lifestyle of hard work, no doubt.”

Part of the challenge in making a living farming and ranching in Marin County is the rising costs of housing, labor, materials, feed and fuel. But continuing to support these small business is not only essential to maintain our agricultural economy, but the community that tends to this landscape and our region’s precious biodiversity.

 

Located along Point Reyes-Petaluma Road adjacent to the Marin French Cheese Company, Hicks Mountain Belvedere Ranch is home to the highest privately-owned peak in all of Marin County.

Protected Land

In April, the Marin County Board of Supervisors approved $400,000 in grant funding from the Farmland Preservation Grant Program (Measure A) for the conservation of the Dellinger’s ranch, known as the Hicks Mountain Belvedere Ranch. Matching this public funding with our organization’s private dollars, we are close to forever safeguarding this iconic landscape.

Bill’s egg operation and farm stand covers just a few acres around the ranch’s center, just off Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. The rest of the ranch encompasses much of Hicks Mountain steep east face. As one of the tallest peaks in Marin County, the ranch harbors a diverse array of native plants, impressive redwood trees, and dense chaparral—it’s a sanctuary for a myriad of wildlife.

By protecting this ranch with a MALT agricultural conservation easement, we will ensure this ranch forever remains in agricultural production. We will soon have secured this key piece in a growing network of protected agricultural land, collectively one of the largest conservation areas in the entire Bay Area.

Tending to Marin’s agricultural landscapes is only possible through the dedication of our farming and ranching community—where land stewardship is a way of life. The value of locally produced food extends beyond our tables, it is the connections between us and to this place.

“My family has been tending this place for generations,” Bill shared “and it’s a privilege to get to continue that legacy.”

Plan Your Visit

Driving directions to Hicks Mountain Hens can be found here.

A visit to this corner of West Marin also isn’t complete without a stop at Marin French Cheese Co., the oldest continuously operating cheese company in country.

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