Press Release

Local Couple to Leave Barinaga Ranch to MALT

September 3, 2014

Pt. Reyes Station, Calif. – Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) announced today that Marshall cheesemakers and ranchers Marcia Barinaga and Corey Goodman have decided to leave their 823-acre Barinaga Ranch to MALT. It is the first bequest of MALT-protected land to the organization.

“We worry about who might buy our ranch when we are gone,” said Goodman, noting that the high land value and natural beauty of West Marin makes ranches such as Barinaga Ranch appealing for estate development. “The reason for our gift was to give MALT not only the financial value of the ranch, but also the ability to chart the future course for the ranch, to balance the monetary gain with keeping it in active agriculture. MALT has such a clear vision and mission, we feel confident entrusting the ranch to MALT.”

Barinaga Ranch has been protected by a MALT conservation easement since 1988. Goodman, a retired UC Berkeley professor and biotech entrepreneur, and Barinaga, a retired science journalist with family roots in sheep ranching, purchased the ranch in 2001. Since then, the couple has built a home, barns and a creamery, as well as an award-winning artisanal cheese business. Marcia Barinaga’s Basque heritage inspired the creation of her Basque-style sheep milk Baserri and Txiki cheeses, marketed under the Barinaga Ranch label ( Barinaga also raises sheep for meat and wool, alongside heritage pigs that dine on whey, a byproduct of cheesemaking.

To Barinaga and Goodman, this ranch is much more than a property.

“A property is something that’s bought and sold,” says Barinaga. “A ranch is part of the community. To us, the ranch is more than a place to live – it’s the organic pastures, the animals, the cycle of life, the production of food, and the preservation of the pastoral landscape, all in harmony with the environment.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, this understanding of a ranch certainly isn’t commonplace. In fact the “highest and best use” of rural land in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas is often believed to be residential development. In West Marin, that translates to estate development – not farming or ranching.

“We are honored that Marcia and Corey would entrust us with their beloved ranch,” says MALT Executive Director Jamison Watts. “Their concern for the future of working agricultural land in Marin is admirable and in keeping with MALT’s vision of long-term stewardship, not only for Barinaga Ranch but for every ranch MALT protects. This gift will no doubt play a significant role in helping MALT protect at-risk farms and ranches in Marin County for generations to come.”

“MALT cares about the local community,” Goodman says. “So for us, MALT’s interest in preserving the vitality of this agricultural community – and our ranch – is completely in line with ours.”

Contact: Marisa Walker, Marketing and Communications Manager,
(415) 663-1158 ext. 311 or
Print-quality photos available upon request