If you asked the Markegards how many members are in their family, they’d likely say that there are more than just the six of them. With their growing community of customers, collaborators, and champions, their family is, in fact, quite a large one. Erik, Doniga, Lea, Larry, Quill, and Quince make up the six behind Markegard Family Grass-fed, a Certified Grass-fed and Grass-finished ranching operation located in San Mateo and Sonoma counties. Maintaining a deep respect for both their animals and the land they graze, the Markegards are committed to a holistic grassland management approach that captures soil carbon and supports natural habitats. Integral to this approach are their animals—cattle, sheep, chickens, and pigs—which they view as equal to themselves. Being born, raised, and processed locally, the Markegards care for their animals from birth through death, ensuring a compassionate journey on the land that sustains them.
The Markegards’ love for the land began with husband and wife, Erik and Doniga. As a sixth generation cattle rancher, Erik grew up raising cattle alongside his father in San Mateo County. Doniga, with a nature and Permaculture background, was driven to ranching by her passion for rangeland restoration. Together with their children, the Markegards have grown their operation to 8,000 acres of leased land throughout the Bay Area. This expanse of ranchlands has enabled them to implement grazing practices that follow the natural herd patterns of the original inhabitants of the land—elk and antelope. Through multiple partnerships with land trusts, private landowners, and regional open space parks—one among them being Kitchen Table Advisors partner and Grazing sponsor, Peninsula Open Space Trust—the Markegards’ extended family has been instrumental to realizing this form of stewardship. On the horizon for Markegard Family Grass-Fed is an even greater investment: land ownership. Since January, Kitchen Table Advisors has been supporting them in this endeavor by providing advising on financial management and capital fundraising.
The Markegards’ unwavering commitment to regenerative agriculture is reflected in their high quality, GMO-free meats, eggs, and milk. With no grain or antibiotics ever introduced into the animals’ diets, the Markegard customer family is truly eating off the land. Their offering of wholesome food isn’t only limited to meat, however. Through a multi-farm CSA collaboration with City Bees and fellow Kitchen Table Advisors client and featured Grazing farm, Fifth Crow Farm, the Markegards broaden their offerings to include organic produce and honey.
To complement what the Markegards bring to the table, they host events, tours, and workshops that expose visitors to closing the loop of natural systems through sustainable grassland management. This September, the Markegards will share their reverence for the land at one community gathering that we’re especially excited about—our very own Grazing at the Kitchen Table. Providing the meats for our chefs to prepare and our guests to enjoy, we are honored to count Markegard Family Grass-fed as part of our family.
Join the Markegard family this September 22nd, 2016 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm during Grazing at the Kitchen Table. The event will be hosted at Dogpatch WineWorks in San Francisco. Tickets are on sale now--don't wait to reserve your seat! Follow #GrazeAndGive2016 for updates.