BIANCHINI RANCH/BIVALVE DAIRY | POINT REYES – Bivalve Dairy, owned by Karen and John Taylor, is located just north of Point Reyes Station. Karen is a sixth-generation dairywoman, but her family didn’t always manage this land. In 1973 her parents bought a new herd in West Marin, and rented a ranch until 1974 when they had the opportunity to purchase the current location of Bivalve Dairy. In 2006 Karen returned to the family business with her husband, John, and together they transitioned the family herd and facility to an organic operation.
Bivalve Dairy is a pasture-based operation that thrives on the health of their pasture. The frequent foggy, damp weather in Point Reyes allows the land to be lush and green for a longer period of time than most other places in California. This helps many dairy farmers by allowing a longer pasture time for their cattle. At Bivalve Dairy, John and Karen have implemented many techniques of farming that allow them to utilize the pasture to the fullest capacity. They aerate their fields and practice range land seeding with a no-till drill. They irrigate their fields on a regular basis with manure water from their own cattle as well as the runoff created during the rainy season.
Because Karen and John are dedicated to sustainable farming practices that support the health of their herd and the health of the environment, they are naturally placed to share their knowledge with students or community groups. Visitors to Bivalve Dairy receive lessons in milk production, but also see how a sustainable dairy must take multiple environmental factors into consideration in order to protect the pasture. Karen and John are the educators at Bivalve and lead students through a variety of activities designed to clarify how milk gets from a cow to the table, and how it fits into a larger food system where wildlife, animal health, nutrition, and food cycles are all under consideration.
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