Marcia Barinaga has worked as a molecular biologist, journalist, and now, as a rancher and cheesemaker. "I'm trying to use my biology degree in as many different ways as I can before I die," she jokes. Currently retired from her job as a writer for Science magazine, Marcia is busier than ever managing an 800-acre ranch in Marin County, Calif., that she and her husband purchased in 2001. Athough the couple never planned on raising sheep, they wanted to start a business that would use the land to benefit the local economy. "We became quite passionate about being a sustainable part of the community," Marcia says. Their first barn was raised in 2007 and Marcia visited other sheep farms and attended cheesemaking classes to learn about her soon-to-be trade. "It was brand new to me. My skills have all been acquired on the job."
Marcia's first batch of raw milk sheep cheese—aged for 60 days—was ready for the market in late July. When she’s not busy making cheese and caring for her flock, Marcia designs the labels for her product. She is also crossing her East Friesian dairy ewes with Katahdin rams, known for being hardier. Marcia welcomes the many challenges that come with more than one hundred animals to look after. "I'm a big believer in lifelong learning," she says. "Every minute I’m working with the animals I’m so happy."
Posted November 17, 2009