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A Roadside Ranch With A Sweet Lesson

Could you slaughter a chicken? It’s a question I’ve occasionally thought about, curious if I’d have the stomach to procure my own protein. Every so often, budding farmers at Pie Ranch in Pescadero, California just off Highway 1 will show you how, and offer some other lessons about food origins. Fresh local pie is the main draw at the 25-acre facility—which is, appropriately, shaped like two giant pie wedges—but budding farmers also grow and harvest many of the things you’d find on your table, from beef to wheat to butter and honey.

I was hardly the first person to pull over, drawn in by the large “PIE” signs a mile out (strictly on business, of course). Thousands of students, fruit buyers, and curious tourists visit the ranch each year for workshops on food-making the old fashioned way. “We want to teach people how to grow all these things, and let them see where it all comes from,” farming apprentice Nichole Mikaelian told me when I stopped in. She also mentioned a monthly barn dance, fiddle and all.

As for the the slaughter workshop, unfortunately for me—but luckily for the chicken—I missed it by one week.

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