At Prather Ranch Meat Company, we stand for the whole hog—and the entire chicken,
the complete steer, the total lamb. From the outset, our goal has been to offer high quality, sustainable, humanely raised meats in support of a whole-animal sales model. We think
it just makes good business sense. The nose-to-tail approach lets our customers reap
the maximum benefit from the extraordinary measures the ranchers and farmers take to raise animals with the utmost care.
Founded by Doug Stonebreaker in 2003 to create a new paradigm for meat production and sales, Prather Ranch Meat Company was a natural outgrowth of its parent business, Prather Ranch. Owned and operated by the Rickert and Ralphs families, the ranch is a unique closed-herd operation that raises its own hay, breeds its own cattle and does its own slaughter and processing. Prather Ranch was instrumental in creating the first organic certification program for beef products, and was one of the first beef producers to become Certified Humane Raised and Handled.
To market, to market
In 1997, Prather Ranch became one of the first small operators to sell beef at farmers markets. This direct-to-consumer approach began at markets near the ranch in Siskiyou County and then headed south to the Bay Area markets in San Francisco and Marin. Demand for such high quality, well raised product steadily grew with Doug eventually assuming responsibility for all market aspects of the business in 2002.
To enable each part of the business (ranching and selling) the get the focus and attention they deserved, Prather Ranch Meat Company became an independent entity from the ranch in 2003 with Doug at the reins. Around that same time, the newly-renovated San Francisco Ferry Building was looking for tenants and the offer to open a retail meat shop was soon on the table.
An actual store in an actual building was a big leap (and risk) for a guy accustomed to dragging a freezer-trailer from one farmers market to the next. However, Doug saw it as a way to continue to grow a unique business—one that could support additional small, sustainability-minded livestock programs by offering his customers a location that was open every day. The PRMC shop in the Ferry Building was one of the first to open. It wasn’t pretty – but it was a place to buy quality meats and meat products from farms and ranches that respect the land and the animals raised on it.
Partnerships and pulling it all together
Meanwhile, Steve McCarthy, a regular Saturday customer at the San Francisco market on Green Street since 1998, was joyously celebrating his inclusion in a large wave of corporate “reductions in force”. He began volunteering at the newly-relocated Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and soon found himself selling meat and managing PRMC’s new Ferry Building shop. Realizing he wanted to do nothing more than talk about and sell sustainable, really tasty meat, he became partner in PRMC in 2005.
One year later, PRMC was designated a Certified Humane meat shop–one of only two in the country–by Humane Farm Animal Care.
In addition to cultivating partnerships with new ranchers, PRMC began working with Mark Keller of Keller Crafted Meats to develop tasty, top flight, sustainably produced hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, jerky and high quality lard, all of which have become staples for Bay Area consumers and restaurants. Today we own our own hogs and have realized our biggest dream yet: opening the PRMC American Eatery in our new space in the Ferry Building. And because the meat goes on, we’re working to develop a farm project and Meat Share program that will help PRMC serve more customers throughout the Bay Area.