Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak is a veterinarian, farmer, agricultural development practitioner and now CEO of Haiti Coffee. Since 1971, Myriam and her husband Mark have owned and managed Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio, California, a diversified family farm that supplies high end restaurants and wineries as well as educating children about nutrition and food production. Her experience in international development began in Niger, West Africa, where she was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1983-85 focusing on nutrition.
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Mark grew up in Southern California but always dreamed of escaping the city and becoming a farmer. In 1971, at the age of 19, he bought the 65-acre heart of the 873-acre ranch known then as Devils Gulch Ranch. Subsequently, Congress included the ranch within the boundaries set for the expanded Golden Gate Recreation Area in 1980 and bought all but Mark’s 65 acres. From 1866 until sometime in the 1940’s, the ranch was used as a grade B dairy (producing cream that was sold and skim milk that was fed to hogs). From then on until Mark’s acquisition of the property in 1971, it was vacant, used only for grazing cattle.
The barn on the property was originally built in 1866 and has been remodeled by Mark twice. Because the ranch was off the grid, Mark installed a windmill in 1973 which was his sole source of electricity until 1980, when he planted the vineyard and connected to Pacific Gas & Electric to pump water for irrigating. In 2004, he replaced the old windmill with a much larger one that feeds into Pacific Gas & Electric using net-metering just as solar panels do.
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DGES is the Ranch's education program which offers a Summer Day Camp at Devil's Gulch Ranch, focusing on connecting children with nature and farming. Kids and their families get a chance to experience food production from the farm, through their local farmer's market and often into their own kitchens.
DG Educational Services
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