Acorn Ranch lies at the Southern end of the Anderson Valley, just after descending Hale’s grade along Highway 128 in Mendocino, CA. Most of Front Porch Farm’s livestock program resides at Acorn Ranch, where Dorper Sheep, Cinta Senese pigs and heritage chickens roam the valley’s oak inhabited hills.
Cinta Senese, the Belted Pig of Siena, have been famous since the Middle Ages, as evidenced by their center stage position in the venerable 1325 Siena City Hall mural, Good Government, by Lorenzetti. Belted refers to the white band around the front of their otherwise completely black body.
Cintas are traditionally raised in the mountain forests of Tuscany where they forage on a bounty of acorns, chestnuts, and mushrooms. They were the original free-range critters. Traditionally, Italians could even tell what species of oak acorns had fattened their Cintas in fall. They knew that habitat and the quality of forage are what determine the quality of pork.
What's in a Breed?
Our Cintas have strong long legs that allow them to forage in the ranch’s mixed oak forests, places where a factory-pig wouldn’t last a day. At the ranch, they live good ‘piggy’ lives and the diverse diet allowed by foraging results in uniquely flavorful pork.
Our salumi pork is exceptional, primarily because the Cintas grow slowly, eating wild foods at the pace nature (not industry) intends. The naturally slow maturation process results in complexly flavorful pork revered by knowledgeable Salumi-artisans. Salumi refers to salted meat, the flavorful Italian art of preserving pork.
Cinta pork has a vivid dark red color, fine texture, firm consistency, and is tender, succulent, and lightly veined with fat. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA = healthy fat) levels in pastured pork are known to be proportionally higher (2-5 times higher!) compared to industrially-raised pork.
Acorn Ranch Cintas are raised in balance with natural systems and according to our own humane animal husbandry standards. Pork that is healthier and more flavorful is the natural result.
We raise a South African breed of sheep called Dorper, characterized by their hardiness and strong frames. Dorpers are a ‘hair’ sheep (rather than ‘wool’ sheep). “Hair” breeds don’t require shearing and because they don’t produce as much lanolin, possess a remarkably mild and clean-tasting product, preferred by many knowledgeable chefs.
The sheep are rotationally grazed at Acorn Ranch with the intention of increasing organic matter and shifting the plant communities back to native perennials. When summer sets in, and the savannah goes dry, our annual lamb crop moves down to irrigated pasture at Front Porch Farm, allowing them to maintain good weight gain and add nutrients to the crop rotation at the farm.
Everyone likes lamb, especially the local coyote, puma, and bear neighbors who roam wild nearby the farm. Thanks to our wonderful, hard-working guard dogs, Layla and Bochy, the hungry neighbors are kept at a safe distance.
Find Our Meats
Our forest raised pork and grass-fed lamb are available at the Marin Civic Center Farmers Market
on Thursdays and Sundays, from 8am-1pm.
Larger custom orders are also available by calling Acorn Ranch directly at (707) 894-8520.
Acorn Ranch is nestled in the upper reaches of Northern California’s Anderson Valley. Stately oak trees dot lush grasslands on the south-facing slopes, while dense mixed oak forest covers the north-facing lands. Pig heaven.
The ranch landscape is reminiscent of the Tuscan forest region, home to the Cintas for well over 700 years, making it familiar terrain for our Cinta pigs. Centuries of breeding have equipped them with the long strong legs, robust health, and fine-tuned foraging instincts necessary to thrive here. Year round they benefit from the rich complement of forage diversity, natural shelter, and fresh water opportunities.
Pair our meat with one of our wines
The old Johnson Ranch, now Acorn Ranch, holds many stories of local agriculture and ranch life in Mendocino County. We look forward to helping write new chapters in its history.
Our ultimate goal is to learn how to farm in harmony with this place.