Fed & Fit

Ep. 147: Mary Heffernan of 5 Marys Farms

On today's episode, I'm chatting with Mary Heffernan of 5 Marys Farms!

We're back with our 147th  episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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Episode 147 Sponsors

  • ButcherBox – for $15 off + free bacon (!!) with your order
  • Wine Fellas – use the code “fedandfit” for $10-off your first wine club shipment!

Episode 147 Links

  • Visit the 5 Marys Farms website HERE

Episode 147 Transcription

Today’s show is brought to you by my friends at Wine Fellas! Wine Fellas is your wine club for small allocation, hard to find, natural wines from around the world. They specialize in organic and biodynamic wines that are made using traditional wine making methods, but with minimal interventions. They’re free of added sugar and chemical additives. They’re low in sulfites. They’re bottling the wine world describes as “natural wines.” These are wines as they were meant to be enjoyed, with nothing standing between you and pure, expressive fruit.

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Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And I am excited today to bring you another very special guest. Today we are chatting with Mary Heffernan of Five Mary’s farms in Fort Jones, California. She lives there with her husband, Brian, along with their four daughters. Yes, all named Mary, too. She left a suburban life in Silicon Valley, California, to become a cattle rancher three years ago. They raise all-natural beef, pork, and lamb in the mountains of Siskiyou county, and ship their premium dry aged meats all over the country. Of which I’ve been a very grateful recipient. They are wonderful.

Mary and Brian believe in doing things the old fashioned way and know that there are no shortcuts in agriculture. Raising animals the right way takes time, and attention, and hard work put in day in and day out by the whole family. Their attention to detail shows in the quality of their product. They are proud to share with people all over the US. Welcome to the show, Mary!

Mary Heffernan: Thanks Cassy. I’m happy to be here.

Cassy Joy: I’m so happy to have you here. I think I first came across you; it was several months ago. Diane Sanfilippo, a good friend of mine, had sent me several of your stories. And she was like; if you don’t, you need to be following Mary right now. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: Aww! Well we both have the love of a Great Pyrenees pup.

Cassy Joy: We do. I love it. And I always wonder, because your Great Pyrenees are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. {laughs} they’re working. And whenever I chat; our Great Pyrenees puppy, he has a different kind of job description. But I’ve had dinner before with some folks that have working Great Pyrenees dogs. And for those of you who don’t know, Great Pyrenees are typically hard-working ranch dogs. Gus’s parents, for example, that’s exactly their background. They protected the livestock; from coyotes are really prevalent here in Texas. And Gus lives a very different life. He’s lounging on my bed right now. And I’ve had supper before with a couple of people who, when we told them we have a Great Pyrenees as a house pet, they looked at us like we invited a donkey into the house. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: {laughs} Well Gus looks very happy in his life as a house dog.

Cassy Joy: He is.

Mary Heffernan: Yeah. It was interesting when we got ours. He was a livestock guardian dog, and had been raised with chickens, and sheep. We got him and they said; he’d never been in a car. And we had to do the transfer. He was like, what is going on. We had to physically lift him into the car. But we put him out with our chickens, and he just went right to lay under the chicken coop and kind of stayed there for a couple of days. And when we’d come out to collect the eggs, the girls, we told them; you’re not supposed to pet him. They’re not a pet. They’re a working dog. But inevitably, he’d come up curious, looking at the girls, and they’d pet him.

They say that naturally, Great Pyrenees will go protect whatever species is the most valuable on a ranch. So he’s kind of like; what am I doing over here with the chickens. And he started going around the sheep, and working around the cows. Pretty soon he would just circle the house all night. And we thought; Jeeze, this dog is not doing his job. Why isn’t he out with the livestock. We realized he looked at our little herd of four girls as the most important species on the ranch.

Cassy Joy: Awww.

Mary Heffernan: And he is very protective of them, first and foremost. And we’re like; you know what, that’s ok. We’ll take that. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Oh, that is just so sweet. That warms my heart. {laughs} They’re really special dogs.

Mary Heffernan: Yeah. They are very special. He protects our whole ranch. At night, he’s out chasing coyotes. Somebody saw him chase a bear for two miles down our mountain.

Cassy Joy: {gasp}

Mary Heffernan: He really likes to take the house as his castle.

Cassy Joy: That’s awesome. I love it. Well, Gus will have something very important to protect soon. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: That’s right! I know you can look forward to that.

Cassy Joy: Definitely. Oh man, that is so sweet. I love it. Y’all are about to have a puppy there. This episode will probably air a while afterwards so by the time this is airing, if you already follow Mary, you’ve been seeing this puppy I bet. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: Yes, we’ve got Bo. And my oldest daughter is a dog lover, so she’s taking on this new puppy as a training project, and she’s already named her Betty. So we’ll have Bo and Betty around the ranch. And all their adventures.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, that’s so fun. Sorry, I totally got sidetracked! Nothing gets me more sidetracked than Great Pyrenees. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: Talk about dogs.

Cassy Joy: I know it! I’m so sorry, Mary. But I would love it, circling back around. Please tell us a little bit more about yourself, and what you do. I guess the story, your transition from three years ago. I would love it if you could kind of share that with listeners here. I think it’s a really cool thing.

Mary Heffernan: yeah, definitely. So I’m from the Bay area, which is now turned into Silicon Valley in California, which is a place of lots of hustle and bustle and opportunity. I loved growing up there, and having businesses there. I went to college in Virginia and then moved back home kind of right about the time the first dot com boom in 2000. And I was on my way to medical school, and tutoring kind of the in between time period when I was sending in my applications and taking the MCAT. And I saw this huge need for tutoring in the area, and started a tutoring business, with a brick and mortar shop downtown in Menlo Park where kids could come, do their homework, meet with tutors, and kind of feel professional about what they were doing. And I thought I would just get that started, and then go on to medical school.

But, what I really found was a love of small business and creating spaces to fill a need. Everything from the marketing and the branding. I really realized that small business was kind of where I wanted to be and take direction for my life, instead of going to medical school. So I ended up starting a few more businesses in the area, all geared towards families. Especially with small children.

And then, I met my husband, who was an attorney for a big law firm. He was doing real estate law in the same town. He had grown up in more of an agricultural background. His dad was a farmer in Tehama County. Which is also in Northern California. But he had found his way to law school at Santa Clara, and then was working in the Bay area.

When we met, he was a very busy attorney, and I was kind of on a trend of starting more businesses. And then we had two of our girls, and realized that we loved going out to eat. I especially loved going out and meeting friends for lunch. Taking one baby is ok. Once you have a menagerie of children, people look at you like; please don’t come in this restaurant. But I really loved good food, and appreciated eating out. So we came up with a concept to do kind of a clubhouse, where parents could come eat with kids and feel comfortable eating, but get really quality food and have kid’s food on the menu that wasn’t dumbed down.

So we thought; we’ll just cater in the food. This will be really easy. I love building spaces, I’ll build a comfortable space for parents. We’ll have a play room in the back where you can check in kids, and have an outdoor area with trikes and arts and crafts. There were always Montessori trained teachers in there to work with the kids so you could check them in after you ate.

Cassy Joy: Cool.

Mary Heffernan: But we quickly realized that the health department requirements required us to build a full commercial kitchen. And once we did that, it didn’t make sense to cater in food. So we hired a chef, and the next thing we knew, we were opening up a breakfast, lunch, and dinner restaurant 7 days a week. And the first day we opened I kind of looked at my husband like; oh no. What did we do?

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Mary Heffernan: This is a huge task.

Cassy Joy: What a tiger at the carnival.

Mary Heffernan: Yes, totally. So we dove into the restaurant business. We loved sourcing really quality ingredients. Being passionate about where the food came from. Feeding out customers only food that we would feed our own children. And then we ended up opening a second restaurant with the same passion. And we’re working on opening the third that was going to be a high-end burger house with really quality burgers. And we wanted really quality ground beef for those burgers.

What we found working with small farms is it was really hard for a lot of farms to do it consistently all year round. We wanted the barley finish, we wanted them to live a grass-fed lifestyle. We wanted a dry age, which is really important to us, and I think is what really makes our meat stand out, is we dry age the whole carcass after harvesting. So even our ground beef is dry aged 21-28 days. Which is pretty unusual.

But we became really passionate about all these menu testings, and burger testings with really talented chefs. And we’re like, we have to do this 28-day dry age, and barley finish. So, we couldn’t find a farm doing it. And naively looked at each other like; let’s just do this ourselves. {laughs} My husband had kind of wanted to get back into agriculture, and we’d always, since we’d been married, we’d kind of looked on and off for a ranch or a small piece of property of our own. We thought; this could all make sense. If we can buy our own ranch and raise our animals there, and then sell our own meats to our restaurants. We get our outdoor recreation property. We get an aspect of agriculture into our lives. A place to take our kids. And we can fill this need that we’re so passionate about.

So we jumped in with both feet, our family motto. Which I know you’ll appreciate, being from Texas. Is go big or go home. And we found a piece of property up in Siskiyou county, which is at the top of the state in California. It’s 6 hours north of where we lived in the San Francisco, Bay area. So we’re way up at the top of the state. And we bought this ranch. Luckily my brother-in-law is a sixth-generation cattle rancher from Oregon. Actually, he’s fifth generation, my nephew is the sixth generation.

And he was very helpful in helping us source great cattle with really good genetics for the things that were important to us. The ribeye quality, and all these things we learned that you can tell from EPDs, expected progeny differences on bulls, and on your cattle. So a lot of ranchers are most concerned with raising their animals to sell to the next step, by the pound. So different things, like birth weight, are important in their EPDs. But what was important to us was ease of calving, and smaller birth weights, so we had an easier time on our mamas, and then great marbling on our ribeyes. Which is really a genetic thing.

So we source great cattle. We had a cattle ranch manager who is here full time, and then we would come up every weekend, and then go back to our restaurants during the week. And it was crazy. We were totally unprepared and naïve thinking we could do both well. And we realized we weren’t doing either well. When we were up here, something would go wrong at the restaurant. We were up here having a nice Easter on the ranch, and the kids are running barefoot, and we’re like; this is beautiful! And then the restaurant calls; the hood is broken. The restaurant is filling up with smoke. There’s a line out the door. It’s like, oh my gosh, we’re the only ones who know how to fix it!

And then we would be at the restaurant, and one of our new, nice neighbors would call. You have cows on the road. And we’re like; oh my gosh we’re 6 hours away. Where’s the ranch manager. So we also simultaneously just fell in love with this lifestyle, and this community. We really lucked out. Living rurally, we have a beautiful piece of property. We’re on 1800 acres. But we’re only 5 minutes from our downtown. And we have a small community. We’re in a no stop light town. But we’ve got about 3000 people who are all hardworking, really great community-oriented people. So every time we were here, we were like; this is where we want to be.

For 8 weekends driving back and forth with four little girls in four car seats. My oldest was only 5. We’re like; this is crazy. Why are we going back? We feel like we’re leaving home every time we leave. So on that car ride, we just made the decision that we want to make this our life. We’re passionate about raising these animals. We want to be the ones out there feeding them every day. Caring for them every day. And pushing our mission to produce really good quality meat. And we were more passionate about that than continuing on what we had built in the Bay area.

So, my husband gave his position in his law firm away to a friend. We sold our businesses and restaurants. Moved up here full time. I was pretty apprehensive. I was a suburban girl. Raised with a pretty normal, great suburban life with lots of things available at any time. And all of a sudden we were moving to a small town and would be pretty isolated. Went from a beautiful house that we’d worked so hard that we thought this was our forever house. This is where our girls will walk down the stairs when they’re married. To a little ranch house that’s 780 square feet, two bedrooms, wood stove only heat. You’ve got to chop that wood or you're in trouble. {laughs} There’s single degree temps. And all kinds of country problems. Like, mice.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: Things I was like; can we call somebody to fix this? Nope. That’s not an option. You do it yourself. But in the process, our girls matured so quickly and became so much more capable and independent. And they have learned to really pully their weight. It’s a family operation. You don’t have help when you're on a ranch. You do it yourself.

So my 10-year-old cooks often when we’re still out working late, finishing chores. And my younger girls can drive the feed truck on a daily basis. They don’t need to do the gears, because we got a Dodge. Which just cranks in gear, and they steer and drive while Brian throws hay. So it was really a huge lifestyle change for us. But it feels like this is what we always have been; this is where we’re meant to be and what we’re supposed to be doing.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, that is so heartwarming! It makes me want to put a for sale sign in the front yard! {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: I know. A lot of people say that. And I’m like; don’t let me make it sound too cushy, because it’s cold and dirty and lots and lots of hard work. But it is really a very satisfying and very rewarding lifestyle.

Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness. That’s so wonderful. And just, if you guys are listening to this and it sounds wonderfully charming. At least what I see on social media definitely matches that. You do such a great job of constantly sharing the ins and outs. She’s Five Mary’s Farm on Instagram. And I’ll link to that, of course, in the show notes so you can go ahead and click it if you're driving. When you get back to your computer later. But it’s just so neat to watch you guys and cheer you along as you do this really important work. So that’s just incredible.

Cassy Joy: I think this is a great spot to stop and hear from one of our sponsors.

Today’s episode is brought to you by my friends at Butcher Box! Butcher Box delivers grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured beef, chicken, and heritage breed pork to your door each month. The animals are humanely raised, and are never introduced to hormones or antibiotics. I have been a loyal fan and customer of Butcher Box for over a year now, and love my monthly Butcher Box delivery, because it helps me get healthy, nutrient packed protein on my table with ease. To order your own Butcher Box, head to www.ButcherBox.com/fedandfitpodcast where you can get $15 off plus free bacon with your order. Again that’s www.ButcherBox.com/fedandfitpodcast for $15 off and free bacon with your order.

Cassy Joy: So tell us a little bit about your clients now, your customers. How has that evolved since you guys made the big move? And I know that now you ship all over the US.

Mary Heffernan: Yeah. It was definitely a learning curve, and evolution to the process just like everything has been in the past 3 years. But we knew if we wanted to do this full time, we wanted a direct to consumer market. We didn’t want a middle man. We didn’t want the story of our meat to get lost in translation. We’d been on the restaurant side, and we know how hard it was to really source from restaurants and do it consistently, and we didn’t want somebody buying our meat, putting our name on the menu, and then not serving that meat every single time.

So, we had enough of a customer base from friends and family and customers that were existing in the Bay area that believed in what we did, knew we always provided a really quality product, that we just started out with an email to those customers saying, we have our first product. We have half lamb shares, and Mary and the girls are driving them down this weekend. If anybody wants one, give us your address and we’ll deliver. And I think I had 36 stops to make in the Bay area on a weekend. And by about the 21st, I was in tears. {laughs} I was like; this is not going to work. It’s too hard to get to all these places, and traffic, and the girls have been in the car too long.

So, ok. That model is out. We can’t do deliver. So how are we going to get this meat to people? So we started researching how to ship. It was really a process. It took us almost a year to figure out custom insulated boxes that were still biodegradable, and were kind of in line with our mission and wasn’t just a big Styrofoam box. We had to figure out a dry ice supplier, because really we learned you can’t ship meat without dry ice. The gel packs don’t really do it unless you're going for fresh product, but we wanted people to be able to stock their freezers and not just have meat that they had to cook in a few days.

So while we were researching that, we started doing what we called farm stands. And we felt like farmers markets and a lot of places have become a little bit commercialized. It’s a lot of face painting and balloons, and less about going to a parking lot to meet some farmers in the back of their van. Which I know those still exist, but where we were trying to reach our clientele. It didn’t feel authentic. And it didn’t feel like what we could spend our really valuable time away from the ranch doing.

So we ended up doing farm stands, we called them. We would set up shop, in my parent’s backyard. Or at a friend’s house. And do a little popup. Come meet the farmers, taste our product. We would bring in a friend who was a chef. He’d make samples of all of our food. And then we’d have all these coolers lined up in the backyard with little stands that say ground beef, $10 a pound. Pork chops, and lamb chops, and leg of lamb. So people could come fill their bag and buy our meat and taste our product at the same time.

That worked really well to get our meat out there and have people trying it and get our name out there. They were a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. And the bigger our operation grew here, the harder and harder it has become to leave the ranch. So we did the farm stands for about a year and a half while we transitioned into shipping. We’ve been shipping for two years. And we started doing it out of a little lean-to on the ranch. We got a used shipping container that had been converted into a freezer. A big huge walk in freezer. So we had all our meat there, and I had a little table outside.

We got some boxes that I wasn’t ready to jump into printed boxes and the expense of that. So we took our cattle brand that says M5 that we actually physically brand our cattle with, and I branded the boxes. I thought; well this will work for now. And now it’s kind of one of our signature things that people love. Our actual cattle brand is burned right there on the box that’s coming to their doorstep.

So we were doing it kind of on a shoestring and trying to figure out what was going to work and what wasn’t. But we slowly started shipping boxes to these customers who bought our meat at a farm stand, or had heard about it. And transitioned into fully shipping.

So a year ago when the weather kind of started turning, and our volume of shipping was going up, I looked at my husband like; I can’t do this outside anymore! My labels are all curling and I have to run back to the house to print one, and it’s too many boxes! He’s like, ok. Ok, we need to solve this quickly.

So we found a great little shop in our downtown that was a vacant building. We kind of did a spit shine and fixed it up in a two-week period and I was shipping out of there by Christmas. So it’s a great farm store. I’m so thankful for it. It’s a warm, cozy room. We’ve got a little retail shop in the front. I’ve got reach in freezers, which are amazing after a year and a half of every box having to walk in the 15-degree walk-in and choose all the perfect cuts and then come out and back them in a box. So now we have glass door reach ins where we can see all of our beautiful cuts and pack them in boxes.

We’ve gone from shipping about 25 to 50 boxes a week to, in the last three days we shipped out 365 boxes. And each one, I make sure. I have some girls helping me out in the shop who are awesome. One girl full time, and when we’re really busy we’ve got some great local girls who help out. But I make sure that I’m looking at each box, and who it’s going to. I know most of our customers, and I know that they like bigger lamb chops because they’re feeding a lot of people. It’s just a single couple so they like smaller cuts, so there’s not a lot of leftovers. And I make sure I write a note on every box.

We want to keep that personal touch forever. We don’t really have plans to grow bigger or do any kind of distribution. We just want to grow our brand so that we’re always delivering really quality, old fashioned service to our customers.

Cassy Joy: That’s awesome. Man. It makes me so excited. You sent me a box, recently, and I was really blown away by, just the quality of the meat, in general. But it’s all very thoughtfully put together. And it really was some of the best meat that I’ve had in a while.

Mary Heffernan: That’s good to hear.

Cassy Joy: Yeah!

Mary Heffernan: That makes my husband very happy to hear that. I always try to pass on those. Because he works so hard out there. He’s up at 4:40 in the morning, and he is changing rations week to week on the animals. It really does make a difference. Putting in hard work; you can taste it in the quality of the meat. And that’s something I think is hard for people to actually comprehend.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. You really can. You really can taste it. And you sent me something very special; a leg of lamb. And it was one of the most special meals that we’d had in a long time. And that recipe will be on the blog this spring. But it was really wonderful

Mary Heffernan: Oh good. Leg of lamb is a great cut.

Cassy Joy: It is. And of course, I think Big Fat Greek Wedding every time I talk about it. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: Yes, totally!

Cassy Joy: But it was wonderful. That’s great. Ok, so beef, pork, and lamb, right? Is that primarily your focus?

Mary Heffernan: Yes. We have heritage breeds. Heritage hogs. We like a mixed breed. We started with Gloucestershire old spots, and they are really tough breeders. We had a lot of problems delivering healthy babies with pigs, which some of the heritage breeds their lineage became so small that you find some problems like that. So I found myself shoulder deep inside of our pigs way too many times, and thinking; these poor pigs. This is too tough on them.

So we’ve diversified to kind of more of a mutt of heritage breeds. And that is where you get a lot better genetics. They’re really strong pigs. So we go between Brookshire’s and red wattles and GOS, the old spots. And that has been a lot more successful for us. And it’s really fun, because you see all kinds of different colors out there in the pigs. Different little variations. The red wattles have little wattles under the neck. The pigs are so cute.

And we do Navajo churro lambs. We’ve got one of the largest herds of Navajo churro, I think in the country. We inherited this 30-year-old herd from a couple who had been raising them forever, and was very cautious and thoughtful about their breeding program, and bringing back the lines of these Navajo churro. They’re beautiful sheep, with big horns. And they’re slow growers, which conventional sheep; most of the lamb that’s in America is coming from overseas.

I was reading an article that the lamb and sheep industry in the United States is not just dying; it’s dead. There’s so few operations that are raising lamb and lamb for customers; especially direct to consumer. So we are really passionate about our lamb. The Navajo churro breed is called the chefs choice, because it’s a really great flavor. I’ve come across so many people who say; oh, I don’t eat lamb. I don’t like lamb. Just the smell of it turns it off. That mint jelly… I’m like; no, no. That’s not lamb. {laughs} You had mutton once, or you had a commercial breed that was raised too quick and too fast.

It’s just like chicken. The quality of the breed and how they’re raised and how quickly they’re meant to get to weight really affects the flavor of the meat. So these Navajo churro are slow growers. Which means there’s a lot more inputs and it drives the price point of the meat up a little bit. But we think it’s totally worth it for what you're gaining in flavor and the way that that meat is raised ethically and humanely. All those reasons.

But our sheep are funny. I had to kind of talk my husband into adding sheep to our menagerie when we started ranching. And cattle ranchers aren’t big fan of sheep. They think; we raise cows. What are you doing with those furry animals? I had convinced him to try it out. The sheep are just masters of getting out of fences.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: It’s unbelievable. There’s a tiny hole in the fence, and the whole herd is through it in minutes. So he, after we got the sheep. He kept coming inside. It’s the rainy season, it’s muddy and wet, he’d come and sit on the chair inside, and say, “Your damn sheep got out again.”

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Mary Heffernan: The next day; your damn sheep got out again. The next day; your damn sheep got out again. So the girls started referring to them; are those mama’s damn sheep?

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Mary Heffernan: The whole herd is just now affectionally known as mama’s damn sheep.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, that’s hilarious.

Mary Heffernan: But they’re really majestic animals. We are also passionate about using the whole animal, and kind of preserving its legacy even after it’s harvested. So we go to great lengths to keep our hides from harvest. It’s not an easy process. And harvest, obviously, is sort of the PC term for slaughter. But when we take them to the abattoir, which is also a fancy word for slaughterhouse. After they are harvested, we have to go within a few hours to the gut room. Which is the basement underneath the harvest floor. Where there are manholes that all parts that are not saved on the carcass are kicked down. And we pull out these beautiful hides. Which are not really beautiful at that point, but we know their potential. And we take those to a 12-year-old boy who lives 2 hours north of us who is an expert flesher and salter.

Cassy Joy: What?!

Mary Heffernan: Which is also an art. Yes. It’s crazy. His dad is a taxidermist, which is how we found him. But fleshing and salting is not a sexy job. It’s a lot of work, and tedious, and taxidermists don’t want to do it. But his son is a budding taxidermist, and we pay him to flesh the hides. Which means carefully with a knife taking off all bits of flesh that would rot or cause problems with the hide. And he salts them and puts them in his salt shed, where we pick them up and bring them to drying racks that we’ve built on our ranch. And depending on the time of year, we have to dry them for a month to three months.

And then we pack them up carefully and ship them to the Amish. Because they are the only one’s we’ve found to do a really good job all naturally, without chemicals. You can tan a hide quickly with chemicals. But to do it properly it takes a long time. So we send them to the Amish, and they take approximate 22 to 32 weeks. And then they ship them back to us.

And when we get these hides back, it’s like Christmas. You open this box, and there are beautiful colors of ombre greys, and polka dots, and stripes, and really luxurious white that are great for nurseries. And blacks and browns and so we sell those hides and people just love them. They’re definitely a special occasion. They’re at a high price point with all of that process that goes into them. But they’re long, 6-inch wool. And they just add so much flair to a room. Like on the back of a couch or an ottoman. So for us, it’s really neat to kind of see the beauty of these animals live on. Not only in the nourishment they provide through our meat, but in the beauty and kind of legacy that their hides continue.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh, that is so beautiful. I’m scrolling through them right now while you're talking, Mary! {laughs} They’re absolutely gorgeous.

Mary Heffernan: They are. And they’re even better in person, because they’re just so soft.

Cassy Joy: I can’t even imagine. My goodness. And if you guys are curious where I’m at, I’m at shopfivemarys.com and then click on sheep skin pelts, and you can scroll and see them for yourself. They’re absolutely stunning. What a very neat way to really honor the whole animal. That’s wonderful.

Oh my goodness! Well I’m just so smitten with you and your story and your sweet family. And I know you get this question; I’m sure you get this question a lot. But I would love it if you could tell readers really quickly. Or listeners really quickly about the girls’ names, Mary. And is it their first name, their middle name? And how that tradition started.

Mary Heffernan: For sure. So my girls are all named Mary, and I get that question a lot. Are they really all named Mary? Yes, they are. But my name is Mary, and I was named after my grandmother and great-grandmother, Mary Reagan. Both of my grandmothers on both sides were Mary’s, and Brian’s grandmother was Mary. So when we had our first daughter we knew we had to name her Mary. And I didn’t really want to name; I never thought I’d name a daughter after myself, so I was a little apprehensive about that. But I was like; no, we’re naming her after the legacy of all of her grandmothers.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Mary Heffernan: So we named her Mary Frances, which is her first name, it’s a double first name. And then her middle name is the surname, or maiden name of the grandmother she was named after. So we carried that on with all of them.

Cassy Joy: Aww! That is so sweet.

Mary Heffernan: So Mary Frances goes by Francie. She’s 10. Mary Margery is Mazie, and she’s 8. And then Mary Jane is our wild child, prefers to be called Cray-Cray Jay-Jay.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: Or Janie. And she’s 6. And then Mary Theresa is the youngest, and she goes by Tessa.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh. That is so sweet. Our daughter, we haven’t. Well, by now people will know it when this episode comes out. But we’ve been keeping it kind of under wraps, our leading name choice. Her middle name is going to be Joy.

Mary Heffernan: Oh, that’s great.

Cassy Joy: So we’re going to share that together. I was chatting with my sisters the other day at dinner. They’re like; what if you have all girls? And I was like, well, I kind of really love the idea of them all having Joy! {laughing}

Mary Heffernan: Yeah, I think it’s a really neat tradition. And they all feel like they’re a part of a little family sorority of girls. I think it’s a really neat tradition.

Cassy Joy: It is. That’s really sweet. Well, Mary, thank you so much for coming on to chat about all of these wonderful things and what your incredible family is up to. If you don’t mind telling folks where they can find you, just remind them one more time. And then of course I’ll link to everything in the show notes.

Mary Heffernan: Yes, definitely. So our Instagram is Five Marys Farms. And we share our daily life on Instagram. I think you can call me an oversharer, but we like to kind of show the good, bad, and the ugly and what really happens on a working cattle ranch. Our website to buy our product is ShopFiveMarys.com and we ship all over the US, including Hawaii and Alaska. We can’t ship to Canada, but we can go anywhere in the US. And then we’re also opening a new restaurant in downtown Fort Jones. It should be open by New Years’ Eve where we’ll be able to showcase our meats. So if anybody is every driving up I-5 headed through California or Oregon, make sure to stop in Fort Jones and come try some Five Marys meat for yourself.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh. That’s so great. Thank you so much for making the time to come on the show today and sharing your awesome story. I really appreciate it.

Mary Heffernan: It was great to chat with you Cassy. Good luck with the baby girl!

Cassy Joy: Oh, thank you so much! We’ve got a lot to learn. {laughs}

Mary Heffernan: {laughs} I’m sure you’ll be pros in no time.

Cassy Joy: Thank you so much. Thanks everybody for dialing in today. As always, we’ll be back again next week.


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