Five Marys FAQs
Why is the name “Five Marys”?
Five Marys Farms was named by Brian, for his Five Marys. His wife, Mary and their four daughters - MaryFrances or "Francie" is 12, MaryMarjorie or "Maisie" is 10, MaryJane or "JJ" is 9 and MaryTeresa or "Tessa" is 7. They are all named Mary after strong and memorable grandmothers and aunts on both sides of the family and each carries the middle name of that grandmother or great aunt.
Five Marys is truly a family operation honoring the roots in California agriculture on both sides of the family, the younger Marys are 7th generation Californians with ancestors dating back to 1851 at the time of the Gold Rush. Brian’s father Tom was an active farmer and advocate for California agriculture and the Heffernans are proud to be carrying on a family legacy in the industry - and paving their own way too.
Why does your meat taste so good?
We work hard to raise a quality product from start to finish. That begins with great genetics in our animals for things like rib-eye size and marbling. We make sure to feed our animals a high quality feed for their entire life. We finish our beef with alfalfa and steam-flaked barley for an extended finish time of 180 days on finish feed. We also dry-age the whole carcass 14-28 days which is longer than the industry standard or the more common “wet age” and THIS dry-aging process gives a premium flavor and tenderness in every bite - right down to the ground beef. Extra care, attention and inputs mean better products for our family and our customers! HERE is a blog post with more info about how we raise and why our meat tastes so good!
Where are you located?
We are located in Siskiyou County - at the top of the state of California, almost to the Oregon border, where our Cattlewomen boast “top beef, from the top of our state, to the top of your plate.” Brian and Mary are both California natives, the girls are 7th generation to the state! Brian grew up in Imperial County and Tehama County with roots in agriculture and Mary was born and raised in Menlo Park, CA - better known today as “Silicon Valley” where she and Brian met, started their family and worked before deciding to change paths and leave the busy life there for 1800 acres of wide open spaces in Silicon Valley.
Where can I find out more about your story?
We share our daily life on Instagram right here. Mary also wrote an ebook about their decision to move to the ranch, including their story, and how things changed when they did. It’s called “They Can Do It. What I Learned About Parenting by Moving to the Country.” and you can download it to read on any device HERE.
Are you organic?
We are not ‘certified’ organic, but we practice all-natural practices in everything we do. We believe when our customers can have full transparency in our operation, can know and trust us as their source for high-quality, all-natural meats - that means more than a certification sticker on a package and avoids the red tape and extra cost to the consumer associated with certification.
What does “organically-minded” mean?
When you are not certified organic, legally you can not use the word organic.
We are 100% mindful to practice and produce all-natural products. We raise what we believe is the best product to feed our own children and share it with our customers.
Are you GMO-free? Are your animals fed corn or soy?
Yes, all of our livestock feed on the ranch is 100% GMO-free. We do not feed any soy to our cattle, hogs or sheep. We do not feed corn to our cattle or sheep, sometimes of the year our hogs might get feed mixed with corn.
Has your meat been treated with antibiotics?
Never. The meat we sell through Five Marys brand is always 100% antibiotic free from day one. We administer therapeutic antibiotics to animals on the ranch if they are needed for life saving situations or illness, but those animals are “red tagged” and pulled from our meat program. We still find other creative outlets for them after the proper and safe withdrawl period like local families or friends who understand the history of the animal. Animals given antibiotics in their lifetime are perfectly safe to eat after the standard withdrawl period - but we choose to have a clear designation for our customers that all meat sold from Five Marys is 100% free of any lifetime antibiotics.
Is your meat hormone free?
Yes, ALWAYS. Our meat is 100% free of any kind of growth hormones or any added hormones.
Is the meat all from animals from your ranch?
We raise the majority of the animals we harvest for our meat program on our ranch. Our neighbor directly connected and next to our ranch helps to raise some of our pork with us year round. A farm about an hour north in Oregon raised lamb with us to fill the gaps since we only have lamb about half the year (our lamb is usually harvested Nov-April and their lamb May-October. We calve in the fall each year and raise those steers and some heifers for our meat program, and provide the cattle for the second half of the year by buying weaned calves from our brother-in-law on Oregon or our friends in Northern California who both raise very high quality cattle to the same standards we do.
Where do you ship your meats?
We ship our meats, snack sticks, bones and bone broth to all 50 states Monday-Wednesdays every week of the year! Meats are packed on dry ice pellets (will be sublimated by the time you get your box) in custom made insulated liners.
Do you ship meats to Canada? Will you ever?
We do not ship to Canada. Canadian customs is not reliable to keep perishable orders moving through and boxes often get held up in customs for too long to make it feasible to ship frozen product. We do ship all other products besides meats, bones and bone broth to Canada though!
Do you ship non-meat items internationally?
We are not able to ship our meats to addresses outside of the US. We are able to ship other products like sheep pelts, M5 gear, books, prints, hats, etc. If you want to place an international order please email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a shipping quote.
Can you ship to Hawaii & Alaska?
We sure can! It's a little more expensive to get it there but we ship overnight to both states.
What is The Return Policy?
We have a strict no returns and no refunds policy since most of our products are perishable and can not easily be shipped back and forth and we can not accept frozen products back for resale. If you need to return a sweatshirt or apparel, we will exchange for a different size if the customer pays shipping to send the original back to us. This does NOT apply for meats - all meats are NO returns or refunds, no exceptions.
What breeds are your animals?
Black Angus Cattle : Black Angus produce a premium quality beef and we are proud of our herd with great genetics for superior marbling, flavor and consistency.
Berkshire Heritage Pigs: Berkshire pigs produce one of the best meat qualities - an optimal fat and marbling and are a great heritage breed. Some pigs are bred to be extra lean now - and others can be too fatty. Berkshires are a great in between with what our customers frequently tell us is the best pork they’ve ever tasted!
Navajo Churro Lambs: The "Chef's Choice" for a wonderful flavor and consistency every time, Navajo Churro's are a hearty breed that love our mountain climate. We have a blog post about our sheep HERE
What do you feed your pigs? Do you feed the pigs scraps?
We feed our pigs a carefully mixed ration of protein and minerals according to their age or stage of life. Our gestating mothers get one ration, nursing mothers get another, weaned piglets another and grower pigs their own. We avoid scraps for our pigs since it’s hard to control what might be in the scraps or how that food was raised.
Is your beef grass-fed?
Our cattle live on pastures or hill country at Five Marys year round and eat our local and ranch raised pasture grasses and alfalfa. We finish our cattle on a thoughtfully balanced ration of alfalfa, grain hay and steam-flaked barley for the best possible quality in marbling and taste. We believe grass-fed and grass-and-barley finish, with an extended finishing time of at least 180 days is the optimal way to raise our beef for consistent, excellent quality and flavor with all the benefits of a grass-fed lifestyle. We never feed corn, GMOs and all of our meat is 100% free from antibiotics, growth-hormones and ionophores.
Are your lambs grass-fed?
Yes, our Navajo Churro lambs and sheep eat only our pasture grasses and alfalfa.
Do you sell chicken or eggs? Turkeys?
No - we don’t raise poultry and will not in the future. If you are looking for quality raised chicken or turkey to ship to your doorstep like Five Marys, we recommend:See our M5 DIRECTORY for other farms raising chicken!
Do you harvest humanely?
Yes. We are invested in making sure every stage of the process of raising and harvesting our animals is done thoughtfully and with the utmost care and attention to the well being of the animal. Our harvesting or slaughtering process is done under USDA inspection and we work hard to make sure the animals experience the least amount of stress and are slaughtered in the most humane way. This is obviously important because it’s the right thing to do, but it can also affect the quality of the meat (stress before harvest is not good for quality) so it’s important to everyone involved that animals are harvested humanely every single time.
How are animals are handled during processing?
At Five Marys, we are focused on raising our animals as humanely and ethically as possible their entire lives, this starts at birth and continues every day they graze the grasses and soak up the mountain air and sunshine on the ranch in Siskiyou County. We take the same concern for the harvesting process. We work hard to make sure animals experience the least amount of stress possible and are harvested thoughtfully and humanely, all under USDA supervision and care.
What does dry-aging do?
Beef that is dry-aged has an exceptional flavor and tenderness. It requires extra time, commitment and cost - but it is worth it in the end result of a perfect steak or incredibly delicious ground beef. Pork or lamb can be eaten soon after slaughter, but that is not the case with beef. Beef benefits from aging to promote tenderness and enhance flavor. Soon after slaughter, most beef sold in the US is split into large pieces called primals, vacuum sealed, and boxed up for transport, where it “wet-ages” during transit to grocery stores, meat distributors, and similar locations. When it arrives it is ultimately cut into steaks, roasts, and other familiar cuts for the consumer. Ground beef is often packaged and shipped without the benefit of any aging at all. In contrast, dry-aging beef involves hanging it in just above freezing temperatures in a humidity controlled room with ample air flow, for at least 14 days - we prefer 21-28 days for optimal tenderness and to impart a unique taste and delicate consistency to the meat.
Dry-aging is a craft tradition that used to be the norm, but it is slowly being replaced in favor of expediency and efficiency. However, Brian and I firmly believe that dry-aging creates the best possible beef. We don’t cut any steaks or grind any beef until the entire carcass is well aged, usually for 14 to 28 days after harvest. Purely grass-fed meat doesn’t always benefit from dry aging as it is often too lean without much marbling, but because we finish our cattle on barley which gives a great marbling, dry-aging is an optimal way to create a premium product for our customer.
How do you choose which animals go to harvest for meat? Are they all born on the ranch?
Our breeding mothers never go into our meat program. They stay breeders on the ranch as long as they are able and sometimes longer. Our breeding males (bulls, boards and rams) are also not put into our meat program. Older animals who have bred or birthed young are not as desirable as meat animals for most cuts. The animals born on our ranch every year are our market animals that we harvest for meats. We keep about 20% of these animals most years as breeders to replace older breeders who age out of reproducing. We buy new males for breeding from high quality genetic stock every few years to avoid line breeding and to ensure genetic diversity.
Are all your animals born on the ranch?
We raise most of our animals from start to finish, but sometimes will add animals from other trusted ranches (like our brother-in-law’s all-natural, Oregon ranching operation - or our neighbors next to the ranch raise some of our pork on their pastures) as we expand and grow our herd. Most are born here and live out their lives on the ranch.
What is the fat ratio in your ground beef?
Every animal is slightly different, but we aim for between 85/15 and 80/20 for our ground beef. We love the flavor of good, clean fat in our ground and we think you will too!
Can we visit the ranch for a tour?
We open the ranch occasionally for special events like Farm Dinners and weekend retreats for customers and friends to allow them to experience ranch life and get closer to where their food comes from. We announce these events in our Friends & Family email newsletter when they are released. Other than those times, we run a “lean” operation and besides our family of 6 - have just 1-2 extra ranch hands on some days - so we are very busy taking great care of our animals and getting our excellent meats to our customers!
Brian, Mary and the girls are busy taking care of the animals, the ranch and finding time together as a family so they are not able to accommodate any sort of ranch tours or visits! But you are welcome to drive by the ranch on the public highway (Eastside Rd) and take it all in from the road (please don't stop to block traffic, try to see animals or disrupt daily operations) The Heffs stop by the Burgerhouse often and love to say hello and meet visitors from all over though!
But while we can not give ranch tours - we love to have guests from far and wide come to visit Fort Jones to experience all that there is to offer in the area and the Five Marys brand at our restaurant, Farm Store and/or Guesthouse!
Can we shop at the Farm Store?
YES! You can shop all of our meats and M5 gear and dry goods at teh Five Marys Farm Store (normal business hours) or in the front of the restaurant, Five Marys Burgerhouse, just two doors down (restaurant hours :)
If you’d like to order locally, choose Fort Jones Pickup and email us to let us know when you will be by to pick up at the Farm Store or the Burgerhouse, we’ll get it ready for you!
Where can we stay?
There are a variety of AirBnb's in Fort Jones to accommodate smaller groups or 1-night stays. The Etna Motel is another great option just 9 miles down the road in the town of Etna. "Camp Five Marys" experience and tents are not available for stays, but make sure you are on our mailing list to find out about any upcoming Farm Dinners or Camp Retreats!
There is also a great RV Park in Etna called The Mountain Village or one in Yreka called Yreka RV Park.
We do not rent out our camp area, the bunkhouse, or any other facilities on the ranch and do not allow visitors on the ranch at any time.
What is there to do?
The Fort Jones Museum is a gem of a spot with great local history and lots of opportunities to learn more about Northern California. It is located on the same block as Five Marys Burgerhouse and Farm Store.
Mountain Healing Spa is a great spot for some relaxation with soaking tubs and massages available in the town of Etna.
Callahan's Mountain Lodge just north in Ashland, Oregon is a hidden gem of a resort to stay in summer or cozy up in winter with live music every night.
There are also lots of great attractions nearby like Crater Lake, the town of Ashland Oregon, summer camps, hikes and more.
Where can we eat?
Five Marys Burgerhouse is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-8-9pm right downtown Fort Jones and offers our dry-aged beef, pork and lamb in a delicious lunch and dinner menu served 6 days a week. Our Bourbon Bacon Burger or Cowboy Blues Burgers are customer favorites, and make sure to have an M5 Sidecar!
How do I travel there?
The closest airport is Medford Oregon (MFR) which is serviced by Alaksa and United airlines. It's easy to rent a car from there and drive 1.5 hours south to Fort Jones. Sacramento Airport, serviced by most airlines as well as Southwest, is 4 hours south.
There is also a private small private airport just 2 miles from Fort Jones called Scott Valley Airfield A30 - if you fly in for lunch or dinner let us know and we can arrange a pick up!
We hope you'll enjoy a visit to Fort Jones to enjoy all it has to offer and experience Five Marys through the Burgerhouse and Farm Store!