Elster Ranch, located in Grass Valley, California, was started in 1895 as a
dairy and cattle ranch, and operated by four successive generations of the Elster
family. It expanded under the 1862 Homestead Act of Congress during the terms of
President Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt. The Nolte family succeeded the
Elsters in 2006 and continue their heritage of a working landscape; bringing nutritious
food to the region, and acting as stewards for the natural communities on its 320 acres.
Development of 32 residential lots, as allowed by the zoning code, has been rejected and the ranch has been placed under agricultural protection.
The original ranch house, built in the 1920s or 30s has been restored, the barn, object of the ranch logo, has been reinforced and is in service. A legacy of remnants, such as old fences, gates, tools, and paraphernalia are a visual reminder of a history of work by the Elsters.
A historic series of flood ditches irrigating approximately 25 acres has been
converted to a New Zealand system of impact sprinklers (www.k-linena.com) covering 75
acres with the same amount of water. An Australian sub-soiling plow (www.yeomansplow.com.au)
is in use to build soil fertility through improved aeration and natural drainage infiltration.
The result is pastures of unique richness for the foothill region which, when combined with
effective grazing management practices, form the basis for ultra-quality pasture based livestock.
At Elster Ranch we are working with a breed of cattle developed in Australia from full blood Angus stock which are very efficient at converting the energy from our rich grasses and adapted to a similar brittle climate. Lowline cattle (www.usa-lowline.org), most importantly, have excellent taste, texture, and tenderness.
Our mission at Elster Ranch is to bring high value nutrition from our pastures to you, our discriminating customers.