“I appreciate my property more when I can share it with people so they can see what we worked so hard to create.” says Frank Muller, of M Three Ranches and Art & Ag committee member for the last ten years. (His wife, Nancy Muller, is our beloved Thursday greeter for our monthly farm visits) The Muller name has a long legacy in Yolo county. Frank’s family has farmed here for the past 40 years. M Three Ranches is a new partnership between Frank and his two sons, Neil and Colin, now in their 3rd year of business together.
This expansive farm produces fields of row crops as far as the eye can see – over 35 varieties – from processing tomatoes, specialty seed crops, garlic, cucumber – along with grapes, olives, almonds and walnuts. You’ll even find mescal agave, used to make mescal.
As you drive down Road 18 you will enter a beautifully scenic portion of the property with rolling hills dotted with olive trees and grape vines. Drive a little further and you will come upon an unexpected oasis. Says Frank, “It’s part of a swampy area which would get really wet in the winter and really dry in the summer. Nothing would grow. So back in the 80s we made this pond to capture drain water and recycled water which would normally go down into the ditch.”
It was a visionary move and demonstrates one of many examples of their commitment to sustainability and responsible farming practices. Along the banks of the pond where they occasionally fish for bass and catfish are eucalyptus trees and a lush habitat for native pollinators. There is a 3 mile path around the pond which artists can follow to find the perfect spot to paint and photograph.
While Frank has stepped back from full time management – his sons have taken over the day to day responsibility – he continues to guide them through these uncertain times. “Covid, the supply chain, the drought – all of these things have impacted the farm. I am happy to be able to help them navigate it all. They are both really smart and ambitious and they are opening my eyes to a lot of new things.”
Portrait at top by: Charles Vincent McDonald