Harris Ranch

Harris Ranch, or the Harris Cattle Ranch, feedlot is California's largest beef producer, producing 150 million pounds (68 kt) of beef per year in 2010.[1] It is located alongside Interstate 5 at its intersection with State Route 198 east of Coalinga, in the San Joaquin Valley of central California. The ranch is owned by Harris Farms.[2]

Harris Ranch
IndustryBeef producer
FounderJack Harris
HeadquartersSelma, California, United States
Area served
United States
OwnerJohn C. Harris
Number of employees
ParentHarris Farms
A Harris Ranch sign in Coalinga, California, displaying the Harris Ranch logo similar to all Harris Ranch packaging
Harris Ranch Restaurant



Founded by Jack Harris in 1937, the Harris Ranch Beef Company (now operated by Jack Harris' son John) was originally a cotton and grain operation.[1] In the 1970s the ranch opened a burger stand near Interstate 5.[3]

The farm also operates an inn and restaurant, raises fruit and vegetable crops, and breeds thoroughbred horses.[1][4] Overall, the operation has more than 400 employees.[5] Approximately 14,000 acres (5,700 ha) are devoted to garlic, broccoli, pomegranates, and tomatoes, among 35 types of fruits and vegetables.[6]

During the War on Terror, volunteers from the San Joaquin Valley, especially Bakersfield, supplied with beef from Harris Ranch, have volunteered to serve steaks to servicemembers who are OCONUS.[7]

In January 2012, an arsonist destroyed fourteen cattle trucks on the ranch. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility.[8][9]

Marketing and distributionEdit

At over 800 acres (320 ha) and with a population of over 100,000 cattle,[6] and hundreds harvested daily, the ranch is the largest on the West Coast. It is also among the largest (when including density) in the United States. A vertically integrated operation, it owns a fleet of trucks that take cattle from several ranches with which it deals, and does its own finishing, slaughtering, and packaging.[1]

The ranch supplies the hamburger meat for the In-N-Out Burger chain, and also distributes beef and prepared meals through grocery stores and restaurants nationwide.[1][5]

Harris Ranch was one of the first to build a brand around itself as a specialty niche product, and is credited as a forerunner of companies like Niman Ranch and Dakota Beef.[1]

Restaurant and innEdit

The restaurant was targeted to local farmers when it opened in 1977, but later became popular as a halfway stop on the busy highway connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles.[10][11][12] A 153-room luxury inn was added in 1987.[6] It was built in hacienda-style.[11] The restaurant evolved into a "farm to fork" concept in the late 2000s, featuring not only beef but wine and other products made locally by the ranch.[1] As of 2008 the restaurant was the 57th busiest in the United States and sixth busiest in California based on gross receipts.[5] The site was chosen for a hydrogen vehicle fuel station as well as one of the first battery swapping Tesla stations.[13][14]

Public receptionEdit

The ranch is known to travelers for the "ripe, tangy odor of cow manure", described alternately as a "horrible stench"[15] and "a good, honest, American smell".[16] This smell inspired food writer Michael Pollan to conduct the research on factory farming that led to his sustainability book, The Omnivore's Dilemma.[15] The owner of Harris Ranch, in turn, threatened to withhold a $500,000 donation to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo if it sponsored a speech there by Pollan.[17] In reference to the large number of cattle processed at its facilities, some critics[18] have nicknamed the ranch "Cowschwitz",[15] comparing the slaughtering of cattle to the slaughtering of Jews during the Holocaust at the Auschwitz concentration camp.[6][19][20] Animal behavior expert Temple Grandin described the nickname as a matter of public misperception, saying that the company "does a great job" of keeping its animals.[21]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Munoz, Olivia (October 4, 2010). "Harris Ranch markets farm-to-fork". San Jose Mercury-News. Associated Press.
  2. ^ Kazanjian, Gary (April 15, 2019). "Harris Ranch, buyer quiet on details but stress family-owned roots in wake of sale". Fresno Bee. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  3. ^ Reynolds, Christopher (February 16, 2017). "Gnaw beef (or charge your Tesla) at Harris Ranch in Coalinga". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  4. ^ "About Us: Our History". Harris Ranch. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Ordway, Cary. "Stop at Harris Ranch like visiting destination resort". California Weekend Getaways.
  6. ^ a b c d Clark, Krissy (December 22, 2007). "Coming Home to a Smell". Weekend America.
  7. ^ Hardisty, Dianne (July 3, 2010). "A call to serve ... meat". Bakersfield, California: TBC Media. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  8. ^ Lee, Henry K. (January 10, 2012). "Animal-rights arson at Harris Ranch?". San Francisco Chronicle.
  9. ^ Marble, Steve (January 10, 2012). "Animal rights activists take credit for blaze at cattle ranch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
  10. ^ Schwartz, Ariel (February 24, 2010). "Earl Cox's Tesla Charging Station Makes Electric Roadtrip From L.A. to S.F. a Reality". Fast Company.
  11. ^ a b Hian, Howard (May 1, 2018). "A surprising discovery: Harris Ranch". Military Press. San Diego. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  12. ^ Maybury, John (February 7, 2012). "Wandering and Wondering". Pacifica Tribune.
  13. ^ Fehrenbacher, Katie (August 7, 2013). "Record sales, upbeat Q2 earnings for electric car maker Tesla". Gigaom. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  14. ^ Tesla Motors Team (December 19, 2014). "Battery Swap Pilot Program". Tesla Motors. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Black, Jane (December 7, 2009). "Think you're dining 'green'? Menus won't always tell you". The Washington Post.
  16. ^ Spano, Susan (October 8, 2006). "Eat well, sleep deeply off I-5, at Harris Ranch". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Enzinna, Wes (November 2010). "Big Meat vs. Michael Pollan". Mother Jones.
  18. ^ Estabrook, Barry (December 28, 2011). "Feedlots vs. Pastures: Two Very Different Ways to Fatten Beef Cattle". The Atlantic.
  19. ^ Sachs, Micah (July 4, 2005). "Punk and Stupid". San Diego Jewish Journal.
  20. ^ "Sacred cows at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 2009.
  21. ^ Mitchell, Larry (February 19, 2012). "Temple Grandin: Ag must make progress known". Chico Enterprise Record.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°20′35″N 120°12′54″W / 36.343°N 120.215°W / 36.343; -120.215