“I enjoy every aspect of this whole thing—the people I meet and how they benefit from these good, wholesome products,” Laurie Petkus says, pictured here in August 2019. She has been ranching cattle in Monterey County for nearly 20 years. She currently has 48 cows and two bulls that she moves around on different swaths of land she leases from private owners and the U.S. Forest Service in Carmel Valley, Big Sur and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
“A guy I met once told me that raising beef was like harvesting sunshine, because they’re out here eating something we can’t do anything with by eating the grass grown by the sun, and cattle produce a product that is quite valuable to us. It’s kind of a neat thought.”