The Land & Bivalve Station – Pasture-Based, Historic Family Farm

The Land
Bivalve Dairy is a pasture-based grazing operation that strives on the success of pasture management and grazing strategies. Naturally, the frequent foggy damp weather in Point Reyes allows the land to be lush and green for a longer period of time than most other places in California. At Bivalve Dairy, John and Karen have implemented many techniques of farming that allows them to utilize the pasture given to them to the fullest capacity.

On the farm, we utilize soil aeration to promote the downward root growth of native forages and maintain rangeland by seeding with a no-till drill. Both are best practice management tools endorsed by the NRCS – Natural Resource Conservation Service, the RCD – Resource Conservation District and UCCE – University of California Cooperative Extension and assist in propagating native forages and minimizing the spread of invasive species.

Irrigation on a regular basis with effluent water from the cattle, as well as the runoff created during the rainy season, is a valuable resource for managing pastures and plays an important role in water conservation in the Tomales Bay watershed.

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Bivalve Station
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad was a regional rail that skirted the eastern shore of Tomales Bay on the north coast of California. The railroad made it possible to transport fish and shellfish taken from Tomales Bay to the San Francisco market quickly via a ferry service from the train station in Sausalito. In 1907, the Pacific Coast Oyster Company established oyster beds in Tomales Bay and opened a private station called “Bivalve” on the line of the Northwestern Pacific. The Point Reyes Station area was well known for its butter and accompanied these aqua-cultural products to market on the train. In research of “Bivalve” a two-way valve or a bivalve symbol appeared on an early 1900’s train map. A definition of a bivalve is one which can be used for isolating or regulating flow in applications which require bi-directional tight shut-off.

An assumption is the “bivalve” name has a connotation to both the “Bivalvia” class of freshwater molluscs and the function of a two-way valve of water servicing the steam engine train. When Karen and John Taylor took over the dairy operation on the Bianchini Ranch in 2006, of which Bivalve resides, they wanted to preserve the history of the ranch and its location. There was a two-way valve (a bivalve) in the milk line to separate the milk when transitioning from a conventional to an organic dairy operation. Again, another reference to bivalve made it seem natural.