5 Marys Farms - All-In On Ranching

From Silicon Valley Professionals to Downhome Ranchers

Mary and Brian Heffernan are living the West Coast dream. Successful careers in the heart of Silicon Valley, four healthy daughters, and all the urban amenities and opportunities a young, growing family would want. So what made these city folk decide to leave all that behind and reboot at a 1,800-acre ranch near the California-Oregon border? More importantly, where does the name “5 Marys Farms” come from? Let’s check in with the Heffernan family and find out.

Mary Heffernan


City Folk Go All-In On Ranching

Mary Heffernan is a born entrepreneur. Starting at the age of nine, she was always looking for opportunities to set up a business and earn a bit of money. From there, Mary grew up to become a successful restaurant owner in the world-renowned Bay Area.

But sourcing the ethically farmed meat she wanted for her eateries was not that easy. So in partnership with her husband, Brian, a successful lawyer with his own practice, they decided to buy a ranch a six-hours’ drive north and raise their own livestock.

Initially planned as a weekend stint, they soon realized they needed to be on site 24/7. Brian shut down his law practice, Mary sold their two restaurants, and with the kids, they moved to Fort Jones, California, with its population of 692.

“The hardest part about living like this is there really are no days off.”

- Mary Heffernan

5 Marys Farms is a major operation. It consists of approximately 500 heads of cattle, 600 sheep, 180 hogs, and a fair number of chickens. “There are a lot of hard days in ranching, but we tackle them together,” noted Brian. “It’s not always comfortable, it’s not always convenient, but there’s a common purpose that keeps us together and keeps us moving forward.”

Helping Mary and Brian with the daily chores are a pair of Can-Am Defender vehicles. They’re used for a number of tasks, including hauling bales of hay, carrying supplies for construction and maintenance, and bringing in firewood for home and outdoor cookouts. “I appreciate the multifunction of having a rig that I know can do anything I needed on the ranch,” said Mary.

Winters in Fort Jones can sometimes get wet and snowy, but both Defenders easily cross muddy fields and trails when making their rounds. “I like the power,” said Brian. “It’s a well-built machine. It’s heavy-duty. We like heavy-duty. We don’t like half-assed.”

“I appreciate the multifunction of having a rig that I know can do anything I needed on the ranch.”

- Mary Heffernan

Hear it from the Heffernans

Make sure to watch the full Heffernan family story in the video below. You’ll see their passion for the outdoor life and finally find out why it’s called “5 Marys Farms.”

Her story



On worksites, hunting trips, in agribusiness, and anywhere you need: the Defender gets the job done right. And he's the pillar of many incredible stories.

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