We are Mark and Jane Garrett of Gateway Ranch. Our adventure together began in 2003 with a 15 year old daughter, 2 cats and 2 dogs.
In 2004 we purchased our first two breeding females and by the end of the year, they were "home" along with their crias born earlier that same year. "Home" was a new barn built on family land on Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City, Michigan.
Old Mission Peninsula is a unique and beautiful piece of geography nestled in the Grand Traverse Bays of northwestern Michigan. Traverse City, located at the base of Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula, is known as the "Cherry Capitol of the World" and Old Mission Peninsula has been a large part of the reason for that title. More recently, Old Mission Peninsula has become an internationally recognized wine growing region. Part of the vinifera wine growing success is due to the fact that OMP is located on the 45th parallel - like many of the world's great appellations.
The peninsula projects approximately 18 miles into Grand Traverse Bay creating nearly 54 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. The surrounding bays contribute to the agricultural success by allowing us a more regulated temperature in the spring and fall seasons. For more information on Old Mission Peninsula, visit: www.oldmission.com.
The family property on Old Mission has boasted over 60 acres of cherries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from the early 1950s to mid '90s. During the late 1990s, work started on rejuvenating the soil and reassessing the best use for the property. It had been my dream for over 15 years to raise camelids but it wasn't until my desire joined with Mark's motivation and 20+ years of marketing and sales, that it was a chance for reality. Although we currently both hold other full-time jobs, most of our "spare" time has been spent turning orchard land into pasture land (Mark), digging holes for fence posts (Mark), or fencing in the pasture (I did manage to help on this one). We are hoping that our adventure will not only keep the land in agriculture but actually be agriculturally viable along with allowing the farm to continue to stay within the family at least another 50 years.