Slide Ranch opens farm-to-table teaching center

09/07/2017

Slide Ranch, the outdoor educational center in Muir Beach, has completed the first restoration of a building in over 50 years. The new farm-to-table teaching center, which will open on Sept. 24 with a party worthy of the farm’s legendary ties to rock n’ roll, includes a commercial kitchen for the ranch’s cooking programs and a dedicated classroom space. 

“This organization started in 1970, but fast forward almost 50 years, and everything needed to be renewed,” Suzette Clarke, the chair of the ranch’s board, said. “I like to say things had gone from being ‘rustic chic’ to ‘rustic dilapidated,’ and we needed to do something to make sure that Slide was around for the next 50 years.” 

The building, which came with a price tag of over $1 million, has a living roof and milled redwood siding reclaimed from old Muir Beach water tanks. Restoration Hardware donated furniture and Williams Sonoma stocked the kitchen. Maika Llorens Gulati, the ranch’s executive director, said the center was the product of a huge community effort. 

“I think we’ve managed to keep the culture of Slide, but bring it into the 21st century,” she said. The kitchen will provide a space for kids to cook the food they harvest from the garden, and the indoor classroom will be essential during foul weather, she said. 

Since its inception, the mission of Slide Ranch has been to connect children with nature. Today’s programs, which see 10,000 students each year, many from inner cities, incorporate farming, cooking, caring for animals and exploring wilderness for people of all ages. 

Little-known trivia links the land to the Bay Area’s homegrown Grateful Dead. Ed Washington, who co-produced “The Grateful Dead Movie,” was the ranch’s first director, and Jerry Garcia made one of the first donations to the ranch back in the ’70s.

On Sunday, Sept. 24, this cultural history will be celebrated at the grand opening of the farm-to-table center, with guest performances by jazz pianist-composer David Benoit and his band, and the psychedelic roots-rock band, Moonalice. 

The grand opening of Slide Ranch’s Farm-to-Table Teaching Center takes place from 12:30 to 4 p.m. $175 tickets, which include local food and drink, are available at slideranch.org or by calling (415) 381.6155.