January 6, 2021

Happy New Year – Our 2020 RECAP!

What a year it was. We’ve all learned to expect the unexpected & roll with the punches.

While a lot of things stayed constant for us on the ranch – since feeding & caring for the animals everyday doesn’t change – but, we had a few memorable highlights this year too…


We built a roping arena for our girls who have blossomed into little rodeo stars. They started to compete competitively in barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway and team roping.

JJ had her BEST DAY EVER when she won High Point Champion at one of her rodeos! It’s tough to find good horses who can do roping and gaming events like barrels and pole bending… and she worked hard in the arena all year to train her horse, Stretch. Even though her sisters had faster times in some events, JJ’s placings meant she earned the High Point Champion award and a handmade leather halter for Stretch, $85 bucks and a picture frame… with a picture of a tractor! 🙂 Doesn’t get much better than that!


I went to LA to appear on Hallmark’s Home & Family Show and cooked a Tamale Pie. While I was away, Brian took a trip to CalPoly with all four girls to visit our friend Jaylee and tour a college campus.

What a FUN experience on the Hallmark Channel! I was really nervous to not only appear on national TV, but to COOK on national TV! Thankfully, Debbie and Cameron made me feel right at home. Debbie and I walked through the steps to make my favorite Tamale Pie recipe – complete with the pre-cooked Tamale Pie coming hot out of the oven as we filmed it all in real time! I talked a little bit about our story at Five Marys and why we raise our meats the way we do.

While I was away, Brian and the girls were able to visit Jaylee at college. Jaylee is the oldest daughter of the Johnson family, who I mention quite a bit around here, as they are such an important part of our lives on the ranch. The kids all help Brian out on the ranch, and their whole family has really taken us under their wing this year and taught the girls all they know about rodeo.


I traveled to NYC with my mom and sister for a feature on the TODAY show for International Women’s Day and got to have lunch with Al Roker – right before the whole world shut down!

What an incredible experience!!! Starting at 4:45 AM for a 5:00 AM call time (that’s 2:00 AM California time) at Rockefeller Center. The segment was about female farmers, surgeons, and soldiers, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The TODAY show did such an incredible job putting it all together.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Al Roker in person! He’s such a great guy and has been a loyal customer and supporter of Five Marys. He’s been a staple on the show for over 40 years and everyone on the Plaza was cheering for him and calling his name for photos – he made the rounds to make everyone there feel special, including all of my family in the crowd.


We were busy in the Farm Store – shipping record numbers of meat boxes when stay-at-home orders went into place.

RIGHT when I got back from New York, stay-at-home orders began. Since things were not as readily available on grocery store shelves as they usually are, we had record number orders coming in and our staff came together and worked around the clock to make sure our meat boxes made it quickly to their destination.


We tore down the old kitchen addition to preserve the original homestead “Big House” on the ranch and started construction on a new M5 Test Kitchen… and the walk-in pantry of my dreams 🙂

The idea was born for a Five Marys “Test Kitchen” to test and create new recipes, as well as host cooking or small business retreat weekends and to share our favorite ways to cook Five Marys meats with you all via photos, tutorials, and short films from this kitchen!


Our restaurant, Five Marys Burgerhouse, weathered the storm of shut-downs and new regulations. We pivoted to take-out, delivery, outdoor seating, and the best change we saw… TO-GO COCKTAILS!

With restaurants closing all over the globe, businesses had to be creative and flexible in order to keep their doors open. We have a fantastic team at the Burgerhouse and an awesome community of customers that supported (and continue to support!) us during the shut downs. We revamped the backyard for people to eat outside, and now that it’s winter we’ve added tarps and heat lamps for people to still enjoy good food and stay warm. We started offering family style burger, taco, sandwich, and nacho trays for take-out and delivery – and of course, all the cocktails to go along with them 😉


We launched M5 Ranch School to share outdoor and agricultural skills and knowledge with other children (and adults!) of all ages through our virtual learning platform.


We completed the new M5 Test Kitchen project and have LOVED cooking in the new space. I also signed a second cookbook deal, so I’ve been busy recipe tasting again – I’m very excited for another book!

Writing a cookbook is a LONG process – we worked on our Ranch Raised Cookbook for over 2 years! It’s a lot of work, but I’m so excited to be working on my second one – one focused on the seasons and thoughtful menus. The Test Kitchen has been a dream to experiment with recipes in – we’ve been sharing lots of photos, videos, and tutorials with everyone, and we can’t wait to create more!

We were SO excited to launch M5 Ranch School this year! We knew we wanted to take this unusual opportunity of a year and make the most of it. The M5 Ranch School concept came together to teach anyone about ranching, farming, and real life skills. We welcomed so many neat families from all over the country (and all over the world!) to our community. We’re continuing to create lessons and workshops on all kinds of things, from animal husbandry, cooking, gardening, woodwork, and MORE!


My first cookbook, Five Marys Ranch Raised Cookbook, was published nationwide on September 8th! While we had to cancel the book tour, the support was fantastic and it is on it’s fourth printing.

We were THRILLED to share my first cookbook with you all this year! The girls put a lot of work into this book too … helping me choose recipes and taking a million photos and trying out the recipes (ok, maybe that last one doesn’t count as work…) and it’s been really fun to see them share in the excitement.


We filmed two big projects (one is still a surprise!) and the other was a really neat feature with Can-Am Off-Road (our favorite chore vehicles on the ranch). It should go live nationally in January!

The Can-Am brand is hands-down our favorite for dependable, powerful, useful, all-terrain vehicles (we’ve tried them all!) and it was so fun to share our story and how we use them on a daily and nightly basis around the ranch. We started early every morning and kept shooting until well after dark. The Can-Am crew fit right in around here and got footage of just about everything possible, from ranch to the restaurant to the farm store to the roping arena to camp!


We were featured in the Thanksgiving Issue of Country Living magazine, a lifelong favorite publication.

The full 8-page spread focused on Thanksgiving and life on the ranch. We had a great time having the team out to the ranch and showing them what a meal at camp looks like. The magazine featured recipes with lots of Meyer lemons and spice rub to make it a true M5 Thanksgiving


We launched a new Mentorship Program with Mary’s M5 Entrepreneurs program to encourage others to build their businesses and make the most of 2021.

In our M5 Entrepreneur community there are connections made, knowledge shared, skills learned, and major small business growth – it’s so inspiring to be a part of. We released our new M5 Mastermind to harness the power of collaborative energy and collective knowledge to launch small businesses to the next level!


The comments +

  1. Amber Wighton says:

    Love your blog posts! I also love that I remember each of these things from your 2020!!!! Xoxo Amber

  2. Sophia says:

    A very productive year! It was so fun watching the girls blossom into little rodeo stars, and wonderful seeing the M5 Ranch School come to fruition! And I truly enjoyed the release of your first cookbook and construction of the M5 Test Kitchen! So many great projects/events! A blessed New Year to all!

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