We had the good fortune of connecting with Markos Alexandrou and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Markos, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Calculated risk taking is a necessary mechanism for change. If you are unhappy with the status quo then you might need to take a risk or two in order to improve things. For me personally, taking calculated risks payed off on multiple occasions. I made a radical change in my career trajectory (from PhD academic to livestock farmer). It has taken a few years to make the business profitable but now it’s starting to really take off. The harder I work, the more money I make. That’s something that cannot be said for most salaried jobs. The success comes with a major sense of satisfaction and pride, especially considering that most of my friends and family discouraged me from the move.

What should our readers know about your business?
Motley Crew Ranch is a small farming operation in north Santa Barbara County, providing pasture raised meat and eggs to local restaurants and individuals. Our operation stands apart as our focus is not only on multiple species on one farm but using those different animals in rotation on the land to help regenerate soil and plant life. Pasture raising these animals in rotation not only benefits the land but the animals as well, giving the animals the best life possible is our priority. We currently raise over 10 different species (cows, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, quail, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and partridge). Diversity on the farm allows us to utilize the strengths of each animal’s instincts: chickens scratch and peck, sheep, goats and cattle eat down invasive species and pigs till the soil. We settled on this diversified model of farming in order to balance the risks of farming but also to try to change what the norm of farming has become (mono cultures with little regard for soil or climate health). We actually stumbled onto farming as a profession, we started out just wanting to provide ourselves with healthy animal protein that was humanely raised. It has snowballed into a career because of community demand. Farming as it turns out is not an easy occupation to start without any prior experience of guidance. Most farmers are multi generational and start out with land, equipment and familial knowledge. For us, learning all the many angles of running a farm business has come from trial and error, the sweat off our backs and sheer determination not to give up. You have many variables to contend with, including the weather, diseases, and market demand. Those kinds of challenges force you to be adaptable and prepared for uncertainty as well as to enjoy the little things. We want the world to know that animals can be raised in a humane way while benefiting the land instead of hurting it. If you put your heart and soul into something you’re passionate about you can make it work, even when the world around you tells you can’t! If we can do what we have in a short two years then anyone can!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well first we would have to recommend all the amazing restaurants that support our farm and make it possible for us to keep farming! Bell’s, Full of Life Flatbread, Industrial Eats, Peasant’s Feast and Eye on I! All of these places have their own unique style and we are proud to say are some of the best eateries on the coast of California! Of course we are surrounded by some of the worlds best Pinot noir, so wine tasting is a must around here: Story of the Soil, Ken Brown, Alma Rosa, Melville and Dierberg are some of our favorites. Figueroa Mountain is absolutely gorgeous and offers some breathtaking hikes and views of our beautiful valley as well as being the namesake for one of our favorite local breweries! In our opinion, Santa Ynez valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to live, farm and contribute to this unique and wonderful community!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife Cassidy is not only my life partner but also my business partner. It was her passion for animals and farming that set the foundation for our business venture. Without her love, support and hard work, Motley Crew Ranch would not be possible.

Website: Motleycrewranch.com

Instagram: @motleycrewranch

Image Credits
Shawn Linehan

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.