Elizabeth Poett on Ranch Living & Homes with Character

April 28, 2022

Photo by Brian Skope for Magnolia Network

Elizabeth Poett is a 7th generation cattle rancher, mother, and host of Magnolia Network’s cooking show “Ranch to Table.” She was raised on a 14,000-acre ranch above Santa Barbara, where she discovered her passion for bringing people together, growing humanely-raised foods, and preserving the land that’s been in her family since 1837.

It’s safe to say we’re huge fans, and couldn’t have been more thrilled to jump on a call with Elizabeth to talk about all things ranch life and her take on meaningful interiors. 

Photo by Elizabeth Hay

How has ranch life inspired you?

I was lucky enough to be born and raised on my family ranch, Rancho San Julian. We didn’t have a TV, so most of my time was spent outside. Whenever I talk about my upbringing, people always ask me if I was a “tomboy,” but I really wasn’t. I’d be up in the trees in a dress and cowboy boots, running around getting dirty. 

I loved growing up on the ranch so much that it made me want to create a life here. I’ve always been interested in food and the way it brings people together, so I started packaging the Rancho San Julian beef. I took it to farmer’s markets, then later I started taking people to the ranch. 

Raising my own children here, I always want them to feel welcome in the space they’re in. They’re always around when we’re doing a million things, coming and going all the time. Ranch living means the kitchen has never been a “come, sit down and eat your dinner” place, but rather a “come, stay awhile, be here with us” place

What’s your favorite Springtime recipe?

Strawberry shortcake, for sure. And never without homemade ginger whipped cream. I love strawberries, and they’re going wild right now. It’s my springtime go-to and I serve it with biscuits, which are delicious on their own. My trick is to make a bunch and then freeze them so we can save some for later, too. Click here to see her recipe!

Photo by Brian Skope for Magnolia Network

How has Rancho San Julian influenced your interiors?

Right now, I’m living in my great grandmother’s early-1900s house, which was actually brought to Rancho San Julian from Mission Street in Santa Barbara during the Spanish Flu pandemic. My grandma said “forget this!” and literally put her house on a barge. It’s one of my favorite stories because it shows how stubborn she was – just like me. 

I love things with character. One of the doors in our house looks like it’s been slammed into (I don’t know how many times) and we’ve refurbished it so it still works. The guy we had working on it asked if we wanted to clean it up, but we were like no way, my great grandparents ran in and out of that door! It’s these kinds of things that tell our family’s story, Or maybe it’s the kid’s wall with all their heights in pencil. Or it’s the butcher block that I found in an old barn, and even though it’s pretty wobbly, it’s now the centerpiece of my kitchen. Details like these hold history, they have a story. You create it as you go, over time. Then they become a part of your own story.

Photo by Tom Rafalovich

How has being a mom influenced your work?

It’s everything. I feel thankful to have watched my own mom lead by example. She ran a full business but was always very present in our lives. Now a mother myself, I’m learning that we can’t do everything, but it is possible to do the things we want to do – going after what brings us joy. 

I wanted to be on the ranch and close to family. I also wanted to keep doing the work I love to do because it gives me so much energy. I’ve been able to balance them because I genuinely love both. If I’m going for goals that I’m excited and passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work.

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