When Templeton High School needed a sports stadium, local farmers volunteered their time and equipment to help build it.
“There’s a long history throughout here of neighbors helping neighbors,” said Rex Swan, a cattle breeder and beef producer who has lived in Templeton since 1977. “That is the foundation of what makes the Templeton community exceptional — all that giving by all those people.”
Swan, who grew up in Chino, discovered Templeton as an animal sciences student at Cal Poly.
After graduating in 1970, Swan worked with ranchers in Oakdale for five years before returning to the Central Coast. “There wasn’t anywhere else in the western United States that I’d want to raise my family,” he said.
He and his wife, retired school secretary KC Swan, started Swan Family Angus in Templeton 16 years ago.
In addition to raising registered Angus bulls and cows — they have about 150 head of cattle — Swan Family Angus produces steaks, short ribs and other cuts for local families and restaurants including Artisan in Paso Robles and McPhee’s Grill in Templeton.
According to Rex Swan, the beef’s unique flavor can be attributed to the cattle’s locally sourced diet, which includes whey from Central Coast Creamery, brewing byproducts from Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and white grape pomace from Central Coast wineries.
Asked how Templeton’s agricultural community has changed over the years, Swan said he’s seen dairy farmers give way to wine growers and beef cattle ranchers.
He also noted the swell in the town’s population, thanks in part to a recent influx of residents from Los Angeles, Orange County and the Bay Area.
“Hey, on a busy day, there’s more traffic on Main Street Templeton than when it used to be (Highway) 101,” he said, quoting one of Templeton’s old-timers.
Although some have worried that the flood of newcomers will transform Templeton for the worse, Swan said, “We’ve noticed that most people didn’t want to change things. They wanted to celebrate what was different here.”
Visitors are attracted to the same folksy, friendly small-town atmosphere that appeals to natives, he added. “You don’t find this anywhere else.”