La Panza, a nearly 15,000-acre cattle and agricultural ranch in Santa Margarita, California, that produces its own brand of award-winning olive oil and that is said to once have been the hideout of the notorious outlaws Jesse and Frank James, is on the market for $38 million.
The property, which is in the ranch-rich land of San Luis Obispo County, was listed Monday by Lance Doré of California Outdoor Properties and Matt and Dylan Marschall of CBRE Capital Markets.
Mr. Doré said the seller built the main hacienda and created the compound, which is comprised of several buildings.
“At 14,750 acres, it’s one of the largest contiguous tracts of lands in the western United States,” Mr. Doré said.
“And particularly in California,” Matt Marschall added.
Although the agents declined to identify the seller, property records list a limited liability corporation whose address in Denver is that of the corporate headquarters of the family-owned company Leprino Foods. Records show that the LLC has owned it since 2019.
According to published reports, Leprino Foods the world’s largest maker of mozzarella cheese. It supplies cheese to the Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesars and Domino’s pizza chains and was founded in 1950 by Mike Leprino Sr. When he died in 1972, his youngest son, James, became chairman and chief executive officer of the company. Calls to Leprino Foods seeking comment were not returned.According to the official website of La Panza olive oil, one of Mike’s sons, Mike Leprino Jr., and his daughters bought the ranch in 2003 and “set out on a years-long quest to produce the freshest extra virgin olive oil in California, if not the world.”
La Panza did not respond to an email and phone call requesting comment.
Mike Leprino Jr. died in 2018 at age 90, and the property was listed for the first time that year, for $43 million, according to public records.
In addition to the main Spanish-style hacienda, which is 5,500 square feet, the property has a 4,400-square-foot bunkhouse, a 2,000-square-foot guest house, an 1,800-square-foot foreman’s office, a 1,600-square-foot ranch office, a 12,500-square-foot olive mill and several hay barns that total 12,500 square feet.
“The hacienda has a timeless style,” Matt Marschall said. “It’s opulent yet totally understated.”
La Panza, which is named after the fabled stagecoach route that ran between the West Coast and the San Joaquin Valley and for the former gold-boom town, is surrounded by rolling hills and other large and famous ranches.
The property has a network of over 100 miles of roads and trails, more than 50 wells, three springs, several creeks and three reservoirs. There’s also a helicopter pad and a putting green.
La Panza is being sold with all its accoutrements, equipment and inventory, which include 230 heads of cattle and the hacienda’s furnishings and artwork.
“It’s a working ranch and agricultural operation,” Mr. Doré said. “It produces income, and it has its own brand.”
The olive grove, which is planted with three kinds of olives, covers 280 acres and has 202,865 trees. The ranch also farms alfalfa and grain hay.
Matt Marschall noted that it’s a “turnkey operation—you can walk in and take over right away. The staff, including the ranch manager and assistant, are available to stay on.”
In addition to the staff, the property is home to an abundance of wildlife. “It’s common to see deer, wild boar, bear and the occasional mountain lion roaming the hills,” Mr. Doré said. “The famous tule elk is also a roamer of the plains and an occasional frequenter of the ranch’s water troughs.”
He added that the ranch had an infamous reputation in the 1860s, when it was owned by Drury James, who was the uncle of the most-wanted bank- and train-robbing James brothers, Jesse and Frank.
“The brothers were frequent visitors at the ranch and worked and stayed there in 1868, when Jesse was recuperating from bullet wounds from a bank robbery,” Mr. Doré said.
The rest of La Panza’s history is far tamer.