Did you know… that Ranch Dressing was developed on a local ranch?
In the early 1950s, plumber and cowboy Steve Henson developed a salad dressing recipe using a tangy blend of buttermilk, herbs and spices while working as a contractor for three years in the remote Alaskan bush. That salad dressing became what is now known as ranch dressing.
In 1954, Steve and his wife Gayle opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch at the former Sweetwater Ranch on San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County. There, they served Henson’s creation to his guests. It became so popular that they began selling it in packages for customers to take home, both as a finished product and as little packets of seasoning to be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk.
As demand grew, they incorporated Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products, Inc and opened a factory to manufacture it in larger volumes, which they first distributed to supermarkets in the Southwest, and eventually, nationwide.