July 12, 2015: Stemple Creek Ranch Tour
Loren and Lisa Poncia run a 1000-acre cattle ranch that has been in the Poncia family for over 100 years. They raise all grass-fed beef and lamb that they sell directly to consumers at farmers markets, restaurants (such as Zuni Café, Camino, Perry’s, Chez Panisse, Zazu) and butchers (such as Thistle Meats and The Local Butcher).
They have a deep passion for caring for their animals and land.
Loren keeps close watch on the grass and clover to determine the best timing for providing optimal nutrition for his cows and lambs. Each pasture is allowed to rest at least 60 days after being grazed. And through their stewardship working with STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed), they have restored of Stemple Creek, which has increased the diversity of animals and plants.
They also partner with a rancher in Humboldt county. When it’s too wet there, some of the cattle are sent here to fatten them up. And some of the Stemple Creek cattle will be sent there when it gets too dry in West Marin although many of the animals live their whole lives on the ranch.
Stemple Creek Ranch is one of three ranches chosen to do a 10-year study with the Marin Carbon Project. Their vision is to improve soil health and increase productivity to ultimately stop and reverse climate change.
They have a party barn for events such as weddings and birthdays and an old farm building has been restored into a cute cabin which they list on airbnb and vrbo.
The most cost effective way to buy the delicious beef and lamb is to purchase it by the whole, half or quarter. 1/8 of a beef is about 50 pounds of mixed cuts.
By Karen Hamilton-Roth