Meet the Rancher: Lisa Poncia of Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales
Photo by Paige Green.
Stemple Creek Ranch is a grass-fed meat producer based in Tomales. Fourth generation rancher Loren Poncia and his wife Lisa Poncia run the family business, producing 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef, lamb, and pasture based pork. The Poncias work with mother nature to promote optimal biodiversity on their land to ensure its long term health and productivity. In 2013, Stemple Creek became California’s first ranch with an operating carbon farm plan, created in partnership with The Marin Carbon Project.
MM: What do you sell at the Farmers Market?
LP: We sell grass finished beef and lamb and pasture raised pork. We also sell some value added products like sausages and beef jerky.
MM: Is there a seasonality to what’s available?
LP: We have beef and lamb 52 weeks per year. The pork comes and goes, but is not seasonal.
MM: What are the qualities of your location in West Marin that are conducive to farming?
LP: We are just a few miles from the ocean, so our pastures benefit from the cool climate and moist and salty air.
MM: What are your top sellers or go-to favorites for local chefs?
LP: Our top sellers are ribeye steaks, bavette steaks, and ground beef. We sell all of our cuts to local chefs, so it really depends on their menu and what they like to purchase.
MM: How are your meats best stored and for how long?
LP: If they are purchased fresh, they should be stored in the refrigerator in the original packaging for up to 10 days. It is also perfectly fine to freeze our product, if packaged well it will not affect the flavor.
MM: Do you have any unusual products that may be less familiar to the general public that you can share info on/how to use?
LP: We sell bones that are popular for people to roast and make bone broth with. We also sell offal such as heart, liver, cheeks, and tongue. We also sell beef jerky that has only 5 ingredients (beef, salt, pepper, water, and vinegar) and is a fabulous, healthy snack.
MM: Do you have a favorite meat and method of preparation you would like to share?
LP: Here is a simple preparation for a 1.5 inch steak: This is often how we cook it at home. Rub a steak with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Grill at 150°F for 15 minutes. Crank the grill up to 450°F, and quickly sear each side until golden brown. Take the steak off and let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice it against the grain and enjoy! It is important to remember that grass-fed meat doesn’t take as long to cook as grain-fed meat. Don’t overcook it.