On our mission at Pacific Standard Prime to bring you some of the earth’s best and most responsible products, Robert and I recently visited a grass-fed beef ranch.
We caught a morning flight to the Bay Area and started driving north to West Marin County. An hour later, we arrived at the entrance to Stemple Creek Ranch, just five miles from the Pacific Ocean. The sign told us the land was “protected as farmland forever” by the owner and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.
Fourth-generation owner Loren Poncia greeted us and took us on a tour of one of his family’s ranches. His great-grandfather immigrated from Italy and established a dairy farm in the area in 1897.
Much later, Loren and his wife Lisa reinvented the family business. They wanted to “work in harmony with Mother Nature to promote optimal biodiversity.”
Loren and Lisa’s vision is to raise superior quality grass fed and finished meats. Their livestock are never supplemented with grains, corn or soy. They never receive artificial hormones, growth promotants, or antibiotics.
What struck me the most about Loren and the ranch operations was the genuine care for the animals. They are rotationally grazed on open pasture, spending their days roaming around as they like.
We got to walk through one of pastures and get up close and personal with the cattle. They gathered around in a group to check us out, before they lost interest in us and went back to grazing.
While we had to be careful about where we stepped, there was a complete absence of any smell that would indicate we were at a cattle ranch – unlike the oppressive odor you may have experienced in driving by the cattle ranches that dot the landscape along Interstate 5.
And the natural fertilizer at Stemple Creek was a test case for a decade-long study with the Marin Carbon Project. The health of the soil is what creates the conditions for grass grazing. They used organic compost on the pastureland to help sequester the carbon in the soil. This keeps moisture and nutrients in the soil that keep the grass growing. The livestock play a part in the process with their natural fertilizer.
During our visit, the fresh air, the blue sky, and the green grass were absolutely mesmerizing. It felt like the natural order of the planet in the way that’s good for our earth and good for us as people. As we took in the scenery, Loren told us all about the different types of grass and how the grass nourishes the animals in the way that nature intended.
The grass-fed nature of beef has health benefits for us. The meat is leaner than conventionally raised beef. Grass-fed beef is higher in antioxidants, vitamins, and a “good fat” called conjugated linoleic acid that has been related to better immunity and anti-inflammation benefits. Grass-fed beef also has about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than standard beef.
Robert has been preparing some of their meats as he experiments with our menu at Pacific Standard Prime. We’ve both been impressed by the various planet-friendly options from Stemple Creek and other grass-fed beef suppliers we’re exploring.
As The Original California Steakhouse, we’re eager and excited to source as much as we can within our great Golden State.
Suffice it to say that we can’t wait to share the menu with you as well as our opening date!