Califonia Bountiful

Stemple Creek Ranch

Building a better burger from the ground up

When you're a cattle rancher, you take great pride in the health of your cattle. Ranchers like Loren Poncia of Stemple Creek Ranch also take great pride in the health of the soil that their cattle call home.

Feeding the soil that feeds their animals is what Loren and his wife, Lisa, and their children are all about. The ranch has been in the family since 1902, when Loren's family emigrated from Italy and started a dairy in the fertile hills of Marin County. Loren practices rotational grazing with his cattle, which means he moves them from pasture to pasture as a means to let the grasses regrow. The grazing animals also provide a natural fertilizer for the fields and, with the diversity of plants being grown on the ranch, each field is like a new salad bar of sorts for the cattle.

All the Poncias' hard work is paying off. Their beef is on menus across the Bay Area and beyond, including at the family's favorite spot to grab a bite—the Estero Café in nearby Valley Ford. A mere 6 miles from the ranch in Tomales, the restaurant is committed to using every cut of beef they can on the menu.

Stemple Creek Beef can also be found at farmers markets across Northern California and at stores like Berkeley Bowl in the Bay Area, where they're not just selling the beef behind their enormous meat counter—they're selling the story of the ranch behind the beef.

Even the family's marketing has a modern approach. They regularly invite folks out to the ranch to host events in their refurbished barn and to stay in one of their cozy cottages for the weekend. All this is done so visitors can learn about what the Poncias are trying to do at the ranch, which is to get back to their roots!

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