Pride of the Poncias

Range magazineThis week I am pleased to share my feature article in the summer issue of RANGE magazine!

The piece, “Pride of the Poncias,” tells the story of the Poncia family and the four-generation legacy of their farm, Stemple Creek Ranch, near Tomales California. Their commitment to humane husbandry and sustainable agriculture practice is a model of excellence other ranchers should aspire to. Poncia Family

Owner Loren Poncia was just named “2013 North Bay Rancher of the Year” by the Sonoma County Fair Board who awarded him the J.W. Jamison Perpetual trophy in recognition of his work.

I have a heart-felt respect for the Poncia family. I met Loren and his wife Lisa two years ago at the San Rafael Civic Center Farmers’ Market where I noticed their booth advertising local, organic, pasture-raised beef and lamb. We chatted about the ranch and Loren invited me to their upcoming farm tour and BBQ. Of course, I had to go check it out.

Stemple Creek Ranch sheepAs I stood on a bluff overlooking the Poncia’s sweeping organic pastures, I knew I had found a family whose philosophy of food production mirrored my values. Their Angus beef cattle and sheep graze free range in lush grass with nothing but the coastal fog to dampen their days.

That was it. I was sold. As consumers, I believe it is essential to understand the connection between farms and the food we eat. When we do so we support a better food supply and a more sustainable future. I’ve made a conscious choice to know where my food comes from and who produces it. I feel confident about serving Stemple Creek Ranch certified organic beef and lamb to my family.

For more information on Stemple Creek Ranch, visit their website. SCR meat

Pride of the Poncias is my first collaboration with über talented photographer Scott Baxter, who shot all the beautiful photos for this piece. Scott is well-known throughout Arizona and the Southwest for capturing the heart and soul of the American rancher. His highly acclaimed award-winning 2012 exhibition and book, 100 Years 100 Ranchers, culminates a ten-year photo documentary project featuring 100 Arizona ranchers whose families have lived in the state since 1912 or earlier. For more on Scott and his amazing body of work, visit his website.

Categories: Farms & Ranches, SLOW Food, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This post really peaked my interest.

  2. Hi Karen. I met Al Poncia taking a farm field trip with some fourth grade students. They have a beautiful ranch and inspired lots of kids to enjoy where their food comes from. Thanks for sharing about how lucky we are to be surrounded by great people and better food.

  3. That is a great article, Karen. I love reading people’s personal stories. The Stemple’s are a great American family.When i write about the Italian immigrants in California, I’ll be sure to reference your article.
    I also believe that we should know where are food comes from and I support my local producers when I can find them. CSA’s are not a problem but organic meat is. I only buy organic,grass fed or pasture raised meat and have been doing so for the last twenty years. Since my closest suppliers are a state or two away, I have to buy meat online. At least that is available to me. I remember the days when it wasn’t. I would love to order from a farm like Stemple but the shipping costs may be a problem. At least with more people becoming aware of the sustainability and humane processing of our meat supply, we may see more and more farms across the country like the Stemples.

    • Take a peek at the Poncia’s website Jovina. They do sell their beef and lamb by the quarter, half, and whole animal (which is more economical than by the cut). They ship as well, I believe, so if you’ve got the freezer space it would be worth a look. They are a lovely family and they are ranching the right way. I’m pleased to bring their story to a national stage through RANGE :>)

  4. Excellent article Karen. I appreciated the opportunity to gain a more in depth understanding on means to save ranches, family ranches. It was a true pleasure to read about the family, fine people of good character. Thanks for sharing.

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