"I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade." ~ Wendell Berry
|Joe Pozzi, owner of Pozzi Ranch.|
Joe is one of eight children that were raised on this land, and he has continued on with the family business of ranching. His own daughter, Alex, was born here, and grew up working along side her Dad. She plans to return after college to help run the family business.
|After Sam herds the sheep out of a holding pen, they wait for Sam to guide them into the barn.|
|No stragglers allowed.|
|Sam looks to Joe for further instructions.|
|A job well done.|
|Joe steadies the sheep against his legs and then quickly begins the shearing process.|
|Shorn and back to the rest of the herd in a flash.|
|Joe talks with us about the wool from his sheep.|
After the tour and the shearing we had worked up an appetite. It was time to turn the sheep back into the pasture, and help Joe get lunch ready. Grilled lamb leg steaks were the star of the menu for most of us, except for Shereen who is a vegan, but we had brought along salad and sides that she could enjoy. She did, however, really like petting the sheep and feeling the wool.
Joe maintains a herd for breeding stock. The lambs that go to market for meat production from this herd are all less than eight months old, which is not the case for much of so called "lamb" that one finds that is raised in larger operations. Because the lamb is young and has been exclusively fed on its mother's milk and the rich grass of Pozzi Ranch, it has none of the gamey flavor that is commonly associated with meat coming from older lambs.
|Shereen loves the feel of the freshly cut wool.|
|Maggie and Sam prepare to let the sheep back into the pasture.|
|Sheep and I share a moment of contemplating one another.|
|Our Team from the left: Bryan, Andrew, Thomas, Andrea, Meghan, Shereen, me, Clarke, Ruth, Elaine, Creg, Noe and Maggie. (Photo by Joe Pozzi)|
I think we all came away with a tremendous respect for the integrity, hard work and care with which Joe Pozzi and his family tend this ranch and treat the animals that they raise. It is of no small satisfaction to me to know that there are still sturdy souls who work in harmony with the land and who tend their animals with great care, in ways that are ancient and sacred. Moreover, it is a great comfort to know that this land and its inhabitants will continue on this way for the generations who follow, thanks to the protection provided by Joe and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.
|The best of friends... Sam and Joe.|
Once we walked the steaks and sausage down from the house to the grill, all Joe did was rub the meat lightly with olive oil and then sprinkled the lamb liberally with a seasoning salt that had a little citrus peel, garlic and black pepper added.
At that point, he simply put the steaks on a hot grill. When they were grilled to a nice medium rare, Joe put them on a platter. We then pulled out the salads and sides we brought with us and shared an amazing lunch together outside on some picnic tables near the barn. I have never had better lamb in my life.
|The finished steaks are allowed to rest for a moment.|
|Chow time! I have never had better lamb in my life.|