This post is filled with plenty of food photos so get ready! I've lived in the Bay Area on and of for over 20 years, and I knew there were farms in Marin but had no idea there were ranches. I was invited by Beth Krauss from Whole Foods to a Field To Fork Supper at Pozzi Ranch which raises lamb and cattle, and sells wool. Pozzi Ranch is also a MALT, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, protected ranch.
The second I heard Field to Fork you know I was excited as a kid on Christmas. The menu for this Field to Fork supper was created and prepared by Sean Baker of Gather Restaurant and Nick Balla and Courtney Burns of Bar Tartine. The meal featured meat from Pozzi Ranch as well as meat from other ranchers and vegetables and dairy products from farmers protected by MALT.
Before, we get to the delicious food, I'd like to share a little about MALT because what they are doing is pretty cool. MALT was founded in 1980 by Phyllis Faber, a biologist, and Ellen Straus, a rancher and co-founder of the Straus Family Creamery which makes organic dairy products. Their dairy is ome of the best stuff you will ever taste.
MALT was created to help give permanent protection to farmland in Marin County for agricultural use. The farmland trust became the first of its kind in the nation. MALT has worked with more than 70 farming families to preserve more than 45,000 acres.
I'm absolutely LOVING the fact that two women, pioneers, leaders, and passionate environmentalists, were the creators of MALT.
Before supper, we started off with a little welcome party and one of the appetizers was grilled lamb tongue with smoked pickled jalapenos and garum. I've never eaten tongue from any animal before but was feeling brave so I went for it. I'm on the ranch at the source, so why not. I liked it! I thought the meat would be gummy like tripe but it felt more like a kobe beef texture in my mouth, very smooth and tender.
We jumped on a truck and went for a hayride to get a tour of some of the land. I think the last time I did a hayride was back in college. Getting hay stuck on my behind was well worth it because hellooo...
I've always known Marin county was a beautiful place but wow! I have never seen such beautiful land like this which is filled with farms and ranches. And more wow!
Unfortunately, I did not get any good pictures of any of the sheep or cows. I was happy to see them roaming around so freely and happily. It's a huge difference from the factory-raised animals you see in movies like Food Inc.
Pozzi Ranch animals are 100% grass fed, humanely raised, antibiotic and hormone free, and graze on pastures that are free of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. How wonderful is that! Joe Pozzi who owns and runs the ranch is one of the sweetest people you will meet.
As a flexitarian, I only meat occasionally, but when I do, it's definitely the kind of meat that is raised on Pozzi Ranch. How the animal was fed and raised makes such a big difference in the taste of the meat, and how it feels in the body.
We ended our tour of the land to the place on the ranch where they slow cooked the meat for dinner in an underground pit for like 9 hours. Gotta say I was totally fascinated with the pit.
And here's another angle of the pit while one of the chefs was making Devils Gulch Ranch rabbit meatballs braised in black mole. Eating rabbit at this supper was another first for me, and I loved the meatballs, so tender and tasty. Honestly, I had no idea they were made from rabbit. The texture of the ground meat was similar to the texture of grass fed beef.
Here was a batch of Little Organic Farm collard greens braised with smoked lamb fat, onions and habanero cumin vinegar cooking over a smoky flame. I literally wanted to dig my hand in there and stuff my face with greens.
I was mesmerized by these Padron peppers...
...which ended up in this salad with local whey puree and charred onions.
The supper was held in one of the barns and the setup was truly festive and fun.
Supper started with Polenta bread with house made honey butter from local Hicks Valley honey. This is the same bread you saw getting warmed up in the opening shot of this post.
This was my favorite dish of the evening, Ensalada Rusa which had Little Organic Farm beets, potatoes, onions, lettuce, avocado, shell beans, pepitas, cilantro and vinaigrette. I ate a whole plate of this salad because I could not get enough of the flavors and the life force I felt pulsing through my body.
Yes, I was having a spiritual experience with the vegetables.
The picture doesn't do this justice, but the salsa cruda was amazing bursting with tomato flavor. The salsa with the fire roasted tomatoes was my favorite. I could eat that salsa with tortilla chips all day long.
The barn started getting dark so I was not able to get photos of the two main meat courses which were the 9-hour cooked Pozzi Ranch Lamb Barbaccoa and Mindful Meats Beef Barbaccoa which were to die for.
Mindful Meats produces pasture-raised beef and is the first Non-GMO Project verified beef company in the United States. If you have the opportunity, you MUST try GMO-free beef. Seriously, I have never tasted meat so rich, tender and juicy. This is actually how our forefathers and mothers ate meat before all this mass production of meat took over.
We had this soup which I believe was made with beef stock and had organic potatoes in it. I was enamoured with the squash flower on the top.
Of course there was local wine to be had and a lovely duet serenaded us over dinner. Dessert was a Toluma Farms goat milk panna cotta with roasted corn and plums.
I went home feeling like I had dinner in 7th heaven. Professional photographer Michael Woolsey took some wonderful pictures of the event. Please take a look at his photo gallery.
If you live in the Bay Area, definitely support our local farmers and ranchers and buy their products. Here is a map of all the farmland that is covered by MALT. Thank you Pozzi Ranch, MALT, and Beth Krauss for a wonderful evening of food and new friends!
Eat real food! Discover what is grown and raised locally to you. It's one of the best things you can do for your body and well being.