We are blessed that Sonoma County is home to many sheep ranches that are producing fresh lamb meat, sheep milk cheeses, sheep milk ice cream and fresh sheep milk, along with wool products. Each week, when we travel the countryside, I am continuously amazed at all of the locally produced agricultural products. During these last few weeks, we focused on lamb and sheep—meat, wool, sheep-cheese and sheep-milk—and we were not disappointed. Pozzi Ranch, overlooking Bodega Bay, was among the farms that stood out to us. Please contact Pozzi Ranch to find out when they are shearing in the spring. It is a great family activity, one of our family’s favorites.
Two delicious lamb recipes follow, one for spring lamb meatballs and the other for a traditional Irish stew.
Local Pozzi Ranch is owned and operated by Joe Pozzi, a fourth-generation rancher who has been raising sheep and cattle in Sonoma and Marin counties his entire life. He is a community leader
dedicated to land conservation and the economic viability of family farms and ranches and committed to the agricultural education of the next generation of farmers. The Pozzi family is working hard to secure the future of agriculture and open space in Sonoma County.
As I tour ranches and attend agriculture seminars, I run into Joe as he has continuously served as a volunteer for the agricultural community, including the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, North Bay Wool Growers Associaton and Santa Rosa Junior College. He is a wealth of information and always willing to share his time and expertise.
The Pozzi Ranch is open for tours, by appointment, for families, small groups and classrooms. You will find Pozzi Ranch Lamb in Whole Foods Market, including those in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa and Petaluma. In addition to the meat program, the Pozzi family operates Sonoma Wool, where they provide wool to many companies to create Sonoma County wool products.
Created by Sheana Davis
Irish Lamb Stew
Yields 8 servings
2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Sonoma County Olive Leaf Hills olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large leeks, white part only, halved, washed and thinly sliced
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 stalks celery, thinly sliced at an angle
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
In a large skillet, over medium heat, add in olive oil, garlic then lamb cubes and sauté for 5-6 minutes until seared. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Combine lamb, potatoes, leeks, carrots, celery, broth, thyme, salt, pepper and chill flakes in an 8-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the lamb is fork-tender, approximately 8 hours. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.
Serve with a Sonoma County Lynmar Estate Pinot Noir, fresh Wild Flour bread and enjoy!
Spring Lamb & Lemon
Yields 48 meatballs
2 pounds fresh ground Sonoma County lamb
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon zest, grated fine
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
1/4 cup Sonoma County Bellwether Farms San Andreas, grated fine
2 lemons, cut in half and sliced thin, seeds removed
1/4 cup Sonoma County Olive Leaf Hills Olive Oil
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together, using your hands, the lamb, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and cheese, until thoroughly combined.
Form the lamb mixture into 48 1-inch balls. Place on a baking dish and place the lemon slices between the meatballs. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until golden-browned, approximately 25 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy with a glass of Sonoma County Hopmonk Pilsner. SD