I am constantly impressed by our Whole Foods Market meat suppliers! I just got off the phone with Joe Pozzi from Pozzi Ranch Lamb who has been selling locally raised lamb to our Northern California stores for the last 4 years. More recently, they’ve expanded to our Pacific Northwest stores. As I was talking with Joe, I was struck by how much he cares. He cares about his lambs, he cares about natural resources and the environment, he cares about the ranchers he works with, and he cares about his consumers. Joe described his goals in life as being “to keep healthy animals, healthy natural resources and family farms viable,” and he’s certainly leading by example. Joe is a fourth generation sheep producer in Sonoma County and in partnership with his daughter, Alexandra, raises pastured lambs for Pozzi Ranch Lamb. Their lambs graze on the lush hillsides and valleys along the Pacific Coast in Valley Ford, California and are raised without antibiotics, ever, and with no added hormones. They raise Dorset, Romney, Suffolk and Hampshire crossbreeds that are ideal sheep for their environment because they are very gregarious, are good mothers, milk well and thrive in the wet coastal areas where the ranches are located. Pozzi Ranch Lamb consists of a group of 11 ranches that raise local lamb. The Pozzi family of ranches also works to preserve and enhance the natural resources of the land. For example, the ranchers implement management practices around rivers and creeks to prevent sediment erosion and to conserve the land. And when it comes to keeping family farms viable, not only has Joe diversified his business by selling wool to bedding companies, but he also worked with our regional meat coordinator, Dan Neuerburg, to develop a strong local grass-fed and pasture-raised lamb program. “Working with Whole Foods is an enjoyable experience – whether it’s team members, team leaders or meat coordinators, you guys are genuinely interested in what we do. Our relationship is very open and transparent and we work together to look for solutions. While there is extra work involved like customer demonstrations, training team members and having people visit the ranches, it’s welcome! I know that the Whole Foods family is committed to what they’re doing and at the end of the day it’s a great feeling to see our lamb in the counter!” The Pozzi family takes great pride in raising their lambs. They hold demonstrations in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California stores during the spring and summer. Be sure to look out for them the next time you are in your local store so you can try some of their tasty lamb!