What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

May 20, 2009

Farm Focus: Marin Sun Farms’ All Natural, 100% Grass-fed Beef

Filed under: Feature Articles, RECIPES — Sigona's @ 10:12 am

Farm Focus: Marin Sun Farms’ All Natural, 100% Grass-fed Beef

By Carmelo Sigona

*Meat products are sold at our Redwood City location only.

You asked for it, and we made it happen. Beef is back! Due to the relationships we have with small, local farms, such as Marin Sun Farms which offered us a great deal, we’re proud to offer you fantastic, all natural 100% grass-fed beef from Marin Sun Farms at an unbelievable price. The first shipment of beef arrived at our Redwood City location just yesterday, and we’re happy to welcome the Marin Sun Farms folks to our family of small, local vendors!

We get our grass-fed beef from Marin Sun Farms in Point Reyes Station, CA.

On the shelves now you can find all cuts on special, including the tri-tip roast for $4.99 lb. (Reg. $8.99 lb), and lean ground beef at $3.99 lb (Reg. $5.99 lb.). This absolute best-in-quality beef is delivered fresh to us just twice a week (on Tuesdays and Fridays) in limited quantities. Marin Sun Farms is a small operation, butchering only 22-29 head of cattle a week, which takes place on Mondays and Thursdays. So now that you’re armed with this insider information, be sure to plan accordingly to get your BBQ goods while they last!

We could go on about the great pricing, but we also want to share with you the particulars of Marin Sun Farms and their all natural, grass-fed beef products.

Marin Sun Farms, located in the vast grasslands of the Point Reyes National Seashore about 60 miles north of here, is committed to producing pasture-based food for the Bay Area community, and strives toward building a sustainable food model. Their cattle are 100% grass fed with a no-corn finish, are never given any artificial hormones or stimulants and are guaranteed to be free of antibiotics. What’s more is that there no herbicides or pesticides used on any Marin Sun Farms’ pasture; these ranchers are serious about raising cattle that is healthy for consumption and that is also environmentally beneficial.

The land in West Marin is perfect for livestock. The mild climate. The rich soil. The rolling hills. The native grasses. These are all extremely important factors for raising livestock and developing healthy, mature beef. Grazing livestock is also important in sustaining productive open spaces, as the process contributes to the replenishing of native grasses. We’ve all heard that happy cows come from California, and Marin Sun Farms certainly proves this point! Marin Sun Farms livestock are pasture raised their entire lives with no consumption of grain or by-product supplements.

As mentioned above, this beef has a no-corn finish. Corn-finished cattle, meaning they are fed corn about a week before they’re butchered, have more intramuscular marbling. While we’re taught that marbling is an indication of better-tasting beef, it also indicates a higher percentage of fat. The more marbling there is, the higher the percentage of fat. Some grocers may advertise 80/20 ground beef on super sale – highlighting it’s great taste – almost hiding the fact that while it’s 80% lean beef, it’s still 20% fat and that’ll send your cholesterol skyrocketing!

We’ve learned that grass-fed beef has more healthy omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene and Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA), and fewer omega-6 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. As you may know, omega-3 fatty acids are referred to as heart-healthy “good fats,” while Omega-6 fatty acids are believed to be linked to certain ailments, such as heart disease.

You may be wondering if what a cow eats makes a big difference in the flavor of the beef…well, the differences are worth noting! The flavor, look, smell and texture of grass-fed beef differs slightly from grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef actually has a distinctive rich and robust flavor that is not found in conventional, confinement-raised or grain-fed beef, simply because of the difference of the cattle’s diets.

Now on to serving suggestions. As we mentioned up top, morel mushrooms are making their break this week, and we can’t think of a better pairing for any of these beef products than morels in a light cream & brandy reduction. If you try it, let us know what you think!


Carmelo Sigona

Carmelo’s Brandy & Morel Mushroom Sauce

Mushrooms and beef are a classic couple, especially when accompanied by a crisp salad and a starch, such as pasta or a baked potato. This sauce is terrific over any Marin Sun Beef, such as the Rib-Eyes or the New York Strip steaks. You can even double the recipe to top a Tri-Tip Roast. This recipe makes enough sauce to evenly top 4 servings of beef.


  • 1 ½ dozen large morel mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Tbl. Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbl. brandy
  • 1 cup beef broth (any type of stock or broth will work)
  • 2 Tbl. heavy cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sliced morels and stir gently to coat. After the oil is absorbed and the morels begin to look cooked down, add in the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.

In the same pan, add beef, season with salt and pepper and sauté to your liking (to reach medium rare, sauté for about 5-6 minutes a side). Remove and place cooked beef to serving platter, leaving any brown bits or juices in the pan.

To the same pan (yes, we are fans of the 1-pan method), add the brandy to deglaze the pan and stir, scraping the bottom to loosen any leftover brown bits. Let the brandy reduce about 1-2 minutes and then add the stock and bring to a light boil. Add in the cream and reduce to low heat. Reintroduce the morels, season with salt and pepper, and simmer the sauce for 1-2 minutes, stirring consistently. Once the sauce is thickened, pour it directly over the steaks. Serve immediately.

Robbie’s produce tips: Morel Mushrooms

  • The morel season in the Bay Area is very short – just 2-3 weeks – so be sure to come in to try these local, delicious gems today!
  • Fresh morels should be clean and almost dry to the touch. They should have an earthy/woodsy aroma and are hollow inside.
  • Because of the irregular shape and surface, a morel cannot be rubbed or brushed as you would clean a white or “button” mushroom.
  • Try not to use water. Just soaking morels briefly can dilute their flavor, as with other foods such as strawberries. If you must run water over them, do it quickly and cook them immediately.
  • Cut morels lengthwise or cross-section them to clean out the centers.
  • Morels are highly perishable and should be handled with care. The key is to keep them cool and dry, with a little ventilation.  Store them in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag (storing mushrooms in a plastic bag seals in moisture and leads to rot).


  1. Thought you would be interested in this short omega-3 video: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=queenoffats

    Comment by susan allport — May 21, 2009 @ 8:04 am

    • Hi Susan – that video is interesting and full of good stats on Omega-3 fatty acids. Thanks for sharing!

      Take care,
      The Sigona’s Crew

      Comment by Sigona's — May 25, 2009 @ 9:14 am

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