Sunday, August 24, 2008

Local Producers

Did you know that a tomato is a member of the nightshade family whose siblings include peppers, potatoes and eggplant? Originally from South America, tomati is the Aztec word for plumb vegetable, but the conquistador’s misunderstood and turned the word into tomate. What about the fact that rabbits and squirrels won’t go near a garden with crops of onions and garlic? Did you know that Cuban Cuisine is a fusion of Spanish and Caribbean traditions? Black beans, rice and plantains are a staple of this culture plus plenty of tropical fruits like mango, papaya, coconuts and pineapple. Did you know how lucky we are to live in Southern California with all of its diversity and amazing local farm producers so we can eat locally?

Be Wise Ranch
Escondido, Ca
Be Wise Ranch is a certified organic farm that has been growing organic produce since 1977 including vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, squash, and melons. Bill Brammer, owner of Be Wise Ranch, has been committed to sustainable agriculture since the early days of the organic movement, and during his five-year term as the state president of California Certified Farmers (CCOF), helped draft the state and federal legislation that defined organic standards for the industry. Bill is committed to improving the quality of the soil, and to growing varieties that have the outstanding flavor the increasingly sophisticated organic consumer has come to expect.

Bennett’s Honey Farm
Piru, Ca
Red and Ann Bennett not only produce their organic honey, but also package and distributed it. Red’s former career as an electrical engineer gave him the edge as far as designing all solar powered machinery to follow their passion of bee keeping and honey filtering. The Bennett’s feel that they are a little fussier in their process, but the taste is worth the extra effort.

Cahuillia Farms
Temecula, Ca
This 500-acre farm is owned and operated Argentinean native by Sergio Glushankoff. He grows heirloom squash, garlic, onions and pumpkins using irrigation systems that filter water directly to the roots, which helps limit weeds naturally.

California Baby
Alhambra, Ca
Mother of 2, Jessica Iclisoy searched for skin care that did not contain harmful ingredients. When she could not find any California Baby was born. She features 52 products including lotions, sun care, bubble bath, shampoo and essential oils and her sons and their friends test all of the products.

Perfectly Sweet
Alhambra, Ca
Mary Aqleh learned to love baking from her grandmother and with her 26 employees are baking 24 hours a day. A supporter of local vendors she shops 3 days a week picking up ingredients from farmers that she has been buying from for years. You can watch Mary bake whiles enjoying a sweet treat at her Main street establishment.

Carlsbad Aquafarm
Carlsbad Ca,
John and Andy Davis are very busy improving the marine ecology around them. This local aquaculture lagoon houses not only Black Mussels and Manila Clams, but a living reef which is helping to replenish some species of fish.

La Cubana
Glendale, Ca
After emigrating from Cuba, Maria Fernandez’s parents opened La Cubana where customers still flock to for there traditional Cuban flavor including their famous Mojo de Ajo.This oil based marinade can be used to flavor meats, vegetables and sauces and is an amazing dipping sauce for breads.

GT’s Kombucha
Los Angeles, Ca
GT Dave started his beverage company inspired by his mother’s battle with cancer. He produces a drink that is delicious and good for you. Kombuciha is a microorganism that is beneficial to drink each day.

Begley’s Best
Studio City, Ca

Ed Begley’s cleaning products were birthed by his lifelong passion and commitment to the earth. And it is not just talk either. He lives a completely green lifestyle. His home runs on solar power and his back yard features an organic garden, and both he and his wife drive “green” vehicles. Products like Begley’s Best All Purpose Cleaner, Glass and Surface Cleaner and Spot remover are all safe to use throughout the house. As passionate about his products as his busy acting career you often see him delivering cases of product to Whole Foods Market in his electric car and educating people as a vendor at the Studio City Open air Market. Ed gives all profits back to environmental charities.

These are just a few of the local producers that are in our comunity. When we buy foods locally it supports local families, reduces fossil fuel consumption and keeps our rural areas green. It encourages biodiversity and keeps our connection to food alive. I encourage you to find out more and support our local producers that are following their hearts to make the planet better.

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