Olive U Olive Oil Company in Cholame

 A panoramic view of a field of olive trees under a blue sky.

Tucked away in the Middle of Nowhere California, is Cholame, site of James Dean’s memorial and home to Olive U Olive Oils. This is a true family effort; the land is prepped, irrigation installed, and the trees are nurtured by the owners themselves, only hiring help for the labor intensive fruit harvests. The fruit is gently hand picked to avoid bruising or dropping which affects the ultimate flavor of the oils. The perfectly ripe olives are then sent off immediately to press. Manzanilla and Mission olive trees love the hot dry climate which in turn enhances the flavors of the oils. Bees in the area provide pollenation, and produce sweet honey. How nice of them to be both generous and industrious! Honey, Olive Oils and Balsamic vinegars are available in several sizes and quantities online, or you can call in your order if you prefer. 

Olive U Olive Oil Company    Website 

Wavy Spice Traveler in Gull Lake

The Wavy Spice Traveler hanging out at Gull Lake. Great for taking cookies supplies on the road, no unexpected purchase of a spice or favorite cooking tool. Ripstop interior for easy cleaning.
I make and sell the Wavy Spice Traveler as a standalone bag, or with the pieces shown that include a knife sheath, spice envelope, mesh bags and cutting board.
wavy spice traveler available accessories
If you would like to see more of this or other Spice Travelers, please email Kelly at SpiceTravelers.com

The Corn Maiden in Harbor City

Lots of fresh vegetables on a table with a couple of hand tied tamales next to them and a bowl of sauce.

Tamales have been a favored food over the millenia for Native Americans. They are tasty, healthy and one of the original portable meals. What’s not to love? The Corn Maiden proudly makes award winning traditional and not-so traditional tamales using old world artisan methods. Their corn is soaked, ground and mixed into masa by hand to ensure freshness and flavor. They are hand tied, and no lard or preservatives are ever used. Using only fresh, healthy ingredients makes these tamales guiltless treats. The wide variety of categories include meat, cheese, seafood, fruit, vegan, and kid friendly specialties which basically cover it all. I dare say there is a tamale for everybody. Sauces to slather on top are also available and mucho popular. Available at select gourmet grocers, at the online store, and at local farmer’s markets. They freeze well for later, so stock up. 

The Corn Maiden          Website

Fonuts in Los Angeles

 Several fresh glazed donuts being sprinkled with crumbs of bacon.

Bringing her substantial pastry skills to the world of high falutin’ donuts, Waylynn Lucas partnered up with gluten free baking whiz Nancy Truman in 2011. The goal was to adapt and expand traditional fried donut recipes into healthier yet equally delicious versions. By steaming or baking and altering the ingredients to perfection, the Fonut was born.  Hark, the sky opens and the angels sing! Never fried, they come in heavenly sweet and savory flavors like Banana Cinnamon, Chocolate Coconut, Rosemary Olive Oil and Chorizo Cheddar. Might I coin the term Bronut for that one? A Breakfast meal all in one hand held donutty pastry? Gluten free and vegan versions are also available if the mood or need suits you. Place your order 24 hours in advance and pick up at the storefront. Or simply drop by and take home what’s available. 

Fonuts         Website 

Two Rivers Cider in Sacramento

 Golden hard cider being poured into a glass with the Two Rivers logo on the front.

I will admit, on a hot afternoon, an ice cold cider really hits the spot. Crisp, sweet yet not too much so, and refreshing are words that easily describe a good cider. Historically this was by far America’s most popular alcoholic beverage. Once again the popularity is enjoying an uptick, thanks to the growing micro brewery movement. Modern gourmet ciders come in a wide variety of apple blends and can also incorporate other fruits such as berries or citrus. Two Rivers has their original Hard Apple Cider, boasts seasonal varieties due to varietal apple harvests, and flavors such as Blood Orange Cider, Pomegranate Cider, Raspberry Cider, and the popular Dry Oak Cider which is aged in a barrel and reminiscent of champagne or fine wine. If you have an affinity for Johnny Appleseed, or love apples and ciders, these are drinks for you. Check the list of Sacramento and Bay area retailers online. Lucky locals can get themselves a keg for a large party. 

Two Rivers Cider         Website 

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous in San Francisco

 Three scoops of colorful ice cream in a dish on a table.

This small artisan creamery was voted Best Ice Cream of San Francisco 2012 by SF Magazine. Leaving the long hours of a fine dining chef for a more amendable work day, owner Ian Flores makes his fresh batches of ice cream daily. The perfect texture and creaminess is matched only by the intense and inventive flavors which rotate, so check the menu frequently. Of course kid friendly flavors like chocolate malted crunch are plentiful, but the many adult centered ice creams are the intriguing ones. Pink Squirrel, named after the cocktail, uses an almond liqueur to tempt your willpower. Croquantino is full of nutty hazelnuts and a splash of hazelnut liqueur for a kick. This small storefront has seating available for your leisurely ice cream afternoons. Come on down, rest your feet, and enjoy a scoop of whatever they made that day.
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous         Facebook         Yelp

Laura Ann’s Jams in Echo Park

 A jar of Blackberry Bay Leaf jam next to a full and icy cocktail glass.

Several years ago, Laura Ann rocked the music scene in Illinois, but after moving to California and an unfortunate car accident, she took to making music in the kitchen. Her first efforts incorporated fruit plucked right from her own backyard. This artisan jam maker earns rave reviews from both press and customers. Spreadable flavors include Bourbon Blood Orange marmalade, Maple Pumpkin butter, Rockin’ Jalapeno and Wild Blueberry Almond. There are so many tasty flavor combinations to experience. Of course you can spread on toast, but these are also perfect for topping yogurt or oatmeal, adding to your favorite recipes, and creating unique, inventive adult beverages with flair! Served at fine local restaurants, sold at local gourmet markets or online. 

Laura Ann’s Jams      Website 

Brassica & Brine in Van Nuys

A hand holding a jar of Kimchi Karma with other jars in the background.

Voted Best Artisan of 2012 by L.A. Weekly, and it’s no wonder. Brassica & Brine use locally sourced, organic produce to maintain flavor and freshness; whenever possible they use sustainable methods of production and store and serve in recycled, Earth friendly products. While reducing their carbon footprint, their methods handily help boost the local economy. They even offer discounts to customers who come in on bikes! Now that is dedication. The lacto-fermented products include seasonally produced pickles, kimchi and sourkrauts. Naturally fermented vegetables are very healthful and full of good things for digestion. Periodic classes are offered in conjunction with a fun pot-luck. Check it out for a fun, filling and educational evening. Find these nutrient dense foods at local farmer’s markets or order your products through Good Eggs and their online store.

Brassica & Brine        Website      Facebook 

Burroughs Family Farms in Denair

A man out in a field of green grass patting a friendly cow on the head.

There is a lot going on at Burroughs Family Farms. First and foremost this is a true family run venture brought together for the benefit of each division.  There are several parts: organic dairy farms, the poultry operation, and almond production which has now expanded to include olives. Separately they work well, together they form a larger Earth healthy, sustainably run operation. The products available are diverse. Gouda-style Grass to Gold cheese is smooth and buttery flavored. Almond butter, in creamy smooth or crunchy is a healthful alternative to peanut butter. Whole munchable almonds come in roasted, raw, or chocolate covered; enough variety for any craving. In 2012 the first organic olive oil blends were produced. The farm’s organic, grass fed beef, pork, poultry and eggs are available. All products are available at the online store, or at the farm. While you are there, why not take a tour? 

Burroughs Family Farms      Website      Facebook

The Roman Bar in Marin County

three flavors of roman bar displays

Fruity, chocolaty (61% Cacao Dark Semi-Sweet Chocolate) and vegan. Yum. Nearly two decades after their initial kitchen experiment, Roman and Beverly Starno have perfected healthy and delicious with flavor combinations like Raspberry, Blueberry, and Peach-Apricot. Available at selected Whole Foods and specialty markets.

selling booth in a market featuring the toman barclose up of samples of the roman bar

The Roman Bar website | Facebook