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ISSUE 76 • SPRING 2021

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Ojai & Ventura County CELEBRATING LOCAL FOOD & DRINK, SEASON BY SEASON

CAMARILLO • FILLMORE • MOORPARK • OJAI • OXNARD • PORT HUENEME • SANTA PAULA SIMI VALLEY • THOUSAND OAKS • VENTURA • WESTLAKE VILLAGE EdibleVenturaCounty.com

MEMBER OF EDIBLE COMMUNITIES

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LOC ALLY SO U RCE D · S E A SO NAL I N G R E D I E NTS · WOO D FI R E D “ T h e C o n e j o Va l l ey 's B e s t O u td o o r P a t i o D i n i n g ”

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COINANDCANDOR .COM

@ C O I N AEdible N D C AOjai NDO &R Ventura County


CONTENTS 2 EDITOR’S LETTER 4 EDIBLE NOTES

SPRING 2021 26 DIY

42 EDIBLE ENDEAVOR

Pandemic Poultry 101

Sisters Find a Place at Ojai’s Table

BY ADRIEL CHU

BY SUZANNE LUCE

Sideyard Shrubs | Ventura Land Trust

8 MUST BE 21 Warmaster Bourbon

10 TASTES LIKE SUMMER Strawberries: A Love Story

29 EDIBLE OVC KIDS

46 FARMERS’ MARKETS AND CSAs

30 FORAGING FINDS

48 SOURCE GUIDE

34 PROS AT HOME

50 DRINKS AND DINING GUIDE

Cooking Up a Business BY SARAH BOURKE

18 GREEN THUMB Good to Grow BY BONNIE RUBRECHT

22 CHEF DEMO Spring Supper for 4

52 THE LAST SIP Strawberry Syrup

38 COCKTAIL HOUR Mixing with Shrubs

40 ROBIN’S RECIPES Citrus-Almond Olive Oil Cake

DIGITAL ISSUE EXCLUSIVE Chef Gabrielle Moes of Seasons Catering and GOOD2GO is sharing a meal of spring recipes and will be demonstrating those for us on Instagram live. Find her recipes and the schedule exclusively in the digital issue between pages 20 and 21.

ON THIS PAGE Photo by Mariah Green.

COVER Photo by Tami Chu Ventura County is famous for strawberries and with good reason. This jewel of spring adds a bright sweetness to every dish. Check your local farmers’ market and farm stands to grab your cache of berries for the recipes on page 10. EdibleVenturaCounty.com

Ojai Pixie tangerines are a shining star of the unique microclimate of Ojai. This sweet citrus is available at farmers’ markets and local groceries during the spring. Check out page 36 for an incredible citrus cake featuring this special fruit.

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EDITOR’S LETTER

RELENTLESS. EXHAUSTING. SURREAL. CHAOTIC.

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hese are some of the most popular words used to describe 2020, according to a Washington Post article from December. I think this is more evidence of a collective sense of breathlessness and angst widely shared over the past year. Our last spring issue was published two weeks before our first lockdown. How has it already— and only—been a year?! The continued feeling of overwhelm is no joke. Some days, I wake up and think, “Is this really my life?” My cousin-in-law told me recently that she has “retreated and closed up into a bubble. I’m not sure if I’m resting or running away.” I responded that I do both regularly, sometimes at the same time!

PUBLISHER & EDITOR

Tami Chu COPY EDITOR

Doug Adrianson DESIGN

Cheryl Angelina Koehler CONTRIBUTORS

Sarah Bourke • Shannon Casey Adriel Chu • Tami Chu Robin Goldstein • Suzanne Luce Bonnie Rubrecht Julia San Bartolome Gisa Seeholzer • Jess Starwood

RESILIENCE. PERSEVERANCE. ADAPTABILITY. RESTORATION.

Until next time, happy eating!

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ILLUSTRATORS

Claudia Pardo PHOTOGRAPHERS

Victor Budnik • Eden Chu Tami Chu • Mariah Green Stephanie Plomarity Jess Starwood SALES

Mary DiCesare SUBSCRIPTIONS

EdibleVenturaCounty.com info@edibleventuracounty.com CONTACT US

Edible Ojai & Ventura County 2470 Stearns St. #142 Simi Valley, CA 93063 805-622-9355 Info@EdibleVenturaCounty.com Founded 2002 by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, Edible Ojai & Ventura County is published seasonally, four times a year. We are an advertising- and subscriber-supported publication, locally and independently owned and operated and a member of Edible Communities, Inc. Distribution is throughout Ventura County and by subscription for $28 per year. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and let us know.

Illustration by Claudia Pardo

These have been the themes of quarantine in nearly every publication, printed or otherwise. We at Edible have practiced and watched these themes playing out by necessity … and by determination. When there is a sense of dread or despair, there also seems to be a cultural shift to seek and share the hope of the human condition. In a time when the news cycle (though noticeably calmer) is still filled with anxiety-inducing information, I am pleased (and, frankly, relieved) to be encouraging our contributors in pursuit of stories that inspire and delight. When we planned the theme for this issue last year, it was meant to be something like “Moving Forward,” a natural succession to resilience and restoration. And while now there is finally a sense of that possibility, back when we began planning the content, things in the world were still not looking good. So, like so many other businesses in the food industry have been forced to do, we pivoted. We’ve increased our recipe content, because folks are eating at home more than ever. There are 13 recipes in this issue, 15 if you count the stand-alone parts of the incredible citrus cake on page 36! Based on popularity of gardening articles on our website, there seems to be quite a resurgence of horticulture locally, so we found a way to include loads of gardening tips and even asked experts in the field to help bust some myths (page 18). We also included chickens (page 26) and new beginnings (page 42) and business inspirations (page 32). What I noticed as it all came together is that, yes, each story represents resilience, perseverance, adaptability and restoration. Each story gives us a little bit of hope that there is creativity and joy that can still be found. Each story reminds us of my mom’s favorite saying: “This too shall pass.” I am excited to share the people of this issue, both contributors and subjects of the stories. I believe they represent the DIYer in us all, but with a nod to the need for community. I hope that they bring inspiration and delight. And dear reader, my hope for you this season is that you will find resilience in your gardens, perseverance of good character, adaptability in the kitchen and restoration of hope.

Edible Ojai & Ventura County


pairing is our specialty Ojai Alisal is nestled in the rolling hills of the upper Ojai Valley and guarded by the majestic Topa Topa mountains. Our beautiful south-facing vineyards dotted with sycamores (or Alisal in Spanish) and California walnuts are touched by strong daily breezes, bringing the spirit of the Rhone region to California.

Handcrafted wines using only Ojai grown grapes 805-640-3837

EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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Locally Sourced . Chef Inspired Seasonal Creations Vibrant EdibleAmbiance Summer . Winemaker Events . Dinner Specials Wine Tasting . Artisan Market . Cheese + Charcuterie Visit ParadisePantry.com for our always fresh daily specials. 805 641 9440 • 222 East Main Street • Ventura California 93001

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EDIBLE NOTES

WHAT THE SHRUB? BY GISA SEEHOLZER | PHOTO BY MARIAH GREEN

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ermented foods like sourdough, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha are becoming common cuisine, but have you tried a shrub? No, not the woody plant that is oft mistaken for bushes. Shrubs, also known as fruit vinegars or drinking vinegars, were common in colonial America as a way to preserve fruit and have recently had a resurgence in popularity in the cocktail industry. The refreshing tart beverage is a combination of locally grown fruit, sugar and vinegar, and it makes a perfect addition to salad dressings, marinades, cocktails, quick pickles and shrub soda. “The applications of shrubs are far-reaching, both in drinks and cooking,” says Sarah Bourke, owner/founder of Sideyard Shrubs in Santa Barbara. Her small-batched, hand-bottled shrubs have been popping up at local shops from San Luis Obispo County to Orange County. “At Sideyard Shrubs, we believe good goes slow. The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit,” says Bourke. “Our goal with the business is to take things slow and grow organically.” Sarah started fermenting about five years ago, brewing kombucha, pickling vegetables and baking sourdough from a starter. “I first came across shrubs in a cocktail. My taste buds basically exploded, and the flavors made me smile big,” she says. Her motivation for developing food products that celebrate the abundance of the Southern California region is what turned her homespun passion project into a small business in June 2020. Bourke is passionate about seasonality and local sourcing. Her excitement is palpable when she talks about being able to use “slightly blemished or otherwise unsellable produce, turning it into beautiful, delicious value-added products by way of fermentation and preservation methods.” “Sourcing is really what makes our shrubs sing; it’s the people we work with—who take great care of the land—and quality of the fruit that we’re sourcing that makes our flavors so delicious,” says Bourke, who started with sourcing fruit from her own side yard. “Our roots lie in hand-harvesting fruit trees from the front, back and side yards of our closest friends and family, all of whom practice organic farming.” She also sources fruit from Friend’s Ranches and Kremer Family Farm in Ojai and looks forward to working with The Abundant Table in Camarillo this spring. 4

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Bourke’s focus on community also shows up in her business, from sourcing fruit to selling products. “We’re proud to sell Sideyard Shrubs to like-minded small businesses and shops around town. Our retail partners share our deep care for quality, organic ingredients, and supporting local farms, community artisans and makers across the board.” For more information and to find the shrubs locally, visit DrinkSideyard.com.

Gisa Seeholzer is a freelance writer and nonprofit leader, with a focus on community and sustainable living. She is a beekeeper and avid gardener with a passion for buying locally sourced organic produce, as well as artisanal goods. In her spare time she runs Marigold Farms, a nonprofit that helps to educate the public on growing their own food. Edible Ojai & Ventura County


Our Markets are OPEN to serve our community during this crisis with safety protocols in place.

Juicing Made Easy…

WEDNESDAYS MIDTOWN VENTURA Pacific View Mall 9:00 am - 1:00 pm Front West Parking Lot on Main Street

THURSDAYS THOUSAND OAKS The Oaks Mall 12 noon - 5:00 pm East End Parking Lot on Wilbur Road

WIC, CAL-FRESH/EBT & MARKET MATCH ACCEPTED HERE

www.vccfm.org EdibleVenturaCounty.com

SATURDAYS DOWNTOWN VENTURA City Parking Lot 8:30 am - 12 noon Santa Clara Street & Palm Street

SUNDAYS SANTA CLARITA College of the Canyons 8:30 am - 12 noon Parking Lot 5 Rockwell Canyon Road

CONNECT WITH US . . . 805.529.6266 Follow our markets on Social Media by visiting our website at www.vccfm.org

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EDIBLE NOTES

LAND TRUST SAYS COME ON OUT AND ENJOY NATURE

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pring is a great time to get outdoors with the family and enjoy Ventura’s natural beauty. The urban Ventura Land Trust (VLT), founded in 2003, is a nationally accredited nonprofit whose mission is to help the community do just that by preserving and permanently protecting land, water and wildlife in the Ventura region. “We work to balance the protection of the natural environment with a growing and thriving community,” says VLT’s Development Director Leslie Velez. Much of the land now protected has previously been used for ranching, livestock grazing and agriculture after being claimed as part of Mission San Buenaventura. During the past decade, it has returned to its natural state with the help of Ventura Land Trust staff, who have also designed a trail system that will allow for visitors hiking and cycling while protecting sensitive habitats. Sustainability is a core component of the work of VLT. Care and management of the land and watersheds is informed by the traditions of the Chumash, the original inhabitants. “In restoring land and preparing it for public use, we use a restoration ecology approach that takes into account historical records, human and animal use, our knowledge of native and invasive plant species and climate science to plan for long-term resilience,” says Velez. In June 2020, VLT opened Harmon Canyon Preserve—2,123

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acres of Ventura hillsides for habitat restoration and free public recreation. Ventura’s first large-scale preserve includes eight miles of trails with plans to expand to at least 20 miles over the next several years. The trails include spectacular views of Southern California mountain ranges, coastline and Channel Islands National Park. The pandemic has certainly helped to make evident the importance of getting into motion and connecting with nature. “Fresh air, exercise and breaks from screen time bring balance, calm and rejuvenation during these anxious times,” says Executive Director Derek Poultney. “As if their lives depend on it, people are flocking to nature in record numbers.” While the trust is pleased to offer these preserves as protected natural space for residents and visitors, they do advocate that visitors “leave no trace.” “Use only trails and durable surfaces to travel, take out what you bring in, leave areas as you found them, and respect wildlife and other visitors,” says Velez. “And please, ‘go’ before you go.” Just two months after opening Harmon Canyon Preserve around 3,000 people had visited, and estimates are for more than 50,000 visitors for 2021. For more information and where to find the trails please visit VenturaLandTrust.org.

Edible Ojai & Ventura County

Photo courtesy of Ventura Land Trust

BY GISA SEEHOLZER


Farmer At Roan Mills we grow and process organic, heritage wheat in California and preserve the individual identity of the wheat variety throughout the process.

Miller Roan Mills flour has flavor. It is fragrant, with distinctive color, and has 100% of its natural nutrients intact.

Baker Three simple ingredients – flour, water and salt – are transformed well beyond the sum of their parts when time and temperature are skillfully applied. Enjoy Pizza Fridays!

Pasta Maker Nothing showcases the flavor of freshly milled, whole grain flour better than this simple product made from just two ingredients.

We’re Wheating For You Visit the Roan Mills Bakery 411 Central Ave. Fillmore Learn more at RoanMills.com

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Photo courtesy of Sespe Creek Distillery

MUST BE 21

A BEAST OF A BOURBON

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ucked amongst the strawberry fields of Oxnard, a hand-fed mesquite smoker flavors the premium flaked corn grits that will be the base grain of the next barrel of Warbringer Warmaster Edition Bourbon Whiskey. One of the few made-from-scratch-inhouse bourbons in America, this gold medal award–winning hooch is not for the faint of heart … or taste. The brainchild of Sespe Creek Distillery’s master distiller and founder, David Brandt, PhD, Warmaster Single Barrel Cask Strength is named after Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champ Josh “Warmaster” Barnett, who hand-selects each barrel. Brandt “imagined combining the big, sweet, caramel/toffee notes of a well-crafted bourbon with the bold smoky flavors of mesquite to create something worthy of the title, ‘Big Beast of Bourbon.’” Distilled in house-built copper stills and finished in oak sherry casks, this whiskey is the result of three years of experimentation and tinkering with yeasts and fermentation times. In true craft style, each

release is slightly different, but maintains the unique and bold complexity that makes it intriguing for whiskey connoisseurs. For those who are a bit more novice whiskey drinkers, the smoky sweet flavor of this bourbon might do well in cocktails like a spiced Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Apricot Bourbon Smash or anything with a ginger simple syrup. Whether neat or in a mixed drink, a strong whiskey needs strong-flavored foods to pair well. Try this with barbecue or a juicy grass-fed burger— and if you want it with chocolate, make it dark. Sespe Creek Distillery releases its newest barrel of Warmaster Edition Bourbon this spring. Watch for tours of the distillery to be available sometime this year. For more information and where to purchase visit WarbringerBourbon.com/warmaster-edition.

Kissed by the California Sun Caressed by the Ocean Breeze Locally Grown Olives Handcrafted Olive Oils and Vinegars Private agricultural tours available Buongustofarms.com - (805) 641-1268 8

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EARTHTRINE FARM B.D. Dautch & Family Est. 1986

Go Wild, Eat Weeds

Certified Organic by CCOF Supplying restaurants & schools for 30 + years At these farmers’ markets: Ojai – Sun Santa Barbara – Tues & Sat

robertbdmoon@yahoo.com

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TASTES LIKE SPRING

Strawberries A love story BY SHANNON CASEY

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The following strawberry recipes by Julia San Bartolome explore both new and old combinations of flavors. Enjoy them alone or as a seasonal Sunday brunch. Shannon Casey is a food-obsessed cook who owns and grows olives at Rancho Olivos, a local olive oil company. In addition to the olive oil business she writes occasionally for local publications. 10

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Photo by Victor Budnik

trawberry. To me the word conjures up visions of luscious red heart-shaped fruits, with an unforgettable sweet tart flavor. And it is the delectable fragrant aroma of strawberries that always stops me in my tracks. Not surprising, when you consider that strawberries are actually members of the rose family— Rosaceae—and the Latin name for the original wild strawberry is Fragaria vesca. Oddly enough, the strawberry is not classified as an actual berry. Because the seeds are on the outside of the fruit, each seed is considered a berry. But they are delicious, whatever they are called! Wild strawberries were first mentioned in early Roman literature, as both an ornamental fruit and a medicine—apparently, they were used to cure everything from bad breath to melancholia. The fruit is even a symbol for Venus, the goddess of love. Wild variants are also native to the Americas and can still be found growing in the nearby hills. The berries cultivated by Indigenous People on the East Coast were introduced to New World settlers as a fruit baked with corn flour. This recipe became the foundation for our modern-day strawberry shortcake. No matter how much we rhapsodize about strawberries, they are serious business, especially on the West Coast. California currently grows 88% of the strawberries sold in the United States and these luscious berries have been the top crop in Ventura County for several years. When you are looking at berries at the market, or at fruit stands like The Abundant Table in Camarillo, you should look for a vibrant red fruit with yellow-colored seeds that smells sweet. Strawberries don’t really ripen after being picked so use them right away or refrigerate them. Many farmers cool the berries to 35° after they have been harvested, so they arrive fresh at the market and won’t get moldy the next day. Don’t be afraid to experiment when it comes to strawberries. While always popular for dessert, notquite-ripe strawberries are nice in salads for their firm texture and tartness. When you have overly ripe strawberries, try them in smoothies, margaritas and daiquiris. Firm, tart strawberries are great in salsa, paired with jalapeños and mangos. They are also tasty by themselves with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. And you can also make a strawberry soup by blending strawberries with orange juice, plain yogurt and a little mint. Try grilling strawberries wrapped in pancetta and drizzled with balsamic syrup for a delicious appetizer. Strawberries pair well with basil and you can even make a pasta sauce with strawberries and tomatoes. Just use some extra red pepper to counter the sweetness, and ricotta cheese is a good match as well. And you can’t go wrong with strawberries and champagne. If you put them in a tall glass with ice cream and float the sparkling wine on top, it is a fantastic adult-tasting float.


Strawberry Stem Pesto with Shrimp and Tomatoes In the spirit of zero waste, this recipe is a great way to use the stems and greens of berries that would normally go in the compost, adding those valuable nutrients to your diet. Makes about 1½ cups sauce 12 skewers 25 fresh strawberry stems, with about ¼ of the berry attached ¼ cup walnut pieces (try Corky’s Nuts) 5 tablespoons grated parmesan ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley 3–4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste, about 1 teaspoon of each 24 shrimp, peeled, de-veined, raw with tail on 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped small 1 tablespoon kosher salt 12 cherry tomatoes For the sauce: Using blender or food processor, blend together the stems, nuts, cheese and parsley until a gritty paste is formed. With the blender/processor going, stream in the oil until completely incorporated. Add more salt to taste, if needed. For the shrimp: Preheat oven to high broil, or prepare grill. Place shrimp into medium-sized bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add in chopped garlic and salt. Toss until each is evenly coated. Using metal or soaked-in-water wooden skewers, alternate shrimp and tomatoes onto each and set into oven under broiler or on grill. Cook until done, about 4–5 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.

Photo by Tami Chu

Serve with sauce gently spooned over each cooked shrimp and tomato skewer. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Recipe author Julia San Bartolome owns Sweet Arleen’s bakery in Westlake Village and is a three-time winner of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.” A Ventura resident, she has a passion for all things food related. San Bartolome holds a degree in pastry arts from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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Cheese-Stuffed Strawberries Best made with bright, sweet-smelling berries, this recipe can be an appetizer to share or a snack to have all to yourself. Serves 4 20 pecan halves, toasted 10 fresh ripe strawberries 2 ounces sliced prosciutto 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 3 ounces plain goat cheese, room temperature 1 teaspoon honey (optional) ½ teaspoon ground cardamom Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast the pecan halves by placing them in a single layer on a metal sheet pan. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. (I like to say “once I can smell them, they’re ready.”) Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Leaving the stem on, slice each strawberry in half long-ways. On the rounded side of each piece, cut a small sliver off of the bottom, so it sits flat on a plate. For Filling: Cut prosciutto into very thin short strips and set aside. Using rubber spatula, mix cheeses and honey until evenly blended. Fold in cardamom and prosciutto strips. This will form a chunky texture. Rolling about ½ teaspoon of cheese mixture between 2 small spoons, make an oval ball and place onto each berry half. Add a toasted pecan to the top of each half. Serve at room temperature.

Photo by Tami Chu

Chef’s Note: Without the optional honey this recipe is keto. It works best with very fresh and ripe sweet berries.

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Muddled Strawberry Beer-mosa Grab a local beer and add a touch of seasonal sweetness with aromatic ripe strawberries. Makes a refreshing sipper for brunch or gulper for happy hour. Serves 1 3 fresh strawberries, stems removed 1 can Poseidon Battleship Blonde Ale, cold 1 sprig fresh sage (optional) Prepare strawberries by removing stems and cutting each berry into 4–6 pieces.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh sage and a fresh strawberry. *If you don’t have a muddler (available near bartending items at food equipment stores) use the back of a big wooden spoon to mash the berries. Alternately, use a blender, then add to the glass. 14

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Edible Ojai & Ventura County

Photo by Tami Chu

Place the berry pieces into a beer glass. Using a muddler*, smash berries until a rustic purée is formed. Gently tilt the glass and pour the cold beer in. Allow time for the foam to die down, then pour the remaining beer in.


Edwin Slowik Board Certified Master Arborist

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TreecoVentura@att.net

Our pruning standards are proven to promote healthy growth, strong structure and pleasant aesthetics for all trees. With our help your fruit trees can have better tasting fruit and more of it! TreecoVentura.com

HOME DECOR BEAUTY & BODY PRODUCTS KITCHEN CLOTHING JEWELRY RUGS ANTIQUES LOCAL ARTISTS 309 E. Main St. Downtown Ventura

805.667.8299

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Strawberry Cast-Iron Cake with Strawberry Glaze This sweet dessert is a lovely finish to a Sunday brunch. Serve it straight from a cast-iron pan for a rustic feel, and make it gluten free* if you like! Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

For the cake 4 ounces salted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour (or a 1:1 gluten-free flour*) ½ cup sour cream Zest of 1 lemon 1¼ teaspoons baking powder (*Use only ¾ teaspoon with gluten-free flour) ½ teaspoon salt 16 fresh strawberries, stems removed, quartered 

For the glaze 1 cup powdered sugar 2 teaspoons corn starch Juice of 1 lemon 8 fresh strawberries, stems removed, puréed and strained Preheat oven to 350° F. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, blend the butter and sugar into a smooth emulsion. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Add half the dry ingredients and slowly mix until just incorporated. Mix in sour cream and lemon zest. Mix in remaining dry ingredients until combined. Do not over mix.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in half of the quartered berries.

While cake is baking, make the strawberry glaze: Sift and whisk together powdered sugar and corn starch. Whisk in lemon juice and strawberry purée. Put mixture into small saucepan and cook over medium flame, stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken and have a shiny, translucent texture. Allow to cool. When cake is done, remove from oven and let cool. Pour the strawberry glaze over top of cooled cake, and spread evenly. Serve with fresh whipped cream or Devonshire cream. 16

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Photo by Tami Chu

Coat inside of cast-iron pan with a thin layer of oil and then dust with flour. Gently spoon batter evenly over bottom of pan. Spread remaining cut berries evenly over top of cake batter. Bake until a golden color begins to develop around the edges, about 35–40 minutes.

Edible Ojai & Ventura County


monicaros.org

JOYFUL LEARNING

Blending academic fundamentals with the richness of the visual arts, drama, and music.

75 years of

Preserving the magic of childhood in Ojai’s beautiful East End.

805.646.8184 783 McNell Rd. Ojai, CA 93023 monicaros.org

Pre-K - 3rd Grade • Toddler Program • Summer Camp

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Good to Grow

GREEN THUMB

Gardening Hacks for Spring

BY BONNIE RUBRECHT | ILLUSTRATIONS BY CLAUDIA PARDO

I

f you’ve ever attempted gardening, you know how rewarding—and how challenging—it can be. You might enjoy an overabundance of lemon cucumbers while the butter lettuce is ravaged by pests before you can even harvest it. Gardening always involves some trial and error, but a few local experts offered their insights into common gardening myths and useful tips to help you make the most of this spring season.

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Myth: Watering during the hot summer will

damage your plants. While it’s often ideal to water earlier in the day, don’t let your plants get scorched by the midday sun if they’re in need of watering.

Tip Use an online sunlight

calculator like SunCalc. org (or jot down your own observations) to see how the sun falls on your gardening area during various times of the day so you can plan where to plant your seeds to ensure they’ll get enough light and warmth.

Tip “Under/overwatering is always a beginner

mistake,” says master gardener Joe Santos. “Whether in containers or in the ground, checking for moisture is easy enough. Use your finger (or a pencil) to poke into the soil. If moist at the root level, you’re good.” Water at ground level, with soaker hoses or drip irrigation if possible. Not only will it conserve water but it reduces soilborne diseases that spread from splashing.

Myth: Spring and summer is best time to plant all plants. In fact,

the best time to plant local natives and many Mediterranean-type plants is anywhere from late fall to early spring. Cooler weather allows plants to establish strong root systems, mirroring the way that native plants grow around Ventura County’s hills. By the time the summer sun and warm weather hits, the plants will be bursting with new growth.

Myth: Companion planting works wonders for backyard Tip Gardening doesn’t have

to be expensive. You only need a few tools to get going. Some easy recycling hacks can also help. “Seedlings are prone to attack in early spring,” Santos says. “Row covers made from lightweight material or fashioned from milk jugs or plastic bottles work well to give them a head start.”

vegetables. Though companion planting is oft-cited gardening wisdom, it won’t solve all your gardening issues. “Often “ these plant companions are discussed as science, but are mostly just anecdotal,” says sustainable food systems advisor Rachel Surls. “There is science around some interplanting of different crops, but it’s not as simple as the companion planting myth makes it out to be.” A little online research can help you determine the optimal layout for your plants.

Tip Gardening is a great activity for kids, and

Myth: Native and nonnative edible plants don’t

mix. Antonio Sanchez, nursery manager for Rancho Sierra Vista (Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area) was quick to bust this myth. “The trick is to find adaptable native plants that don’t mind some of the extra water the non-native edibles will receive,” says Sanchez, “and that can handle the extra nutrition and extra clay and loam found in most food gardens.” His recommendations include combinations like yarrow, hummingbird sage, elderberry, wild grape and toyons—all edible!

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has even been shown to help inspire them to eat their veggies. “Choose something that germinates quickly to keep their interest,” says Rose Hayden-Smith, local author of Victory Gardens and Emeritus Advisor of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Sunflower seeds are an easy and fun option.

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Tip Set your seeds and plants up for

success: Add compost to your soil to make sure it has all of the necessary nutrients, and don’t forget to add a mulch layer on top—straw or shredded leaves—to shade out weeds and reduce water evaporation.

Tip While starting seeds indoors might be tempting, oftentimes these seedlings develop thin stems due to lack of sufficient light. Once transplanted or set outside, garden bugs will make quick work of their weak stems.

Tips and Tricks from the Field Put coffee filters (used are fine!) in the bottom of your pots to prevent soil slipping out when you water.

A little bit of cheap beer in a jar lid at the base of your plant will prevent slugs from chomping on the leaves.

Add a little mineral oil to a pot filled with sand to store your clippers, trowel and other metal garden tools. They’ll stay sharp and won’t rust in the mix.

Lots of annual vegetables can be grown in spare buckets or even cardboard boxes, which can help you save money on building raised beds. Potatoes, tomatoes and herbs are all great options, just be sure to drill holes in the bottom for drainage! (Note: the boxes will eventually become compost, so they aren’t a long-term container.)

If you drink wine, use your leftover corks as markers by writing the seed variety with a Sharpie and sticking them on the end of a wood kabob skewer.

You can regrow many vegetables from your kitchen scraps. Celery is a great choice to start with—take the leftover bit of stalk, put it under a glass or plastic cover in water and transplant once it starts sprouting leaves.

Start your sprouts on a kitchen sponge, keeping it consistently damp (not wet) by misting daily (and covering at night in low humidity). No soil required!

Feeling inspired? Shop for quality seed at any of our local garden stores (Plant Good Seeds offers organic varieties, many cultivated at their farm in Ojai) or buy new starts at farmers’ markets and enjoy the spring sunshine. Bonnie Rubrecht is a freelance writer living in Ventura. Her passion for sustainable agriculture traces back to her family, who have farmed in California for over 150 years. Previously, she worked on the East Coast with Greenhorns as well as the Perennial Collective, where she wrote about tisanes and herbal remedies. 20

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ADD SOME

ALTITUDE. Elevate your next wine pairing with LE GRUYÈRE® AOP, made for over 900 years from the purest cow’s milk in the Swiss Alps. Gruyère AOP’s nutty complexity sings with Chardonnay, boosts a Beaujolais, and perfects a Pinot Noir. For more information and some great recipes and pairing ideas, visit us at gruyere.com.

Switzerland. Naturally.

EdibleVenturaCounty.com

Cheeses from Switzerland. www.cheesesfromswitzerland.com

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CHEF DEMO

SPRING SUPPER FOR 4 Join us for a free virtual chef demo of these fresh spring recipes on Thursday, March 25th at 2pm.

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ON THE MENU Roasted Carrots with Lemon and Tarragon Vinaigrette Sausage-Filled Mushrooms Horseradish-Crusted Salmon Sign up HERE to get reminders, tips and shopping lists ahead of time.

Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemon and Tarragon Vinaigrette Whole roasted carrots are an unassuming but complexly flavored veggie side dish. Making your own preserved lemons ahead of time will make this dish even more special. Enjoy it with the salmon listed, or with a savory chicken. Serves 4 2 bunches carrots, peeled 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste 1 preserved lemon ¼ cup Dijon-Tarragon Vinaigrette Preheat oven to 425°. Lay carrots on a sheet pan lined with parchment and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 15–18 minutes, or until al dente. Allow to cool on sheet pan. Cut preserved lemon into wedges and cut out the pith—the white inner skin of lemon peel—until only the yellow skin remains, then dice small. Toss carrots in about ¼ cup vinaigrette, to taste. Place on a platter and sprinkle with the diced preserved lemon.

Dijon-Tarragon Vinaigrette ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil Juice of 1 lemon, about ¼ cup

Gabrielle Moes is the president/executive chef for Seasons Catering in Ventura. As a child, she often ventured into her family’s kitchen, learning flavors and technique to become a true food connoisseur. After attending University of California, Santa Barbara, she attended the California Culinary Academy. To learn more visit SeasonsCateringCA.com.

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon Salt and pepper, to taste In a small container with lid (Mason jar, Tupperware, etc.) put all ingredients together and shake until blended.

Preserved Lemon Make 2 weeks ahead 5 lemons, washed well and dried Cut an X shape on the top of each lemon and fill with kosher salt. Be very generous as the lemons need to be drowned with salt to break down the peel. Put in a container that is big enough to fit all lemons, but small enough to keep lemons snug. Lemons can be layered. Keep in refrigerator for up to 2 months. Lemons are ready to use after 2 weeks.

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Fennel Sausage–Filled Cremini Mushrooms These savory stuffed mushrooms make an excellent appetizer or a quick and easy side dish. Impress your family with a gourmet treat that will bring your spring supper to chef level! Serves 4 1 tablespoon olive oil ½ cup finely chopped fennel 3 raw Italian sausages (spicy or mild), removed from casings 2 tablespoons white wine ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley and fennel fronds ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs ¼ cup grated parmesan ½ cup mozzarella ¼ cup heavy cream 2 cups cremini mushrooms or portobellini mushrooms, cleaned with towel and stems removed

Preheat oven to 375°F. In large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add fennel and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add sausages, breaking up with a spoon so they will sauté in crumbled pieces. Continue cooking until sausage meat is cooked, about 5 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan. Stir in parsley and breadcrumbs. Transfer sausage mix to a medium bowl. Stir in parmesan, mozzarella and cream. Mixture should hold together when pressed into a small ball. Season mushroom caps lightly with salt and pepper. Pack mushrooms with stuffing and then place them on sheet pan lined with foil. Bake about 15 minutes for cremini mushrooms, 20 minutes for portobellini.

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Engage your Virtual audience with food

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Call us and we’ll customize a guest meal that makes your event memorable Horseradish-Crusted Salmon Best with sustainably sourced salmon, this crunchy crust adds just the right texture to the tender fish.

Looking for a unique employee benefit? Ask about our fresh, flavorful Good2Go lunches delivered directly to your office.

Serves 4 1 pound salmon without skin and bones, cut in 4 portions Salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish ½ cup freshly toasted breadcrumbs Preheat oven to 375°F. Season fish with salt and pepper then spread horseradish over the top. Press bread crumbs onto layer of horseradish. Bake 11–14 minutes, or until done.

805-339-9665 | thegood2go.com EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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DIY

PANDEMIC POULTRY 101

An Emergency Crash Course in Backyard Chickens BY ADRIEL CHU | PHOTOS BY EDEN CHU

S

o you panic-bought chickens. During the Great Egg Crisis of March 2020, these ovoid essentials were next to impossible to find in stores, so you went right to the source: the chicken. Maybe you thought it would be fun, or maybe a great responsibility for the kids, but it’s very likely that they’re now an invaluable addition to the household that you can’t imagine life without. Depending on how old your chicks were when you got them, you might have had a long few weeks, or even months, of waiting before you got your first egg. Chickens typically start laying when they are 5 to 7 months old. During this period of waiting, you might have seen your chickens exhibiting several strange behaviors, some of which may seem concerning, especially for firsttime chicken owners.

WHAT NOT TO WORRY ABOUT Dust bathing is probably the easiest behavior to identify. Is your chicken lying on its side, rolling around in the dirt, kicking up dust and just making a general mess? Chances are that it is dust bathing. Aside from being a way for them to control parasites, the flapping also helps to regulate the natural oils in their feathers. It’s a pretty common thing for them to do, and they enjoy it! Another behavior you may see is one of your birds lying on its side, with its wing outstretched and its eyes closed. This is called sunbathing, and it’s a common sight in all temperatures. During the summer it’s a way to control parasites, and during the winter it doubles as a low-energy way to keep warm. It doesn’t mean your bird has broken a leg or is mortally injured, but if you really need to check? Throw out a treat! They’ll be up and chasing that tasty morsel before you know it. 26

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If you handle your hens a lot, they may freeze with their wings out a bit when you chase them. (Doesn’t everyone chase their chickens?) This is a submissive pose, something they would show to a rooster when he mates with them. Even if there is a rooster in the flock, the hens still may submit to you. The chicken hierarchy (commonly referred to as the pecking order) is kept through subjugation, so a bit of pecking is nothing to worry about! Occasionally, the pecking will go overboard and there will be bare patches on the neck and back of one of the lower-tiered fowl. Your best course of action would be to make a cloth saddle for the bird, unless it is happening to all the birds in the yard. Then, it is suggested that you isolate the bully with no contact with the other members of the flock for up to a week. When it comes time to reintegrate, make sure you watch over them carefully so they do not injure each other too much. Pecking isn’t the only cause of a bare back. During fall, you may come upon what looks like a chicken crime scene in your yard. Don’t worry! This is molting, a natural thing that chickens do when they shed their feathers and new ones grow in, like a dog shedding its fur. It does hurt them when the pinfeathers are growing in and they will be much more touchy about … well, touching. EdibleVenturaCounty.com

WHEN TO WORRY Predator Call: You may have heard the classic cry of a hen after she’s laid an egg. You may not have heard the cry of a hen or roo that has spotted a hawk or other predator overhead or nearby, calling the rest of the flock to attention and/or into hiding. There is occasionally a false alarm, so if you hear it and don’t have hawk netting or similar protection from aerial attacks, just go outside. Sometimes you can identify the threat, and your presence will be enough to make the culprit rethink its entire day. Isolation: There may be a time when you see a member of your flock isolating itself. There are many causes for this behavior. One of the easiest ways to diagnose the affliction, or at least know what to search for, is to bring the bird in for observation and run through a quick list of things to note. Make sure the bird is eating and drinking well, check the vent area for mites and flies, make sure the crop is emptying properly, see that the droppings don’t have worms and that the bird doesn’t have any open sores on its body. It’s easy to get caught up in the joy of your new pets and forget that chicken maintenance is very different from owning a cat or dog. That doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate some special attention, though! spring 2021 27


HELPFUL CHICKEN TRIVIA Chickens are omnivores. They don’t just like to eat grains, they like (and need!) bugs and worms as well. They have even been known to eat mice or lizards. Try treating them with a crumb of cheese or a scrap of meat! Chickens can be trained! The things they can learn include tricks as simple as coming when you call, or as complex as identifying shapes. The feathers around the vent area can get caked with poop and cause problems for the bird, such as flystrike. Keep it clean! Eggs are seasonal! You’ll get far fewer eggs during the winter. Some farmers maximize their egg output by lighting up the coop at night, but this can stress out the birds and shortens their lifespan. Unfertilized eggs are vegan! There is no chance of them developing into a chick and if they don’t get eaten, they will literally rot away. Chickens can live as long as dogs! While they typically only live five to seven years, the Guinness Book of World Records has the oldest chicken at 16 years old. However, anecdotal stories of 20+ year-old birds exist. Our own oldest bird is approaching 10 years old this year.

Nineteen-year-old, Southern California artist and freelance writer, Adriel Chu got her start illustrating for small online communities. She is attending school with a focus on animation and loves her chickens. 28

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Illustrations by Ramiah Chu EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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FORAGING FINDS

Wild Spring Salads PHOTOS AND WORDS BY JESS STARWOOD

S

pring is the time for fresh wild salads and, depending on the rain, mushrooms. A good portion of what we think of as “weeds” popping up in our yards this time of year are actually edible and packed with nutrition. Instead of spraying them with herbicides or tossing them in the trash, try a fresh wild salad with your favorite dressing or a vibrant pesto to brighten up a meal with the flavors of spring. Here are a few interesting edibles to keep an eye out for: CHICKWEED (Stellaria media) A mild-tasting wild annual, chickweed can be found widespread in moist and shady areas and gardens alike. This small leafy plant is great to snack on and has been used both as a food and an herbal remedy to treat a variety of ailments. Why Should We Eat It? Some studies have found that chickweed may aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation and promote wound healing. It is very high in vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and other minerals, making it comparable to domesticated spinach. Harvesting: Tender chickweed tops can be snipped easily with scissors and collected in a basket. One helpful tip to identify chickweed is to notice the single line of fine hairs that runs the length of the main stem. Be careful of harvesting in highly trafficked areas and roadsides due to possible contamination and accumulation of toxins. Try It! Great in salads and pestos, this leafy little green is best when fresh. It also makes a nice microgreen and garnish. Jess Starwood, MS, is a clinical herbalist and gatherer of wild medicine. To learn more, visit JStarwood.com.

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MINER’S LETTUCE (Claytonia perfoliata) Also known as Indian lettuce or winter purslane, this native spring annual can be found along shady hillsides, creeks and canyons. It is a unique and delicate bright green plant with tiny white or pale pink flowers that protrude from the center of a round or disk-shaped leaf. Why Should We Eat It? Entirely edible, miner’s lettuce is rich in vitamin A, C and iron, along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used by native people as a spring tonic. Harvesting: Collect sparingly. This small plant is also very easy to grow at home in a garden or in containers. Miner’s lettuce is an annual native plant that is losing natural habitat every year. Try It! The mild-tasting succulent leaves are a bright and fresh addition to spring salads or used as a substitute for other leafy greens. Their mature cup-like leaves add an interesting shape and texture, making it fun for children to appreciate as well.

CHANTERELLE MUSHROOMS (Cantharellus californicus) Our local species of chanterelle, found under live oak trees is the largest in the world—with some specimens weighing in at over two pounds. These mushrooms have a desirable firm texture and mild aroma that is sometimes described as fruity. Why Should We Eat It? Besides their unique umami flavor, chanterelles are high in B and D vitamins as well as compounds that help regulate the immune system, which prevents illness. Harvesting: Despite being bright orange, these fungi can be a little tricky to find. Usually covered in thick layers of duff, chanterelles in our area rarely emerge from their hiding spots before they decompose. Gently pull the mushroom from the soil, while being careful not to disturb the area around them. Try It! A simple sauté in butter or oil makes chanterelles easy to add to many dishes from pastas to soups, or paired with meats. Chanterelles don’t dry very well (what a shame) but can be cooked and frozen for later use, or fermented or pickled.

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PROS AT HOME

Cooking Up a Business Cottage law enables food ventures to launch during pandemic BY SARAH BOURKE | PHOTOS BY MARIAH GREEN

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W

 hen the coronavirus exploded last March, the world seemed to come to a sudden halt. My employer warned of furloughs, and the future felt uncertain. Just about every weekday routine and weekend tradition—morning walks for coffee, trips to the farmers market, hosting friends for brunch or dinner parties—was thrown off. I began brewing kombucha, making fruit vinegars and harvesting vegetables from my garden and fruit from my neighborhood. Digging into cookbooks for recipe inspiration, the place I felt most safe, happy and free to be a creative spirit was in the comfort of my own home kitchen. By April, my hours were reduced at work: I had every Friday off, which afforded me an opportunity to volunteer at my favorite local farm, Fairview Gardens in Goleta. I spent time covered head to toe in dirt, dreaming up plans for my own future farm. I couldn’t stay away from the idea of using seasonal fruit from regional farms in my very own homemade fruit vinegars. One morning, it hit me: Could I source fruit from Fairview and Author Sarah Bourke hand bottles and labels each jar of shrubs sell my products at their farm stand? Could I turn this idea of mine she brews. See more of her story on page 4. into a real side hustle? Businesses launch in many ways: a childhood passion, a pipe dream inspired by a favorite food memory, a problem to solve. Some food and beverage entrepreneurs move straight into a commercial kitchen while others start out in their homes. If you’re cooking or baking at home, wondering how to graduate from sharing your creations with friends to legitimately selling, there’s a program out there worth getting to know: Cottage Food Operations (CFOs, see sidebar, p. 35). According to Sue Seiler, an environmental health specialist with the County of Ventura, “the number of Cottage Food Operations applications has been on the rise. We had a record number of applicants in 2020.” Sami Weiss, a friend and former farm manager at Fairview Gardens, suggested I look into the Cottage Food Operations program. “If you can get your hands on a Class B Permit, we’d love to sell your fruit vinegars at the farm stand! We’d be glad to sell you fruit for your shrubs, too.” Dana Solum, another environmental health specialist with the County, guided me through the application paperwork and a COVID-safe home inspection via Zoom. My Class B Cottage Permit was approved in June 2020, and I immediately launched the business on Instagram. Nearly nine months later, Sideyard Shrubs (see story on p. 4) is busier than ever. We launched a website and received many orders over the holidays. We’re selling in 15 retailers now, with more coming soon. While I don’t have any grand plans to quit my day job, I am exploring local commercial kitchen space. We’re outgrowing our apartment and hope to relocate the business and turn our home back into … a home! Here are three more inspiring local Cottage Food Operations:

Businesses launch in many ways: a childhood passion, a pipe dream inspired by a favorite food memory, a problem to solve.

EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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B Hill Farm When Lucy Bennett’s busy work life as a reality television show producer in Los Angeles slowed due to COVID, she returned home to Ojai to be closer to her parents, but soon felt a lost sense of purpose. Lucy’s mom, Carolyn Bennett—a long-time farmer and chef—cans marmalade and packs granola for gifts, using ripe, seasonal produce grown on her farm property. Lucy marveled at her mother and wondered how she might turn those treasured recipes into sellable products. After finding Ventura’s CFO program’s website, Lucy identified which recipes fit the requirements. The initial goal was to sell from a farm stand, which Lucy and her boyfriend built from scrap wood. Soon, Carolyn’s recipes were approved, Lucy had a Class A Cottage Permit in hand, and B Hill Farm was born. Carolyn and Lucy supplied their farm stand every day and operated on the honor system: Anyone could leave cash in exchange for seasonally inspired items. They created an Instagram account to promote the farm stand and accept orders. Lucy’s freelance job eventually called her back into work, which meant scaling back business dramatically. While Lucy was especially sad to pause B Hill Farm, she says, “The joy of the process was worth it. The Cottage Permit allowed us to launch the concept and provide a resource for people in Upper Ojai. Many customers expressed gratitude for our little Carolyn (right) and Lucy Bennett, a mom-and-daughter duo from Ojai, make business, and the opportunity to pick up local goods marmalades and granolas. without entering a grocery store during COVID.” Lucy has since filed with the City of Ojai to reopen the farm stand from her own recently purchased home in town. realized his dream of cultivating community around bread when he To be updated on the farm stand follow @b_hill_farm on Instagram. launched Headwinds Bake Club. In addition to sourdough breads—like Seeded Sourdough, Classic Country Sourdough, Whole Wheat and Olive—Dan offers bagels, cookies, cinnamon rolls and hand pies. When it comes to ingrediFor Dan Swihart, baking bread was a fuzzy dream in the back of his ents, Dan invests in local, organic suppliers like Roan Mills in Fillmind for years. Originally from the Midwest, Dan relocated to the more and The King’s Roost in Los Angeles. Dan also supports the Bay Area working in the corporate world. He sought out trails to bike important and inspiring work of Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project, and started baking bread as a release from everyday life. “There’s so as an extension of Dan’s own commitment to supporting regional much good bread in the Bay, and I wanted to reproduce the best of milling and preserving heirloom grains.     what I bought.” Dan gained his Class A Cottage Permit in November 2020. “The In March 2019, Dan and his partner relocated to Ventura. Cottage program is flexible and more affordable than a commercial “I always found something creative and intimate in food,” he says. setting,” he says. “An easy first step to explore a food business idea, “Time slows down when I work with my hands, especially baking, and a great way to get your product out there and see if it has legs.”   and I wanted to start a business that allowed me to do that.” Since day one, Dan has delivered his baked goods on bike “to start Over time, Dan offered fresh bread to friends, and positive feedconversations with customers and be an advocate for bike accessibility back rolled in. Dan soon looked into the Cottage Food program and and safer bike infrastructure.”

Headwinds Bake Club

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Dan Swihart, founder of Headwinds Bake Club, manages to create astounding fresh breads in his tiny kitchen space.

About CFOs Cottage Food Operations (CFOs) allow certain low-risk foods to be prepared and sold from a residence provided certain requirements are met. All CFOs must meet California Health and Safety Codes related to: • Preparing low-risk foods that are on the approved list • Completing a food processor training course within three months • Implementing sanitary operations • Establishing state and federal compliant labels The Cottage Program offers two classes of permits: Class A: Direct Sales Only (sales from you, directly to customers) Class B: Direct & Indirect Sales (the above, plus sales to other stores for re-sale) Approved Cottage Foods include bread, cookies, pastries, granolas, honey, jams, jellies, vinegars, teas, confections and more. Within Ventura and Ojai, all applications are approved through the County Environmental Health Division. For more information about Cottage Food Operations, visit Ventura County EHS: VCRMA.org/Cottage-Home-Food-Operations or Santa Barbara County EHS: CountyofSB.org/phd/ehs/Cottage-Food-Operations.sbc EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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The business name, Headwinds Bake Club, underscores Dan’s deep love for cycling and even deeper commitment to supporting community: “Starting a bake club was important to me, because I want to build a business that cultivates community and feels like something all people can belong to.” Headwinds are easier to face when you face them together, he says. Looking ahead, Dan talks about opening a brickand-mortar shop in Ventura, “a community hub with a social atmosphere.” He hopes to offer programming and events like pizza nights. For more information, visit HeadwindsBakeClub.com.

805 Pies Jessica Zavala’s passion for baking pies found direction in November 2019. Born and raised in Ventura, Jessica juggled a full-time job when she first contemplated her business. She explored a shared space in a commercial kitchen in Ventura, but that didn’t pan out. When a friend suggested Jessica apply for a CFO Permit, Jessica contacted the Ventura County Environmental Health Division to learn more. “While the application process may seem intimidating, my experience was just the opposite,” Jessica says. Jessica Zavala of 805 Pies is a self-taught baker who makes fresh baked pies to “My inspection fell on the Monday before Thanksgivorder in Santa Paula. ing. I was anxious for approval, because I already had 70 orders waiting!” From her kitchen with a Class B Cottage Permit, Jessica makes 805 Pies has been so successful that Jessica quit her job and now and sells full-sized pies, mini pies and heart-shaped hand pies inbakes pies full-time. When asked about the future, Jessica talked spired by seasonal fruit. about her dream of converting an old trailer into a mobile pie bar While there’s no farmers’ market in Santa Paula, Jessica sources to bring to local events, and also hopes to offer pie-baking classes in fruit from local farms—she loves the fruit stand at Prancers Farm in her home. Fillmore, and often scores fresh-picked strawberries from Fukutomi Jessica has a committed Instagram following (@805Pies) and sells on Farms in Oxnard. her website (805Pies.net) and by the slice at Two Trees Restaurant in Jessica’s commitment to seasonal fruit stems from her grandparents, Ventura. avocado and citrus farmers who taught her early on to pick fruit right off the tree. Jessica’s proud to use apples and lemons from her grandparents, apricots from her neighbor and oranges from her own backyard. “If you’re on the fence about starting a business, start with the Cottage Food program! You’ll be amazed by the support, especially at a time when so many are at home,” she says. 36

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Sarah Bourke transplanted from Marin County and has a passion for organic agriculture, farming and supporting our regional food system. Sarah works in marketing at Patagonia, and owns a small-batch fruit vinegar business called Sideyard Shrubs. In her free time, Sarah tends to her community garden and volunteers at local farms. Edible Ojai & Ventura County


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COCKTAIL HOUR

Mixing with Shrubs

Shrubs, or drinking vinegars, have loads of health benefits. Pair them with your favorite spirit to elevate your cocktail game. RECIPES BY SARAH BOURKE PHOTOS BY MARIAH GREEN

Sunshine Spritz ½ ounce Apricot Shrub (Sideyard Shrubs)  2 ounces dry vermouth 6 ounces sparkling water  Fill glass with ice cubes. Add shrub, followed by remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. 

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Chef’s Note: Each of these recipes makes 1 drink. If you have a cocktail shaker, for each recipe all ingredients except the sparkling water can be shaken with ice before being strained into the glass. Then add sparkling water, if included in recipe.

Edible Ojai & Ventura County


Golden Girl Sideyard Shrub Soda Mocktail 1 ounce Sideyard Shrub (flavor of choice)  7 ounces sparkling water Fresh herbs, for garnish Fill glass with ice cubes. Add shrub, followed by sparkling water. Stir to combine, and garnish with fresh herbs of choice. 

1 ounces Loquat Shrub (Sideyard Shrubs) 2 ounces Wilder Gin (Ventura Spirits)  2 ounces orange juice, freshsqueezed organic 2 ounces sparkling water  Orange slice, for garnish Fill glass with ice cubes. Add shrub, followed by remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, and garnish with an orange slice.  Note: If you’re looking for additional sweetness, add ½ ounce simple syrup.

Pucker Up Polanco Sugar for glass rim ½ ounce Pineapple Guava Shrub (Sideyard Shrubs) 1½ ounces tequila or La Paloma (Ventura Spirits) 1 ounce lime juice, fresh-squeezed organic ½ ounce Amaro Angeleno (Ventura Spirits) Lime slice, for garnish Sugar the rim of glass by rubbing the top edge with the squeezed lime then dipping it into a plate or bowl filled with sugar. Fill glass with ice cubes. Add shrub, followed by remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, and garnish with a slice of lime.

Check out our digital issue for links to recipes for making your own shrubs! EdibleVenturaCounty.com EdibleVenturaCounty.com

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ROBIN’S RECIPES

The little cake with big citrus flavor has a lot of parts, but it all comes together in a dessert that you will want to share.

Chef Robin Goldstein’s cooking career has been centered in California, where she has been preparing foods for 30+ years. She brings to the table a deep-felt art of balancing flavors while interacting with her private clients in their homes. She shares her delicious recipes through her popular cookbooks, perfectly paired for those who seek savory Mediterranean-inspired flavors. PrivateChefRobin.com 40

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CITRUSALMOND OLIVE OIL CAKE

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake

¾ cup all-purpose or gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

¾ cup blanched almond flour

1 cup tangerine syrup, plus extra for serving

2 teaspoons baking powder

Candied tangerine slices (make ahead)

1 teaspoon coriander

Tangerine curd

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush round or square 9-inch cake pan with olive oil.

½ teaspoon cardamom ½ teaspoon sea salt 1 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs 1 cup plain yogurt ½ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons grated tangerine zest ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk together flour, almond flour, baking powder, spices and salt. In the bowl of stand mixer with paddle, or in large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, eggs, yogurt, olive oil, zests and vanilla. Gradually fold dry ingredients into batter until evenly incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Bake cake until skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on wire rack. Edible Ojai & Ventura County

Photos provided by Robin Goldstein

There’s something special about Ojai. Our beautiful valley is a haven for nature lovers, and now, when the aroma of orange blossoms permeates the air, is a particularly lovely time to visit. The temperature is perfect, and winter’s rainfall makes everything green in the mountains and along our hiking trails. It’s the time of year when tangerines are in season. You see them everywhere, served in and on everything. This moist and delicious recipe celebrates the Pixie, Ojai’s bright jewel, the tiny delectable fruit the valley is famed for.


TANGERINE CURD Makes about 3 cups 10 tangerines (for zest and juice) ½ cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice 1 cup sugar 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature 4 large eggs, room temperature ⅛ teaspoon sea salt Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from all the tangerines, being careful to avoid the white pith. Then juice the citrus and set aside. Put zest in the bowl of food processor. Add sugar and pulse until zest is very finely minced. Add butter and incorporate into the tangerine sugar. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then add tangerine juice and salt. Mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The tangerine curd will be ready when it coats a spoon. It will register about 175°F on a candy thermometer—or simply cook until thick and creamy. Be careful not to overcook or it will curdle. Remove mixture from heat when it starts to get thick.  Transfer the curd to a small bowl. Let cool and refrigerate.  Serve with the olive oil cake and any leftover with breakfast breads, scones or shortbread.

Meanwhile, slightly warm the tangerine syrup, so it is just warm to the touch. Pierce hot cake all over with the skewer you used to test it. Slowly drizzle ½ cup of warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour another ½ cup of syrup over the cake. Reserve any remaining syrup for serving. Run a knife around edge of cake pan to release. Transfer to a serving plate. Arrange candied tangerine slices over the top. Cut into wedges. To plate, drizzle with more syrup and add a spoonful of tangerine curd on each serving. Chef’s Note: I’ve made this cake with all-purpose flour or with gluten-free flour, plus the almond flour. It turns out great either way. I’ve also substituted almond yogurt in the recipe in place of plain yogurt for a dairy-free version. EdibleVenturaCounty.com

CANDIED TANGERINES* AND TANGERINE SYRUP (Make at least the day before. *Makes at least 2 dozen slices.) 6 Pixies or other seedless tangerines, cut into ⅛-inch slices, seeds removed Large bowl of ice water ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup mild honey 1½ cup water 1 tablespoon fresh tangerine juice 1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed Bring medium saucepan of water to a rapid boil and add tangerine slices. Boil 1 minute, then place slices in the bowl of ice water until cooled. Drain. In large skillet over medium heat, bring sugar, honey and water just to a boil. Add in tangerine juice and cardamom pods. Heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to medium-low and place tangerine slices in the sugar-water. Simmer gently—do not boil —45 to 60 minutes, or until rinds are slightly translucent. Carefully stir every 15 minutes or so. Use tongs to transfer the tangerine slices onto a cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar if you prefer them less sticky. Strain and reserve the liquid to use later. Allow candied slices to cool completely and dry out overnight. These can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. The reserved tangerine syrup can be used for the olive oil cake. If you have any leftover syrup, it can be kept up to 1 month in the refrigerator and used for another purpose.

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EDIBLE ENDEAVOR

SISTERS FIND A PLACE AT OJAI’S TABLE BY SUZANNE LUCE | PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE PLOMARITY

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Edible Ojai & Ventura County


T

wo sisters on opposite coasts were dreaming up two different projects—until their ideas merged and brought them both to Ojai. Meave McAuliffe, previously head chef for Saltwater in Inverness (CA), executive pastry chef of Gjelina in Venice (CA) and chef for various restaurants and catering companies in Martha’s Vineyard, was planning for a restaurant of her own back East while her sister, Rory, who had also worked at Gjelina and for several catering companies, was imagining a wine bar in L.A. Choosing Ojai to work together on their combined project brought Meave back to California, but honored her small-town affinity, and they were both excited about the area’s abundance of ingredients, farmers and fisherfolk. They spent the next year and a half getting to know their new home and discovering what their community needed, and also what would fulfill their original dreams. “We were inspired by Ojai from the beginning as we were biking and picking fresh fruit from pomegranate trees along the way,” says Meave. “It was September, and at that time everything would be shutting down in Martha’s Vineyard, but here in Ojai there is never a dull moment.”

C U LI N ARY H E R I TA G E Proudly they share what they call a “culinary heritage”—a history that, like fate, brings them into what they admit is an inherently difficult EdibleVenturaCounty.com

industry. Growing up in the McAuliffe family meant spending a lot of time in the family’s bakery and restaurant in Santa Monica. Their most vivid memories from their childhood involve food, whether it be stopping by the restaurant to make lunches and snacks after school, or summers in Cape Cod farming oysters with extended family and preparing trout that had just been caught by an older sibling. The restaurant was an extension of their home, and the kitchens of both were filled with pots and pans and good food. “I can remember simple things like sitting on the counter at the restaurant and reaching into a jar of chocolate chip cookies; chocolate eclairs with vanilla bean custard; or the smell of lamb chops with Dijon and rosemary,” says Meave. She was 11 on the day the restaurant closed and held her own bake sale out front with its last items. “Food is our language and our way of communicating and connecting with our community,” says Meave. And with this new collaborative endeavor called Rory’s Place, the McAuliffe sisters plan to do just that, together in Ojai.

D I S COVE R I N G TH E OJ A I S P I R IT What they have found in Ojai is a profoundly supportive community. It was just before COVID hit that Meave and Rory signed a lease for the space adjacent to the historic Ojai Playhouse for their restaurant. spring 2021 43


With their plans temporarily halted, they started a supper club by drop-off only so they could cook for the community right away. Customers forwarded the supper club emails to friends and more and more positive feedback came through. “There is always some nervousness in opening a restaurant, but the supper club helped us learn the palates and tastes of our new community and gave us confidence we could really give this town what they wanted,” says Meave. “It built up our excitement for the restaurant and made us feel like the circumstances of COVID weren’t insurmountable.” “We are energized by the incredible and endless bounty of delicious food in Ojai, but also by the relationships we have already developed with people who are doing such amazing things here,” says Rory.

CO N N ECTI N G W I TH CO M M U N I T Y They hired local sourdough baker Corban Fairbanks and are sourcing herbs such as nettle, rose and ashwagandha from Zoe Nathan of 50-50 Farm in Meiner’s Oaks to develop house tea blends for the restaurant. Fresh culinary herbs will come from Earthtrine Farms, olive oils from Sheer Rock Farms and flowers from Shepherdess Land and Livestock Co., whose owners will also be taking ash and food waste from Rory’s Place when it opens to support the regenerative practices on their property. Along with traditional Old World wines, they have partnered with Roni Ginach, a wine importer specializing in naturally produced wines. “Natural wines from California and the country of Georgia, in particular, interest us because they complement the food and processes we use in the kitchen—less is more,” says Rory, who will focus primarily on the overall look and feel of the restaurant and its wine bar. 44

spring 2021

The sisters have creative pairings in mind for the menu that will come from the foods and wines they both love, such as charred squid with a Catarratto Le Mie Origini by Alessandra Viola; winter pumpkins charred in ash from the restaurant’s live-fire grill with a Lagvinari Rkatsiteli from the Kakheti Appellation of east Georgia; and steak with a Casot des Mailloles El Niño VdF. They will also be putting a newly acquired sausage maker to use, serving housemade sausages and sauerkraut with a Bardos Mestizo Cider from Sonoma or Orval Trappist Ale from Belgium.

O PE N I N G COV I D -ST Y L E The plan is that Rory’s Place will open this spring in “a very flexible way,” focusing on takeout first with more of a marketplace inside. The restaurant will have outdoor seating on the back patio and the interior will be retail only, eventually scaling back to make room for a raw bar, wine bar and live-fire grill in the dining room. “The atmosphere will be warm and inviting, with something for everyone,” says Meave. “Ojai is an outdoor community with a wide range of demographics, so in addition to our fully prepared meals, we will offer pure ingredients and partially made items such as housemade sauces, dressings and ferments, charcuterie, sandwiches and sides to take on picnics or incorporate into a family meal at home.” For more information visit RorysPlaceOjai.com. Suzanne Luce, a writer and mother of three, has long been a real-food enthusiast, making much of the food her family eats from scratch. She is also actively involved with Slow Food Ventura County as baker and publicist. She has worked professionally in marketing and PR and earned a bachelor’s degree in literature/writing from the University of California, San Diego. Edible Ojai & Ventura County


edible br ooklyn

telling the story of how the City eats anD DrinKs • no. 52 sPring 2018

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Spring 2020 MARIN & WINE COUNTRY

Celebrating the harvest of Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties, season by season

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N O. 45

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spring 2021 45


VENTURA COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKETS

Note: All info was updated in February 2021. As details do change, please contact the markets and CSAs for the latest info.

WEDNESDAYS

Asparagus Artichokes Blueberries Broccoli raab Celery Cherries (late spring) Fuerte Avocados Grapefruit Green garlic Lemons Lettuces Loquats Microgreens Miner’s lettuce Nopales Pea shoots & greens Pixies Strawberries

Midtown Ventura Certified Farmers’ Market Pacific View Mall (West End Parking Lot) 3301 N. Main St. Wednesdays, 9am–1pm (rain or shine) VCCFM.org 805-529-6266

THURSDAYS Downtown Oxnard Certified Farmers’ Market Plaza Park, 5th St. & B St. Thursdays, 9am–1:30pm (rain or shine) OxnardFarmersMarket.com 805-247-0197

HERBS

Thousand Oaks

Chives Dill Lemongrass Oregano Parsley Rosemary Sage Thyme

Certified Farmers’ Market The Oaks Shopping Center (East End Parking Lot) Wilbur Rd. & Oaks Mall Dr. Thursdays, noon–5pm (rain or shine) VCCFM.org 805-529-6266

FROM THE SEA

FRIDAYS Simi Valley Certified Farmers’ Market Civic Center Plaza 2757 Tapo Canyon Rd. Fridays, 11am–3:30pm (rain or shine) Facebook.com/SimiValleyMarket 805-643-6458

SATURDAYS

Anchovies Black cod Halibut Mussels Rockfish Spot prawns

OTHER

SUNDAYS

Camarillo Hospice Certified Farmers’ Market 2220 Ventura Blvd., Old Town Saturdays, 8am–noon (rain or shine) CamarilloFarmersMarket.com 805-987-3347

Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market Behind the Arcade 300 E. Matilija St. Sundays, 9am–1pm (rain or shine) OjaiCertifiedFarmersMarket.com 805-698-5555

Downtown Ventura

Channel Islands Harbor

Certified Farmers’ Market City Parking Lot Santa Clara St. & Palm St. Saturdays, 8:30am–noon (rain or shine) VCCFM.org 805-529-6266 46

spring 2021

WHAT’S IN SEASON?

Westlake Village

Farmers’ Market 2797 Agoura Rd. Sundays, 10am–2pm (rain or shine) RawInspiration.org 818-591-8161

Eggs Fresh flowers Honey Olives, olive oil Potted plants Veggie starts Preserves

Farmers’ Market Marine Emporium Landing 3350 S. Harbor Blvd., Oxnard Sundays, 10am–2pm (rain or shine) RawInspiration.org 818-591-8161

Edible Ojai & Ventura County


Since 1984

CSA and Other Food Box Options The Abundant Table Camarillo Membership: open Price: $30/box TheAbundantTable.org

Harvest Gathering Farm Ventura Membership: waitlist Prices: varies HarvestGatheringFarm.com

Steel Acres Ojai Membership: open Prices: varies SteelAcres.com

Blue Ridge Honey Ventura Membership: not required Prices: varies BlueRidgeHoneyCA.com

King & King Ranch (Also provide to the Abundant Table and one smaller Ventura CSA) Fillmore Membership: not required Prices: varies KingandKingRanch.com

Sow A Heart Farm Fillmore Membership: open Price: $50/box SowAHeart.com

Corky’s Nuts Fillmore Membership: not required Price: varies CorkysNuts.com Earthtrine Farms Ojai Call a day ahead to order and pick up at the farm, Tuesday, 9am–noon and Friday, 9:30 am–1pm. Price: varies based on your order Call: 805-421-8483 Farmivore Produce from Baby Root Farm, McGrath Family Farms, First Steps Farm, John Givens Farm, Steel Acres, Poco Farm, Sol Y Mar Farm, Fair Hills Farm Camarillo Membership: $25 weekly (not required) Price: custom orders ($5 flat delivery rate) Farmivore.farm The Farmer & the Cook Ojai Membership: waitlist Price: $125/month Farmer-and-The-Cook.com

Main Street Meats Ventura Membership: not required Prices: varies by box MainStreetMeatsVentura.com Novy Ranches Simi Valley Membership: not required Prices: varies NovyRanches.com OLAS Foundation & Tutti Frutti Farms Certified Organic Produce Boxes Place order by 7pm on Mondays and Thursdays Price: $55 Text or call: 805-570-1638 or 805-794-1481 Prancers Village Ventura Membership: not required Price: $40/box PrancersVillage.com

Rio Gozo Farms Ojai Membership: Open Price: $30/weekly or $60/biweekly Get Hooked Seafood Text: 805-272-5337 with Santa Barbara/Ventura “Hi, my name is ... my address Membership: Weekly Pickup is ... I would like to receive a Price Varies Contact: GetHookedSeafood.com vegetable delivery on ...” EdibleVenturaCounty.com

Underwood Farms Moorpark Membership: open Price: $45/box UnderwoodFamilyFarms.com

JohnNicholsGallery.com Vintage, Vernacular and Contemporary Photographs Custom Archival Framing Featuring Horace Bristol Photographs

“Seed/Signal” by John Nichols

117 N. 10th St., Santa Paula Hours: By Appointment or by Chance Phone: 805-525-7804 Located above the Santa Paula Art Museum

Ventura Fresh Fish Ventura Membership: not required Prices: varies VenturaFreshFish.com The Ventura Meat Company Ventura Membership: not required Prices: varies VtaMeatCo.com Watkins Cattle Company Ojai Membership: not required Prices: varies WatkinsCattleCo.com White Dove Farm Santa Paula Membership: not required Prices: varies WhiteDovesFarmFresh.com

This list was updated February 2021. If you know of another CSA that is not listed, please let us know at info@edibleventuracounty.com. spring 2021 47


FARMS & FARM MARKETS The Abundant Table

Five-acre certified organic farm and education center at McGrath Family Farm. On-site farm store or community-supported agriculture box program with pickup locations across Ventura County. 1012 W. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, 805-983-0333, TheAbundantTable.org.

Earthtrine Farm

B.D. Dautch and family’s farm provides fresh specialty produce and herbs to restaurants and schools. Certified Organic by CCOF, Earthtrine Farm’s produce can also be found at the Ojai Farmers’ Market and Santa Barbara Farmers’ Markets. robertbdmoon@yahoo.com

Friend’s Ranches

The Friend family has grown Ojai citrus since the 1870s. Produce is at farmers’ markets, and available for local wholesale and seasonal mail order. Visitors welcome Tu & F, 7am– noon. 15150 Maricopa Hwy., Ojai, 805-646-2871, FriendsRanches.com

Ojai Pixie Tangerines

The Ojai Pixie Growers Association is over 40 family farms growing Pixie tangerines in the Ojai Valley. Pixies ripen in March, and the Ojai Pixie Growers sell them wholesale and direct for as long as there is fruit to sell, usually until May or June. OjaiPixies.com

Tomatomania

The world’s largest and “most fun” seedling sale, featuring more than 100 varieties. Check website for dates. Tomatomania.com

Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Markets

Ventura County’s original farmers’ markets, providing connection of fresh and local foods and the finest small California farmers with locations in Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks and Ventura. 805-529-6266, VCCFM.org

GARDENING & LANDSCAPING

Source Guide

BlueSky BioChar

48

Providing a wide array of premium soil amendments including Biochar, worm castings, rock dust, mycorrhizae and many other products to create Living Soil in your garden. Contact for free garden advice: Michael@blueskybiochar.com, 818-599-9119, BlueSkyBiochar.com

Otto & Sons Nursery

Over 800 varieties of roses annually, comprehensive selection of fruit trees and berries, including stone fruit, apples, citrus, avocados, cherries

Oak Grove School

and eight varieties of blueberries, specially bred for our climate. 1835 E. Guiberson Rd., Fillmore, 805-524-2123, OttoAndSons-Nursery.com.

the year. 309 E. Main St., Ventura. 805667-8299; Email: Cynthia.jellyfish@ gmail.com; JellyfishVentura.com.

Treeco, Inc.

Specializes in residential and commercial tree care with a focus on promoting healthy growth. Planting, pruning, fertilization, irrigation, removal, tree risk assessment and consultation. 2100 Goodyear Ave. #1, Ventura, 805-652-0404, treecoventura@ att.net, TreecoVentura.com

Artful gifts for your home and loved ones to inspire peace, beauty and harmony. Sanctum’s organic, sustainable wares nurture one’s inner sanctum. Featuring local and global artisans who respect old ways of creating, weaving and manufacturing. 307 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, 805-633-9070. SanctumOjai.com.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

MEAT MARKETS

Grosman Chiropractic

Main Street Meats

Ocean Gold CBD

The Ventura Meat Company

Ojai Energetics

Turn the page for our Local Guide to Good Eats & Drinks

Quality and affordable chiropractic care for the whole family. Dr. Grosman believes that true healing is achieved when the patient is fully engaged in their own health and well-being and that sustainable health and wellness is a lifelong journey. 3625 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., #168, Westlake Village, 805558-0286, GrosmanChiropractic.com A licensed CBD manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer since 2017, Ocean Gold uses local, natural and organic ingredients made in Ventura County to make topical CBD products to aid in sleep, help reduce anxiety and help in pain management. 539 Sespe Ave., Fillmore, 805-3911008, oceangoldcbd@gmail.com, OceanGoldCBD.com. A local company founded in 2014 providing the highest quality, certified organic, water-soluble, full spectrum, hemp CBD elixirs and topicals. Visit retail store for CBD, other wellness products and acupuncture clinic. 236 W. Ojai Ave. #100, Ojai, 805-6465586. OjaiEnergetics.com

HOME GOODS B on Main

A home and gift emporium of artfully curated goods in beautiful and historic downtown Ventura. 446 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-643-9309, BonMain.com.

BellaCopper

Copper conducts heat better! The original solid copper heat diffuser plate equalizes heating in your pans, with no hot spots. Also effective as a defroster plate and oven plate. Four sizes available. 805-218-3241, info@ bellacopper.com, BellaCopper.com

JellyFish Vintage Boutique

A boutique that combines new and vintage home décor to enhance the beauty of your home every season of

Sanctum

With kosher and organic certificates, Bennett’s produces, packs and distributes from their 100% solarpowered “green” facility, where they use a gravity straining process to retain the honey’s natural components. Tasting room and store open seven days a week. 3176 Honey Lane (Hwy. 126), Fillmore, 805-521-1375, BennettHoney.com

Buon Gusto Farms

Full-service, sustainable, retail butcher shop offering the highest quality, responsibly sourced meats at new lower prices. No artificial ingredients in anything sold here. 2650 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-6679159, VtaMeatCo.com

Highest-quality Buenaventura Olive Oil and California Coastal Olive Oils are made with olives that are handharvested, first pressed and cold pressed. Artisan California vinegars specially blended to pair with their oils. Available at farmers’ markets and local stores. Ventura, 805-641-1268, BuonGustoFarms.com

PLACES TO EAT & DRINK

Somis Nut House

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. A 14-attorney law firm that works with employers to develop proactive strategies to enhance workplace productivity and avoid employment disputes. They guide employers on strategic compliance with current laws governing all areas of employment including wage and hour issues, training, discipline, disabilities and documentation. 760 Paseo Camarillo, Ste. 300, Camarillo, 805-248-7208, LightGablerLaw.com

SCHOOLS Monica Ros School

This school has been providing a magical beginning to education for generations of Ojai’s children. For 75 years, their mission has been to expand a child’s natural passion for learning in a setting that celebrates Ojai’s natural beauty. 783 McNell Rd., Ojai, 805-646-8184, MonicaRos.org

SPECIALTY FOODS & BEVERAGES Bennett’s Honey Farm

Butcher shop combined with neighborhood market offering local products and deli counter. Features meats humanely raised, processed without hormones or steroids, and as local as possible. 3049 E. Main St., Ventura, 805-643-0318, MainStreetMeatsVentura.com

LightGabler Law

This progressive co-educational day and boarding school serves preschool through college preparatory high school students. Located on an expansive 150-acre wooded campus, the school fosters an environment where students are encouraged to ask deep questions that flower from a truth within. 220 W. Lomita Ave., Ojai, 805-646-8236, OakGroveSchool.org

For more than 55 years, one-ofa-kind retailer has offered a wide variety of candies, nuts, dried fruits and other goodies. Gift packages and shipping available. 4475 E. Los Angeles Ave., Somis, 805-386-1211, SomisNutHouse.com

WINERIES & WINE Ojai Alisal Vineyard

Handcrafted Rhone-style wines from grapes grown only at its Upper Ojai Valley vineyard, reflect the terroir that is Ojai. Tasting room at Azu Restaurant. Wine club memberships available. Visit website for tasting locations, events and wine club information. 805-6403837, OjaiAlisal.com.

Rincon Mountain Winery

This small boutique winery is located on top of Rincon Mountain in Ventura County. Tasting room is open in Carpinteria. 4187 Carpinteria Ave. Suites 1 & 2, Carpinteria, 805-318-9264. RinconMtn.com

Please visit our advertisers and let them know you appreciate their support of Edible Ojai & Ventura County. They enable us to offer this magazine free of charge to readers throughout Ventura County. spring 2021

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spring 2021 49


CAMARILLO All Things Tea European teahouse with certified Tea Specialist. Specialty loose leaf teas from the finest plantations and gardens around the world. Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea and High Tea. In Paseo Camarillo Center | 300 N. Lantana St., #37 | Camarillo | 805-445-8327 | Tea-Liteful.com

FILLMORE Roan Mills Bakery California’s first land-to-loaf bakery, Roan Mills grows the wheat, mills the flour, bakes the bread and makes the pasta. Stop in at their bakery in historic downtown Fillmore and taste the difference. 411 Central Ave. | Fillmore | RoanMills.com

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Grab a customized acai bowl and a flight of jun kombucha at Revel Kombucha Bar in Ojai.

Ojai & Ventura County

Local Guide to Good Eats & Drinks Please visit our advertisers and let them know you appreciate their support of Edible Ojai & Ventura County. They enable us to offer this magazine free of charge to readers throughout Ventura County.

• European Tea Room • Over 130 Specialty Teas • Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea, High Tea • Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Catering Tue–Sat, 10am–5pm 300 N. Lantana St. #37, Camarillo Tea-Liteful.com 805-445-8327 Call for reservations

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spring 2021

CATERING Private Chef-Catering Robin Goldstein is a California chef who works her culinary magic combining unique flavors and seasonal ingredients with classic techniques inspired by her extensive travel around the Mediterranean. PrivateChefRobin.com

VENTURA Grapes and Hops Extensive selection of locally sourced wines and craft beers paired with regional flavors, served in the historic elegance of Ventura’s first bar and speakeasy. Plenty of outdoor seating. 454 E. Main St. | Ventura | 805-641-0053 | GrapesAndHops.org

THOUSAND OAKS Chocolatine French Café An authentic French café established in 2004 in the heart of Thousand Oaks, the family-owned spot pleases daily with breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks of homemade quiches, sandwiches, crepes, macarons, coffee drinks and more! 2955 Thousand Oaks Blvd. | Thousand Oaks | 805-557-0561 | ChocolatineFrenchCafe.com

BellaCopper

The Original Solid Copper Heat Diffuser, Defroster Plate & Oven Plate Copper conducts heat better! Made in Ventura, CA since 2002

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Edible Ojai & Ventura County


Kay’s Coffee Shop Family owned and operated coffee shop and bakery proudly serves locally roasted coffees and premium organic loose leaf teas. Homestyle baked goods are freshly made from scratch. Two convenient locations. 2364 Ventura Blvd. | Camarillo | 805-383-6005 | 1124 S. Seaward Ave. | Ventura | 805-641-1581 | KaysCoffeeShop.com

The Wine Closet Wine lounge in Old Town Camarillo, featuring unique wines, craft beers, small plates, lunch and dinner. Weekly happy hours and featured wine tastings. Indoor and outdoor seating. The specialty market offers retail sales of fine wines, craft brews, artisan cheeses and charcuterie. 2423 Ventura Blvd. | Camarillo | 805-746-5708 | WineClosetInc.com

AZU California, Spanish & Mexican Cuisine, artisanal brewery offering light bodied, food friendly craft beers, local wines & fresh cocktails. 457 E. Ojai Ave. | Ojai | 805-640-7987 | AzuOjai.com

Revel Kombucha Bar Enjoy local jun kombucha on tap! Treat yourself to an amazing acai bowl. Revive with coffee and matcha on nitro. 307 E. Matilija St. C. | Ojai | 805-272-0028 | RevelKombuchaBar.com

Sage Mindful Meals & Elixirs Offers beautiful outdoor seating nestled among the Arcade sycamores, happy hour in the Lounge or a quick bite at the elixir bar. The innovative healthful food and drink menu highlights local, organic, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. 217 E. Matilija St., Ojai | 805-646-9204 | SageOjai.com Currently closed. Stay tuned for reopen dates.

Paradise Pantry Food with a local emphasis, including great sandwiches, salads, mac ‘n’ cheese, gourmet goodies, a cheese counter and an extensive wine shop. Diners can also enjoy craft beers, wines by the glass or wine flights. 222 E. Main St. | Ventura | 805-641-9440 | ParadisePantry.com

Poseidon Brewing Company

Ventura Spirits Since 2011, using the natural and agricultural bounty of California’s Central Coast to hand craft novel and delicious spirits. 3891 N. Ventura Ave. | Ventura | 805-232-4313 | VenturaSpirits.com

Freda’s Wood Fired Pizza Delicious NY style and brick oven pizzas, sandwiches and salads. Dining, catering, pickup/ delivery—and with two mobile wood-fired ovens, we can bring the party to you! 2024 Ventura Blvd. #114 | Camarillo | 805-586-4055 | FredasPizza.com

OJAI

A small, local, veteran-owned craft brewery making a variety of beer styles. Visit the tasting room or take a growler to go. 5777 Olivas Park Dr., Ste. Q | Ventura | 805-477-0239 | PoseidonBrewingCo.com

WESTLAKE VILLAGE Coin & Candor at Four Seasons Westlake Village A seasonally inspired California brasserie featuring sophisticated casual in-door and out-door space with stunning views of the Santa Monica Mountains. The menu presents locally sourced dishes that incorporate wood-fired cooking techniques. 2 Dole Dr. | Westlake Village | 818-575-3044 | CoinAndCandor.com.

NABU Wines A member of the Malibu Coast Wine Trail, they make wines from the Santa Monica Mountains in the Malibu Coast AVA and the Napa Valley. Tasting room open Sa-Su noon–8pm. 2649 Townsgate Rd. | Westlake Village | 818-835-3704 | NabuWines.com

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LAST SIP

Strawberry Syrup There is nothing that compares to sitting outside with nothing to do but enjoy the crisp clean air and sip on the taste of spring itself. In keeping with our theme, we created this simple strawberry syrup recipe that can be used a multitude of ways, both with or without alcohol. We’ve included three recipes, but the possibilities are endless. In fact, you can even plant the seeds that are left in the sieve and grow your own strawberry fields forever. Makes about 2 cups 8 fresh strawberries, puréed and strained 1 teaspoon almond extract 1 cup water

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

1 cup cane sugar*

Note: For a thicker syrup to use over pancakes or ice cream, simply continue cooking until syrup has thickened. *For flavor variations, substitute maple syrup or coconut sugar.

Strawberry Booze & Tonic Serves 1 2 ounces booze (we recommend whiskey, vodka or gin) 1 ounce strawberry syrup Dash orange bitters 5 ounces tonic water Combine all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Stir and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

Strawberry Basil Julip Serves 2 6 strawberries, sliced 6 large basil leaves 6 ounces bourbon ½ cup strawberry syrup Muddle half of the strawberries and 2 basil leaves in each glass. Add ice. Pour in bourbon and syrup. Stir. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and basil leaf.

Strawberry Soda Serves 1 ½ cup strawberry syrup 6 ounces tonic water Pour syrup and tonic water into a 12-ounce glass or Mason jar filled with ice. Stir and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

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spring 2021

Edible Ojai & Ventura County


OUTDOOR LEARNING HIGH SCHOOL

the art of JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

LEARN MORE OAKGROVESCHOOL.ORG

OAK GROVE SCHOOL

The Art of Living and Learning EdibleVenturaCounty.com

living & learning Oak Grove’s expansive, 150-acre campus is reflective of its academic approach: A college preparatory DAY and BOARDING High School with an intimate, home-style boarding program. A rich academic curriculum, emphasizing depth over breadth, spanning PRESCHOOL through HIGH SCHOOL. Engaging OUTDOOR EDUCATION courses that include camping, backpacking, international and domestic travel. This approach prepares students to function with excellence, care, and responsibility in the world. spring 2021 53


Profile for edible Ojai & Ventura County

Spring 2021 Issue: DIY/How To  

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