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PUBLISHED SINCE 1982

SUMMER 2020

a farmer and a cook STEVE SPRINKEL & OLIVIA CHASE: ORGANIC FOOD PIONEERS.

PLUS: FRIENDS OF FARMERS / SURFING THROUGH QUARANTINE / PANDEMIC 1918 SOLE SURVIVOR / SESPE WILDERNESS / CAN YOU DIG IT? / MEET THE MANSONS D I S T R I B U T E D I N V E N T U R A + S A N TA B A R B A R A + L O S A N G E L E S C O U N T I E S


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203 S. Montgomery St. $1,099,00: 3BR | 3 BT | 2850 SQF BLISSFUL LIVING | Village-Mix-Use Live/Work It’s a lifestyle! Nestled in the heart of Ojai’s vibrant downtown, this luxurious townhome encourages an active lifestyle. Libbey Bowl & Park, art galleries, wineries, boutiques, restaurants, tennis courts, bike, and walk paths are seconds away. The inspiring outdoor living space is ideal for entertaining. Sit back, relax, and let yourself be captivated by the romance and creativity of Ojai!

1201 Rains Court $1,399,000 5BR | 3Bt | 3200 SQF GORGEOUS LIVING A timeless classic, highly upgraded, turnkey Mediterranean residence is a dream home. Infused with light and blissful energy, the property epitomizes the California way of life! Magical Oaks Trees, beautiful gardens, and romantic outdoor living spaces complete this happy place called Home!

GABRIELA CESENA DRE: 01983530 805.236.3814 GabrelaCesena@BHHSCal.com www.gabrielacesena.bhhscalifornia.com

T H E N E X T L E V E L O F R E A L E S TA T E S E R V I C E S Unwavering commitment to my clients’ satisfaction | Driven by passion for the work I do

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES CALIFORNIA PROPERTIES | DRE: 01317331 ©2020 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Calfornia Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information.


OJAI

Four-bedroom Arbolada Home with Guest House, Pool, Four Fireplaces & Mountain Views | www.407TicoRoad.com 407 Tico Rd. $2,199,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OJAI

6 Acre Horse Property with 5 Bedroom Main House, 2 Bedroom Guest House, Pool, Horse Facilities, Solar and Views. | www.1577KenewaStreet.com 1577 Kenewa St. $2,199,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OAK VIEW Two-bedroom, one-bathroom with detached garage, RV parking, recent upgrades within walking distance of shops and restaurants. 291 Larmier Ave. $519,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

Kellye Lynn

805.798.0322 kellye@ojaivalleyestates.com DRE 01962469

Integrity, knowledge and experience you can trust


OJAI Four-bedroom, three-bathroom home on over an acre with formal living and dining rooms, several recent updates, and amazing mountain views. 1744 Country Dr. $1,320,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

OJAI

106+ Acre country retreat with mountain and lake views and custom, stone house | www.luckyqranchojai.com Lucky Q Ranch Price upon request Nora Davis 805.207.6177

UPPER OJAI 20+ acres in Upper Ojai with several upgrades, including driveway to building site, house pad for app. 3,200-square-foot house, and building pad for app. 3,000-square-foot building. 11969 Ojai Santa Paula Rd. $1,485,000 Nora Davis 805.207.6177

THE DAVIS GROUP

Integrity, knowledge and experience you can trust

Nora Davis 805.207.6177 nora@ojaivalleyestates.com www.ojaivalleyestates.com 727 Ojai Avenue, Ojai CA 93023 DRE 01046067


VOLUME 38 NUMBER 2 | SUMMER 2020

Schedule a private showing at our Malibu showroom today and view all nine of our floor plans from 480 to 2300 sq. ft. designed for use as ADUs or main residences.

www.orbithomes.us | 310 699 5333

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SUMMER 2020 VOLUME 38 No.2

Editor’s Note - 12 ARTS

At Home with the Muse - 18 Ojai Artists Adventure Abroad - 78 Artists & Galleries Directory - 24 SPORTS

Surfing Through Quarantine - 26 Stars Come Out In Ojai - 100 FOOD

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cover story A Farmer and a Cook - 34 Heavenly Story Of Local Honey - 44

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Dining & Tasting - 50 BIG ISSUES

Friends In The Fields - 52

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TRANSFORMATION

How Did We Get So Scared? - 60 Mindfulness & Healing Directory - 107 EVENTS - Calendar

- 67

HISTORY

Deja Flu: Ojai Pandemic 1918 - 70 Meet The Mansons - 94 Sole Survivor - 108

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OUTDOORS

Into The Sespe Wild - 86 Can You Dig It? - 118 Summer Hiking Trails - 130 Real Estate - 124

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EDITOR’ S N OTE

0/20 vision is giving us sight we can’t unsee. It is altering our world. We are living with a new way to die and facing the truth of who we are as individuals and within the society we have built together.

Our town is now peeking out of doors, taking stock and learning to live with uncertainty. Recently with the Thomas Fire, and now with a pandemic, the people of the Ojai Valley are again suffering loss together. Our lives turned upside down this year and we aren’t even allowed the hugs we so dearly need! How are we changed from it; and what can we learn? What will we secretly miss? How can our improved vision make our community better? I’ve noticed a local spike in outrage, a common response to fear and one that temporarily spares us from facing loss. For some, this anger has insidiously seeped into everyday interactions, but others have turned the rage into a collective movement to fix our broken socioeconomic structures and corrupted institutions. They’re standing up and going outside to shout, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore! Things have got to change.” Let’s not miss the chance to benefit from catastrophe.The paradigms are shifting; we have the option to put the world back together better than it was before. 2020 vision affords us the opportunity to grow stronger by embracing the uncertainty that has always existed in parallel to our best laid plans. As Ojai local Diane Ladd advises, “Stay safe and kick a little dirt.” About this issue ... It is somehow comforting to know the pandemic in Ojai is not unprecedented; it happened here before in 1918 with the Spanish Flu, and our community survived. When Ojai reporter Perry Van Houten began digging around to find out what our Ojai Valley ancestors did, there was nearly only one source, old editions of the Ojai Valley News, to tell our local story. A reminder that 100 years from now, the same publication may still serve as that record … and we were here! How are Ojaians coping?

EDITOR / PUBLISHER Laura Rearwin Ward

ASSISTANT EDITOR Georgia Schreiner

WRITERS

Perry Van Houten • Alicia Doyle Karen Lindell • Kit Stolz • Ted Cotti Ellen Sklarz • Dakota Cox Donna Granata • Kathlyn T. Hendricks Valerie Freeman

DESIGN

Paul Stanton

PRODUCTION

Robert Lloyd • Jodie Miller Billy MacNeil

An Ojai surfer escapes quarantine for solitude in Humboldt County. Focus on the Masters writer Donna Granata illustrates recent shifts in the artistic process of six local artists during the stay-at-home order.

CIRCULATION

We honor in story those who sustain us — they grow, pick, provide and cook for us:

SALES DIRECTOR

A farmer and a cook — Steve Sprinkel and Olivia Chase. Steve is a leader and mentor in Ojai’s local organic food movement; his wife, Olivia, is the force behind the successful store and restaurant. Friends of Fieldworkers is a group helping to support the often forgotten people in our local fields; Ellen Sklarz connects us to the effort. Feeding ourselves is the trend in Ojai’s modern “victory gardens,” where suburban agriculture gardening is growing wild. The Ojai Valley News’ 2019 California Newspaper Publishers Association Award winning profile, “Sole Survivor,” written by senior reporter, Perry Van Houten, retells Scott Eckersly’s tragic tale in the eye of the historic flood of 1969. The flood changed the Ojai Valley physically and it altered the DNA of its people. There has never been a better time, or more urgent reason to get healthy and to be strong. We are going to need to dig deeper and think more creatively than we ever imagined possible. Many of us have already learned lessons from the pandemic, such as neighbors matter, and it’s not a bad thing to slow down — the rats were winning the race anyhow. Please take a moment and enjoy the lifestyle of Ojai, in our Summer Ojai magazine. Laura Rearwin Ward, publisher.

Ally Mills

Linda Snider

CONTACT US

team@ojaivalleynews.com advertising@ojaivalleynews.com Phone: 805.646.1476 101 Vallerio Avenue Ojai, CA 93023 ©2020 Downhome Publishing, LLC Cover: Steve Sprinkel with wife and partner Olivia Chase are community mentors and owners of the iconic Ojai eatery, The Farmer and the Cook. Photograph: Lina Tirado PUBLISHED SINCE 1982 BY THE OJAI VALLEY NEWS

OJ A IVA L L E Y N E W S.CO M


VOLUME 38 NUMBER 2 | SUMMER 2020

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Real Estate Team

ZABILLA GROUP Live Where You Love

DOWNTOWN OJAI COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITY A beloved Ojai institution is now available for sale: A profitable self-serve, 3-bay, Car Wash, sitting on TWO LEGAL LOTS, just one block off Ojai Avenue. Totaling approximately 15,000sqft, this land is zoned Village Mixed Use which allows for a variety of residential and commercial uses. Equipment significantly upgraded in 2005. Great cash business suitable for an Owner/Operator or Develop er pursuing the perfect location for their next big project. | See More at 109Fox.com | Offered at $825,000 HomesByRosalie.com

Rosalie Zabilla

Rosalie@HomesbyRosalie.com 805.455.3183

Annie Cox

Annie.Cox@sothebyshomes.com 818.517.9440

Montecito - Coast Village Road Brokerage 1165 Coast Village Road, Suite A | Montecito, California | sir.com

© Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. All rights reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark. This material is based upon information which we consider reliable but because it has been supplied by third parties, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete and it should not be relied upon as such. This offering is subject to errors, omissions, changes including price or withdrawal without notice. If your property is listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other real estate brokers. We are happy to work with them and cooperate fully. Operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Real estate agents affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity. Featured Agents DRE: Rosalie Zabilla: 1493361, Annie Cox: 2093166


VOLUME 38 NUMBER 2 | SUMMER 2020

F I R E S T I C K P OT T E RY Creative Workspace Open to Public

Open 10-6 daily 1804 E. Ojai Ave 805-272-8760

Gallery Workshops Pottery Parties Free tours

www.firestickpottery.com

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VOLUME 38 NUMBER 12 || SPRING SUMMER 2020 2020

These unique times challenge everything that Ojai Studio Artists does best—sharing our work with collectors throughout Southern California! After much consideration we cancelled our annual tour. However, we have three online ehibits and an upcoming fundraiser/exhibit for our annual student scholarships. Beginning mid-July, view 8 x 10 panels that our artists have painted, sculpted and collaged to raise funds for our annual student scholarship fund. The panels will be available for purchase on our website for a donation of $200. The proceeds will help our mission of supporting the arts in the Ojai Valley. Visit our website for links to all the exhibits and purchase information.

All our best!

OjaiStudioArtists.org


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JOHN NAVA

RUTH GARY PASTINE LANG

KAREN LEWIS

KATIE VAN HORN

Above: Gary Lang photo by Robert Hoffman. Katie Van Horn photo by Cindy Pitou Burton.

KENT BUTLER


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HOME WITH THE MUSE “INSPIRATION EXISTS, BUT IT HAS TO FIND YOU WORKING.”

E

very spring, the intoxicating aroma of citrus blossoms fills the Ojai Valley. This year, along with the Pixie tangerines, came the news that a dangerous pandemic — COVID-19 — was sweeping across the globe. A concern for our loved ones and community was shared by all. Soon, the United States would lead the world in infections, bringing the whole country to a standstill. Our uneasiness grew to a collective grief for all who have suffered losses as we donned masks and learned how to convey a warm smile with our eyes.

For a visual artist, isolation is often a way of life. From the solitude of the studio, masterpieces are born. Those who rouse the muse during challengeing times can channel that energy and thrive creatively. But there is more to the creative process than simply having the time to produce. It takes mind, body and soul. For some, the empathic nature of an artist — especially when others are suffering — can generate a form of grief that can be debilitating. However, inspiration strikes from the broad depths of emotion, from despair to great joy. Throughout history, the arts have had the power to ask difficult questions, to suggest answers and to unify our society. They provide ways to interpret our world. Indeed, artists

are often authentic recorders of our collective history and humanity. I had the opportunity to discuss what it is like to create during this epic time with six accomplished Ojai artists. Realist painter and renowned tapestry maker JOHN NAVA shared, “I didn’t realize how much my normal life pattern matched ‘lockdown.’ I work in a studio on my property and rarely need to leave home at all. As it happens, I have a couple of commissions to complete and, if anything, the current pandemic-related restrictions have increased uninterrupted work time for me. Several artist and writer friends have noticed the same thing.” When asked if outside factors, such as the state of unrest in our nation and its future, have had an influence in his motivation, John responded, “I usually work with the radio on — mostly NPR or KUSC. I have had to cut out news to a great extent since the current state of American politics is so indescribably foul. Both enraging and soul destroying.” John continues, “Today what constitutes a work of art is extremely widely defined. Similarly, the ways in which art is made are numberless. My own work, however, follows a traditional model of essentially solo practice. Working in highly social ways is very common now but

Pablo Picasso

I, for the most part, spend my time alone in my studio. I sometimes work with a model or in a weaving mill in Belgium but, for the most part, I work on my own.” Contemporary art is always a reflection of the times in which we live. John feels that there is a dramatic shift in the arts underway. “The traditional forms of fine art and houses of culture as domains of elite privilege are dead. The highly social forms I mentioned earlier, especially those that attack social injustice on every level, constitute both a damning critique and an invention of new forms to make art a more relevant and vital part of society.” Creative partners GARY LANG AND RUTH PASTINE are modernist painters who approach their work in a meditative way, incorporating optical effects to masterfully engage the viewer. Their responses to the current events were unified regarding their family but could not be more different in the studio. When the March stay-at-home order was announced, their priority was to bring their two college-age children home. Once that goal was accomplished, both headed to the studio. Gary changed from his normally vibrant, energized color palette to a dark and somber

By Donna Granata, founder of Focus on the Masters Arts Archive & Library


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Ruth Pastine, Depths. 2020.

Kent Butler in his studio. Photo: Sharon Butler.

Gary Lang, CQS#4, 2020.

tonality. Gary shared, “I struggle with the world’s fears, like so many of us. We carry our brothers in our hearts and we’re mourning and fighting to survive.” Known for his signature massive, pulsating circles, Gary has, during the pandemic, turned to painting concentric squares — confined, controlled and structured — as a way to make sense of a world out of control. In contrast, Gary continues to pursue computer-generated images on aluminum that are, in his words, “uncorked positivity,” remaining perpetually optimistic — one of Gary’s most enduring traits.

working on paper. I wasn’t expecting so much luminosity from this work because of the dire and challenging times we’re all experiencing. I was imagining a much more somber palette, but the color and luminosity is really a gift right now because it’s filled with hope. It’s really helping to ignite and illuminate a much more positive emotional state.”

is a member of the esteemed Ojai Studio Artists. As a young girl, Karen and her family were living in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was bombed. By the time news of the war reached Manila, Japanese troops were descending on the city. The family was captured and, along with 4,000 other people, placed in the Santo Tomas Internment Camp until their liberation by General Douglas MacArthur on February 3, 1945. Karen spent three and a half formative years — from age 9 to 13 — confined to one location. The traumatizing experience instilled in her a resiliency and fortitude that has served her well throughout her life and in her studio practice. Karen credits her optimism as a gift from her mother for always being positive even during the most trying of times.

During isolation Ruth revisited works on paper and began a new series of hand painted oils titled “Depths.” The color fields of the paintings are uplifting and life-affirming. The luminous color quality and dramatic palette was a surprise for the artist. She explains, “My painting practice is very rigorous physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is a methodological intensity to how I work, and it requires being completely present. I didn’t have the resources to engage in the rigor that working on large paintings requires. I thought I would engage my primary practice of painting with oils and try

Working on paper allows the artist to finish a piece within one, two, or three sessions of working for several hours at a time as opposed to sevento eight-hour sessions while working on larger canvases. “There’s something about working on paper. It has inherent liberties that are freeing to explore and experiment without the demands of even creating finished work. This was helping me to get through the moment and then I just found myself in this deep well, just transcending the distraction from my mind’s concerns.” Often, an artist’s creative process is shaped by early experiences that remain deeply seated in their psyche and can become a catalyst for new work — especially during challenging times. Painter and printmaker KAREN LEWIS

“My husband Craig received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers for his 90th birthday. It was so stunning that I took them into the studio and painted them with such joy.” Shortly after, Karen had gone out of town and returned to Ojai just before the lockdown. She saw in her absence that the beautiful flowers had not been watered. “They were beginning


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Karen Lewis, The Birthday Bouquet. Oll on canvas, 2020.

John Nava, Single Orange, Oil on Canvas , 1990.

Katie van Horn, Untitled, monotype.

to die. They were fading, but they were still beautiful. So, I painted them a second time. I was painting this fading beauty over the month of March.” As time pressed on, the pandemic became more dire and the flowers continued to fade. “I turned them around and painted it again from the other side and I loved it! I just saw the beauty of something that was once gorgeous and was now fading as a metaphor for the state of our country. It’s no longer what it once was.”

move forward. Now that I’m past it, I’m feeling really encouraged to get back to work.” As shelter-in-place orders befell communities all over the U.S., any artist with a concurrent or forthcoming exhibition saw the doors of their venue(s) close to the public. Many gallerists and artists had to pivot and post the work online for virtual exhibitions. As Katie considers the future of her work, she is realizing a shift. “For me, it will take deep listening to what is important to others right now that will be meaningful and uplift the person contemplating an art piece. Not imposed. It is going to be different. We are all in this together.”

us. I find I’m painting more and more in the moment. For many years we have used Facebook, the internet and Instagram to reach out to the public and the art world. Since the pandemic we have done amazingly well with our art sales, which hasn’t always been the case. I think for the near future the internet and virtual displaying of one’s art seems to be the way things are heading.” Kent and his wife Sharon are both members of Ojai Studio Artists.

KATIE VAN HORN is also a member of the Ojai Studio Artists. Locally her works grace the walls of the Azu restaurant on Ojai Avenue. When asked how she was holding up during the stay-at-home order, Katie lamented, “For me the COVID virus has been an amazing teacher in grief and compassion for everyone suffering, separated, dying, serving and reaching out. It’s just so overwhelmingly sad.” Katie needed the first two months to process the immensity of what was being experienced. “I have not experienced anything like it — a deep inner reflection.” At one point she realized, “You gotta take that stake out of your heart in order to

In many cases, artists prepare for years for a major exhibition. When an artist loses an exhibit, they lose more than prospective sales and the considerable expenses involved. They lose momentum and the precious time preparing for the exhibit. They miss the joy of sharing their work with the public. Ironically, for some artists, online sales are reportedly up as is the case with KENT BUTLER. “These challenging times can bring out the best in

Kent is known for his lively color palette and varying style including a signature pointillistic technique. “I also feel more energized and motivated. My colors seem more vibrant. I don’t mind isolation. I’m my happiest being in my studio by myself painting.” Kent’s optimism helps him stay focused. “We, as a nation, always should try to have hope. Being divided does not help. I try to keep my mind, body, and soul clear so that I can paint. I’m in remission from cancer so I really count every day as a blessing. My hope is that our younger generation can have a clear, healthy future. I’ve lived a wonderful life and I can only hope they will be able to do the same. I’m now in my mid-70s so I feel I had better get with it!”


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Gary Lang with various works: Photo by Donna Granata.


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Poppies Art & Gifts

OVA Arts

Nutmeg’s Ojai House

Porch Gallery

Dan Schultz Fine Art Gallery & Studio

Pamela Grau

323 E. Matilija Street in beautiful Ojai, California. We are behind the historic downtown Arcade. Stop in for local art and art events. 323 E. Matilija St., Ojai. www.poppiesartandgifts.com | 805-798-0033

We Specialize in American-Made, Fair Trade, Recycled, UpCycled, Spiritual, Organic, Green, “Functional Art” for your Home & Garden. 304 N. Montgomery St. Ojai. Call: 805-640-1656 Open every day 11:am - 6:pm Email: mgojai62@gmail.com www.ojaihouse.com

Plein air landscapes, figures and portraits in oil, with a special focus on California landscape paintings. 106 N. Signal St., Ojai www.DanSchultzFineArt.com 805-317-9634

A R T I S T S

&

Your Go-To Place For Gifts. 238 E. Ojai Ave. Open daily 10-6 www.ojaivalleyartists.com 805-646-5682

310 E. Matilija St. Open: 11-5, Sunday: 9-1:30 Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday Instagram: porchgalleryojai lisa@porchgalleryojai.com 805-620-7589

www.pamelgrau.com pamelagraustudio@gmail.com 949-903-9743

G A L L E R I E S

D I R E C T O R Y

Firestick Pottery

Latitudes Fine Art Gallery

Karen K. Lewis

OVG Artists and Galleries Guide

Creative workspace or clay artists & students. Open 10-6 daily. Closed Tuesday. 1804 E. Ojai Ave. www.firestickpottery.com 805-272-8760

Painter & printmaker; etchings, monoprints, figure drawings, plein-air landscapes, still lifes and large-scale oil paintings. www..karenklewisart.com | 805-646-8877

Martha Moran

The Ojai Rockstacker Sculptures, fountains, custom shower installations and more. Studio visits by appointment. www.OjaiRockstacker.com | 805-279-7605

Transform your space with fine art photography. 401 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001 www.lattitudesfineart.com | 805-642-5257

Reach a wider audience with the Ojai Valley Guide, Artists & Galleries listings. The OVG is distributed throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Contact us for details. team@ojaivalleynews.com | 805-646-1476


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Surfing through quarantine


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O

Photographs: Gavin Schreiner

jai local Gavin Schreiner spent his high school years waking up at four o’clock on weekday mornings and driving to Ventura Point to surf a couple of hours before school started at eight. “That was one of the most special experiences,” Schreiner said. “The water would turn gold in the morning from the sunrises. It definitely stoked me out to become a surfer!” At 20 years old, Schreiner has been surfing for over half his life. He first picked up the hobby over many summers at Ventura Junior Lifeguards beginning at age nine – the same age he got his first board. He fell in love with the sport because it brings a much needed sense of motion to his life. “Every spot is gonna have a different wave,” Schreiner said. “Everyday is gonna have a different wave. Every set that comes in is gonna be a little different from the last set, and that keeps it interesting, always.”

How one Ojai surfer has kept his feet wet during lockdown.

In the summers Schreiner works as an instructor for Ventura Makos Surf Camp. The position combines his primal desire to ride with a passion for passing on his skills to the next generation.

by Dakota Cox

Photograph: by Abbi Bocchini

“It doesn’t even feel like work,” Schreiner said. “I just get to hang out at the beach, surf and get paid for it.”


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In the meantime, with his college classes at Humboldt State University moved online as a side effect of the virus, Schreiner has refused to allow it to stand in the way of him catching waves.

Wilderness—spending days on end climbing over its rocks, diving into its pools, and falling asleep under its dazzlingly starlit sky. Days on end indeed, but as Schreiner says, “In the Sespe time doesn’t matter.”

The virus was a non-factor in the trip, however. Surfers treated each other with the same brotherly love Schreiner has grown accustomed to over the years. He would’ve stayed longer if it weren’t for school.

Schreiner took a four-day trip in March, surfing up and down the coast of Oregon and into Washington for the first time – sleeping in the car at night and searching for secret beaches during the day.

Schreiner carries with him the deep impression made on his soul by the Sespe even when he is far away from it. “The sespe taught me I don’t need material things to make me happy,” he continues, “The simplicity and beauty of the place became all I needed to satisfy me.” Majoring in forestry, the Sespe even finds its way into his work, having recently written a report on the invasive species that plague the Sespe and other nature surrounding Ojai.

“The only thing we reconsidered was whether or not we could stay indefinitely and figure out a way to complete homework assignments out there,” Schreiner said.

“Unlike SoCal, where all the beaches are known and there’s always going to be people out no matter what,” Schreiner said. “Up in Humboldt, a lot of times you can’t see water from the road, you have to actually go down and explore it.” Immediately following his return to Arcata (city in Humboldt County),

Cullen Wigger and Gavin Schreiner in Humboldt County.

Schreiner set off on another trip. Packing over 50 pounds of food and supplies, he and a friend hiked nine miles up the California coast – stopping along the way to admire otters and countless shells and, of course, to surf. “Surfing is obviously my favorite part and that’s the drive to go, but I love camping anyway,” Schreiner said. “I’m an avid backpacker. I’ve been through the Trinity Alps and definitely backpacked in SoCal a bunch.” Schreiner was born and raised in Ojai, where his appetite for wilderness flowered. When he is home from college, he is virtually addicted to the Sespe

That thirst for nature has lured him back into the wilds of first the Sespe and now the northern coast again and again. Shreiner requested that the exact location of his most recent expedition be kept secret. Between spring break and California’s initial reaction to coronavirus, he said the waves were more crowded than ever. Fortunately for those adventurous enough, like Schreiner, there are nine miles of coast to surf along the way. “There’s the main surf spot out there, but there’s countless other waves along the way,” Schreiner said. “It’s like a wave park. There’s so many different types of waves and different spots you can surf, and all offer different excitements.” Time between sessions consists of eating, sleeping and battling the elements to stay comfortable. “On the coast the weather changes super quick,” Schreiner said. “So you have to be shedding layers, putting layers back on, and also watching the waves 24/7 to make sure you get the best seshes in.” When he returned from his trip, Schreiner was greeted by strangers wearing masks and businesses with closed doors. “We kinda knew a little bit going into it,” Schreiner said. “That shit was going crazy.”

Before returning to Ojai, after the shelter-in-place order had been put into effect, Schreiner made an additional solo-trip to the secret location on the California coast in April. He’s made the journey in each month of 2020, so far – a personal record he intends to stretch. Schreiner returned home in the beginning of May in order to focus on his finals, but surfing remains a high priority. Taking a break from his studies, Schreiner and his friend took a drive to Malibu, where beaches had been closed since March. Passing by the empty ocean at Leo Carrillo State Park with their gear on hand, they couldn’t fight the temptation to jump in. “We drove up the road about a half a mile, suited up, ran down, got out there for 30 minutes to an hour,” Gavin said, “until we heard sirens on the beach, and they were like ‘we’re gonna give you a citation; get out the water.’” Always packed, even on days with no waves, Schreiner said he usually hates surfing Leo Carrillo because surfers are way too aggressive. “It might have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to surf Leo Carrillo just by myself,” Schreiner said, “but not worth $200.” Beaches remaining open through the pandemic were consistently packed and surfers were growing more territorial by the day. Schreiner said one of his friends was almost drowned by another surfer recently. “Localism is coming back because of this coronavirus stuff,” Schreiner said. “Because people are traveling farther and farther to surf.” Another side effect of the pandemic is


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that most of the hiking locations in the Ojai area, like Piedra Blanca in the Los Padres National Forest, became ironically overrun with people seeking to escape the dullness of their new lives. “I used to go there all the time and usually you can maybe see one other person out there,” Schreiner said. “But since I’ve come back, because the beaches are closed, there’s literally 200 cars up there.” Schreiner also claims there were as many as 1,000 people at the Santa Paula Canyon Punch Bowl swimming holes in a single day—more than ever before – thanks to all of the people flocking in from Los Angeles and Ventura to take a swim. “Thank God I grew up in Ojai and I know some local spots that people don’t know about,” Schreiner said. Schreiner has noticed, despite the large number of people leaving their homes, they are much more concerned with social distancing protocol in Southern California. “That is something that is not happening in Humboldt,” Schreiner said. “People wear masks in the grocery store and that’s about it.” Schreiner has a relative at home with a pre-existing health condition that makes them more at risk for the virus, so he had to be extra careful while in Ojai. “Which is why I kinda want to go back to Humboldt,” Schreiner said. “So, I can worry about it less. I stay safe and try to keep other people safe, like when I go to the grocery store, but other than that I can stay away from people.” Of course, another factor in Schreiner’s desire to return to Humboldt is the surf. His local Ventura beaches are often too flat or windy. Meanwhile in Humboldt, he can count on a solid “sesh” every day. “Surfing and the ocean is my number one priority,” Schreiner said. “It’s definitely my life path to surf until I die.” Until his next great adventure, Schreiner will continue seeking thrills and serenity in nature to escape the monotony of social-distance life.


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HAKANE SUSHI Best Omakase Sushi in town ESTABL

2008

ISHED

“Ojai Style Sushi”

• IZAKAYA Menu • Unique Appetizers • Bento Gozen Dinner

Top sushi chef with over 30 years experience! 967 E Ojai Ave, Ojai | (805) 640 -3070


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Fast casual dining with comfy patio seating Voted Ojai’s favorite Burrito / Burger / Lunch Craft brews, local wines & seasonal cocktails EASY ONLINE ORDERING & LOCAL DELIVERY AVAILABLE!

Food.drink.community. Open @10AM Daily 214 W. Ojai Ave. 2 blocks west of Libbey Park

805-640-1301

www.JimAndRobsOjai.com

/JimAndRobsOjai @LisasCantinaOjai

11400 N.Ventura Ave., Ojai

805-613-3048 Open from 11:30 to 9:30 everyday except Monday 4:00 to 9:30


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the farmer...


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On a blazing hot Thursday morning in late May at Del Pueblo Farm on the outskirts of Ojai, Steve Sprinkel, a man who has been farming organically ever since he dropped out of Harvard in the 1970’s, digs into a freshly-smoothed field with a shovel. He uncovers a gopher tunnel. At its mouth he puts in a boxy trap, loads it with a large leaf of rainbow chard, cocks the spring on the lethal prongs with a couple of quick well-practiced moves, shovels it in, and moves on. Sprinkel has been an organic farmer for approaching 50 years and has been a leader in the organic movement, not just locally—as the co-owner of Farmer and the Cook in Meiners Oaks—but nationally, as the president of the watchdog Cornucopia Institute, as the first contract farmer for Whole Foods in Texas back in the 1990s and as a longtime leader in the organic food movement. But at the store, visiting with long-time customers, and at the farm, overseeing a half-dozen 20-something volunteers who come on a Thursday morning to help harvest vegetables, the boss seems to be just another one of the folks. He wears a battered straw hat and soil-smudged clothes. His rough hands are reddened and cracked from the sun. At the farm this morning he works alone in the dirt, focused above all else on the health and prosperity of his nine acres of verdant squash, tomatoes, fennel and a dozen other crops.

Battling gophers to live a principled life by Kit Stolz


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and the cook...


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Creating delicious organic dishes

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“I set the volunteers to harvesting while I get out early and trap gophers,” he says of his Thursday morning routine. Sprinkel works in the fields by himself but not entirely alone: an impressively large redtailed hawk, which had been standing on a tall perch on a pole at the edge of the field, swoops down and bounces on to the freshly-turned dirt, 20-odd feet away. He hops a little closer, focused on Sprinkel. “She—I think it’s a she—has been following me for five or six years,” says Sprinkel. “When she sees me come out here with a shovel and gopher traps, she starts circling.” Sprinkel, who is admired by coworkers for his ability to trap, will toss the hawk a dead gopher when he traps one. There’s no shortage. Sprinkel points to a nearby row of squash: a couple of plants are missing from the perfectly straight rows of squash—the invisible work of the relentless rodents. “Wherever there is water, the gophers will come,” he says. “You don’t even want to know how many gophers I’ve killed over the years.” Sprinkel, age 71, has with his wife and partner Olivia Chase weathered countless ups and downs since launching the vegetarian store and restaurant Farmer and the Cook in Meiners Oaks in 2000. Together they survived the 9/11 crisis and the Great Recession and now expect to survive the novel coronavirus crisis, if not unscathed. The virus has already drastically changed Farmer and the Cook’s business, but Sprinkel doesn’t appear overly concerned. “It’s kind of a crazy deal,” said Sprinkel. “We are down with whatever Dr. Fauci thinks we should do to stay alive but it turns out that going minimal in the store might actually be good for the business. Before COVID-19 we had 56 employees and were open from 8 in the morning to about 10 at night. Now we have 11 employees and we’re open from 10 to 4 or so. I think I do about 50% of my normal business but now I have about 25% of my normal overhead.” In several conversations about Farmer and the Cook, Sprinkel never fails to credit his partner Olivia Chase for her operation of the organic produce store and the restaurant. When first contacted by Ojai magazine about a Farmer and the Cook story, Sprinkel suggested interviewing his partner instead of himself.


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Above: Some of Steve’s helpers in the field. Photo: Liz Otterbein.

“I’m big and loud,” he says. “So the press always comes to me. But she’s terribly capable. She ran a really good bakery in Ventura, City Bakery, and it’s been gone for thirty years and people still ask about it.” After Chase lost a close relative in May, Sprinkel stepped in to complete the interview in her place, but repeatedly credits her for their joint success. “Everybody is always thanking me, but Olivia designs everything in the store, what it looks like, what the menu will be, and even tells me what to grow,” he said. “She looks at everything in order to maintain a high standard.” High standards in food have always been important to both the cook and the farmer. Chase graduated with a degree in nutrition from the University of Washington, admiring authors such as Adelle Davis, a bestselling author and scientificallyeducated nutritionist who as early as the 1950s warned of the risks of the processed foods in the American diet. Chase also took a page from the massively influential cookbook “Diet for a Small Planet,” by Frances Moore Lappé, which espoused an “environmental vegetarianism” that became foundational to eating and living lightly on

Above: Friends meet and while away the hours at The Farmer and the Cook restaurant.

the earth for countless young people in the 1970s concerned about the planet’s future. At that time Sprinkel fiercely opposed the war in Vietnam. He was drafted into the army and could have avoided the war by staying in college, but instead he chose to become a draft resister. “I thought my deferment was unjust so I rejected it,” he says, looking back. “I became part of the anti-war movement, and that movement became a crucible for what became the organic food movement. At a critical level, both movements were about rejecting compromise.” After working as a writer and a ceramicist for a time, Sprinkel launched his first organic farm in 1975. In time he was recruited to grow vegetables for three stores in the Austin area launched by a then-new outfit called Whole Foods. He relocated to the Ojai area in the 1990s while working in organics and met Chase while working as her bakery’s vegetable supplier. Years later they fell in love over a kabocha squash at the Ojai farmers’ market, Chase says, and together went on to launch Farmer and the Cook where it stands today in a weathered building once owned by Chase’s mother. Over time they expanded the operation

into a larger restaurant and a full-scale Community Supported Agriculture, or box, program. “We were always farm-to-table,” Sprinkel says. “Because we sold what I grew, we could control prices on things like salad and lettuce. We’re in Meiners Oaks, so we have to keep it cheap.” Sprinkel adds that he doesn’t charge the store for the vegetables he delivers to it from his fields, which means that the operation as a whole can afford to throw out anything that’s subpar, and only sell the best produce. Although he says that as a businessman this practice will hurt him if they should ever want to sell the market, he still thinks it’s worth it for the freshness of the food. Sprinkel also worked for 10 years in a variety of posts for the California Certified Organic Farmers certification program, including as an inspector. He says he knows how to distinguish between a farm sincerely pursuing organic practices and certification—which takes years—and a farm taking shortcuts with pesticides or herbicides. “I buy for the store from a lot of people who aren’t certified organic,” he explains. “I talk


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with the all-organic thing,” he recounts. “We were a little ahead of the curve. I’m kind of an idiot savant on this subject.” Chase—who as an exchange student at age 18 had an epiphany of deliciousness while eating a simple meal of fresh tortillas, beans and coleslaw in Baja—inspired by working in the kitchen with young cooks often of Mexican descent, reoriented her offerings towards vegan versions of Mexican classics such as tacos, huaraches, enchiladas and sopes. Over the years the restaurant food has become about 80 percent vegan, Sprinkel estimates, and with the store it shares it grosses over a million dollars a year.

to them and essentially I have one question. What do you do at the farm for certain kinds of stubborn weeds—do you use a little bit of Roundup here and there? I can tell how committed they are to my principles by how angry they get with that question. If they say, ‘I don’t know, I’ll have to ask my husband,’ well that’s the wrong answer.” At the beginning, Sprinkel admits, even his partner thought he was going a little too far with their principles. They had bootstrapped the launch of the operation with credit cards and relied on thrifting to find furniture and basic tools. They knew that most restaurants fail within five years.

“It wasn’t that we made a plan, it’s just that nothing is arbitrary,” Sprinkel says. “What happened was, people appreciated that we were willing to make a commitment and gravitated to our authenticity. And the truth is the more resolved you are to stick to your standards, the easier it gets, because there’s no second-guessing. We trusted in our philosophy—for us it’s like the new kosher.” Over the last 20 years, Farmer and the Cook has become a vibrant community hub, offering special events such as outdoor pizza nights with live music on Sundays (an event now canceled due to the coronavirus). After closing for a couple of weeks in April, the store has reopened, and the farmer and the cook

“At that time Olivia thought it was a little double stupid,” he says. “She was concerned that we would be unduly narrowing our customer base.” But Sprinkel didn’t budge. “Why all vegetarian and no meat?” Sprinkel asks rhetorically. “Partly because Ojai has a tradition of vegetarianism, with Krishnamurti, Annie Besant and Krotona. These are all people who are like me and Olivia and wouldn’t be able to go to the [conventional] corner store.” Sticking strictly to organics was a harder sell to his partner. “Olivia is intuitive and wise and far-seeing but at first even she thought I was crazy

Right: Steve Sprinkel. Photo: Liz Otterbein.

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reopened the restaurant in June. Sprinkel expresses great pride in having employed about 2,000 mostly young people in Ojai over the years, including generations of workers from local families, working in the kitchen and the fields. Looking back at his life’s journey into the growing and selling of organic foods, Sprinkel expresses a blunt pride and satisfaction. “The truth has been borne out and we were not wrong,” he says. “Organic food is a $70 billion enterprise now, and everybody wants a piece of that action. They’ll copy it and try to fake it and that’s how we get terms on foods like ‘sustainable’ and ‘natural’ and ‘cage-free’ that have no legal meaning.” The phoniness riles Sprinkel, but a moment later he looks back with a certain wry appreciation on his own life history in the organic movement. “What happened was that so many people back in the 1970s had large gardens to tend that it kind of got out of hand,” he says. “We’re all beneficiaries of the co-op movement and the farmers’ markets of the 1970s. I was one of those people who dropped out of college and went into growing food. It’s a good way to keep your hands clean in an otherwise contaminated world.”


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farmer and the cook organic vegetarian mexican cafe-market-bakerysmoothie-juice bar 339 el roblar drive ojai 805-640-9608

www.farmerandcook.com


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Westridge Market 802 E. Ojai Ave • Open Daily 8am - 8pm • Phone 805-646-2762

Westridge Midtown Market 131 W. Ojai Ave • Open Daily 7am - 9pm • Phone 805-646-4082

westridgemarket.com


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Thank You For Voting For Us!

Ojai Valley’s Original Mexican Restauant

Best Taco

Best Mexican Restaurant

Best Burrito

Family Owned since 1985

891 Ventura Ave., Oak View 805.649.9595 715 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai 805.640.1577

Open Daily for Breakfast & Lunch 7 am - 2:30 pm Closed Wednesdays

805.646.0207

328 East Ojai Ave.


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THE

heavenly history OF


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OJAI’S OWN by Alicia Doyle

Celebrating four decades in business, the Heavenly Honey Company offers a wide selection of nectars, including avocado honey from the Ojai Valley, clover honey from the plains of South Dakota, and wildflower honey made locally in the surrounding hills and valleys. “One of the things that separates us from the others is the way we handle the honey – we pour everything one drum at a time by hand,” explained co-owner Barbara Haskins. Also, “we are starting with the finest honey we can find. That’s another thing that makes us unique.” This honey bee biz began in 1979 with Bob Mearns, who is Haskins’ father. That year, Mearns – who had a passion for beekeeping and a dream to produce the best quality honey possible – brought his first beehive home to his daughter and wife, Lynda. And for the next few decades, the family worked together to fulfill his vision. “My dad was an innovator and tried many things along the way,” Haskins said. “Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but in the end, we had tried and true methods for keeping healthy bees and producing wonderful honey.” 1,500 hives Mearns brought more hives to his family’s tract home in Canyon Country, California, where the bees’ flight path out of the hives and the yard were right behind Haskins’ swing set. To this day, Haskins has fond memories of swinging back and forth – with the bees bouncing off of her. “My friends never had a typical backyard experience at my home,” she recalled. When the number of hives grew to eight, the neighbors started to complain, so Mearns found another home for his hives.

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honey company “About that time we started making honey and my dad’s post-retirement purpose became real,” remembered Haskins, who noted that after much “heartfelt deliberation” the name was created: Heavenly Honey Company. “Before we knew it, we went from that one hive to 1,500 hives.” The business changed in 2008 when Mearns died. “When my dad passed away 12 years ago we had to decide what we wanted to do with our business, because he was the beekeeper and he never went out without me until I left for college,” Haskins said. “So I was there from hive one to 1,500 … we had to make a decision about what we wanted to do. We had invested our entire lives in 1,500 colonies of bees.” This investment meant “never any vacations that didn’t have something to do with the bees. After hive 200, our lives circled around the bees,” she continued. “So being faced with having to do the business was a heavy decision. And we weren’t ready to sell them and walk away.” At the time, Haskins was working fulltime in a different industry along with her husband, Jeff, and knew she didn’t want to continue on that path long term. “He and I were not happy with that life,” she said. “So we had this opportunity to come back into the family business that we weren’t far from and leave our day jobs.” The couple then made the “hard but logical” decision to sell their bees to a friend of the family who was a third-generation beekeeper. At the same time, they wanted to remain in the honey business, so they moved the Heavenly Honey Company from its original home base in Acton, California. to Ojai. They also gave the label a “facelift” while expanding their wholesale honey business up and down the southern Central Coast of California. Eat honey that feeds industry integrity Over the past 40 years, the Heavenly Hon-

ey team has refined their skills at bringing honey to the market, and a major part of that skill-set is choosing the right honey from the right beekeeper for their customers. Today, the Heavenly Honey Company is known for procuring honey from a select group of beekeepers who “maintain the same cultural practices we always did,” said Haskins, further noting that these beekeepers “really appreciate how we treat their honey compared to what mass packers do to honey.” “Because of our knowledge of beekeeping we are able to connect with our beekeepers and understand their methods of beekeeping,” explained Haskins, further nothing that they know where they keep the bees and what grows in those areas – as well as what kind of “human interactions” there are in the surrounding areas. “Of course, application of harmful agrochemicals is paramount for us to be aware of,” Haskins said. “Luckily, it’s important to all our beekeepers as well and they avoid those areas in an effort to keep their bees healthy and safe. Heavenly Honey is different from other honey packers that buy honey from outside beekeepers, because they know each and every beekeeper, and, Haskins stresses, “ their cultural practices must align with our own.” These cultural practices include no harmful chemical applications to the bees, no overheating, no mixing varietals together and being mindful of where the bees are kept – meaning away from harmful agrochemicals – as well as proper treatment of the honey during the extracting phase. Accordingly, all the honey purchased from their beekeepers is made by those beekeepers. “We never procure our honeys from larger packers who are known importers of honey,” Haskins said. “We have never dealt in foreign honey and we never will. When you


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go down that path you lose all control over the quality of your honey. Sometimes that honey is not even all honey.” Also, “we only procure our honey from beekeepers who agree to keep their honeys separated by location of production for us.” Because Haskins knows all her beekeepers personally, she knows where nearly every drop of honey is produced. She explains, “knowing what grows in those particular areas is helpful in choosing honey made with favorable floral sources so we know how the honey will taste, etc.” For instance, the buckwheat honey comes from California wild buckwheat growing in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest. This plant is different from the cultivated buckwheat plants grown for buckwheat flour and grain.

Bob Mearns and Barbara Haskins tend their hives in Placerita Canyon.

The result is a buckwheat honey with a wonderfully smooth, “round” flavor with no sharp edges. The alfalfa honey comes from the Antelope Valley and Inland Empire Valley where there are many alfalfa hay farms. This honey is very similar to the buckwheat honey – with just a bit more caramel flavors. And the wild blackberry honey comes from blackberry brambles growing wild in the Salem area of Oregon – this honey is considered “truly unique” because it tastes just like blackberries. “While selling honey you make yourself as a beekeeper is wonderful, there is something to be said for those who source honey and sell it as we do, because, simply put, the honey you may make as a beekeeper might not be the best,” Haskins said. The main reason the honey you made might not be the best is because of the floral

source, she continued. For example, if your bees are in an area foraging for wildflower honey, but that bee location is near an avocado orchard, the bees might bring in avocado blossom nectar along with the usually more delicate wildflower nectar. “Nectar from avocado blossoms is pungent and strong and will change the overall character of the wildflower honey, in the opinion of most, not for the best,” Haskins continued. Conversely, if bees are set on wildflowers in another area the nectar will taste different (usually better) without the influence of the avocado blossom. “This honey is preferable for bottling for the fact that it’s color will be a nice midrange honey color and the flavor is midrange as well, not too strong and not too light.” Haskins emphasized that she and her husband are “not in the business of volume – we are in the business of quality.” There is nothing quite like honey straight from the hive, and “we try to bring you just that.”

beekeepers the same price they pay for foreign honey – that price doesn’t even begin to cover the cost of the U.S. honey production,” Haskins said. “It’s heartbreaking because it’s not enough money for [U.S. beekeepers] to pay for the expense of making the honey.” Beekeeping is becoming very expensive with the cost of fuel and labor and other factors, she said, “and the profit goes down, so it’s becoming hard to be a beekeeper these days. There are many beekeepers that are generational wondering if they can continue on.” “The reason this is such a problem is that if we allow our beekeepers to go out of business, we lose the people who are keeping our bees, our crop pollinators, alive.” While many people have heard the initiative, “Save the bees,” she believes “we need to start a new initiative: save the beekeepers.”

“We pour the honey one drum at a time, by hand – this is completely inefficient but it allows us the ultimate control over what is going in the jar,” Haskins said.

“The best way to do that is to demand the honey you purchase is produced by U.S. beekeepers,” Haskins said. “The way to do that is to buy honey from companies such as ours.”

“From the day we start gently warming the honey – making every effort to maintain its nutritional integrity and delicate flavor – to move it from the drum to pour takes seven to 10 days,” Haskins explained. “This completely inefficient method results in the highest quality, best tasting, best looking honey you can buy.”

From the time her father passed away, Haskins said she knew he would always be with her, and can’t help but notice the moments when he was “guiding the ship.” One such moment was the first day the tasting room opened for business when a bee followed her through the front door, did a lap around the room, and flew back out.

In October of 2016, the Heavenly Honey Company opened a honey tasting room in downtown Ojai.

“That was dad, checking it out, letting me know he was there.”

“People have been very excited to learn about the honey,” Haskins said. “Fifty percent of our mission in the tasting room is to educate people about bees and honey. Many people have no idea what the world of honey is. And they’re always interested to learn.” She noted that one of the biggest issues occurring right now is the massive amount of honey being bounced into the U.S. market from other countries. The honey is sold to the U.S. for “very low prices,” and this lowpriced honey is hurting beekeepers in the United States. “The U.S. is a dumping ground for foreign honey.” Consequently, “the largest U.S. packers are only willing to pay the U.S.

For more information, visit www.heavenlyhoneycompany.com Call 805-633-9103 or email barbara@heavenlyhoneycompany.com


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A spring sunset at Island Brewing Company

A view, a friend, a beer to share!

5049 6th Street, Carpinteria, CA Linden Ave at the Trax www.islandbrewingcompany.com | 805.745.8272

Tap Room Open Monday to Thursday: 12-9 pm Friday: 12 -10 pm Saturday: 11am -10 pm Sunday: 11am - 9 pm


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Dining and Farmer and the Cook

Papa Lennon’s Pizzeria

Mandala

Jim & Rob’s Fresh Grill

AZU

Marché Gourmet Delicatessen

Bonnie Lu’s Cafe

Ojai Olive Oil Co.

Hakane Sushi

OVG Dining & Tasting Guide

Market, Cafe, Bakery, Smoothies, Pizzas, Fresh Organic Farm Produce. Open 8:00am to 8:30pm 339 W El Roblar, Ojai To go orders 805-640-9608 Office 805-646-0960 farmerandcook1@gmail.com www.farmerandcook.com

Cuisine of Tibet, India & Japan. 11400. N. Ventura Ave. 11:30 to 9:30 Tues-Fri 4:00 to 9:30 Mon. www.TibetanAid.org 805-613-3048 | 805 798-2768 info@TibetanAid.org

A Sohisticated, casual restaurant & bar. We serve Spanish Californian cuisine paired with our artisanal beers, local wines and craft spirits. Open all day, 7 days a week. See our website for details or to book. 457 E Ojai Ave. 805-640-7987 | www.azuojai.com

328 E. Ojai Ave. Serving breakfast and lunch Open 7am-2:30pm Mon-Sun. Closed Weds. 805-646-0207

The best Omakase Sushi in town. Izakaya menu, unique appetizers, Bento Gozen dinner. Top sushi chef with over 30 years experience. Open 7 days a week. See our website for details. 967 E Ojai Ave. | 805-640-3070 info@hakanesushi.co | www.hakanesushi.com

Original Italian cuisine, Best of Ojai winner, local wines & beers on tap. 515 W. El Roblar Dr. www.papalennons.com 805-640-7388

Welcome to “Ojai’s Favorite” Burritos & Burgers. Delicious Mexican and American food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for over 20 years. Sun - Thur: 8am - 9pm. Fri - Sat: 8am - 9pm (Cantina 10pm) 214 W Ojai Ave. 805-640-1301 |www.jimandrobsojai.com

Vegetarian, Vegan & Gluten-Free Options. Breakfast & Lunch 9-3 daily. Dinner Fri & Sat 5-8pm 133 E. Ojai Ave. 805-646-1133 www.marchegourmetdeli.com

100% organic-local-sustainable Tasting Room Open Monday-Sunday 10am-4pm 1811 Ladera Road, Ojai 805-646-5964 www.ojaioliveoil.com

Reach a wider audience with the Ojai Valley Guide, Dining and Tasting listings. The OVG is distributed throughout Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties. Contact us for details. team@ojaivalleynews.com 805-646-1476


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Tasting Eating and tasting in Ojai is often experienced outdoors, as our little town boasts over 20 restaurants and tasting rooms with outdoor seating options. Most establishments with outdoor dining are pet friendly. So get outside, and gormandize en plein air with your pooch. You are sure to make, or see, an acquaintance while you fortify yourself. Topa Mountain Winery

Blue Ridge Honey

Island Brewing Company

Ventura Spirits

Tasting room 821 W. Ojai Ave. 805-640-1190 www.topamountainwinery.com

Creating community through craft beer since 2001 Tap Room open Monday to Thursday: 12noon-9pm, Friday: 12noon-10pm, Saturday: 11am-10pm, Sunday 11am-9pm 5049 6th Street, Carpinteria 805-745-8272 | parties@islandbrewingcompany.com www.islandbrewingcompany.com

Ojai Beverage Company

Outdoor patio dining, great food! Open 11am to 11pm 655 E. Ojai Ave. www.ojaibevco.com 805-646-1700

Heavenly Honey

Tasting room. All natural pure honey. 206 E. Ojai Ave. 805-207-4847 www.heavenlyhoneycompany.com

Ventura County’s local source for a healthy sweetness. Available at local stores and farmers’ markets or stop by our facility, 1461 Tower Square, Ventura 805-941-3777 www.blueridgehoneyca.com

Our tasting room is open every Friday from 1-5pm Sat and Sun 12-5pm 3891 N. Ventura Ave. SteB2A, Ventura 805-232-4313 www.venturaspirits.com

Majestic Oak Vineyard

Tasting room 321 E. Ojai Ave. (Downstairs) 805-794-0272 www.majesticoakvineyard.com

Boccali Vineyard & Winery Tastings at Boccali’s Ojai, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm. 3277 East Ojai Avenue 805-669-8688 www.boccalivineyards.com


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Photograph: Carmen Oxnard

Friends in the fields October 2013: A fire blasted through the homes of more than 25 families in Oxnard, many of whom were fieldworkers. Although most of their modest belongings burned, the rest was taken by looters. During the next six to eight weeks, the Red Cross helped those families with food, shelter, clothing and bare necessities. At one community meeting, Ojai residents Judy and Ted Lucas met many of the devastated family members, gently inviting them to share their immediate needs with the couple. In response, Judy and Ted founded Friends of Fieldworkers, Inc. (FoF), with Judy as president and Ted as treasurer. The nonprofit initially functioned as a disaster relief organization, which provided medical supplies, clothing, furniture, household items and toys to those displaced families. As weeks and months—and now years—passed, Judy and Ted have expanded its focus to support families of fieldworkers in most

By Ellen Sklarz

aspects of their lives. Today, the organization also includes housing assistance, scholarships for higher education, and direct food distribution. If you could be a fly on her wall, you would find Judy involved in their lives—at the birth of babies, at the bedside of a farmworker with cancer, or delivering water-faucet filters to families. Born in San Francisco and raised in Hawaii, Judy lived among coffee farmers since her childhood in Kona, where her parents were missionaries. Later, she taught migrant children in Soledad and Chualar, California. Ted grew up in San Diego, the son of a naval officer and a farmer’s daughter. He was the founding provost of Cal State University, Channel Islands, and is a music composer and accomplished musician who plays violin, viola, organ, piano and guitar. With six children and many grandchildren between them, Judy and Ted married in 1999, when they moved to Ventura County. In 2014, they moved to Ojai, where their busy lives are


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happily and deeply committed to family and Friends of Fieldworkers. As you pass the Lucas home in Mira Monte, you’ll see a tidy fruit stand out front, filled with free fresh fruit from their small citrus orchard. Their well-used van is blanketed with various peace-loving and heartfelt bumper stickers and decals, none of which is political or religious. As she steps out of the vehicle, Judy Lucas begins speaking, the youthful, angelic lilt of her voice belying a fierce commitment to the families who have become part of her own extended family. Judy opens the back of the van—packed with boxes of produce, piles of clothing to be sorted and sized, some books and, now a child’s rocking chair that will go to the young disabled daughter of a woman who works in the fields. Within a few hours, Judy has delivered all the goods to her families in Oxnard, and texts a photo of the joyous little girl in her new rocker. When confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, the families’ needs have shifted, with many school-age children at home while their parents are at work, since those jobs are considered essential. Throughout these past few months, Judy, Ted and other Friends of Fieldworkers board members reached out to various organizations throughout the county, with positive results. Three to four volunteers from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) of Ventura County shop, pick up and deliver food, diapers, shoes and other immediate needs to the families. The Social Justice Fund for Ventura County, Democratic Moms of Camarillo and the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC) collected hundreds of pounds of Legos, new and used, so that the younger children can exercise their brains by focusing, building and creating. A Girl Scout group collected toys, art and school supplies. Conejo Community Outreach supplied diapers for several families. Amber’s Light Lions Club, Mount Cross Lutheran Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and other groups made masks, while Local Love and Food Forward provide boxes of food and other essential


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Above: New masks made with donated fabric and volunteer sewing. Photograph: Judy Lucas Far left: Judy Lucas and friend during a fieldworker home visit in Oxnard. Photograph: Ted Lucas Bottom left: Free plants and citrus outside Lucas home in Mira Monte. Photograph: Judy Lucas Top: Legos. Legos donated to many of the younger children. Photograph: Judy Lucas Middle: Friends of Fieldworkers van with bumper stickers and decals. Photograph: Ellen Sklarz Bottom: Judy and Ted Lucas with children of fieldworkers, Santa Barbara Zoo, July 2019. Photograph: Alma Ramirez

items. FoF works with Farmworker Resource Program and El Rio School to distribute those goods directly to fieldworkers on a weekly basis. In addition, says Judy, they are focusing on the children of fieldworkers who are home from school, needing some enrichment. One DSA volunteer collected the materials to build nine 4-by-8-foot garden boxes in some of the families’ yards, complete with soil, amendment and plants. For an experiential science project, Judy and Ted ordered baby caterpillars in kits so that three families could watch the transformation process. Judy says that the children also received books, art and school supplies. FoF wants to initiate a program with “reading buddies, grandma and grandpa types” who are willing to call the children regularly and read with them through video chatting. On Mother’s Day, FoF delivered fresh floral arrangements and gift bags of handcrafted soaps, handmade cards with enclosed $50 bills, and such amenity samples as soaps, shampoo and conditioner. Says Judy, “Our message is clear: ‘We are thinking of you. We love and support you and your families in this unstable time of our history. Thank you for feeding us, as well!”

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Judy and Ted work tirelessly and lovingly to support the farmworkers, who often work eight to 10 hours a day to provide for their families. This dynamic but humble couple faces constant challenges, including raising funds to cover costs and addressing hardships among the parents and children, including affordable housing, as well as cancer and birth defects potentially caused by exposure to pesticides and herbicides. As she leaves in her packed van, Judy’s quiet but firm voice permeates the warm, still air: “Treat people like you would have hoped your immigrant family was treated.”

Judy’s recent self-published book, Friends of Fieldworkers: True Personal Stories of Triumphs, Tears and Invisibility, can be purchased on these websites: www.xlibris.com www.barnesandnoble.com www.amazon.com Available soon: the Spanish, full-color version of the book, Amigos de Trabajadores de Campo: Historia Verdaderas y Personales de Triunfos, Lagrimas e Invisibilidad All proceeds from book sales benefit the work of Friends of Fieldworkers.

To connect go to: www.friendsoffieldworkers.org Friends of Fieldworkers, Inc. friendsoffieldworkers


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An Ojai tradition for over 50 years 302 W. Matilija Street (805)646-3755 9:30 - Sunset daily

www.bartsbooksojai.com


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EACH HUMAN IS UNIQUE AND SPECIAL. That is why I customize my facials based on each client's needs. Proudly using wildcrafted, organic,chemical-free ISUN products. Looking forward to giving you that glow you deserve! •Customized Organic Facials •Waxing •Brow Shaping •Celluma LED Light Therapy ALSO OFFERING MOBILE FACIALS FOR PEOPLE NOT WANTING TO LEAVE THEIR HOME. WE CAN COME TO YOU!

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Kathlyn T. Hendricks

How did we get so


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“The enemy is fear. We think that it’s hate, but it’s fear.” ...Gandhi

I

’ve gotten pretty obsessed with fear over the last few years. I grew up with bomb shelters and “duck and cover” (no one back then thought this was traumatic or would create any long-lasting impact). The vision of the mushroom cloud seeped into dreams and decisions and led to everyone on our block—except us—having a bomb shelter for the annihilation we expected to happen any moment. Over my seven decades on our planet I’ve learned that fear lies at the bottom of all unresolved issues. I’d like you to consider that fear keeps you from being able to discern your path in life, from tuning in to and following what gives you joy.Fear prevents you from actually being responsable, participating with life as a capable, whole being. Here’s just one example of the daily fear dose. CNN now has a Fear and Greed Index (www.money.cnn.com/ data/fear-and-greed/), and they say “Investors are driven by two emotions: fear and greed.” You’ll hear fear mentioned in every newspaper and on every news station many times a day. The overwhelming pace and escalation of bad news and the unknown factors of the Covid-19 crisis keep most people in a constant state of stress/fear/ contraction.

scared?

I’ve been wondering if most of the world has currently fallen into a fear trance, and I have gotten very curious about what we can do to restore our resilience, responseability and the direct joy of being alive. There are two major problems inside of the fear state. When you’re scared you can’t actually think. We tend to recycle survival thoughts and escalate adrenaline (through blaming, self-criticism, attacking) as a non-renewable fuel source. You can’t use your prefrontal cortex to solve problems or even see them. You can’t access your limbic brain to connect or give and receive the essential human nutrient of attention. You land smack in the reptilian world in your brain stem where “othering” begins. Fear changes our relationships. When you get scared, your brain disconnects you from other humans. Others then look foreign, becoming the enemy. Your fear self can treat other people as objects and obstacles because you don’t feel a heart connection with them or even recognize them as human. Over time, fear turns to contempt and justifies violence. Us vs. Them. Fear fuels propaganda, labeling,


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Kathlyn with husband Gay Hendricks. Founders of the Ojai based Hendricks Institute and co-authors of 12 books on body intelligence and personal transformation.

bullying, exclusion, shunning. Fear is the engine of war. Fear puts us on the adrenaline roller coaster of big rush, big slump, more fear, more adrenaline, bigger ups and downs. What does fear do to your body? Fear is different from anger or sadness. It doesn’t go away like sadness after you cry. Fear continues to swirl and build unless you face it fully and befriend the sensations. Your muscles tense. Blood moves away from nurturing your organs. Your adrenal system secretes more stress hormones like cortisol, so you feed fear rather than vitality. You stop breathing deeply. Your brain functioning suffers, as does your immune system. You stop digesting food effectively. You get separate from your deep body intelligence. What Are The Expressions of Fear? Most people don’t realize that there are four expressions of fear, and that you can shift fear to flow with easy movements. The fight-fear reaction often gets mistaken for anger. Imagine making fists, jutting your chin out, and barking “Oh yeah, oh yeah!!” as you thrust your body forward like a boxer. Flee-fear looks and feels as if some of your awareness stays put in your body and some of you starts to leave. Imagine a shoulder moving away or your head backing up, or your foot edging toward the door. Freeze-fear may be the easiest to recognize. Just tighten your whole body while holding your breath.


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Kathlyn Hendricks teaches workshops at many locations around the world.

code-and-accessing-essence-power/) Our community has also created a group of free video modules www. foundationforconsciousliving.org/ big-leap-home-online-programs/) to support you in coming home to yourself, restoring resourcefulness and creating caring community rather than structures based in fear, contempt and isolation. Startles with a loud noise create a mini-freeze that can be as powerful as a full-on freeze. In faint-fear, imagine your life energy draining out of your body through your feet, puddling beneath you, or recall a moment of going foggy or confused. The overwhelming onslaught of lies, misinformation, contempt and a cadre of -isms (racism, sexism, etc.) have created a larger context of passive resignation which is rooted in fear. Are we safer if our actions arise from fear or from responseable connection? You can change your fear to presence and flow now. Here’s how: Find a quiet space; recall a moment when you experienced a fear reaction. Instead of going to your habitual thought patterns around that moment, experiment with one of these alternate reactions: Fear-fighters can Ooze: move your arms and shoulders slowly like seaweed swaying in the ocean. Fear-fleers can Sumo: place your hands wide, with bent legs, shifting from one leg to the other and feeling weight connecting to the ground.

Fear-freezers can Wiggle: move your fingers and toes to thaw out, and wiggle more and more, feel your whole-body flow. Fear-fainters can do Love Scoops: reach into an imagined pool of love and scoop up love to place on any tight place on your body, or scoop and shower love over yourself until you feel present. You can play with combining oozing, sumo-ing, wiggling and love scooping with big movements and tiny ones so you can shift into flow anytime and anywhere. Please remember that it takes two minutes to change your emotional state with Fear Melters®. Fear Melters® can be sprinkled throughout the day whenever you experience your resilience wobbling and can be integrated within other practices to deepen your presence. We have created many free videos to support us moving from fear to presence, connection and collaboration. You’ll find discussions about some of the biggest issues with fear, Fear Melter® videos and research about how and why they work, and more here. www. foundationforconsciousliving.org/ big_leap_home/unlocking-the-fear-

Free of fear, what’s possible? You get fully present in your life and can access all your inner resources and your tuned-up rather than turned-off brain. You see others as equals and partners in your life. You can connect with your inner wisdom and creativity, and you can connect with others to collaborate rather than compete. You can co-create a new future for you, your family and global community. Make the move from fear into the flow of your deep connection to life, your creativity and your unique contribution NOW. Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D., BCDMT, is an evolutionary catalyst and freelance mentor who has been a pioneer in the field of body intelligence and relationship transformation for fifty years. Co-author of twelve books, including Conscious Loving, she describes her purpose: “I feel through to the heart with laser-love and evoke essence through deep play.”


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We’ll get you there! From and to:

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Ojai, Meiners Oaks and Mia Monte ADA and Medicare Card Holders .75¢, Seniors 65 and up .¢75, Children under 45” tall FREE

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The Ojai Trolley Service, established in 1989, is owned and operated by the City of Ojai. The Trolley provides daily fixed-route transportation to approximately 9,000 riders per month throughout Ojai, Meiners Oaks and Mira Monte. The Trolley is a well-known feature in the Ojai Valley, and in addition to the daily fixed-route services, participates in many local community events, fund raising activities, community service, and educational functions.

408 South Signal Street, Ojai, CA 93024 Phone (805) 272 3383 • E-mail: trolley@ojaitrolley.com • www.ojaitrolley.com


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“White Rose” by John Nava. Focus on the Masters, August 22

September “Amazing World of Bears” Sept. 5, 11 a.m. Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, 17017 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-9060 www.lpforest.org/wheeler Kelly Swedlow, Wheeler Gorge docent, will present information about our brown and black bears, and the many other types of bears found around the world.

Calendar

JULY 2020 - SEPTEMBER 2020

For current events listings visit www.ojaivalleynews.com/events

July No listings

August “Into the Wild” Aug. 1, 11 a.m. Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, 17017 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-9060 www.lpforest.org/wheeler Resevations are required for this program on respecting and protecting wildlife in our local forest, led by Gordie Hemphill, scouter and president of the LPFA Ojai Chapter. “Storytelling of the Chumash” Aug. 15, 11 a.m. Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, 17017 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-9060 www.lpforest.org/wheeler Chumash Elder Julie Tumamait will share stories of death and resurrection, stories still alive today with lessons reinforced by a look at the night skies or a walk in the wilderness. Also learn to look at plants. Focus on the Masters Benefit for Arts Education Saturday, August 22 - 6 - 7:30 p.m. Steampuck Dada Electric Carnival.

Live Online Gala. Enjoy performances, great art, online auction and curiosities. Online auction opens August 8 and closes August 23 at noon. Register online: www.FocusOnTheMasters.com “Strange and Exotic Critters” Aug. 22, 11 a.m. Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, 17017 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-9060 www.lpforest.org/wheeler This hands-on experience lets you meet some unusual animals up-close and personal. Erin Koski, director of Luzonika, will teach about the benefits of having pets and introduce you to the softest bunny ever, a hairless guinea pig, a boa constrictor, tarantula and a miniature chicken. “Into the Woods” Aug. 29 11 a.m. Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, 17017 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-9060 www.lpforest.org/wheeler Resevations are required for this Foresters program teaching how mankind and animals depend upon and use the trees and plants found in our forest, led by Gordie Hemphill, scouter and president of the LPFA Ojai Chapter.

“Earth Rocks” Sept. 12, 11 a.m. Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, 17017 Maricopa Highway (805) 640-9060 www.lpforest.org/wheeler Discover how volcanoes, mountains, caves, and geysers are formed. Learn how rocks and minerals are used in metal, glass, jewelry, and in building homes. Make a Moh’s scale of hardness kit. Start a rock and mineral kit. Reservations required.

Ongoing Events Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts (805) 646-3381 www.beatricewood.com BeatriceWoodCenter@gmail.com Open the week of July 6th, for tours only, by appointment. The number of visitors will be limited, and wearing masks while inside the buildings will be mandatory. Tours can be booked in advance by phone or e-mail. The cost for tours is $10 per person, which can be applied to the purchase of any artwork, etc. Open to the public with new exhibitions, workshops, and performances in September. Krishnamurti Foundation of America Krishnamurti Educational Center, 1070 McAndrew Rd, Ojai, CA 93023. (805) 646-2726. www. kfa.org/glimpse-into-totalfreedom-2020 A Glimpse into Total Freedom August 16–23. A unique 8-day intensive retreat to explore together Krishnamurti’s insights that point to the possibility of a transformation of consciousness. Certified Farmers’ Market Every Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Matilija St. city parking lot behind the Arcade. Open-air market featuring locally

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grown produce, plants, musicians and handmade items, including soaps, baskets, beeswax candles and olive oil. (805) 698-5555 Ojai Valley Artistis Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. OVA is a unique art gallery in the heart of Ojai’s downtown. Offering collections from many diverse and talented local artisans Ojai Music Festival The Festival marks the unrealized 2020 Festival with virtual offerings hosted by Ara Guzelimian. The presentations feature video streams of concerts from the last five Festivals. The virtual concert is complemented with program notes by musicologist Christopher Hailey. www.ojaifestival.org Ojai Poetry Series OPS resumes via Zoom third Tuesdays at 6 pm. For information on how to access this reading please contact Judy Oberlander at oberlanderjudy@hotmail.com Ojai Music Festival The Festival’s BRAVO program, with Song & Play Thursday taught by Laura Walter, education coordinator. Song & Play Thursday videos will provide children and families a music program in which song & interactive play promote emotional and musical development. The videos and curriculum notes are available at www.ojaifestival.org Free Saturday Meditation Every Saturday, 9 a.m. Resonance Healing Center, 215 Church Rd., Ojai (623) 888-2375 www.OjaiResonanceCenter.com Free Mindful Moon Gatherings and weekly Guided Meditations. Ojai Film Festival The Ojai Film Festival presents a new free online film series. “Festival Highlights” through July 17 with two to three films released each week. View the schedule of films at www.ojaifilmfestival.com Firestick Pottery Daily, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 1804 E. Ojai Ave. Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 27-8760 info@firestickpottery.com Hosting classes and small private group workshops while observing healthy safe distancing while you have fun playing with clay!


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I

n her youth, Sara Baker of Ojai dreamed of being a nurse, so when an influenza pandemic broke out in 1918, she wanted to help.

Packing her bags for Baltimore, the 31-year-old Matilija Street resident reported for duty at Johns Hopkins Hospital and began her Red Cross training as a nurse in the U.S. Army, caring for victims of the deadly Spanish flu.

In other cities, more than a third of the deaths reported in 1918 were the result of the flu. Of the whole pandemic, October 1918 was the month with the highest rate of fatalities. On Santa Cruz Island, every one of the 50 people living there got sick. On Feb. weeks her

8, 1919, three after starting nurse’s

training in Baltimore, Sara Baker contracted the flu and died at age 31. She’s buried at Nordhoff Cemetery in Ojai. Baker and dozens of other Ojaians were victims of the second wave of the flu, which was much

The flu infected a staggering 500 million people worldwide, with an estimated 50 million deaths. One in four Americans was stricken and about 675,000 died. Even President Woodrow Wilson got sick and was confined to bed for days. The pandemic was especially deadly to children and young adults. The coronavirus outbreak has inspired plenty of comparisons to the 1918 flu, and for good reasons. Across California, there were orders closing non-essential businesses and requiring the wearing of face masks in public. Failure to wear a mask sometimes resulted in a fine. Many cities embraced social distancing. In Ventura County, schools, churches, theaters, pool halls and other gathering places were closed. Local newspapers reported the only part of the county with no flu cases was Moorpark.

DéjàFlu:Pandemic by Perry Van Houten


more deadly than the first. In some parts of the country, the spike was blamed on the lifting of restrictions to celebrate the end of World War I. The first mention of the Spanish flu appeared in the local newspaper, The Ojai, on Oct. 18, 1918. “Go home at once and go to bed,” U.S. Surgeon General Rupert Blue urged people who caught the bug. The article, “Uncle Sam’s Advice on Flu,” warned that “coughs and sneezes spread diseases” and

the flu is “as dangerous as poison gas shells.”

minimized reports of illness and death.

The article questioned Exactly a week after whether the flu was the flu news broke, actually Spanish in The Ojai reported a origin, and asked why quarantine imposed that even mattered. at The Thacher “If the people of this School — bad news country do not take for habitual towncare, the epidemic will going students. become so widespread “When the verdict throughout the United was pronounced States that soon we in the school room Sara Baker. Photograph :Ojai Valley Museum shall hear the disease last Tuesday, groans called ‘American’ arose from those influenza,” it said. poor unfortunates who no doubt will soon pine away for the lack of their daily Spanish flu was likely a soda.” misnomer. Some historians say the virus spread from The school postponed baseball games U.S. Army camps in with other schools, and a blackboard Kansas, while others say it was notice warned that the school barber connected to Spain because that would not be available until after the country was neutral during the war quarantine was lifted. “Hair ribbons will and not so concerned with maintaining probably soon be in vogue,” the editors morale. News about the flu was suggested. more forthcoming, unlike Thacher students heaved a sigh of relief other countries such when midterm exams ended. The faculty as the United had sprung them on students so suddenly States, Britain, that no one had a chance to get sick with France and the flu, The Ojai reported on Nov. 1. Germany, which Readers of the Nov. 1 edition also got an update on the latest flu numbers. “The village of Ojai is suffering, slightly, from the influenza epidemic,” The Ojai said. “To date, 10 cases of flu are reported to have developed. All, as a rule, are very light and no serious complications are looked for.” In its Nov. 8 edition, The Ojai reported no flu deaths in the valley and only a few new cases, none of them of a serious nature.

1918

Every precaution was being taken to prevent the virus from spreading, including shutting down public schools and popular hang-out spots. “The grammar school remains closed. The high school was closed Wednesday for a 10-day period as a precautionary measure. The Boyd Club and Houk’s pool hall have also been closed to prevent the spread of the disease,” the newspaper reported. Three days before the armistice was


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signed Nov. 11 between the Allies and Germany, bringing to an end hostilities on the Western Front, The Ojai reported that the flu had caused the postponement of physical examinations for men drafted into the military. On Nov. 22, The Ojai mentioned a letter The Thacher School had received telling of the death of U.S. Army Lt. John Witall, a 1905 graduate of the school. “He died in Chicago of pneumonia, the result of the influenza. On receiving the news, the flag was lowered to half mast, while the company stood at attention.”

While the Ojai Valley Woman’s Club was converted into a nurses’ home, a temporary hospital was established at the Boyd Club. Much help running the hospital came from Sherman Day Thacher, founder of the school that bears his name, three trained nurses and two assistants. Of the 39 patients admitted to the hospital, 35 were discharged and one was sent to the county hospital. Three died.

plans to reopen the schools. “If the ‘flu bug’ does not return to this section again, and indications are favorable that it will not, the Ojai schools will reopen Jan. 16.” And indeed, the flu ban had been lifted, The Ojai announced. “As there has been but two cases of flu reported during the past two weeks, and all the patients at the local emergency hospital are able to return to their home, the flu ban will be lifted and the hospital closed today, and

In the same issue, The Ojai reported that due to the quarantine preventing church attendance, The Thacher School was excusing boys from the Sunday afternoon quiet hour to hike or ride horses. “This does away with the enforced quiet of two and one-half hours, still leaving plenty of time to write letters.” Seldom had a death created such sadness as that of Richard W. Clark, the 20-yearold son of Ventura County Supervisor Tom Clark. Born and raised in Ojai, “he numbered his friends by the score and was a lovable and popular young man,” reported The Ojai on Nov. 29. The Dec. 6 issue of The Ojai reprinted an article from the Oxnard Press Courier that cited some 30,000 flu deaths in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, over the course of 10 days.

Also in its Dec. 13 edition, The Ojai reprinted at article from the Press Courier that reported Oxnard was taking more drastic steps in enforcing the quarantine and criticizing doctors for failing to promptly report all cases.

By comparison, the flu situation in Ojai was “well in hand,” The Ojai reported on Dec. 13, with 25 cases.

The day after Christmas, the Ojai Valley received some good news, though many students likely thought otherwise about

services in the several churches will be resumed Sunday.” In the same edition, The Ojai reported that all faculty, students and staff at The Thacher School had been inoculated with an anti-pneumonia serum by a Dr. Visscher from Los Angeles. “The feeling, at the moment, we found was almost nothing, but for some 24 hours afterwards


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we were not too spry. A hearty slap on the back was entirely out of order, and in fact, heated words often followed.” On Jan. 17, The Ojai published another update on the flu. “The situation in Ojai remains good,” it reported, but even with the lifting of restrictions, it urged people to remain cautious. “It is up to the people of the Ojai to stay at home; don’t worry, and be cheerful. Take a mask with you when you have to go out of the valley, and WEAR IT.”

brushing up on his studies. He will be with us in a few days,” the article read. The Boyd Club in Ojai was reported empty on Jan. 24, but a week later had a few occupants, including a boy already familiar to readers. “The infirmary is again tenanted, but this time it is not used as a hospital. George Heffelfinger, Neale McCord and Francis Howard, a new member of the Lower Middle, are living there in quarantine for four days, all to be out by Friday.”

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be hit by the pandemic. On Monday, March 10, The Thacher School marked the official end of five long months of quarantine. “The last remnant of the flu seems to have petered out, and we are once more free to resume our connection with the outside world. The school certainly deserves a lot of credit for the strict way in which all the fellows observed the quarantine regulations, which resulted in the fine record of not having a single case of flu at the school,” The Ojai reported. A track meet that week was the first time since October that some of the Thacher boys had mingled with any outsiders. But the lifting of the quarantine was the day for general celebration, when nearly the entire school visited Ojai and made a bee-line for the soda fountain at the Ojai Drug Store. The proprietor, John Flanagan, was reportedly wellprepared, with extra supplies of ice cream and soda, The Ojai said on March 14, and all afternoon a steady stream of customers kept him extra busy.

Venturan’s wearing masks during the 1918 influenza outbreak. Photograph courtesy of Museum of Ventura County.

A week later, The Ojai reported on a Thacher student who had left the valley and gotten sick. “George Heffelfinger is now staying at the Hotel Coronado, San Diego, recovered from the flu and

For some of the Thacher boys, returning to the classroom after the holiday break proved tougher to survive than the flu pandemic. “The first taste of school lessons seemed to upset them dreadfully,” The Ojai reported on Jan. 24. By February, flu cases in all areas of the county were on the decline, with the exception of Santa Paula, the last city to

For their invaluable help with this article, the author thanks the Ojai Valley Museum, and historians Craig Walker, Patricia L. Fry, Dennis Mullican and Elise DePuydt.


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On November 3, 2020 VOTE WILLIAM WEIRICK

for Mayor of Ojai

Dedicated to protecting, managing, and enhancing the unique character of the City of Ojai embedded within the Ojai Valley. With six years of experience in our city government and decades invested working on public policy issues, we can count on Bill for balanced, effective action towards maintaining our small town character as Ojai adapts to a changing world. For questions, comments, and conversation please email me at weirick@ojaicity.org.


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Julie S. Gerard, Esquire

805-798-9165

julie@jsglawgroup.com 206 N. Signal St., Suite L Ojai, CA 93023

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Pictorial journal entry of Freeman’s Lake Como ferry trip


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Ojai artist’s adventure abroad L

ast summer I arranged a seven-day Quick Sketch Artists’ Rhine River cruise on AmaWaterways from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. Renowned master drawing instructor Glenn Vilppu hosted the journey with his fellow students, and I herded the creative cats along the way. The “cats” were 23 artists, arriving from around the world to converge in Amsterdam for a creative travel workshop. Vilppu’s niece Laura Belevica with her film crew accompanied the voyage to capture moments for Vilppu’s documentary. Their pre-cruise journey began at the quintessentially Dutch Pulitzer Amsterdam hotel. Hidden amongst the city’s iconic canals, the intricate maze of 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses has an amazing collection of pre- and post-war art and décor. Every corridor and room is uniquely furnished with an eclectic, historic, whimsical array of antiques and lush, colorful textiles that created an enticing experience for the artists. The hotel foyer even has a baby grand piano suspended from its ceiling. As I entered my suite, opera singing

permeated my room. I drew back the exceptionally long drapes to discover a window too high to look through. Stepping upon a stool to peek outside, I swung open the shutters for a Rapunzel moment. Happily amazed, my prime stage view was of the floating-pontoon, live performance on the canal below. The annual classical extravaganza, the Prinsengracht Concert, was performing its sound checks for the next evening’s event. A memory to last a lifetime, I indulged in a siesta while basking in an extraordinary serenading breeze flowing through my window. The following day was filled with exploring canals, museums and visiting art stores to replenish supplies. Dinner at De Bajes Street Art Restaurant set the perfect artsy location for the group to become acquainted with each other. It was quite a diverse and extraordinary collection of guests. Including Ventura artists Lois Freeman-Fox and her husband, animator Paul Wee from the Simpsons, retired animators from Disney; creator of Dulcinea the painting robot Paul Kirby from Colorado; Ti Zhao from New

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by Valerie Freeman

Zealand and the list goes on. After dinner, we returned to Pulitzer for the evening canal concert. It was a drizzly night with lights glistening and the canal was packed with boats and the riverbanks and bridges filled with onlookers. Pulitzer hosted the festive after-party in their interior garden courtyard. It was bustling with musicians and dedicated patrons who have annually attended the concert for decades. Once aboard AmaSerena, the artists discovered they were in for a new experience of quick sketch. Being on a moving vessel, the view is in a constant state of change. Being a seasoned world traveler and several times a Guest Art Lecturer on Crystal Cruises, I am used to sketching ever-changing horizons. I love capturing the experience in my sketches, rather than replicating every detail in sight. Amsterdam, with its occasional sprinkle of rain, posed a different challenge for the outdoor artists with managing an umbrella and sketching at the same time. At times, their umbrellas weren’t always handy and watercolor


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Master artist teacher, Glenn Vilppu with fellow artists from around the world on board the AmaSerena.

paintings would mix with rain drops for an interesting painting pattern patina on their paper. Vilppu’s students find humor and admiration in their teacher, who is known for his minimal sketching supplies all fitting in his shirt top pocket. A tiny Altoids can for watercolor pallets, a fountain pen, a foam pen brush and a charcoal and graphite pencil. Over the years, artists adapt their own means of traveling with art supplies, from Ziplock plastic bags to unique backpacks full of inventive creations. When in port, they walked with Vilppu or did their own thing, roaming the quaint villages along the Rhine at their own pace. It was a special

experience for the artists to be with each other and have the same interest. They were all looking for something to capture and express in their journals. By the end of the day, their sketchbooks were filled with their impressions of memories from the day. Some would even bring their journals to capture the evening entertainment of dancing onboard—which was quite a hoot. It was astonishing to see the artists’ interpretations of the same site. The massive gothic Cologne Cathedral spires, layered with intricately carved details, seemed almost impossible to quick-sketch, especially on a walking tour. But the outdoor plaza restaurant overlooking the cathedral was the

perfect refuge spot to enjoy a cold brewski and set up shop to capture the view. It was also great for people -watching and made for whimsical character sketches too. Every day was a different port or cruising the scenic Rhine. One entire day, they cruised for miles passing castles, cascading vineyards, animals grazing and the Loreley rock. We sailed under bridges and through and up several locks that were always a scientific wonder. The locks were a time to pause while the entire ship felt like a floating elevator. Each port had its own unique story, architecture and culture. There were times when one side of the Rhine was France and the other side was


Germany. Only the riverbanks and the bridges we crossed determined the borders, such as with the great city of Strasbourg, which is currently French. It has flipped control from Germany to France several times throughout history with their futile wars. It became a bit confusing for the artists to keep track of which country they were in because sometimes it sounded German, looked and tasted German, yet it was France. Rßdesheim, Germany was quite extraordinary and a highlight was our visit to the inventive, magical, musical Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum. Antique, carnival, musical machines, several the size of an entire wall with hundreds of entertaining musical parts, which when cranked on their loud sound boomed across the rooms. I rode the sky tram from the charming town up to the memorial lookout. While in the sky cab, gliding over the vineyards with the distant view of the Rhine, it was the most peaceful place on earth. I could have ridden back and forth all day. On my descent back into town, I heard a lot of birds in the raspberry bushes below. Once grounded, as I hiked through the vineyards in search of the birds I found a fantastic vineyard view with a cluster of red-tiled rooftops, a yellow church tower and a bench that provided a perfect place to sit and sketch. Riquewihr, France is a fairytale village imbued with an organic element of whimsy. The medieval- and Renaissance-inspired architecture without a straight timber and with weathered walls painted in candy colors, combined with French calligraphy and personal, floral touches of charm, was in every crevice and corner. Filled with photographic opportunities everywhere you looked, I found little time to sketch.

Lunch on Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.


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Heidelberg Castle was an extraordinary adventure to explore, designed with so many nooks and historic rooms, including ancient laboratories filled with impressive blown glass vessels. The partial remaining stonewall arcade facades adorned with figurative sculptures had mazes of staircases and doorways. Vilppu and his students perched alongside a cool, shaded, stone wall in the main courtyard to capture and interpret the dramatic ruins.

the Danube River to Budapest with legendary master drawing instructor Glenn Vilppu. As with life and especially with cruising, the best option is to always go with the flow. So, the artists rescheduled to sail AmaBella on the Danube August 1, 2021 from

Every page of each artist’s journal tells a personal story through color, pattern, contrast, strokes, texture and words that cannot be captured in a photograph. When artists visit their own journal entries, it ignites all of their sense-memories from their once meditative moment as if they were back in time at that very moment. Onboard AmaSerena, the artists occasionally would gather in the lounge on sofas and chairs to regroup. One by one, each artist performed a “show and tell” of their recent journal entries. Vilppu gently critiqued and made suggestions, for all of the artists. Not only did we learn from Vilppu critiquing our own journals, but with the wealth and diversity of talent and techniques onboard, we learned a lot from each other too. As we debarked in Basel, we reunited at sites around town and met for lunch and dinner as we slowly headed our own ways. I continued to the beautiful Lake Lucerne, Lake Como, Milan and then to Rome. There I met two ceramists who had just arrived from Ojai, Firestick Pottery and escorted them to my favorite Tuscan village for a Raku workshop with master Raku ceramist Mara Funghi. This summer, fellow artists and I planned to merge from around the world to meet in Bucharest to sail

Château Gütsch view in Lucerne, Switzerland

Giurgiu to Budapest with a pre-cruise in Istanbul and post-cruise in Vienna! If you are interested in joining the group, please contact me for details at val@blueribboncruise.com. Learn more: www.freemanart.com


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By Karen Lindell

the sespe wilderness Justin Martinez of Ojai has a plea to hikers: Please stop trammeling.

The Wilderness Act, established by Congress in 1964, defines wilderness as a place where “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by” human beings. The backcountry north of the Ojai Valley, designated the Sespe Wilderness by a different congressional act in 1992, is 219,468 acres of (usually) untrammeled territory in Los Padres National Forest. A side effect of the coronavirus, however, has changed the area’s unsullied character. In May 2020, when hiking trails and beaches in nearby counties were closed to the public due to the coronavirus, trails into the Sespe Wilderness were still open. Martinez runs the recently established Sespe Wilderness Outfitters, a “drop camp” company that will carry backpackers’ and horse riders’ food and gear into the area via pack mules. He was dismayed at the visiting crowds who converged on the area and thronged trails that in non-pandemic times are usually lightly treaded paths. “The weekends are insane,” Martinez said. “I’m passing 200 people per day on the trail.” Free-from-quarantine trailblazers were apparently not being nice to nature. “Unfortunately, I’ve been noticing lots of graffiti and trash, and parking is crazy, with people wedging in cars so no one can get out,” Martinez said. He chats with hikers he meets on the trails, and said many of them are from out of town. “It’s really sad for the locals who cherish these places that are being overrun,” he said. Photograh: Roland Stone

Still, he doesn’t want to keep visitors from experiencing the wilds. For people willing


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to venture out on more than a day hike, Martinez and Sespe Wilderness Outfitters will help ease the way to the ultimate form of social distancing: an overnight trek into the Sespe Wilderness. As of May, Martinez was still waiting for the U.S. Forest Service to approve a few changes to his application for an outfitter’s permit; coronavirus closures have made Forest Service personnel less available to handle such paperwork, he said. When the company is fully up and running, Sespe Wilderness Outfitters will assist campers on horseback and backpackers of all skill levels. Sespe Wilderness explorers, Martinez said, are not necessarily “hardcore hikers” or riders. Instead, “it’s a big range — anyone who’s up for adventure.” People physically able to hike along the Sespe River Trail, many with a goal of

reaching Willett Hot Springs (9.6 miles from the Piedra Blanca Trailhead at Rose Valley Road) or Sespe Hot Springs (15.2 miles from the trailhead), often “can’t do it with a 50- or 60-pound pack, or don’t want to do it, so they can hire us to carry all their gear,” Martinez said. “Horse campers ride in, but can’t stay overnight because they don’t have the equipment. So we help with the logistics, and carry their equipment and feed.”

“Without them, we wouldn’t have a backcountry system,” Martinez said. Ari Songer, a former program manager for the LPFA, worked with Martinez when he provided pack support for three-day volunteer trips into the Sespe Wilderness to maintain trails.

The Forest Service requires certified weed-free hay for the horses and mules. “There’s not enough in the wilderness to sustain grazing, so we have to bring special hay that doesn’t allow invasive species in,” Martinez said.

She said an operation like Sespe Wilderness Outfitters is “good for recreation in the wilderness. There is definitely a need for a formal presence back there. A lot of people go into the Sespe not knowing what they’re doing or where they’re going. Having someone who is really familiar with the area can make people’s experience more enjoyable, and it’s better for the Sespe.”

Martinez has volunteered for many years with the Los Padres Forest Association (LPFA). He’s a strong advocate for the LPFA, a local nonprofit that supports the forest through trail maintenance and related projects.

Martinez grew up in the Ojai Valley and has lived there his entire life. He first experienced the Sespe Wilderness around the time he got his driver’s license. “A handful of buddies and I were driving all over the place,


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including to the Sespe River trailhead, so soon we were hiking all over the place too,” he said. The backcountry has become more well-traveled over the years, thanks (or no thanks) to the Internet as a source of information about every last corner of the Earth. “When I was younger, it was great because you could spend a whole weekend there and not see another person,” Martinez said. “You’d have a swimming hole or hot spring to yourself, cooking over a campfire. Now, traffic can get really busy on holiday weekends, but if you go in the middle of the week,” he said, even during the pandemic, “you can still avoid seeing anyone.” What draws him to the wilderness? “On a clear night, it’s pretty unbelievable,” he said. “With no ambient light, the stars are absolutely booming.” But he’s far from wanting to keep the wilderness all to himself. “Now, it’s neat to share this opportunity,” he said. After graduating from Nordhoff High School, and before starting Sespe Wilderness Outfitters in 2019, Martinez worked in the water industry, including for many years as a supervisor in the Meiners Oaks Water District. “Packing horses and mules was something fun on the side,” he said, “and I had a few really good mentors who helped me turn this thing into a business,” including Graham Goodfield of Los Padres Outfitters. “If I could pack for free and be a volunteer, I would totally do it, but at the end of the day, I’ve got to keep these animals fed,” Martinez said. He doesn’t intend to compete with Los Padres Outfitters. “They have their own horses if you want to ride in and have a fully catered trip,” Martinez said. “I’m trying to do more of a low-budget thing: you hike or ride in and we’ll haul your gear.” People who travel in the backcountry

aren’t required to stay on the trails, he said, but most people stick to the paths. He said those who don’t venture away from the trail miss seldom-seen wonders: “Some areas of the Sespe hold a lot of fossils, full sand dollars, clams — things you wouldn’t think of finding in the mountains.” Blooms include wildflowers and meadows with chest-high wild oats. Other potential sightings are sandstone formations; petroglyphs; and wildlife including black bears, deer, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, rattlesnakes, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles. The 53,000-acre Sespe Condor Sanctuary is within the boundaries of the wilderness area, but the public is not allowed to enter the refuge. “Being able to see these animals in their natural element, not spooked, is incredible,” Martinez said. Martinez is also the caretaker for The Thacher School’s privately-owned Patton’s Cabin in the Sespe. Martinez “has helped us out with packing in supplies for our camping trips; he has been a great help to us,” said Christopher Land, director of communications for the school. Martinez said the most important lesson he’s learned over the years as an outfitter is “patience. I used to be worried about how quickly I could get down the trail. But with all these animals, you have to make sure that they’re not getting tired, their load is fitting properly, and they can work day in and out without being sore and uncomfortable.” Martinez said he generally leads trips on his own. “Usually there are five pack animals to one packer; it’s long days and hard work.” His wife, Kirsten, travels for business and is “super supportive,” he said, and their daughter Hayden, 10, and son Carter, 7, are already learning the family business. “Yesterday we got some video of my daughter’s creek crossings and talked about what she could do better,” Martinez said.

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When the business is running at full speed, he figures he’ll lead about two to three trips per month. Prices vary depending on the extent of the aid Sespe Wilderness Outfitters provides, and how many people are in the traveling party. “We’ll cater it to what people feel comfortable with — some people have hiked along with the mules; some people take off and you meet them hours later with all the gear,” he said. The Forest Service has yet to issue guidelines about backcountry safety in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but Martinez said he will follow the rules. “We’re going to have to come up with a way to be smart, safe and protected along with our clients,” he said. “Maybe they’ll drop their gear and stay back. We’ll be diligent about washing our hands, and we might limit the sizes of groups, or keep it to family only.” Martinez has a message for all hikers hitting the trails: “Leave it the way you found it. If you hiked it in, take it out, anywhere you go.” He’s seen people leave backpacks, sleeping bags, tents and stoves in the wilderness because they’re too heavy to carry back. “There’s not a cleaning service in the wilderness to pick up after you,” he said. Language in the text of the Wilderness Act of 1964 refers to “federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation.” Shakespeare, however, long before such legislative-ese, came up with a much more poetic way of describing the wilderness, in “As You Like It”: And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything. Trammeling? Not good. For more information about Sespe Wilderness Outfitters, visit www.sespewildernessoutfitters.com


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SESPE WILDERNESS

Outfitters O

ur professional drop camp service is perfect for all levels of backpackers and horse campers that would like to explore the Ojai Valley’s Back-country without being weighed down. You choose the destination and have your gear packed in and out of anywhere within the Sespe Wilderness that our mules can manage to go. Visit pristine wilderness such as Sespe or Willett Hot-Springs

www.SespeWildernessOutfitters.com


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You can get local! PUBLISHED SINCE 1982

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PLUS : CHAR-MAN AND SOME OTHER DEMONS / THE BROTHERS KOREN / KOMBUCHA AIRSTREAM HAUS / URBAN MEYER / BEE FRIEND / DAVID LABELLE ON CREEK ROAD D I S T R I B U T E D I N V E N T U R A + S A N TA B A R B A R A + L O S A N G E L E S C O U N T I E S

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DREW’Sencounter ENCOUNTER Drew’s with WITH THE the Manson MANSON clan CLAN

Meet the Man


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I

’m unable to recall the exact dates of this adventure because it was over 49 years ago, but it was definitely in March of 1971. That’s when the five of us, Mike Payton, Mitch Mashburn, Jimmy Mitchell, Genemarie McDaniel, Heidi Sommers and myself took a trip back into the remote Sespe Hot Springs in Los Padres National Forest. I drove my 1964 Chevy pickup with my motorcycle in the bed. Genemarie and Heidi rode in the cab with me. Mitch and Jimmy rode in the bed. Mike rode his motorcycle. We left Saturday morning from Ojai. We drove up Highway 33 to the Rose Valley Recreation Area. Sespe Creek Road was dirt and wound for about 16 miles back to the hot springs so we crossed Sespe Creek many times. The first crossing was at Lion Campground. We had zigzagged many times when we came upon a Volkswagen van and a Ford Mustang stuck in the middle of the wide, deep creek. There must have been at least a dozen vehicles waiting to cross, but their drivers were leery about it. All of the vehicles lacked four-wheel drive, including my pickup.

4WD problems were not going to stop us; we figured we had enough able bodies to push the pickup to the opposite bank should the high water flood the engine. We pushed the van and sedan out of the creek, then offloaded my motorcycle. Mike and I rode our motorcycles across the creek in a shallower spot than the main crossing. Then, we waded back across the creek. We loaded into my pickup and I attempted to drive across it. No luck! The wet engine stalled about midpoint in the creek and I was unable to get it started again. We wound up pushing the pickup onto the far bank.

Contributed on behalf of the Ojai Valley Museum

As we were hoopin, hollerin’, generally congratulating one another and wringing out our wet socks, I happened to look back towards the high flowing creek. There was a short, young lady and a fairly tall, young man wading across with heavy backpacks. The water was about chest deep on the gal, and I was fearful that, should she fall over with the pack on, that she’d be swept under the water. I hurriedly headed in her direction, and as I extended my hand to her, I noticed an “X” engraved into her forehead directly above her nose. The gent had an engraved “X” too. I was only 19 years old and was more interested in camping, chasing girls, riding motorcycles and the like than following the news; but, I immediately knew what those X’s meant. These two were, without a doubt, part of the Manson Clan. Now, I didn’t know much about Manson and his clan, but I’d certainly heard about them and the horrific deeds they had committed.

“X” marks the spot! I’ll explain this in a bit.

I assisted the young lady to safety. The gal did all the talking. I swear the dude had the I.Q. of a turnip. I suspected he might have blown his mind with drugs, but he didn’t seem under the influence at the time. The gal told me that she and her partner were in search of attorney Ronald Hughes. Hughes had been Charles Manson’s

LOOK BACK IN OJAI with Drew Mashburn

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defense attorney in the Manson Clan trials, but went missing after he switched to co-defendants Leslie Van Houten’s attorney. I knew that Hughes was considered missing in the Sespe Wilderness. The gal asked if she and her buddy could ride with us. I had her sit next to me in the cab. The tur-

Ronald Hughes, Manson’s defense attorney.

nip-brained friend of hers rode in the bed, and we put my motorcycle back in the bed too. None of my friends asked them about the X’s. Everybody loaded up and off we went with Mike leading the way on his motorcycle. The gal and I chatted. I decided that she was a pleasant, but odd chick. She told me she was Hughes’ “girlfriend.” That seemed odd to me at the time. We didn’t have any more difficulties crossing the creek on the rest of the journey. About a mile or two away from the hot springs, I stopped and told the gal this was as far as I intended on giving them a ride. She told me that she wanted to “camp” and “party” with us. I knew enough about the Manson Clan that I didn’t want these two hanging with us, so I told her that I didn’t want her and her friend showing up at our camp. They got out


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of the pickup and that was the last we saw of them. We traveled on to the hot springs, enjoyed them and spent the night. At some point the next day, we decided to head partially out of the Sespe Wilderness. We spent one more night at a campground. It was dang cold the following morning; I was extremely happy to have my down-filled sleeping bag. After a nice breakfast that in-

cycle tracks that led over the edge of the cliff at the curve’s midpoint; I feared the worst. I got off my bike and called for Mike before I looked over the edge. I didn’t want to look over and see my lifetime bud laying dead. I called a second time and Mike answered. I quickly moved to the edge and saw that Mike was about 40 feet below me. There was only one large bush at the base of the cliff and it was next to the extremely rocky riverbed.

“The wet engine stalled about midpoint in the creek and I was unable to get it started again.”

cluded potatoes that Mike had boiled before the trip we decided to head for home. My heavy motorcycle sliding around the pickup’s bed made it unsafe for Mitch and Jimmy riding with it. We offloaded the motorcycle and I rode it. Jimmy began driving my pickup. We had trouble crossing the one deep crossing again, but got the pickup unstuck and kept going. Mike and I were quite a ways in front of the pickup. Mike was ahead of me and we were crankin’ and enjoying the bumpy, curvy road. Mike rounded a curve, and a few seconds later, I rounded it with the dust a flyin’! There was a long straightaway after the curve. Mike should have been on that straightaway, but he wasn’t. I quickly braked and flipped a U-turn. Back to the curve I went. I found motor-

Mike and his bike had landed in the bush. It broke their fall. One LUCKY dawg! Mike was not injured and he’d only broken the bike’s mirror. The rest of our group soon caught up with us. We were stumped as to how we were going to get the motorcycle up to the road. Soon, another pickup stopped. The guy driving it asked if he and his passengers might assist us. This guy was in his late 30s or early 40s. He told us he had a rope and suggested we tie it to the motorcycle, then everybody grab the rope and pull it up the steep cliff that was made of very loose shale. Mike and I kept the bike upright and pushed while all the others pulled on the rope. We were successful! The gent informed us that the lady in his party was a “psychic.” He told us they were looking for Hughes

using the lady’s mental powers, but had been unsuccessful. Now, it was necessary to return to their New York residences. This gent told us they intended to return in the near future to continue their search. He asked me if I’d be willing to rent camping equipment, buy food and organize whatever else would be needed for a second attempt to locate the missing attorney with the psychic. I jumped at the opportunity. He asked me to immediately start locating what would be needed and that he’d send me the money to buy the supplies. We exchanged phone numbers. My group again thanked his party for their assistance and off they went. Soon, we were back in civilization with a sense of having had a terrific adventure. The next week, I searched stores selling camping and expedition equipment. The gent called me. He asked if I had acquired everything and I told him I had compiled a list with the places to get everything. He asked me to buy it all with my own money. I told him I didn’t have that kind of money. He told me he’d arrange to get me the money and call again. I never heard from him. Undoubtedly that was because on March 27 two fishermen stumbled across Hughes’ dead body in the middle of the creek. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department conducted the investigation. It’s never been determined if Hughes’ death was accident or murder. Some speculate Manson had placed a hit on Hughes because Manson didn’t like Hughes’ trial strategy. In fact, some people suspected the reason Hughes was in the Sespe was to hide from Manson and his clan. I’ve wondered all these years … did the couple we gave a ride to with the X’s knock off Hughes?


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Stars come This lovely little hamlet in the lap of the Los Padres National Forest that we call home certainly sees more than its fair share of stars and even superstars of the sporting world. I was born in Las Vegas, grew up in Hollywood, hung out in the Turf Club at Santa Anita with my grandpa and uncles and then worked as a writer in Los Angeles for 10 years. So I have never been one to be “starstruck,” and have asked for only one autograph in my life (Dodger manager Walter Alston when I was 12) and came early in life to realize

that these fabulous athletes whom we have the privilege and good fortune to cover are really “just people,” like you and I, navigating the waters of family, finances and today, COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been at least a little agog on those special occasions when, as a reporter for the Ojai Valley News, I was

fortunate enough to find myself in the presence of greatness. The first bonafide star I met on the “beat,” as we like to call it in the media, was Steve Hovley back in the ‘80s. Hovley, who graduated from Villanova Prep and Stanford, enjoyed a successful MLB career that included a stint with the Oakland A’s during their glory years in the ‘70s.


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out in Ojai Ted Cotti reflects on his 31 years as a sports reporter in Ojai.

He was roommate to Jim Bouton, who penned Ball Four, which I would recommend to any baseball fan who finds himself, as I do, in a stupor without the sounds of summer. Another big leaguer made his way into the OVN in 2001. Sparky Anderson, manager of the Cincinnati “Big Red Machine” and at the time the third winningest manager in

MLB history behind only Connie Mack and John McGraw, spent the day with then Thacher manager Rich Mazzola and his Toads, who had just captured the Condor League title and were making their way through the CIF playoffs. Sparky came to give the boys a hitting lesson (“Always be looking fastball,” he told them), but it quickly turned into life lessons.

Of course, Ojai baseball fans also had the pleasure to follow the careers of Nordhoff stars Noah Lowry (San Francisco Giants) and more recently Trevor Weedon (drafted by the California Angels) and Gerald Deason (drafted by and now playing in the Houston Astros’ organization).


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Basketball legend Paul Westhead came to town in 1990. Westhead guided the Lakers to a world championship in Magic Johnson’s rookie season and was here to share his run-and-gun offense made famous by the Hank Gathers / Bo Kimble LMU Lions with the Villanova boys’ basketball team. He and his Palos Verdes buddies still make Soule Park one of their regular “destination” golf outings, as did other notables such as Lakers’ great James Worthy and Chicago Bears icon Dick Butkus, who told me he liked coming to Ojai because “nobody bothers him.” Needless to say, that would-be story

died on the first tee. Others who did make it from Soule #1 to the OVN Sports page, however, include former Bears Super Bowl quarterback Jim McMahon, who played with the Pounders a couple of times, and Lynn Shakelford (UCLA, Lakers), a real stick and a true gentleman. Of course, the list of golfers who have passed through this town is indecently lengthy since the Ojai Valley Inn was part of the PGA Senior Tour stop from 1991-94. But the moments that stand out for me (and I’m sure for so many of the golf

fans who had the opportunity to get close to the players – don’t forget this was pre-9/11) were the sincere interactions that greats such as Arnold Palmer, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Dave Stockton and Al Geiberger dedicated – not to the media – but to the fans. And rightly so. Because Ojai hosts one of the oldest and most prestigious amateur tennis tournaments in the world, The Ojai, the list of tennis stars to share their stories with the Ojai Valley News is even longer and includes greats Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Rod Laver, the remarkable Bryan twins and


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Tracy Austin, each of whom was remarkably generous with his or her time. Although I did not have an opportunity to speak with him, I did get to watch and “cover” Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong in when he came to race in the Garrett Lemire Memorial Grand Prix held in downtown Ojai in 2005. He finished 17th that day. Without a doubt, however, my “one shining moment” came in February of 2016 when two-time Olympian and five-time world record holder (and now Ojai resident and Nordhoff track coach) Danny Everett assembled

track and field luminaries Carl Lewis, Steve Lewis, Michael Powell, Kevin Young and Mary Decker-Slaney for a Roadrunners Track Club fundraiser dinner and all-day youth clinic. A track athlete myself, it was certainly as close to awe-struck as I have come, and I still consider my exclusive with Decker-Slaney seminal. Looking back at the story, I see she predicted Galen Rupp would be a superstar (he just made his 2nd USA Olympic team, winning the marathon Trials). But she also said something in that piece with which I believe almost everyone aforementioned herein

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would agree: “No matter what you choose to do, the most important thing is that you have fun doing it because you’ll be so much more successful. Certainly, dedication and perseverance is important, but I can’t ever remember ever, ever going out to a workout thinking, ‘I have to’ do this; I was always excited that I ‘get’ to do this.” I’m pretty sure that my colleague and Ojai Valley News Sports editor, Mike Miller, would agree that as sports reporters, we don’t ever think about “having” to do this (reporting) but instead relish the opportunity to “get” to do this.


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VOLUME 38 NUMBER 12 || SPRING SUMMER 2020 2020

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Jacalyn Booth, Ojai Digestive Health

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Story by Perry Van Houten

Sole Surviv “Light rain, like right now, is just perfect,” said Scott Eckersley, as he watched raindrops outside his Reeves Road home Jan. 15, 2019. “But when it does start to rain in really hard sheets, I start getting the shakes again, I get nervous … and I pace.”

Scott Eckersley of Ojai recalls the Sespe tragedy 51 years ago.

Eckersley, now 79, was the lone survivor of a tragedy that unfolded 51 years ago — an ill-fated rescue attempt in the Sespe Wilderness that resulted in the deaths of 10 people. The story has been well-chronicled over the years, most notably in an extensive 2008 article in Outside magazine titled “Hell in High Water.” It all began on Saturday, Jan. 18, 1969. There was a 10 percent chance of rain that day, and Eckersley, on his first trip into the Sespe, planned to spend the weekend camping at Sespe Hot Springs. But light rain soon turned heavier, so Eckersley turned his camper around and started back toward the old Lion Car Camp. His truck got stuck on the now-impassable road. He spent the night in the camper and the next morning found six boys ages 11 to 14 from the Canoga Park area and their adult leader, across

was driving a tractor belonging to the U.S. Navy, which the group would ride to cross the river in several places. Eckersley tried to talk them out of the attempt and strongly considered staying behind. “It was the insane thing to do,” he said. “We had it made there. We could have stayed day after day after day.” The group set out on foot in a driving rain, visibility near zero, into the pitch-black night. Disaster struck three miles down the road, when the tractor with 11 terrified souls aboard stalled in the middle of the raging river. Unable to hold on in the fierce current, all but Eckersley were swept to their deaths.

the canyon, crammed into the cab of their stranded truck. Eckersley discovered a cabin he hadn’t noticed before and broke in, so the group could be safe and warm. They made a fire and stayed overnight, dining on stew made from quail They all should have known

that Eckersley had shot. The next evening, a three-man rescue team consisting of a deputy sheriff, a forest ranger and a Seabee officer arrived and told the group they would be walking out that night. The officer

Eckersley believes the way the river rose in that three-mile section took everybody by surprise. “It must have come up 3 or 4 feet in that one stretch,” he said. But he said the rescue party should have known those river crossings. “They all should have known. They’d been back there. I think I can say that now, after all these years,” he said. Bashed against the rocks and nearly drowned after being swept off the tractor, Eckersley found himself on the bank of the river, where he spent a sleepless night, shivering and shaking. The next morning, in a frantic state,


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Photgraphs: courtesy Dan Poush and the Ventura County Star

vor

The bulldozer six boys and four adults rode to their death in the raging Sespe late the night of Jan. 20.

One of the five bodies recovered two days after ten people were swept off a bulldozer in the raging Sespe. Pieces of clothing high in tree (arrows) indicate how high the Sespe flowed on night of tragedy.


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A few days after his rescue, Eckersley tried to return to the scene of the tragedy. “I got within a mile, but I couldn’t cross. The river was still too high. I was tempted to risk it.” It was three months before he was able to retrieve his truck with all his clothes and personal belongings inside. Not long after the accident, Eckersley met with each of the boys’ parents. Above: Devestating floods affected the entire region. Photograph: Ojai Valley Museum Right: Scott Eckersley’s contemporaneous account of the tragedy, hand written on the back of a cigarette carton. Photograph: Perry Van Houten

tragedy. “They were getting ready to cross. But he said, no, we’re not going to try this.” But not everyone remembers lessons from a half-century I can see their faces sometimes

ago. “There could be somebody back there right now, just asking for it,” Eckersley said. Fifty years later, Eckersley is still bothered by the memory of the boys. “I got to know those kids. I can see their faces sometimes,” he said. Had the group stayed put that terrible night, would things have

he remembered seeing a couple of Volkswagen vans belonging to Ojai Valley School, parked in a camping area a couple miles down the road. Inside, Eckersley found food, clothing and blankets, “so I finally started to calm down. I found a cigarette carton to write everything down on, because I was not sure I was going to live Oddly enough, I found a cigarette carton to write everything down on, because I was not sure I was going to live. I was writing it like it was a will.” He takes the carton out every now and then, and thinks back. Help arrived later that day. “It was getting dark when this helicopter came over, and I was sure it was a rescue helicopter, but it wasn’t,” he said. It was a CBS News helicopter, which landed and flew Eckersley out, and passed over the stranded tractor in the middle of the creek. When he saw the tractor, “they say I let out a yell and passed out,” he recalled.

“That tore me up,” he said. He figured it was his duty, even though it was bitterly difficult to do. Nowadays, fibromyalgia keeps Eckersley from hiking into his beloved back country. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the accident. It’s just the way it is, getting old. Otherwise, I’m kind of the same; perhaps a little bit wiser, about a lot of things,” he said. In 1970, Eckersley recalled, a man leading a group of Boy Scouts through the Sespe apparently remembered the lessons taught by the

ended differently? “We broke into that cabin to save our lives. These kids were happy as can be, breaking up chairs to burn for firewood. The joy of seeing kids that know they can’t get out, but they’re warm and cozy — that’s one of those great visions I can see in my mind’s eye, 51 years later.” Why did Eckersley survive? He still doesn’t know. “Lots of questions,” he said, “no answers.”

This profile by senior reporter Perry Van Houten ran previously in the Ojai Valley News, took 2nd place in the California Newspaper Publishers Association Awards for journalism 2019.


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Clifford Larson, grief-stricken father of deputy sheriff Chester Larson, is consoled by Ventura County Sheriff William Hill, second from right, after hearing news that his son had perished in the Sespe.

Members of the Ojai rescue unit wrap a body prior to removing it from the Sespe waters. The victim was one of five recovered a few days after ten perished in flood waters. A sixth body was later recovered, 50 miles downstream in the Santa Clara River bed, near Ventura.


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VOLUME VOLUME 3838 NUMBER NUMBER 2 1| |SUMMER SPRING 2020

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Covid-19 has us stripping the supermarket shelves of everything from toilet paper to turnips. But you don’t have to rely entirely on your local market. The question is ...

Can you dig it? by Paul Stanton

There once was a TV gardener, Ted by name, who with artfully inclined head and arched brow, would solemnly intone his signature catchphrase, “The answer lies” … dramatic pause … “in the soil.” Quite what he meant puzzled me at the time. I was a fresh-faced kid back then and disinclined to look for meaning in dirt. After all, vegetables were pretty low on my list of priorities along with soap and homework. But later with a hungry young family to feed, I found myself taking vegetables and their cultivation very much to heart. Now, as a grizzled old gardener with decades of dirt under my fingernails I’m sure that Ted was right. There is an answer and it truly can be found “in the soil.” In our current state of existential crisis heralded by the arrival of the dark lord, Darth Covid, many of us with time to kill and with a few feet of open ground are turning to our gardens in the hope that when the zombie apocalypse arrives THERE WILL be lettuce! The supermarket shelves are still full of food yet a powerful and primal instinct to feed ourselves is reasserting itself and the impulse towards self-sufficiency is putting down roots in backyards throughout the land. People have taken to sprouting microgreens and wheatgrass in their kitchens. Bunches

of fresh herbs spring forth on windowsills and online seed suppliers report an 1,800 percent year-onyear increase in demand for fruit and vegetable seed. So what’s going on? Coronavirus may be new but international emergencies are not. The last monumental global crisis was in WW2 when shortages of essential foods and other goods forced governments around the world to introduce strict rationing. In Europe, people saw their pantries empty as vital nutritional lifelines

were severed by enemy torpedos. Throughout this nation and all over war-torn Europe people were induced to eke out their sometimes meager

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rations by cultivating homegrown produce. Government propaganda and programs encouraged citizens, from the suburbs to the cities, to turn over rose beds and tennis courts to radish and tomatoes and, whether from genuine need or from unabashed patriotism, people rallied to the cause and created their very own Victory Gardens. Meanwhile, Eleanor Roosevelt underlined the message when she turned over the White House sod to presidential cabbages and for her effort (figuratively speaking … she didn’t actually get her hands dirty) was pilloried by the farm lobby, fretting about their profits. Perhaps the lobbyists’ worries were justified. By 1943 there were over 20 million Victory Gardens in America churning out an estimated 10 million tons of fresh fruit and veggies … a staggering amount when you consider that this was nearly equivalent to half of all commercial vegetable production of the time. ‘Homegrown’ became a badge of pride. There were festivals and competitions to showcase and award prizes for the achievements of citizen gardeners. Many beets were eaten and vegetable rustling became a thing. These home-front gardeners gained more than some extra food on their plates though. Finding themselves feeling helpless and overwhelmed, people will often search for ways to give themselves a sense of meaning and purpose. The simple act of feeding themselves and their families gave them that. In the event, the national drive to ‘Dig for Victory’ produced much needed food to feed the civilian population and released resources for the fighting forces at home and abroad. When the war ended and serried ranks of allied onions stood victorious and proud, a few stalwart cultivators held


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on to their hoes and their homegrown lifestyles. Few of the community gardens they created grow on to this day. The Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston are some of the most famous in the U.S., but in most European cities and towns a much larger number of those original Victory Gardens survive and thrive today. Plentiful food supply has made the need for them less urgent and so they have evolved into leisure and community spaces, but the institutional memory of a nation on the brink of hunger compels people and governments alike to maintain and cherish them. Becoming self-sufficient in your vegetable supply can be quite hard to

Above: Garden fever has always been a symptom of times of crises. Ojai front and backyards are taking up the food security mantle with summer vegetable gardens in bloom about town. Below: Established in 1942, the Fenway community garden in downtown Boston is one of the few remaining victory gardens. Photograph: Wiki Commons.

do, even for experienced gardeners. Although there are many ways to maximize the produce taken from a small plot, feeding a family needs quite a bit of space. It’s been estimated that you would need around 4000 square feet per person to provide a simple vegetarian diet consistently throughout the year. The vagaries of soil, weather and foraging wildlife may all take their toll and the effort required to plant, sow, weed, water,

harvest and store crops for the winter shouldn’t be underestimated. Neither should the cost of water, seed, fertilizer, tools or the occasional chiropractor visit. But if like me, you aspire only to raise some good organic veg, perhaps save a little on your grocery bill or


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just to have some fun in the sun, then why wait? Find an open sunny place in your yard. Mark out a plot and turn over the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches removing any large stones and root material. Raised beds are popular because they are nicely self-contained and greatly reduce the need to bend and stoop. It’s not hard to build them yourself (you can find plans online) or they can be bought ready made. Add plenty of compost, steer or stable manure to enrich the soil and use garden netting to protect your plants. If you are able to find a source of seeds locally or online you can raise your own starter plants. Sow them in pots or trays of

Above: Raised beds and containers help protect against marauding gophers and reduce back strain. Above and lower right photographs by Scott Daigre.

seed compost. Keep them moist until they germinate then grow them on until they reach 4-6 inches tall before transplanting into your garden. Protect young plants from foraging wildlife and look out for snails, caterpillars, earwigs or other hungry bugs that will literally eat your lunch. Don’t forget to water, particularly in dry spells as fruit and vegetables require plenty of moisture to bring crops to maturity. Home grown food is more tasty and nutritious and you can have fun experimenting with

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some unusual, gourmet varieties instead of commercially cultivated varieties. Your garden can be a source of fun, creativity and comfort, particularly in times such as these. It teaches patience and persistence and puts us into closer relationship with the rising and setting of the sun and the changing of the seasons. It rewards us with a cornucopia of tasty food and with the pleasure of sharing with friends and family. And as you sit contemplating those rows of green delectables on a warm summer evening you may too decide that the answer as old Ted said, “lies in the soil.”


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Living the Ojai life O jai’s reputation as a uniquely desirable place to put down roots continues to grow. Surrounded by natural beauty yet a mere stone’s-throw from Los Angeles, residents can live a relaxed, family lifestyle within a close-knit community. Recent articles in The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Washington Post have helped to attract buyers from around the nation and from futher afield, all of them seeking their own little slice of Ojai heaven. Ojai’s local agents know and love our valley; we recommend everyone from these pages. For the most current weekly listings and our Open House Map, pick up a copy of the Ojai Valley. See our free digital real estate edition published weekly on our Facebook page and on our website. www.ojaivalleynews.com


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RECENTLY SOLD IN OJAI Beautiful mountain retreat on 2 acres across from a yearround creek 3 + 1, Great Room, sun room, fireplace.

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© 2020 LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. All rights reserved. All data, including all measurements and calculations are obtained from various sources and has not and will not be verified by Broker. All information shall be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is independently owned and operated and supports the principals of the Fair Housing Act.

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SIGNAL STREET COMPOUND On nearly 8 acres at the top of Nor th Signal Street, this compound has boundless potential for multiple uses. The main house is perched on a hill, with amazing views of the entire valley, from sensational sunrises to famous pink moment sunsets. The proper ty has multiple structures, including two finished guest houses and a third waiting for your magic touch. With a little love, two of the other buildings could ser ve in a myriad of ways: a yoga or recording studio, R V storage, a workshop or a secret getaway for writing that masterpiece! I ts grounds are filled with pepper, bottle brush and fruit trees and it is only a shor t walk from downtown, Shelf Road and Pratt Trail. 1203NorthSignalStOjai.com

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EAST END SPACIOUSNESS This magnificent 40 acre gated Mediterranean estate in Ojai's East End offers stunning panoramic views of the Ojai Valley, exceptional privacy and is minutes from town. The main structure, with 4,000sf of living space, features a great room with vaulted ceilings, a huge family/media room, a large eat-in farmhouse kitchen, 2 master suites and a 3rd bedroom. Luxurious amenities include a stone wine room, a whimsical bell tower and 3 kiva fireplaces. Outside there is a 75ft infinity pool & spa that take full advantage of the sweeping views, 2 gas fire pits, an infrared sauna, a 4-car garage and an EV charging station. Beautifully landscaped and built with green materials, this is a truly unique property. 2661LaderaRdOjai.com

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2144-2150 BALDWIN RD. | $5,000,000. 85+ acres. Private, 2 homes, lake, horse facilities, 6 parcels.

3 SEAVIEW DR. MONTECITO | $5,500,000. Oceanfront, Steps from the sand, bottom unit, gated community.

Cathy Titus DRE 01173283 805.798.0960 ctitus@livsothebysrealty.com

LIV SOTHEBY’S International Realty 727 W. Ojai Avenue, Ojai, California www.livsothebysrealtyca.com | 805.798.0960

© 2020 LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. All rights reserved. All data, including all measurements and calculations are obtained from various sources and has not and will not be verified by Broker. All information shall be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is independently owned and operated and supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act.


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10650-10652 OJAI SANTA PAULA RD. | $6,490,000. Family Farm, 2 homes, commercial barn, almost 10 acres, Orchard, Great potential as a winery.

13100 OJAI RD. | $2,895,000. Modern Victorian 10+ acres. The Topa Topa Mountains are backdrop to this Modern Victorian house, 10+ acres.

Cathy Titus DRE 01173283 805.798.0960 ctitus@livsothebysrealty.com © 2020 LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. All rights reserved. All data, including all measurements and calculations are obtained from various sources and has not and will not be verified by Broker. All information shall be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty is independently owned and operated and supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act.


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Ojai Meadows Preserve An easy one-mile trail loops through this peaceful 58-acre preserve, just minutes from downtown Ojai and administered by Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. The highlight is the wetlands pond, where you’re likely to see some of the 180 species of birds observed here, including ducks, hawks and herons. It’s level walking the whole way, with benches near the pond for bird-watching and

Rose Valley Falls

an old eucalyptus grove planted in the 1940s that’s shady and fun to explore. The main entrance to the preserve is on Maricopa Highway near Nordhoff High School.

An easy, half-mile hike in partial shade to the base of a 300-foot, twotiered waterfall, this hot-weather hike is perfect for families, even when there’s not a lot of water.

Dogs must be leashed at all times. Mutt Mitt bags are available at the trailhead. The Ojai Valley Preserve is closed to horses.

There are a few shallow wading pools along the slightly uphill trail, which starts on the south side of Rose Valley Campground and crosses the creek a couple of times. The falls can be just a trickle, and still the rocky cathedral

The preserve is open all year except the Fourth of July, when it’s closed all day for fire safety.

at its base, beneath a canopy of bays and alders, seems like the coolest spot on the mountain — an obvious picnic spot. Take Highway 33 north from Ojai for about 14 miles to the Rose Valley Road turnoff. Three miles up, on the right, is the road to the campground. You’ll need to pay the $10 day use fee if you park in the campground. Otherwise, park outside the gate and walk in.

Beat the Heat Perry Van Houten explores some cool summer hikes in and around the Ojai Valley


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Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail A nice hike when the mercury soars, this loop trail is less than one-mile-long and starts and ends creekside, beneath the plentiful shade of alders. The trailhead can be found at the upper end of Wheeler Gorge Campground, about 15 minutes north of Ojai on Highway 33. Noncampers can park at a turnout just before the bridge over North Fork Matilija Creek, but don’t block the locked gate. The trail takes you under the bridge and climbs slightly past stands of poison oak. There’s one easy creek

crossing at the start and a number of little pools and waterfalls. Soon you leave the creek and enter a brushy area in the full sun before the trail loops around and rejoins the creek. Signposts along the trail identify a wide range of native plants and shrubs including laurel sumac, toyon and chamise. Learn more about the forest at the nearby Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, which offers drinks, snacks, maps, books and other literature, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m

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Reyes Peak Trail At roughly 7,000 feet elevation, this six-milelong trail along the jagged spine of the Pine Mountain range might remind you of the Sierras. Majestic Jeffrey and sugar pine, white fir and incense cedar tower above and offer plentiful shade, while outstanding views of the Sespe watershed and the Cuyama Valley unfold far below you. For the more adventurous, an obscure path to the south of the main trail climbs to Reyes Peak, at 7,514 feet the third-highest mountain peak in Ventura

County and the former site of a fire lookout tower destroyed in the 1932 Matilija Fire. Following the main trail, hike four miles to Haddock Peak. The trail then drops steeply to Haddock Camp and the junction with the Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail. Water is usually available at the camp. From Ojai, drive 31 miles north on Highway 33 to the turnoff for Reyes Peak Road (aka Pine Mountain Road). Drive another 7 miles to the trailhead. There are restrooms at the trailhead but no water is available.

The Ojai Valley can be hot in summer and early fall, but good hiking options exist if you pick the right trail and plan ahead. All four trails described here are easy walking and have plenty of shade. A few offer shallow pools for splashing. Start early in the day and bring plenty to drink.


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Best Property Management in 2019

Local, Licensed and Experienced Agents to help you with all of your property needs!

1211 Maricopa HWY Suite 104 Ojai CA 93023 Lic # 01958206 Office Phone: 805.648.9900 www.joekapprealestate.com


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108 SOUTH MONTGOMERY STREET $2,200,000

Tom Weber Broker

805-320-2004 CalDRE# 00805061

TomWeber@ojaitom.com

Prime Commercial Real Estate in downtown Ojai with well established bakery, breakfast and lunch restaurant. Located In the heart of downtown and just steps away from all of Ojai’s events and attractions.


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403 N. Montgomery Street El Viaje, a luxurious Italian Villa where old world charm & the modern conveniences of every day life come together perfectly! Enter through the gates to a private, secluded yard with a mix of mature trees, rose gardens & cozy seating areas. Inside you will appreciate the elegant but simple lifestyle, with polished concrete floors downstairs & Brazilian Cherry wood floors upstairs. Cozy living room open to kitchen & dining rooms, perfect for entertaining. Venetian plaster throughout, granite counter tops, top of the line kitchen appliances & an elevator. The brilliant finishing touches & attention to detail cannot be ignored!


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3860 Grand Avenue Fabulous & charmingly inviting, this two-story Victorian estate is nestled in the magical East End of Ojai. Surrounded by organic orchards & meticulous landscaping, this 5 bed & 4 bath home is ďŹ lled with Southern Charm. The wrap around porch looks out to the gardens, the country kitchen & breakfast nook looks out to the pool & tennis court. Perfectly situated nearby are the spacious guesthouse, separate cottages & a writer’s studio, creating plenty of living space for friends & family.


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Patty Waltcher

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25 ye a r s o f e x p e r i e n ce m a tc h i n g

p e o p l e a n d p ro p e r t y i n t h e O j a i Va l l e y

A Z U R E S TAU R A N T & B A R : A N I CO N I C O J A I G AT H E R I N G P L AC E

Ojai’s original California tapas bar, Azu has been a central downtown gathering place for nearly 20 years. The lovingly restored 1910 building has 160 seats, two full bars, sidewalk dining, a fireplace dining room, a private dining room, a garden patio and two kitchens. With over 5600 sq. ft. of indoor space, this historical building could easily be converted to offices, a wellness center, or a retail space.The sale includes the building and the restaurant business. Offered at $2,450,000 AzuRestaurantOjai.com

I will help you discover the home that brings peace to your mind and heart (805) 340-3774

Profile for Ojai Valley News

Ojai Valley Guide Summer 2020  

Ojai Valley Guide Summer 2020  

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