Grown in San Diego: Five Local Producers Explain What Being Local Means to Them
There are many reasons to buy local, from lowering your carbon footprint to supporting your local community. The Farm Bureau's San Diego Grown 365 label has taken the guess work out of local shopping by giving businesses that are growing, sourcing, and producing right here in SD county the opportunity to identify themselves as locals. Here at Edible San Diego, we might love local the most because of the people and the stories behind the products.
Foxy Treats in Oceanside is the first and only pet product company to be San Diego Grown 365 certified. They offer handmade treats made from 100% certified organic ingredients, like an avocado oil skin and coat supplement, bone broth gummies, Doggy Detox Tea and Farmers’ Harvest seasonally driven frozen raw pet food, which is available via a CSA-style subscription.
The small company, nearing a decade in business, is dedicated to sourcing ingredients from San Diego County growers, as well as from their own small boutique farm located in Valley Center.
“The San Diego Grown label immediately indicates to our clientele that we are serious about ‘local grown.’ We are so grateful for the community of farmers who make what we do possible, and the SD Grown label on our products allows us to easily show our support and gratitude,” says Tasha Ardalan, the founder and chef of Foxy Treats. When you purchase Foxy Treats’ items you can be confident in knowing that you are supporting San Diego’s farmers while providing your pet with nutritionally complete and balanced products with an emphasis on holistic wellness.
Foxy Treats also offers custom canine confections, Doggy&Me cooking classes, and Canine Concierge services developing products for restaurants and hotels. All products are made in a human grade commercial facility in Oceanside.
Ramona Gold Olive Oil
A couple of years ago, Ramona Gold made two decisions about the olives used for their extra virgin olive oil. The first is that they would stick with a Tuscan blend, and the second is that all of the olives would come from San Diego. Bill Schweitzer and Scott Farquar believe these decisions have been the keys to their success.
Schweitzer explains that the San Diego climate perfect for the Tuscan blend, and growing locally allows him to both examine the fruit during the harvesting season to ensure proper growth and to keep an eye on the crop for pests. Today, Ramona Gold olive oil is the only olive oil to be both certified extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council and carry the San Diego Grown 365 label.
The first grapes planted in California were planted right here in San Diego, so for growers Steve and Marilyn, it only made sense to work with locally grown varietals. In 1995, Woof n Rose began as a landscaping project. With just shy of five acres of burnable brush, Steve and Marilyn chose to replace the potential fire hazard with vines, at first simply because they both liked the idea of a vineyard view and loved drinking wine.
The couple found that taking care of the vines was such a pleasure that by 2007 they had transitioned into making their own wine and they opened a tasting room to share their award-winning bottles in 2011.
“If I am getting grapes from all over the world, that seems silly,”Marilyn said of the fact that not only are their grapes 100% San Diego Grown, but 100% of the wines on their tasting list are exclusively grown in Ramona.
Brijette Romstedt created The San Diego Seed Company in 2010 by with one simple goal in mind, to create and maintain vegetable, flower and herb varieties that thrive in the wide range of microclimates that exist here in San Diego County.
Since its conception, SDSC has grown to provide San Diego growers with over 130 varieties of vegetable, flowers and herbs. Through collaborative breeding efforts, SDSC works to create and maintain new varieties suited for the ever-changing weather patterns that San Diegans are seeing.
By producing and trialing seeds here San Diego County, Brijette feels that they are helping to reclaim some of the lost produce varieties that were once widely grown in San Diego’s thriving agricultural community.
She understands the hard work and risk that goes into any farming or growing endeavor and wanted to be a small part of making it easier for growers by providing premier regionally adapted organic seeds to wide range of San Diego growers.
SDSC works with the Organic Seed Alliance and its educational outreach efforts and it is Brijette’s dream to be the premier provider of organic regionally adapted seed.
Frank Hilliker and Lara Woliung’s grandparents Frank and Josephine started the ranch in Lakeside in 1942, and it has been a family business ever since. The cage free operation provides their eggs to small high-end stores and restaurants, as well as to the community at their own retail store on the farm. Frank attributes their continued success to the fact that they are a local business. “People value local because it comes with assurance that it is a fresh product, and that helps with quality and competitiveness,” he explains.
When the couple’s not busy tending to the chickens, they invest their time providing community education about the egg industry with school talks and presentations at the fair.