Women’s History Month: Black Mountain Beauty
Black Mountain Beauty
Meet Black Mountain Beauty, a women-owned and women-powered Marin company, makers of organic, non-gmo, no cruelty, vegan and plastic free bath products for your whole family! They care about the future of our oceans!
“I am a farmer out in beautiful West Marin County in Northern California. I love to create products from the bounty of my farm. I am a Fiber Farmer first and create soft, cozy clothing from my Wensleydale sheep and Angora rabbits.
We live close to the beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches which I love to visit. Unfortunately, there is more and more plastic pollution on these beaches every day. So, in an effort to reduce my own use of plastic, I began creating all-natural Shampoo and Conditioner bars that need no plastic packaging. These have been selling like crazy to people who like chemical-free products and also care about plastic pollution in our oceans.
I am branching out to new, everyday personal products that can be made with biodegradable packaging or no packaging at all. Hope you enjoy it.” – Marnie Jackson
They are on a mission to create a zero waste beauty line. There are too many single use plastic containers floating around in the Ocean. Black Mountain Beauty is trying to reduce waste by creating, simple, organic, cruelty-free beauty products in biodegradable or refillable packaging. After spending many a weekend picking up plastic garbage on local ocean beaches, Black Mountain Beauty wanted to make a change in the world by doing their best to eliminate plastic waste.
We love what they do!
Thank You St. John’s Family Farms!
Their hens are carefree and pasture-raised. They explore, play games of chicken, and never have to cross the road. Best of all, they lay darn delicious eggs.
Thank You Tofu Shop Specialty Foods, Inc.!
Organic Fair Trade Cherry Tomatoes from Del Cabo
Changing Lives Through Food
The del Cabo Project’s roots stretch back to 1980, when husband and wife co-founders Larry Jacobs and Sandra Belin began farming in coastal California. By fate, their paths crossed with a group of struggling farmers in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico and together they embarked on a radical mission united by passion.
Today, they farm nearly five thousand acres of field-grown and greenhouse-grown herbs, tomatoes and other delicious veggies.
We Thrive Together
“Our mission is brought to life through the collaboration with our del Cabo farmers — who passionately grow organic products all along the Baja California coast. Our work together provides these farmers with thriving and sustainable farming economies that have transformed and empowered their communities.”, says the del Cabo people.
Putting People First
The del Cabo collective was born in 1985 when co-founders Larry and Sandra met a group of small-scale farmers in San Jose del Cabo. They found these farmers to be some of the best people on this planet who worked really hard, but were not in the right place to make a good living.
The goal of the del Cabo collective was to connect these communities with good products and teach them how to grow food in a way that’s healthy for them, for the consumer, and for the planet.
Less Plastic for Our Planet
Jacobs Farm del Cabo is excited to introduce their newest paper-based pack as an alternative to single-use plastic clamshells. In this year alone, the new paperboard pack is projected to reduce their plastic waste by half a million pounds!
The introduction of paper-based clamshells is part of our steady and multifaceted shift away from plastic toward more sustainable materials, and we’re proud to announce that Del Cabo’s new paperboard pack is as clean and green as it gets!
The pack is made with 100% recycled paperboard and provides a clear view of the bright and flavorful product inside with a plant-based, cellulose window that is certified compostable both commercially AND at home!
The Natural Grocery Company will always ask for this packaging from our distributors but it may not always be available.
Season: In October Del Cabo grows their Fair Trade tomatoes in Mexico
Flavor: Sweet & Juicy, “Nature’s Candy”.
Storage: Keep unwashed in their container on the counter. If they begin to soften you can pop them into the fridge for a few extra days of shelf life. Optimal storage is between 55F and 65F.
How to use: Crudite, snacking, pasta, and salads.
Nutrition: Promotes skin health, improves vision, decrease the risk of oxidative stress, and an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Pachamama Coffee of the Month: Mexico
Mexico happens to be Pachamama’s coffee of the month, and since September marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we thought sharing this blog would be helpful, informative, and provide a new perspective about coffee’s wonderful, labor-love journey from seed to cup.
We present Pachamama’s latest Blog, Journey to the Origin. Their Creative Director, Rosa, recounts her discovery of coffee’s incredible journey from seed to cup while visiting one of Pachamama’s owner cooperatives: La Union Regionnal Cooperative, in Veracruz, Mexico.
We hope you find the time to read about her experience. It’s a short read that demonstrates how Pachamama Coffee is one of the most sustainable coffees the Natural Grocery can offer our customers. It is available in our El Cerrito Store.
Our Bulk Packaging is Compostable!
We are still packaging everything in our Bulk Departments so that you may purchase the products you like without the plastic! The Natural Grocery Company is committed to using packaging that protects your food and does not contribute to more plastic waste. We use NatureFlex TM to pack all our Bulk Items. Our resilient workers at The Annex prepare these items for sale in our facility. Items are then transferred to our stores as needed. Thank you for your continued support!
Cult Crackers – Our Newest, Local Food Crush
Small batch, handmade, organic crackers made in Berkeley?
That’s exactly what Cory (long time employee of Berkeley Natural Grocery) said to Birgitta when she told him about her made-from-scratch crackers crafted from a Swedish friend’s recipe.
Birgitta is a long time (30 + years) shopper at our Berkeley store. For years, she bought the same superfood ingredients from our bulk bins. After chatting and recipe sharing with staff, she brought the team at Berkeley Natural (BNG) samples of her crackers. They were hooked. Birgitta and her partner Dianna credit Cory and the BNG team with inspiring them to start their small business.
The recipe originated with Birgitta’s friend in Sweden whose daughter is a very picky eater. When she finally discovered a winning combination that even her daughter appreciated, she shared it with Birgitta. While Birgitta and Dianna have altered the recipe a bit (most dramatically dropping the olive oil in favor of coconut oil), the Swedish roots are strong.
The flower on the label is a traditional Swedish decoration. Their label and logo designer lives on an island in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. The heritage (and inspiration) for these crackers points back to the majestic northern lands of the Baltic.
Cracker culture in Sweden is endless, with entire aisles dedicated to the craft. Everybody buys and bakes crackers. People commonly eat crackers with every meal whether paired with pickled herring, caviar, cheese, smoked meat, gravlax or soup.
The key to Birgitta’s leap into full time cracker production happened while selling Swedish ovenware. She was going to product shows and would bring her crackers along for snacks and meals. Everybody wanted the crackers more than the ovenware. With that nudge and the continued encouragement from Cory and the Berkeley Natural Team, Birgitta teamed up with Dianna (who has a culinary degree) to forge what is now Cult Crackers.
Together, they met the folks at Muffin Revolution and subleased kitchen space from them. That afforded them the chance (in a certified gluten-free kitchen) to produce more volume and become a registered business. When Muffin Revolution outgrew the space, they offered the lease to Cult Crackers. While it was a big jump, they accepted. And thank goodness they did!
These two ladies started their official Cult Cracker journey in June. Berkeley Natural Grocery was store number one, and now they are in ten stores throughout the Bay Area!
The crackers are delightful. At their kitchen, we snacked on them with Mitica Drunken Goat cheese and Crofters Jam. With a box to take home, I shared the crackers with my five year old son (and felt great about it!). He loved them with butter and salami.
We are so excited to carry their crackers at both stores so that you can try them sometime soon!
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Burroughs Family Farms
Burroughs Family Farms – Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
We recently started selling Burroughs Family Farms organic, non-GMO, cold-pressed extra-virgin organic olive oil [aka EVOO]. This exemplary family-owned farm, situated in the Sierra foothills below Yosemite, is one of our favorite regional producers. We already source quality pastured eggs, organic cheese, and almonds from their property. The Burroughs Family Olive Oil is a blend of Arbeqina, Arbosana and Gretchenina olives (originally from Spain). The oil has a pleasant fruitiness with hints of grassy undertones. It is very versatile and may be used in sauces, salad dressings, as a topping to bread and for low heat cooking.
Here is what Burroughs Family Farms says about their oil:
Our olives are first cold-pressed at temperatures that do not exceed 80 degrees F. This protects the polyphenols, antioxidants, and vitamins that give the oil its nutritional value and its aroma and flavor.
Why extra-virgin olive oil?
- EVOO is known to contain stronger concentrations of phytonutrients (especially polyphenols) that have well-known anti-inflammatory properties
- EVOO supports blood vessels not only by providing antioxidants like vitamin E and beta-carotene, but also also providing unique molecules like HT that actually work at a genetic level to help the cellular walls of the blood vessels remain strong.
- Cholesterol lowering and blood pressure lowering benefits of monounsaturated oil (olive oil contains 75%)
High quality extra virgin olive oil has a smoke point of around 405ºF (191ºC), making it ideal for lower temperature cooking such as light sautés and non-cooked uses such as dressing salads and dipping bread. Such uses protect the nutritional value and beneficial qualities of the oil.
Why California Olive Oil?
As with wine, it has taken years for people to discover that some of the world’s finest olive oils are produced in California. Our family owned and operated farms rest on the rolling hills near Yosemite National Park, where the combination of the moderate Mediterranean climate with good soils and water grows some of the world’s finest quality olives.
Buying California olive oils vs. imports supports our farm economy, and California olive oils have a lower carbon-footprint because their shipping distance is much shorter than that of imports.
Conservation on our farms
Ours is not the easiest way to grow olives, but we think it’s best for our land and for our family who lives and works here. From organic production to state-of-the-art irrigation systems, we do whatever we can to protect air, soil, and water from herbicides, pesticides, petrochemical nitrogen fertilizers, and genetically-modified organisms. All that, plus our hedgerows of native plants support the health of native species and bees who have the most important job – the pollination of the olive flowers.
We do it for the future of our farms. For you, it’s deliciousness and more.
Burroughs Family Olive Oil is certified annually by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). Year after year it’s labeled “extra-virgin” by the council. To get the seal the oil is lab tested and undergoes a critical analysis by an expert panel. The trained sensory panel (think of these people as the sommeliers of olive oil) ensure that the oil is free of defects in flavor or odor. In the U.S., many oils are labeled “extra-virgin” but do not undergo any such testing.