The Channel Islands – Our Backyard Sanctuary

Channel Islands, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, Santa Catalina Island, Santa Barbara Island, Anacapa Island, San Miguel Island, San Nicolas Island, San Clemente Island

 

There are so many reasons we are lucky to live on the Central Coast of California and the Channel Islands are one of them.

The Channel Islands are part of one of the richest ecosystems on the planet and are often referred to as “The Galapagos of California”. They have a long history of human occupation and the oldest remains date back 13,000 years ago. The first native populations to inhabit the islands were mainly Chumash. A true maritime culture, the Chumash hunted and gathered natural resources from both the ocean and coastal mountains and maintained a highly developed way of life.

I was fortunate to be part of one of the archeological trips organized by The Natural History Museum of Santa Barbara a few years back, that was working on radio carbon dating of the Arlington Springs site. I was hired as the group’s private chef on the excursion. We loaded up coolers with all sorts of local organic ingredients, my knives, and a few other essentials and jumped on board the Island Packers boat.

The journey to Santa Rosa that day took about 3 hours. Crossing the channel to the islands is an adventure and the boat always comes with a naturalist on board. The ocean surrounding the islands is teeming with wildlife and is part of a protected marine sanctuary. Twelve miles off shore, the sea floor abruptly drops to create a rich deep water ecosystem. Whales, seals, and pelagic fish are everywhere. It is common to see pods of dolphins of a hundred or more. They are super curious, playful, and love to surf the wake of the boat.

After landing on Santa Cruz Island and dropping off day trippers and campers we continued our journey to Santa Rosa Island. Skirting the western end of the island, we passed numerous sea caves and sweet little harbors. Santa Cruz Island is a great place to go kayaking; there are outfitters and guides to take you to the most epic spots.

We landed on Santa Rosa and unloaded our huge amount of gear and headed up to the lodge. Back in the day, before Santa Rosa was part of the National Park, the island was privately owned and used for ranching and hunting. The historical buildings we were staying in had a lot of history!

We immediately set out to explore the many beaches and surf breaks in the vicinity. After a fun surf session, we headed back into the kitchen to prepare the evening meal. It was early fall and our menu for the evening was: A fig and La Nogalera walnut salad on greens with caramelized balsamic dressing and ricotta salatta with olive flat bread, seared scallops with a fennel relish, Bistecca California with pepperonata, garden eggplant, heirloom tomato and smoked mozzarella bake, and creamy heirloom corn polenta with rio grande beans. For dessert, we had a rich dark chocolate and coffee bean cake with Carpinteria berries.

We were blessed to spend a solid week on Santa Rosa Island. It was so exciting to be a part of the excavation and also to explore the island. The Channel Islands are an incredible place to go for the day or a week to take in the rich heritage of California history, ocean culture, and coastal environment.

Sticky
October 14, 2017

Natural Disaster Charities Review 2017

So you want to donate your hard earned money to those needing assistance in the wake of the natural disasters the past few months? We do too, so we did a little research to make sure we knew where we were giving what we can. As a group of food-loving parents, surfers, travelers, and yogis, we want to be certain that we are doing the best we can for those experiencing the devastating effects from the recent natural disasters.

 

We found a few natural disaster relief organizations that you may or may not know and our team is supporting them on our own:

 

  1. Direct Relief directrelief.org – 100% of designated donations are ensured to be used towards expenses supporting the designated program or response. Direct Relief’s website and the donation process are user-friendly. Payment is simple with any major credit card and they even accept PayPal. Besides, Direct Relief’s Goleta Headquarters are just down Hwy 101 from Ocean Ranch’s Global Command Center.
  2. Waves for Water wavesforwater.org – Waves for Water is focused on providing drinking water. As a California food brand, we know the importance of quality ingredients, with water being the most valuable for our active lifestyles. They go beyond just donating to a program, adventurers can even join a ‘Courier Program’ to distribute water filters along their travels, great for those of us already planning our next surf trip.
  3. USVI Recovery usvirecovery.org – The U.S. Virgin Islands were hit hard by both Hurricane Irma and Maria. Irma, Category 5, lashed its 185 mph winds on St. John and then St. Thomas, leaving large parts of these resort islands uninhabitable, let alone ready for the upcoming tourist season. Just as soon as the rainbows were overhead on the islands, Hurricane Maria, roared through the Caribbean, this time causing more destruction on St. Croix. Each of these islands relies heavily on tourism to support their island economies, and the likelihood of a profitable tourist season is bleak this year.
  4. Operation USA opusa.org – Operation USA is a Los Angeles based international aid organization operating without any government funding. By working with a hands-on mentality, Operation USA prides itself in being able to work as a “small ship that gets into the harbor where big ships can’t fit.” They are currently responding to Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria and the earthquakes in Mexico.
  5. Team Rubicon teamrubiconusa.org – Team Rubicon was founded in 2010 as a dual-purpose relief agency. Veterans are given the opportunity to utilize their skills and talents with first responders to directly provide assistance in relief operations. Currently, they are working in Texas and Florida to help with Hurricane destruction. They also list all of their previous responses clearly on their website.

 

These are just a few of the many NGOs working to provide aid to the people that need it most right now. For many of us, day to day routine becomes so standard that it is easy to forget about what happens when disaster strikes, until it does. At Ocean Ranch, humanitarianism is alive and well (just like our tasty fig tree), and we encourage our friends around the world to help out with what they can.

When in doubt, be sure to check out Charity Navigator www.charitynavigator.org.

They rate and rank major non-profits as a third-party source and is a great tool to make sure your hard-earned money is being donated where you want it.

Sticky
October 12, 2017

Kim Redman in Oaxaca

Oaxaca was one of those magically intriguing places for me when I moved there in my late 20s.

 

 

It is a state in southern Mexico known for its cultural diversity as well as its environmental & agricultural biodiversity. Oaxaca has one of the most rugged terrains in Mexico with mountains that abruptly join the sea. Oaxaca’s central valley region is surrounded by the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains and is home to many indigenous cultures. The coastline is home to the famous “Mexican Pipeline”, Puerto Escondido. This place brings many of my favorite things together: excellent culinary traditions, the arts, beautiful mountains and the ocean.

 

Mexi-Pipeline, Oaxaca surfing, oaxaca surf, puerto escondido surf, zicatela surf, surfing

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

I fell in love with Oaxaca immediately.

 

I had just begun to experiment with cooking when I moved to Oaxaca City and it was there that my passion for the culinary arts blossomed. The Central Market is the heart and soul of the city. Farmers and vendors travel from all over the state to come and hawk their wares. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to travel for days (on foot) down from the mountains with their crops to sell. Wild mushrooms, heirloom corn varietals, Nopales and Verdolago. The woman from coastal Tehuntepec would come with her coconut treats and seafood. Each week as I walked to the market, I would be engulfed in the intoxicating smells of the chocolatiers stone grinding cacao with cinnamon and spices to create the famous Oaxacan Chocolate.

 

Each day, I would set out to buy as many new ingredients that I was unfamiliar with and take them back to my apartment to experiment and play with dishes.

 

 

The Oaxacans are diverse and resilient. I am grateful to all the kind hearted and generous people I met during my years living there.

My landlady at the time was a Zopotec and an herbalist and she schooled me in many herbal remedies. I also befriended the indigenous herbalists in the market and would study with them each week. I learned how to incorporate some of these powerful plants into my cooking.

One of my favorite places to go on my weekly trips to the market was the Casillda juice stand. There they created a plethora of homemade “aguas” and juices. My favorite was horchata (rice milk) with toasted walnuts and cactus fruit mixed in. I also indulged in the spinach, pineapple, lime and orange juice. The family that ran this popular business took me under their wing and included me in all family gatherings at their home from Day of the Dead festivities to the Christmas posadas. There would always be huge feasts with traditional mole and lots of mescal. The mole of Oaxaca is famous all over Mexico and is a very complex culinary sauce with chocolate, almonds, seeds, chili varietals and spices.

My experiences as a young woman living in Oaxaca shaped my life and who I am today.

Sticky
October 12, 2017

Oaxaca Natural Disaster Relief

$1 per bag of Oaxacan Chocolate Granola is donated to Direct Relief

 

Oaxaca, Oaxacan, Earthquake, Oaxaca Earthquake Aid, Oaxaca Earthquake Relief, Oaxaca Natural Disaster, Oaxaca Natural Disaster Aid, Oaxaca Natural Disaster Relief, Charity

 

Oaxaca is a special place for Ocean Ranch.

So special we developed a recipe to reflect our appreciation of this incredible place.

As a small token to thank the locals for sharing their culture, landscape and waves, we are donating $1 from each sale of our Oaxacan Chocolate 10 oz. bags sold online.  Recently our friends south of the border have endured the misfortune of a series of earthquakes.  The devastation to this state in Mexico is significant.  The 2017 hurricane season has destroyed many communities in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, we want to be sure that the families of Oaxaca are not forgotten.  The people of Oaxaca are dear to our founder, Kim Redman, and we want do what we can to help.

All donations will go to our neighbors down south through Direct Relief.

Sticky
October 06, 2017

5 Healthy Snacks for Kids

 

fruit and yogurt healthy snack image

 

 

Healthy food = healthy children. As a parent, keeping your children well is priority number one. You want them to grow and become strong, successful, happy little humans. You want them to thrive.  This is no easy task and no one can really prepare you for what that entails. But, what we do know for sure is kids need to eat and habits begin at a young age. As parents, it is up to you to instill good eating habits in your children.  No pressure! I know I struggle to make quality food decisions at times. If you have healthy snacks prepared, you will be more likely to eat them, especially if they are readily available. Here are some ideas to make it easier on you busy moms and dads.

 

Start by getting your kids involved in the kitchen. They will feel empowered to make their own snacks and also learn how to choose the right foods. Plus, as they get older, they will know how to make food for themselves. You want them to know the basics so when they are ready to leave the nest, they have the tools they need to make their own food and wholesome food choices. When preparing foods for your rugrats, choose organic and all natural ingredients that are high in protein, fiber, and naturally occurring vitamins. These are all important in the development of young children. And hey, let’s face it, what parent wouldn’t be ecstatic if their child helped make their own food?

 

Let’s Talk Healthy Snacks for Kids

 

1.  Organic Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

Blend orange juice, shredded carrots, spinach, frozen strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple with plain yogurt – add granola for fiber and protein.  Smoothies are a great way to hide veggies and foods that maybe your child wouldn’t normally eat. Plus, they are super refreshing on a warm day.

 

2. Homemade Trail Mix

Almonds, Peanuts, Dried Goji Berries, Raisins, Sunflower seeds, Hemp seeds, Pumpkin seeds or any of your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  Trail mixes are great because you can toss in whatever you have in your pantry. Plus, it’s a great way to pack in the protein and Omega-3s with all the yummy nuts and seeds.

 

3.  Yogurt Cups with Fruit and Granola

You can really use whatever fruits you have on hand or that your little ones enjoy.  Right now Persimmons are in season on the ranch; we paired with Carpinteria blueberries and Ocean Ranch Lemon Blueberry granola and vanilla bean yogurt. Topping the yogurt is an easy task for kids and makes it an interesting snack with the contrasting textures. Kids love that!

 

4.  Red Rice and Quinoa Crackers with Nut Butter and Organic Honey

With a similar taste to a regular rice cracker, adding quinoa adds lots of protein and you can top with your favorite nut butters, like almond, hazelnut or peanut.  Sprinkle with a little organic Ocean Ranch Honey Sesame granola, drizzle with organic raw honey and you’re good to go!

 

5.  Apple Slices with Honey or Nut Butter Dipped in Granola for Extra Crunch

Apples are an awesome source of fiber and Vitamin C, plus they are super easy to prepare.  Once you have put the knife away, bring your kids into the kitchen, and have them help finishing their snack.  Again, protein and organic honey will fuel your kids. Dip it in granola for the added crunch and nutrients.

 

homemade honey sesame granola with organic applesHomemade trail mix with almonds pumpkin seeds peanuts sunflower seeds raisins cranberries organic paleo

 

 

Next time your kiddos are telling you they are ready for another meal and its not quite dinner time, try one of these simple healthy snacks for kids.  The more children eat healthy when they are young, the more it becomes a habit for them as they grow older.  Kids rely on us to nourish their bodies, and study after study reinforce the importance of a balanced diet through childhood development.  Each of these easy munchies will not only keep your family happy and healthy, but also save you time to finish all thats on your to-do list.

 

 

 

Sticky
October 05, 2017
  • About Us

    We hand make our granola using organic and natural ingredients. Real food, pure and simple. Our organic granola is slowly roasted in small batches to lock in the flavor and provide the perfect texture. Each flavor is crafted to have a little twist on the ordinary to make it extraordinary.

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    1072 Casitas Pass Rd, #199, Carpinteria, CA 93013
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