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Holiday Shortcuts at Lassen’s!

Gift Ideas at Lassen’s? Of course!

You know the feeling — you have just a few more things on your gift list for the Holidays, and you need to get some groceries. You can take care of both errands at Lassen’s! You know we have great Always 100% Organic produce and the highest quality supplements and groceries (as well as our Delicious Deli food!) but did you know that our buyers are also always on the lookout for terrific gift items as well? Here are just a few of the hundreds of items you can find at your local Lassen’s! (Remember that selection will vary by location.)

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Here are several ideas from our Health and Beauty Aids Department. Essential Oils are always a great idea. Lavender for relaxation, Rose Geranium for calm, Lemongrass for a boost — we even have lots of blends ready to go! I really love the burning sage, sweetgrass, and assorted burning herbs. Incense and Incense holders are terrific gifts, and this year we also have Palo Santo sticks to add a fragrant scent to your holiday home! You can also pick up some great batik and printed tapestry table coverings or bedspreads at several of our locations.  

For the Men — and others! — in your Life

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Bogue Soap Company has a terrific Shaving kit with a cup with shaving soap and brush. Adam and his mom Susan have a really interesting story, which you can read here.  Their company is one of our wonderful local producers! Badger Shave Soaps, Beard Oil and Beard Balm would be perfect stocking stuffers for your bearded men! 

Lassen’s also carries a large selection of water bottles. Hydro Flask is one of the best companies — they will keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for a shockingly long time. I had a HydroFlask with ice water stay cold (with solid ice) for two days in Las Vegas! The Nava bottle has a built in filter, and Kid Kanteen comes with a choice of pop-top or sippy lids — great for the little ones!

We have several varieties of Oil Diffusers — these from Zum come in various scents and are ready to gift! And I always love to have a little smooth message stone — these are metal — in my pocket or purse to help me meditate.  Little worries seem easier to handle with something smooth to rub.

Don’t forget your Doggie Friends! (or the Kitchen!)

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These West Paw chew toys are great for the doggies in your life. The “S” shaped one is great for playing fetch, and your dog won’t chew anything off of this bone! 

I also love the crocheted coasters, and the penguin and bear scrubbie pads for the kitchen. This bamboo child’s utensil kit is great to carry with you to prevent wasting so many plastic utensils.

But Wait! There’s More!

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Earring, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, perfumes, lotions, yummy creams, headbands, rose water, beanies — take a few minutes to browse the fun treasures that our buyers have found! A Salt Lamp is a wonderful gift — the mild light adds a soothing glow to any room.  I love the colors of this headband — don’t be surprised if you see me wearing one like this soon!

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Takes me back to the flower-power of the early Seventies! Now, where did I put my bell-bottoms?

Can you say, the Cutest “Up-Cycle” Ever?

Years ago I posted how to up-cycle old jeans into beach blankets, but this gift takes that idea one step further. Look at this adorable bag made from the leather tags from those jeans! This creative idea makes me feel bad I just threw away those tags. The back is blue jean fabric to complete the up-cycle look!

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So next time you’re in Lassen’s, take a few extra minutes to browse our Gift selection. I think you’ll be able to find just the right thing for the people on your list! 

I’ll bring you more ideas next time!

Happy Holidays from Lassen’s!

CBD+Oil, Hemp+Oil, Wha+ is+CBD+Oil, Uses+of+CBD+Oil,

CBD Made Simpler

You’ve probably heard something about CBD oil — are you confused? 

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Let’s get started. What is CBD?

CBD is short for Cannabidiol.  That’s a compound that is found abundantly in hemp.Other plants, such as broccoli, echinacea,  and kale, also contain cannabidiol,  but the highest amounts are found in the hemp plant. CBD has been called a superfood! 

Over the last thirty years, researchers have found that the human body has a very important system called the Endocannabinoid System, which helps regulate and balance our health. CBD has a role to play in strengthening this vital system.

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Photo by Project CBD

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

They come from the same plant family — the same species, Cannabis Satavia L. If you could zoom back nearly 10,000 years ago to Taiwan, you would see hemp cultivated for its many useful characteristics. Varieties were cultivated to encourage those different properties. Some varieties were cultivated to grow tall and fibrous, which is useful for rope, fuel, building materials, as well as many other uses, including seeds. These varieties make up what has been developed into the hemp plant of today.

Cultivators discovered that the flower buds of other varieties had psychoactive effects, and so they cultivated those types to increase those effects.  The goal was to isolate the medicinal properties of the plant. This has been cultivated to be the marijuana plant that we know today. 

In modern times, the two plants are very different. Before 1970, there was some commercial cultivation of hemp for several uses — textiles, food, paper, furniture, auto parts, soap, etc. But once the Controlled Substance Act passed in 1970, which classified marijuana as a schedule 1 drug, there was no legal distinction made between hemp plants and marijuana plants, although they are very different. The 2014 Farm Bill opened the door to commercial cultivation of hemp.

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OK, we’ve got the botany. But let’s get down to chemistry. Is there a chemical difference between hemp and maijuana?

Yes, a big one. And it goes back to cannabidiol (CBD), and another property in the family, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC.) THC is the chemical compound in cannabis that gives the euphoric high. Hemp has just a trace of THC (less than 0.3% dry weight) while is has a much higher amount of CBD. Marijuana has very little CBD, and much more THC.

In other words, you won’t get high from CBD. 

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I have objections to using drugs; is using CBD taking me down that road?

No. There is nothing psychoactive about CBD. It is a superfood, not a drug. One concern that people have is that they don’t want to fail a drug test. There is little chance that using CBD products could cause a problem with a blood test. This is from the US Drug Test Centers Website:

“According to Quest Diagnostics Director of Science and Technology, Barry Sample, CBD likely won’t show up on a drug test: ‘If the product contains only CBD and has had the THC removed, then an individual being tested would not be expected to test positive for marijuana or marijuana metabolite.’

“According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the recommended cutoff level of THC is 50 ng/mL to pass a drug test. Most employers and legal services prefer to use SAMHSA certified labs as the standard, since it’s more likely to hold up in court. Most hemp oil or CBD products are usually sold with much lower levels of THC (compared to marijuana), so most CBD consumers won’t have trouble passing a drug test. For those using extremely high levels of CBD or hemp oil (over 2,000 mg per day) it’s possible, though unlikely, that this could produce a ‘false positive’ result on a drug test.”

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So why would I want to use CBD products?

CBD oil is showing great promise in several areas of health and wellness.  Cannabidiol has been used for centuries for many ailments.  The most commonly mentioned uses right now (and the ones that have been studied the most so far) are for epilepsy (seizure disorders), arthritis, and chronic pain. One company, Charlotte’s Web , has been built on the story of a little girl who suffered from a serious seizure disorder. Another company, Sagely Naturals, has several informative videos on their site, and emphasize how CBD can help with pain and inflammation.  CBD is also mentioned as promising treatment for inflammation and anxiety. This YouTube Video, a feature on a San Diego News channel (Made in San Diego) about CV Sciences includes a physician who uses CBD oil in her practice.  An article from Project CBD, mentions several other conditions such as diabetes, PTSD, and more.  You can also search CBD on for articles on interesting CBD research. (As of yet, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, prevent, cure, or treat diseases.)

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What does Lassen’s have to offer in the way of CBD?

Lassen’s has carried CBD oils for quite some time. We carry all of the above mentioned brands, along with several others, including Jambo Superfoods, Ojai Energetics, CBD Mendo, and Jeff’s Best Hemp. We also carry CBD teas from One Love Tea and the CBD chocolates from Medicinal Foods. Our knowledgable Supplement Staff can help you find the products that are just right for you, so stop by and we can answer your questions!

There is much still to be learned about CBD, and Lassen’s will be here to help!



bitchin+sauce, Bitchin'+Sauce, Vegan+dip, vegan+sauce, vegan+food, almond+based+sauces

Bitchin’: Adj: Wonderful, First Rate, Excellent

You might have seem them sampling at Lassen’s — the Bitchin’ Sauce folks know that if you just try their Vegan Sauces, you’ll love them! And you likely will. 

Bitchin+sauce, Bitchin'+Sauce, Vegan+dip, vegan+sauce, vegan+food, almond+based+sauces

When Star was a teenager she became a Vegan and started experimenting with Raw foods as well. She had a hippie-style, natural upbringing, and  was encouraged to use her talents and interests to explore. When she was just 16 she created the Original Bitchin’ Sauce, using ground almonds as a base. It was a huge hit, and her family used it on everything.  They just called it the sauce.

Bitchin+Sauce, Bitchin'+Sauce, Vegan+dip, vegan+sauce, vegan+food, almond+based+sauces
I think this in my favorite flavor — Pesto. Yuuuuummmmmm!

Star decided to learn more about food and the culinary skills, and became an apprentice pastry chef. She started her own business, “The Pie Chef,” with a retro 50’s vibe. About seven years ago, with an ever expanding menu of items, she headed out to Farmer’s Markets. It was a bit of a surprise to find that the Sauce sold better than the baked goods. It just took off, and soon they were focusing just on the Sauce. 

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Star expanded her flavors, adding herbs, spices, and other ingredients to satisfy practically any taste. Everything from the original to the Heat — stopping along the way with Bombay and Chipotle and Cilantro Chili (and more!) — You will find something that you’ll love!

There are lots of ways to use Bitchin’ Sauces!

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Try spreading the Cilantro Chili sauce on a tortilla or a leaf of Romaine lettuce, then add chopped green onions, tomatoes, and sprouts, and you’ll have a delicious and nutritious lunch. Use any of the sauces as a dip with fresh vegetable sticks. Cook spiral pasta and mix in some of the Pesto Sauce. Instead of mayo or hummus, spread the Bombay Sauce on your avocado sandwich.

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But for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up without the sugar that I generally crave, I love to have a few crackers and just dip away!

Star has just launched a new Organic line of sauces, which are also soy free! 

bitchin+sauce, Bitchin'+Sauce, Vegan+dip, vegan+sauce, vegan+food, almond+based+sauces
Hummm. I guess I didn’t take a picture of one of the Organic varieties.

I visited with Star and Luke in their San Diego Headquarters, and they could not resist loading me up with all kinds of samples! I’ve had so much fun sharing the samples with friends and family.  Thanks Star and Luke! 

Next time you’re in Lassen’s, pick up one of these amazing Vegan sauces. It may just become your favorite sauce and dip!

Love, Lassen’s

Bogue+Milk+Soaps, Natural+Soaps, Shave+kits, Goat+Milk+Soap, Handmade+Soap

Bogüe Milk Soaps — As Local as You Can Get!

It has been a bit of a journey, but Susan and her son Adam have come full circle back to The Ojai Valley, now making what they call “Farm to Bath” soaps.

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Susan’s parents moved to Ojai from Boston in the 60s, and after college in the 70s, Susan and her mother opened a shop in Ojai. This Main Street shop, Dos Manos, sold handmade, unique goods, including many that were locally produced. Susan started making  Goat Milk Soap during that time, and then sold them in the shop. Bogüe Soap was born! Many friends and family enjoyed her unique soaps. 

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Susan took her family back East for several years, and then she ended up in San Francisco where she worked in the Tech industry. But she couldn’t get the soap-making bug out of her system, so she continued to make soap and was able to sell it to several markets. She developed a line that included Shave kits and Soaps, and  eventually she returned to Ojai and started expanding her Bogüe Soup offering. 

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Meanwhile,  Adam was  very busy in the Restaurant Business in New York and LA, where he was instrumental in what is now called  the “Farm to Table” movement. So when he returned to Ojai to help his mom with Soap making, they were both completely committed to using the best ingredients. They believe that when you add quality ingredients to a quality recipe, you end up with a great product that is good for your skin. 

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That’s why Bogüe Soaps are made with all-natural, organic, sustainable, quality ingredients, many of which are sourced from Susan and Adam’s Ojai Valley neighbors and friends. They get their raw goat’s milk fresh every week from a local farm, and they infuse their own oils right in their shop. They make sure all of their ingredients are pure and natural. Everything is hand made., Lassen's, Lassens, Bogue+Goat+Milk+Soap, Bogue+Soap, Bogue+Goat+Soap, Shave+Kits, Natural+Soap, Handmade+Soap, Natural+Soap

This is what Susan and Adam say about why they use Goat’s Milk in their products (except for their Vegan line, which uses organic coconut and organic almonds to make the milk base):

“Goat milk is a linchpin of our original product line and continues to be the liquid of choice for all our soaps other than vegan products.  Goat milk is a natural emollient that soothes and moisturizes; it is rich in vitamins A, E, B6 & B12 – all nourishing to the skin, it has a high casein (fatty acids/proteins) content that’s easily absorbed and hydrates dry skin, it helps maintain the skin’s acid mantle that fights bacteria, and hydroxyl acids from goat milk in the soap act as an exfoliate to slough dead skin.”

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Susan and Adam make only small batches of soap, and everything is hand cut and cured right in their shop. They use minimal packaging, which is made from recycled materials. They are a Certified Green Business, and are committed to having the smallest environmental footprint possible. 

Try some Bogüe Goat Milk Soap! The bars are beautiful enough for gifts, but don’t let them just sit on a soap dish — they were made to enjoy!

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Love, Lassen’s

It’s Brine Time!

Ready set brine.  

It’s the most important dinner of the year and you can start by getting the best fresh turkey! But once you get that bird home, what will you do to  ensure your turkey turns out the moist and delicious? One great option is brining. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to brine a turkey, but if you have never done it before it can seem daunting. There are lots of recipes and variation,  but as a jumping off point, remember that the two primary ingredients in all brines are salt and water.  

This particular brine recipe balances both salty and sweet and it will deliver a tasty Thanksgiving centerpiece.  

So why would you brine a turkey?

 Some people might say, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” Brining is a process of submerging your turkey in an herbaceous salty-sweet solution overnight to obtain the juiciest and most flavorful turkey possible.  Since the turkey is submerged in brine, you might think that you will be left with a salty tasting bird, but nothing is further from the truth.  You will instead experience one of the most moist and delicious turkeys ever.  And, bonus — it’s easy too!

Always start with a fresh, never frozen turkey.  Frozen turkeys, like the ones you find at most conventional grocery and discount supermarkets, are typically pumped or injected with a sodium solution.  A typical store-bought frozen turkey contains 200 mg of sodium per 4 oz. serving right out of the package.

An important tip is to brine the turkey evenly by either submerging fully or flipping the turkey in the solution during the process.  Brine anywhere from 8 to 24 hours, and remember that larger turkeys will require more brining time.

Let’s get started!

Simple Ingredients

  • 2 gallons water
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt / sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons tricolor peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped off
  • Peel of three large oranges, removed in large strips
  • 1 turkey

Brining Instructions

  • In a large stockpot, combine  2 gallons cold water along with all of the ingredients. Bring water to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve.
  • When the solution starts to boil and all of salt and sugar has dissolved,  turn off heat and allow the solution to cool completely.
  • Chill the solution before placing the turkey into it, and then  submerge turkey in the chilled brine solution.
  • Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.

Cooking the Turkey

  • Give yourself a minimum of an hour to prepare your bird for the oven.  
  • Discard the brine and thoroughly rinse the turkey inside and out.  Some people do not rinse, but if you are at all concerned about too much salt, please rinse and pat dry prior to cooking.   
  • Cook your turkey according to your normal roasting method, usually 15 minutes per pound in an oven preheated to 325 degrees.


Aloe Life

There’s a Big Difference in Aloe Vera Products!

The facts show Aloe Vera is among the top sellers of Super Foods & Herbs since 2009. Why? Because it works as a catalyst to improve absorption of daily foods and any supplements you may be taking to Super Charge your energy and your life!

Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs.

Historically, aloe vera has been used for a variety of purposes, including treatment of wounds, hair loss, and hemorrhoids; it has also been used as a laxative.

Two substances from aloe vera, the clear gel and the yellow latex, are used in health products today. Aloe gel is primarily used topically (applied to the skin) as a remedy for skin conditions such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, but it may also be taken orally (by mouth) for conditions including osteoarthritis, bowel diseases, and fever. Aloe latex is taken orally, usually for constipation.

Why Aloe Life?

Aloe Life requires 25 lbs. of ORGANIC Whole Leaf Aloe Vera Leaves (CONCENTRATED) to produce every Quart which also includes the important YELLOW SAP the ancients wrote about thousands of years ago.

This one-of-a-kind Aloe is processed with care to not over-heat, over filter or dilutes the important PLANT ACTIVES (over 100). 3rd party testing shows Aloe Life contains the highest solids and actives of any other product line with Polysaccharides in the range of 80,000 – 400,000 Dalton required for Optimum Body Wellness during cold season and throughout the entire year.

Many people living with reduced immunity take 3-4 oz. of Aloe Life juices or tablets and are very happy with the results. Daily maintenance and Auto-Immune support is just the 1 – 2 oz. or daily suggested amounts for wellness.

Anthraquinones are found in the bitter yellow sap and support Daily Regularity, Immunity and contains five natural Anti-Inflammatory agents responsible for pain relief and soothing skin for First Aid. Great with Allergies too! Also, Saponins are potent infection fighters both topically and internally for extra immune support factors. Growth factors called Gibberellins are supportive for new skin renewal and collagen repair.

The Special Nutrition and Phytonutrients together support all the pathways of the body for hundreds of applications for wellness.

Aloe Life products

Topical Skin Gel – Ultimate Skin Treatment is effective for sunburns and burns of every kind besides the only product to be successful in a Diabetic Wound Study in 1997, for every ulcer stage I – IV. Troubled skin from head to toe, athletes, chefs, gardeners, adventurists and even brushing one’s teeth plus scalp and hair makes Skin Gel the most versatile sought after product worldwide.

Aloe Mist Spray gives a fast First Aid application, and very refreshing for a morning beauty regimen as an astringent followed by your favorite lotion perhaps Aloe Life’s famous Face & Body Lotion made for sensitive and troubled skin.

Face & Body Lotion is a favorite and the natural ingredients; Macadamia Nut Oil, Jojoba Oil and Safflower Oil (high in Vitamin E), Chamomile Extract with Vitamin A, C and E plus Lanolin in a base of Whole Leaf Aloe Vera, not water. This allows for less application and better absorption of the oils and nutrients deeper into the skin for moisturizing. Less application on the whole body and will not plug pores as with waxes. No heavy fragrance only a very pleasant natural Grapefruit scent both men and women enjoy.
Personal Gel Moisturizer is also a favorite for healthy lubricating and a gentle gel for sensitive skin. Supports dry and chaffing skin to include; underarms, body chaffing, post-delivery, sensitive head and scalp dryness, baby cradle cap and post-menopausal dry skin. Feels like silk on the skin and sexually active adults love the gentle inner gel Aloe Vera (less astringent than Skin Gel), Calendula extract, and Vitamin A, E and the mineral Zinc renewal aspects.

Body Heat Athletic & Sports Lotion works fast to soothe and support sore muscles, joints, and injury. A favorite with seniors, athletes and older children that desire relief from outdoors or just daily life’s tensions including; sports, muscle strain, chronic injury and more. The safe ingredients of Whole Leaf Aloe Vera juice base, MSM ( a sulfur compound), Menthol, Arnica, White Nettle and Horse Chestnut with just the right amount of natural Vanilla scent is a very effective product sold since 1991.



Kiwi to the Rescue!

King of Kiwi, that is!

King+of+Kiwi, Kiwi+Fruit, Prebiotic+drinks

Glenn was on a quest — a quest to create a healthy, convenient, and shelf-stable drink. He loves juices, but the sugar level is high. He also hates the sugar spike that goes with drinking fruit juices, which always ends with a crash.

King+of+Kiwi, Kiwi+Fruit, Prebiotic+drinks

He didn’t have to look far, since he is from New Zealand, and Kiwi Fruit is abundant and delicious. Kiwi is a unique little fruit, with more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than bananas, and more vitamin E than an avocado. It also has a healthy dose of pre-biotics and fiber. This combination has a sustained energy release over a number of hours rather than the sugar spike of standard fruit juices.

Did you know there is a yellow variety of Kiwi?

King+of+Kiwi, Kiwi+Fruit, Prebiotic+drinks, yellow+kiwi

So Glenn experimented with the Kiwi Fruit, and found a way to blend four Kiwi Fruits (peeled and pureed), with a little pear juice, into a terrific 7.4 oz drink. It has 100% of the Daily Recommended Dose of Vitamin C, and 15% of the fiber. The Green Kiwi Drink, Digestive, is packed with fiber and probiotics for digestion.

The Yellow Kiwi Drink, Reviver, is perfect for a mid-day pick-me-up without the sugar spike and crash.

King+of+Kiwi, Kiwi+Fruit, Prebiotic+drinks

Glenn came to California last month and we got the chance to visit, and well as sample his drinks. Here is Kyle in our Thousand Oaks store giving it a try!

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And Lindsey Kerns (Malibu Mama Loves FB: /MalibuMamaLoves Instagram and Twitter: @MalibuMamaLoves) stopped by with her kids to give the King of Kiwi a try!

Thanks, Glenn!

Pick up some King of Kiwi juice next time you’re in Lassen’s! We’re proud to feature this cool product!

Here’s a link to Glenn’s YouTube Video

Rock+Front+Ranch, Glyphosate+free+honey, jujubes, chinese+dates

Rock Front Ranch

You Won’t Find Purer Honey!

It was a lovely summer day when we drove up the canyon above Santa Maria to visit Alisha of Rock Front Ranch. We were there to see her beekeeping operation, as well as her Jujube orchards. The Cuyama Valley is famous for its rich soil and agricultural productivity.

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey

Alisha and Barney and their daughter live on a beautiful patch of land, 320 acres completely surrounded by Forest Service Land. There is no conventional agricultural crops in the surrounding 30+ miles, so their trees and bees are never exposed to commercial pesticides and fertilizers. The bees from their 440 hives roam the area, gathering nectar and pollen from several varieties of sage and many wildflowers. But one thing that they will never gather is Glyphosate, a known carcinogenic herbicide (also know as Round Up). Alisha is in the middle of the Organic Certification process for her honey.

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey
Peter and Alisha taking a peek at the bees. Later they donned full protective gear and got up close and personal!

When I asked Alisha what got her into beekeeping and cultivating Jujubes, she answered with a laugh, “Having a child!” She had spent 14 years in the cattle business, as well as some time training horses. But she and Barney wanted something that would take them into middle age as they raised their daughter. Alisha spent some time consulting with others, and someone suggested raising blueberries. Somehow that just didn’t seem right, so Alisha ignored that advice. She realized that she needed to grow something that was hardy and tough enough to handle the heat of summer and the cold of winter. The Cuyama Valley climate is ideal for growing delicious Jujubes, with the high daytime heat and cooler, ocean-sourced nighttime breezes. The Jujubes also require little additional irrigation, so Alisha’s production is sustainable and eco-friendly.

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey
Jujube trees have both fruit and blossoms on the tree at the same time!

Since Alisha is half Chinese, she thought of Jujubes, a staple in Traditional Chinese cuisine and medicine. She grew up eating the “Chinese Dates” like candy. Jujubes are a functional food, with lots of iron, vitamin C, a micro mineral profile, and 22 amino acids. They also have some medicinal and anti microbial features as well! They can be eaten fresh and dried, and Lassen’s is excited to carry the Jujubes as well as their honey!

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey
They are a little drier than dates, and not quite as sweet. But, Yum!

Check out the articles about Jujubes on Alisha’s website here. Four years ago she planted 3 acres of Jujube trees, and then last year was able to lease another 12 acres of 12-year-old trees. Those leased trees were in pretty bad shape when she got them, but with a little attention, now they are full and producing. She also continues to plant more trees on her property at the Ranch.

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey

Alisha is doing everything to make sure her bees and trees have the healthiest possible growing conditions. She is employing the BEAM approach to agriculture, which is Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management. BEAM uses a method of composting which greatly enhances the fertility of the soil and reduces the resources needed — particularly water — to improve productivity. (If you’re into such things, Google David C. Johnson or the Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor. There are some interesting videos!)

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey
It’s not much to look at, but this is advanced composting!

Alisha plans to spend more time educating the public about her Jujubes and of course her Glyphosate-free honey. She is also involved in the Ecological Farming Association, which “nurtures just and ecologically sustainable farms and food systems through education, alliance building, celebration and advocacy.”

All in all, it was an amazing morning with Alisha. Look for Rock Front Ranch Glyphosate-Free honey at Lassen’s! We hope to get the jujubes in this season, so watch for them!

Rock+Front+Ranch, Jujubes, Chinese+Dates, Glyphosate+free+honey



Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

Aura Cacia Essential Oils

Not a Newcomer to the Industry!

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

Urbana, Iowa was the place and 1982 was the time. The Essential Oil Company Aura Cacia was begun to provide natural and organic personal care products. They believed in using only 100% pure essential oils in their products, and the Natural Products Industry took notice. After several years of producing and selling their practical and beneficial products, Aura Cacia was purchased by the Frontier Natural Products Co-op, which was established in 1976 in nearby Norway, Iowa. The Co-op now includes the Simply Organic brand, introduced in the 2000s.

This is just the background to the amazing Aura Cacia brand of Essential Oils.

Essential+Oils, Aura+Cacia

Some of the Lassen’s team traveled to Iowa to visit the Aura Cacia operation. We were all impressed by the research and testing that goes into every bottle of their essential oils. They are careful to make sure that every herb is exactly what it says it is.

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

Essential Oils have been surging in popularity for a couple of years. But they are nothing new to Lassen’s and Aura Cacia. You may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, here’s a bit of a tutorial on the subject!

Essential oil is the aromatic substance found within plants. They can be extracted from various parts of the plant, and each has its own characteristics. Leaves, roots, bark, seeds, flower, resin, or branch — the oils are extracted in one of several methods, including steam distillation, solvent extraction, and cold-pressed expression. Most essential oils are extracted by steam distillation, but some herbs are better suited to the other methods.

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

Aura Cacia sources their herbs from reliable farmers and foragers from around the world. They work to establish trusting relationships with the farmers and foragers, and make sure that they are receiving a fair price for their products.

When the raw materials arrive in Iowa, the scientists at Aura Cacia go to work verifying that the materials are what they are supposed to be. They literally put them under the microscope! We took turns looking into the microscope so that we could see the difference between the various Lavender varieties, each of which have different properties, scents, and uses.

Why use Essential Oils?

Essential oils contain many organic compounds which have been found to promote beneficial responses. The oils can be applied topically, inhaled, or diffused into the air. Although some will say that essential oils can be used internally, Aura Cacia cautions, “DO NOT use oils internally. Aura Cacia does not recommend cooking with or taking essential oils internally. There is not enough substantiated evidence to warrant this practice and it is a widely misrepresented and misunderstood topic. Essential oils are highly concentrated and toxicity varies with each oil.”

If you would like to learn more basics about Essential Oils, check out this page from the Aura Cacia website.

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

You can buy blends of essential oils, but it’s really fun to blend your own! We got the chance to make our own blends, and I have enjoyed my blend of Lime and Jasmine! I used some Argon Oil as my carrier oil, and then added a few drops of each of my chosen essential oils in my small roller bottle (available at Lassen’s!) I love the scent, and it really gives my mood a boost!

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

Aura Cacia is a brand that has proven itself to be a quality leader in the industry. You can trust their quality and their integrity, from the raw material through the entire manufacturing process and into your shopping cart. For decades Lassen’s has been a proud supporter of quality producers like Aura Cacia.

Now’s a great time to pick up some Essential Oils — Prepare for your holiday gift giving and make some Aromatic DIY Gifts! Click here for some recipes on the Aura Cacia website.

And feel free to dig around the archives for DIY recipes (just type DIY into the search bar, and several posts will come up!) Here’s one post on Salt and Sugar Scrubs that make wonderful year-round gifts!

If you haven’t tried using Essential Oils, give them a try!



Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils
Looking out over the Iowa countryside

Earth Mama

Earth Mama® Makes effective, natural herbal care for the whole journey of motherhood: pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, baby care. Combines generations of women’s wisdom with traditional plant medicine to formulate certified organic herbal tea, soaps, balms, lotions, soothing sprays, and the first Non-GMO Project Verified nursing cream. Effectively supports the miraculous wonders and common indignities of motherhood. Trusted by doctors, midwives, neonatal intensive care units, lactation consultants and mamas worldwide.

Safely nurturing mamas this way since 2002!

Organic Morning Wellness Tea
No More Milk Tea
Organic Peaceful Mama Tea
Organic Heartburn Tea
Organic Monthly Comfort Tea
Mama-to-Be Tea Sampler
Natural Stretch Oil
Mama Bottom Spray
Mama Bottom Balm
Natural Nipple Butter
Angel Baby Bottom Balm
Angel Baby Body Wash & Shampoo
Calming Lavender Body Wash & Shampoo

Earth Mama®
Earth Mama makes effective, natural herbal care for the whole journey of motherhood: pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, baby care. We combine generations of women’s wisdom with traditional plant medicine to formulate certified organic herbal tea, soaps, balms, lotions, soothing sprays, and the first Non-GMO Project Verified nursing cream. From the positive test to the big push, from the first latch to the thousandth diaper, Earth Mama effectively supports the miraculous wonders and common indignities of motherhood. Trusted by doctors, midwives, neonatal intensive care units, lactation
consultants and mamas worldwide, we’ve been safely nurturing mamas this way since 2002!

Mama is not just a marketing logo. She’s Melinda Olson, a nurse, herbalist, and real mother who believes mamas, babies and families have a right to safe, herbal, zero toxin products. Melinda began formulating organic herbal remedies for friends in her Oregon kitchen many years ago. Her love of organic gardening, passion for herbs and desire to find safe products for mamas and babies led to founding Earth Mama, an industry leader in safe, natural and organic herbal products. Melinda is an expert in the benefits of plant medicine, and continually balances her trust and care of traditional herb wisdom with evidence-based research.

Earth Mama's Mission
Earth Mama believes in the natural process of birth, and the healing power of nature. Their mission is to provide safe, herbal alternatives for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and babies of all ages, and to help educate people about traditional plant medicine and safe personal care. They manufacture natural and organic products that work. If it doesn't measure up to Mama's standards, it doesn't leave the building. Pinkie promise!

history+of+yogurt, Natasha+Trenev, Yordan+Trenev, Continental+yogurt, lassens+blog

From Yogurt to Probiotics — Natren is the Pioneer!

If you know the words “Yogurt” and “Probiotics,” you have the folks at Natren to thank.

History+of+Natren, probiotics+benefit, healthy+digestion, healthy+gut

Natasha Trenev’s father was the Official Food Supplier to the King of Yugoslavia, Peter the II, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. But in 1941, after the fall of the Yugoslavian monarchy, the family fled to Vienna. They lived in the America sector of Vienna (it was divided into four parts — USSR, USA, France, and England), and immediately applied to immigrate to the United States. In 1956 they made their way to Hollywood “with one hundred dollars and no prospects.”

When we visited the Natren plant in Westlake Village, this origin story, told by Natasha’s husband, Yordan Trenev, sounded familiar. Lassen’s founder, Oda Lassen, along with her husband Hilmar, also lived through World War II in Europe — Denmark — and then came to America in 1951 with a trunk, two suitcases, and fifty dollars. So my ears perked up to hear their story!

Once in America, Natasha’s father introduced natural Bulgarian style yogurt and liquid acidophilus to America. He brought his own formulas from Yugoslavia, and started his business in a little garage. Yordan said that that when he would go to hotels to give people samples of this new product, he would have to spell Y-O-G-U-R-T for them!

history+of+yogurt, Natasha+Trenev, Yordan+Trenev, Continental+yogurt, lassens+blog

Continental Yogurt was born, and Natasha encouraged Health Food store owners to put refrigeration into their stores in order to sell this new product.

healthy+food, probiotics+in+yogurt, healthy+gut

Natasha’s family found that the market in California, particularly San Francisco, was eager for the new product, and soon Continental Yogurt expanded their offerings. They were the first to add fruit on the bottom of yogurt. People loved it! The product spread throughout the country, and even globally. Buckingham Palace called and wanted “Royal Yogurt” shipped, so the company arranged to have refrigerated shipping via “Flying Tiger,” a global freight carrier (purchased by FedEx in 1988).

Benefits+of+probiotics, history+of+probiotics, Natasha+Trenev,

The company was growing quickly, but Natasha knew that yogurt was more than just a food product; she saw the health benefits. By 1974, she split off from the original company to concentrate on the science behind yogurt. In the early 1980s, knowing how Bulgarians had extraordinary health, she started studying the science behind it all with the help of chemists in Russia. In 1984 she introduced the term “probiotic” to the health food industry. There has been much research on the importance of probiotics on our health, and Natasha has worked tirelessly to educate doctors as well as consumers.

Did you know?

Did you know that “Probiotics” means “for life”?

The difficulty of pronouncing the strains of bacteria prompted Natasha to come up with catchy names for the Probiotic products, and her first product was Superdopholis, and then Megadopholis. The company kept growing, and in 1990, they moved to the Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village area, and have just begun an expansion of their facility. This facility is set to increase probiotic production capacity by 5,000%, and will also improve neighborhood sidewalks and storm drains. And for those of you in Thousand Oaks, the facility is less than a mile from our TO store. Now, that’s local!

natren+probiotics, gut+health, healthy+digestion, Natren+products

There’s so much more to the Natren story, but let’s jump into what makes their probiotics so highly regarded.

First, everything they do is scientifically based. Natren does not jump on fads. We were able to meet one of their chemists when we visited their plant. They do the research and develop formulas themselves, as they have been doing for more than thirty years. They have a long track record of helping consumers optimize their health through the use of quality probiotics. Probiotics is all they do.

Second, they manufacture all of their probiotics strains themselves. They control the product from start to finish. They stand behind their products, with a “True Potency Guarantee.” And that potency is verified by an independent, international, government agency (Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration, or TGA). Other companies use probiotics that are cultivated overseas, and don’t have this independent certification.

Third, Natren’s probiotics have been third-party inspected and certified three different times before they are shipped. They have international, pharmaceutical (not just food) grade certification of their facility and of all of their products. There is a potency guarantee of each species and strain of live bacteria listed on the label. Natasha also authored the labelling standard for probiotics, which were then adopted by the NNFA (National Nutritional Foods Association, which is now the Natural Products Association.) Natren adheres strictly to these probiotic labelling standards, which include viable cell count, species identification, storage requirements, and a listing of other ingredients.

Fourth, Natren takes special care in the packaging and shipping of their products. There are three enemies of probiotics: moisture, heat, and light. Natren uses dark amber glass bottles and tin lids to protect the live probiotics from all moisture and light. They use thermally controlled boxes, with cold packs (and dry ice in the warmer months) to keep out the heat. And they 2-day ship to quickly get the product from their facility to the stores. They also require that the stores refrigerate their products.

Big News!

Natren is now launching a “Locally Grown” Campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of adding probiotics to their own customized diet and exercise lifestyle. Check out their campaign when you stop by the Supplement Department at Lassen’s!

We are proud to have supported Natren and the Probiotic industry for decades, and are proud to continue to offer their outstanding products. Here’s to Natren, and to your (gut) health!



Our Branded Honey helps to Save the Bees

Colony Collapse Disorder

Bees have had quite a hard time for a while. For about a decade, they’ve been dying off at an alarming rate. In 2006, beekeepers reported that they were losing between 30-90% of their hives over the winter. What was so alarming was that up to 50% of those hive losses were due to unknown causes. The worker bees were just gone, leaving the queen and some of the brood (immature bees). The hive could not sustain itself without the worker bees, and it just died. There are several reasons that a hive could die off (including acute pesticide poisoning, disease, stress, change in the habitat, poor forage/nutrition, or pests), but this was different. With other causes of hives dying off, there would be many dead bees around the hive. But Colony Collapse Disorder (as it is known now, or CCD) the worker bees abandon the hive and don’t return. Many millions of beehives have been lost to CCD in the last decade.

When Colony Collapse Disorder was first identified, the cause was very puzzling. But in the last few years compelling scientific evidence began piling up around a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids. Found in many commercial applications, these chemicals can have lethal effects on bees. Of course there is no one “smoking gun,” but added to the other stressors including other pesticides, invasive parasites, a general decline in the quality of bees’ forage and habitat, as well as climate change, it’s no wonder that honeybees are struggling.

This poses pretty serious problems. There has been a heavy economic impact caused by Colony Collapse Disorder. About 30% of American crops rely on honeybees for pollination, and up to 75% of the pollination of food crops worldwide. In other words, without bees, our food supply is threatened. Every third bite you take is dependent on honeybees.

In the spring of 2015 President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to improve bee health and habitat (restoring 7 million acres), and spending $82.5 million on honeybee/pollinator research. Clearly this is a problem that needs attention.

But it’s not just the government that needs to do something. We too need to make changes that can help to save the bees.

Buy organic.

Plant an organic garden, flowers, bushes, and trees.

Have water sources in your yard — bird feeders or fountains — for the bees (and don’t get freaked out when they use it!)

Don’t use insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids.

If you spot a bee swarm, call a local beekeeper to remove it instead of killing it. You’d be surprised at how many people are into bees! Josh, our own Grocery Buyer, is a backyard beekeeper, and rescues a swarm or two each spring. This year he even captured a swarm in our Ventura store parking lot!

Learn more about bees! Your local beekeepers would love to teach you all about bees!

What we are doing

Lassen’s is proud to support two incredible bee-loving organizations — HoneyLove in the LA area and Central Coast Beekeepers’ Alliance in the San Luis Obispo area. Explore their websites!

We have our own Lassen’s local honey, and with the sale of each jar we donate 50c to our local organizations to help save the bees! So help us support these great organizations, and look for Lassen’s Local Honey!

Below you will find some movie trailers about bees that you might find interesting. The more we know, the more we can help save the bees!