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Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassens, Lassen's, Lassen's Kombucha, Kombucha, Lassens+kombucha

We Have Our Own Kombucha!

Our Latest Great Private Label Offering!

Kombucha is trendy now, but the culture has been around for a long time. So when we at Lassen’s wanted a partner for our Private Label brew, we searched for one with a great track record, high quality standards and deep passion. We will only put our name on products that we would be happy to serve to our own families. Our search took us high into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha
Crisp, clean air and beautiful mountains and hills greeted us in Colorado

Brothers Steve and Shane have that exciting combination, and we saw it firsthand as we toured their facility and learned their history. Steve was introduced to Kombucha in the 1990s, and it has become a passion for him. They’ve been brewing their Kombucha using water from one of the cleanest springs in the nation, Moser Springs since 2004. This spring is a “first touch” source — clean and pure. The high elevation and the clean air add to the purity of the brew. Their combination of water, steam, black tea, and pure cane sugar produces strong Scobys — which are placed with the tea in short, wide custom-made tubs to ferment for two weeks. (SCOBY — Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.) We could smell the Kombucha culture even before we set foot in their plant.

Steve calls Kombucha, “Mother Nature’s Probiotic.” There is no shortage of studies on the importance of healthy gut bacteria, and fermented foods such as Kombucha can play a vital role in improving the health of our digestive systems. Kombucha and other fermented foods are bioavailable to the liver and kidneys — the probiotics easily enter the circulation and quickly have an active effect. Steve and Shane start with their heirloom culture which produces a full fermented brew that is high in organic acids and digestive floras. Their probiotics come from fermentation, never from labratory isolated bacteria strains. You can taste the difference!

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY,
Bottles made in America!

Shane and Steve are passionate about the quality of their brew. They use the highest quality ingredients, extracts, and juices in their production. And it doesn’t stop with what is in the bottle. Their bottles are sourced domestically, which eliminates shipping from abroad. They pay their workers higher than minimum wage, and have a caring company culture. They are working to make sure the Kombucha industry is transparent. Their passion became very apparent as we talked with Steve and Shane!

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY,
Hand-made care, through brewing, fermentation, combining flavors, bottling and packaging.

One of the fun things about having Private Label products is that we have input on what we want. Our flavors were hand-picked by the Lassen family and we love them. We are always re-evaluating, and we have ideas in development for future flavors. If you have ideas for custom flavors, please comment on this post and we’ll work with Steve to see if those ideas can come to life.

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY, Kombucha Partner

We had a wonderful time with Shane and Steve in Colorado, and are grateful for our partnership in bringing high quality, authentic Kombucha to our family of Lassen’s branded products. Try some today and let us know what you think!

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY,
Here are two of our delicious Kombucha flavors! 



New Year, New Better You! Ke·to /kēˈtō/ diet

Certain diets gain immediate prominence or notoriety and others take some time to catch on. At the start of 2018, US News ranked the Keto diet in last place as “Best Diet Overall: [1]  but by the summer it became one of the most popular diets with new grocery items popping up daily.  And with a host of celebrity endorsements, the Keto diet quickly became newsworthy.

It’s big news, apparently, when a celebrity loses weight. But celebrities have a substantial amount of pressure to maintain a certain level of appearance but this is often an intense immersion into a diet for a short period of time.  Fad or not this diet has been around for some time and it is not until now that with lots of endorsements it has come to light.

Years of research and clinical studies support the ketogenic diet, and while most diets are typically associated with the ultimate goal of weight-loss, the ketogenic “KETO” diet was specifically designed to deliver better overall health, addressing issues surrounding epilepsy.  It was engineered to create a metabolic change in your body and deliver you into a permanent state of ketosis, hence the name “KETO” diet.

:The keto diet is very strict when it comes to macronutrient intake. The macronutrient ratios of ketogenic diets are based on years of research which began in 1921.  Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, from the Mayo Clinic, built on the research that ketones were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. [2]  He later coined the term ketogenic diet to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. This research shows that our metabolism changes drastically on carb intake below 50 grams per day. The macronutrient ratios on keto look something like this:

By following these nutrient ratios, you are more than likely to enter nutritional ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is a direct result of carb scarcity, resulting in a drop in insulin production, which then stops fat from accumulating. After a few days of eating this way, your body enters the state of ketosis using fat rather than carbs to fuel the body, creating a metabolically flexible system that helps your body switch from sugar burning to fat burning and vice versa. Most people aren’t metabolically flexible which makes it hard for them to lose weight.  The constant state of ketosis creates consistent, long-lasting energy, and helps you to maintain normal weight.

Carb intake is extremely low and is likely to induce ketosis. Eating more than 700 calories worth in protein can prevent ketosis due to a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis (metabolizing proteins into glucose).

The keto diet provides additional benefits beyond weight loss. The keto diet doesn’t just melt fat, it has a powerful effect on the way your whole body works.

What to Eat on Keto

Image Link:
Credit Name: Carnivore Style

  • Fatty cuts of high quality (preferably organic, grass-fed) meat: beef brisket, beef ribs, T-bone steak, and sandwich steaks are good examples. Ground beef is also high in fat.
  • Fatty fish (preferably wild caught): salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring are great options to boost your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Omega-3s are deficient in our diets. We need them for cardiovascular health protection and normal brain functioning.
  • Full-fat (grass-fed) dairy: butter is a keto staple. But cream, cheese, and full-fat yogurt are also good. Dairy is an important source of calcium for keto dieters.
  • Low-carb vegetables (preferably organic): broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, and asparagus are all low in carbs but high in fiber. It’s important to eat vegetables on keto to meet your demands for essential vitamins and minerals but also fiber. Just make sure they’re always low in net carbs.
  • Berries (preferably organic): Berries are allowed on a keto diet but only in moderation. They’re usually low in carbs and high in health-boosting antioxidants. Examples of keto berries include blueberries, boysenberries, and raspberries.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and lard are all great on a keto diet. Avoid refined oils and margarine.
  • Substitutes: Almond flour, coconut flour, coconut milk, almond milk, and stevia replace high-carb ingredients to bring versatility to your keto meals.

Keto Grocery Staples


Rebel Ice Creamketo ice cream

Lilys SweetChocolate chips, chocolate bars

Primal Kitchen – Avocado Oil, Bars, Salad Dressing, Unsweetened Ketchup

Kalahari Bilton

Epic Provisions Bone Broth, Duck Fat, Pork rinds

Eating Evolved chocolate cups

Birch BendersKeto Pancak & Waffle mix

Bob’s Red MillAlmond flour

Bullet Proof Collagen bars

Chosen FoodsAvocado Mayo

Lakanto Maple Syrup, Monkfruit sweetener, Brownie Mix

UnBunketo buns

Know BetterFrozen Waffles

Caulipower Pizzas

Boulder Riced Caulifower

Outer Aisle Caulifower crusts

Ancient Organics Ghee




Keto Recipes

Skillet Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Keto Chicken Enchilada Bowl

InstaPot Lemon Chicken With Garlic

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Easy Keto Tomato Feta Soup

Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon

Keto Chicken Pot Pie

Easy Stir Fry Kimchi & Pork Belly

Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Mediterranean Low Carb Broccoli Salad

Keto Honey Mustard Dressing

Sun-dried Tomato & Feta Meatballs

Slow-cooked keto pork roast

Keto lamb chops with herb butter

Plant-Based Keto

15 Best Keto Recipes

Sample Meal Plan:

Breakfast:Mushroom and feta omelet with full-fat yogurt.

Lunch:Tuna salad served on keto bread.

Dinner: Garlic butter chicken with asparagus on the side.

7 Day Keto Meal Plan






evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

From the Appalachian Mountains to New Orleans to You!

This Water Doesn’t Just Travel a Long Distance!

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans
I love the gorgeous architecture and plantations!

The Evamor story doesn’t start in Lousiana — but that’s where we went to learn about their naturally alkaline water. This delicious water starts in the Appalachian Mountains as water and snow. The water flows down through bedrock,  filtering out impuries as it goes.  As it travels south toward the Gulf of Mexico, it becomes naturally alkaline. The limestone gives this water a ph between 8.8 to 9.1, so the Evamor folks don’t need to add a thing.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans
A swamp tour was a must!

We were invited to New Orleans to learn about — and experience — the Evamor story. Lassen’s has recently brought this artesian water into our stores. They are part of a four-generation family food company. About twenty years ago they decided to share this delicious water by starting Evamor.  They drilled into the aquifer, and trucked the water to their bottling facility in New Orleans. This required a drive across the nearly 24-mile bridge (the longest in the United States) over Lake Pontchartrain.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

But when hurrican Katrine wiped out much of New Orleans in 2009, including their facility, the Evamor folks took the opportunity to move their bottling facility. They built it right on top of the well in Covington, Lousiana.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

It doesn’t look like much, but the proximity of the wells to the bottling faculty helps fulfill their desire to not disturb the water any more than necessary. As they told us, “Water has a memory.”

Evamor artesian water is a blend of two sources, drilled deep into an aquifer that was the source of the springs that helped sustain the Native Americans that lived north of Lake Pontchartrain. The aquifer is found 1, 681 feet below the surface — about a half mile deep. Evamor blends the water from the two drill sources to balance the ph level. The depth of the well also protects it from surface water. Because Evamor’s source is an aquifer deep underground, the water is not only naturally alkaline but also rich in minerals and electrolytes.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

Once the water comes into the facility, it goes through several filters and testing meters. If the ph drops below 8.8, the line immediately stops to find out what is going on. We can be assured that their water is always at least 8.8ph! It is tested quarterly by a third party to assure quality. In fact, during the process required to certify the equipment when they opened the new facility, they ended up giving away 940,000 bottles of water to the needy. And they are always ready and willing to do the same whenever disaster strikes.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

One interesting feature of the Evamor bottling facility is that they form their own bottles. They have unformed “blanks” which are easier to handle than millions of pre-formed bottles. The machinery takes those blanks, heats, forms, and then fills the bottles with the filtered water. Labels are added, and the bottles are bundled into cases to be  shipped.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans without enjoying their scenery, amazing food, and unique style!

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

Thanks, Evamor, for a wonderful trip!




Our Covid Response

To Our Valued Guests in Echo Park,

At Lassens, the health and safety of our Team and Guests is a high priority. We believe in being proactive and transparent in addressing challenges and we value clear, complete communication. 

We met a notification of a diagnosis with immediate action. We conducted two intensive store cleanings, one of which was from a third party company specialized in the sterilization of retail stores. Additionally, the store was closed for more than 30 hours. We continue enhanced daily sanitation and cleaning measures multiple times per day, and we do a deep clean and sanitation every Saturday night. We have ensured all Team Members have been informed and understand the steps they should take to best safeguard their own health and the health of their community.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have required all Team Members to be tested. Each day we conduct daily health checks and temperature screenings for all Team Members before they enter the Store. We require face masks for all guests, team members, and anyone working in our Stores. We have installed plexiglass barriers at our registers, and operate under social distancing and crowd control measures. Our weekly Sunday closure gives the stores more than the recommended 24 hours after cleaning and before reopening. We remain committed to taking care of and protecting our Team Members as they safely serve our communities during this time.

Thank you for trusting us with your grocery shopping. We truly believe that we can all get through this together.

In health, 

The Lassens Team


healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

Can Fats be Healthy? Yes!

Times Have Changed!

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

It wasn’t that long ago that fat was a dirty word. I recall attending a gym class where the teacher advised choosing all-sugar treats (such as Starburst or Skittles) over treats with any fat at all.  Many were excited to see no-fat products on the market — cookies and cakes made without fat. It was easy to get caught up in the no-fat craze.

But just a few days of unnaturally cutting fats completely out of your diet leaves you feeling hungry, tired, and grumpy and, frankly, unhealthy.  The fats in those products were generally replaced with a real dietary villain — sugar — as well as other refined carbohydrates. So you ended up with the spikes and dips in energy that come with a high sugar diet. Not a happy place to be.

And it’s true, there are unhealthy fats — Transfats (fats that have been hydrogenated) can increase the risk of several chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, among others.) We want to avoid those, such as refined fats and oils (think margarine and corn oil).

There are also very serious possible effects of eating no fat. This article from Dr. Axe mentions poor brain function, compromised heart health, hormone imbalances (including fertility issues), overeating and weight gain, among other problems. I knew a young woman who desperately wanted to get pregnant, but had stopped menstruating when she turned to a practically no-fat diet in order to control her weight. Yes, things went this extreme.

Fortunately, the pendulum has swung away from that craziness, and we are in a much healthier place as it relates to dietary fat. In 2015 the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee sent recommendations to the Government that advised against restricting dietary fat, and had no upper limit on total fat intake.

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

And that’s good news, because including healthy fats in your diet will help reduce hunger and cravings, help you feel satiated (satisfied), as well as help with energy and brain function. The supplements that you take will be better absorbed, as well as the nutrients in the food that you eat — all fat-soluble vitamin as well as calcium. Your liver will be protected from damage. Your “good” cholesterol will go up and your “bad” cholesterol will go down. You will even burn fat more efficiently! These reason and more are why the ketogenic diet has become so popular lately.

But we all have to careful about which fats to choose. The fats from raw dairy products, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, nuts, avocados, and much more are beneficial to our health. Here are some healthy fats to choose.

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Butter (especially raw, but from grass-fed cows as well), Ghee (clarified butter), and Coconut Oil. The Danes have been right all along. Butter and Ghee contain healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential, and our bodies don’t produce them; we have to get them from our diets. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, high in antioxidants, is great for brain and cognitive function, and even lowering blood pressure. Make sure you choose Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, since processing can eliminate many of the healthy benefits.

Avocados, Full-fat Dairy, and Eggs. One of my favorite lunch go-tos is a half of an avocado, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, topped with a squeeze of lime and Mexican spices. If I’m extra hungry I’ll add some full-fat cottage cheese. If you prefer, add a hard-boiled free-range organic egg for even more protein! This lunch will keep me satisfied for the whole afternoon. An avocado has the advantage of being high in protein, as well as vitamin E, folate, and of course healthy monosaturated fat.

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

Nuts, Seeds, and Dark Chocolate. A handful of nuts is full of super nutrients, including healthy fats. Add a chunk of dark chocolate — at least 70% cacao (to reduce the amount of sugar) and you have an energy-boosting snack.

Omega-3s from Seafood, and Grass-fed Beef. Make sure you choose wild-caught, sustainable varieties, and Grass-fed, Organic beef for the best nutritional punch. Both are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, and high in protein as well.

healthy+fats, ketogenic+diet

Lassen’s carries many healthy fats in many forms and varieties — including brands such as Bulletproof, which are formulated to take advantage of the nutritional strengths of these fats. This is not a new bandwagon for us — Lassen’s has carried these nutritious and healthy (as well as delicious!) products since day one in 1971!  Come see our selection!



Lassen's+Natural+Foods, 2018+Expo+East, 2018+Natural+Products+Expo+East, Expo+East, Cauliflower+Bites, Delicious+Healthy+foods

Finding New Products at Expo East!

We’re on the Hunt for Great New Products!

September has brought us to Baltimore for the Natural Products Expo East Trade Show. We love attending seminars and meeting producers — it’s exciting to see the creativity and great new products!  Here are some of the fun and delicious things we’ve see at this show!

Natural+products+Expo+East+2018, 2018+Expo+East, Natural+products+expo, expo+east, lassens+natural+foods+store

I love DEET-free repellents!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

There are a lot of great new entrants in the drink category — this watermelon was delicious!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Tasty new dressings!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

This brand has new offerings — Yum!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

New offerings in the Chip Aisle

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks are a lot of fun — and healthy, too!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

This company had these biodegradable cloths — one towel replaces 15 rolls of paper towels. And they biodegrade in less than 3 months!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Want an easy side dish? Craving Tater Tots? Try these Cauliflower bites. From Freezer to oven to table. We are definitely bringing these into Lassen’s!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Grain-free offerings were abundant at Expo East, and this one was tasty, for sure.

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Hu Chocolates’ new products feature cashews, almonds, and dried fruit. Delicious.

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Dahlicious has new Cashew drinkable yogurt, and their almond yogurts are smooth and creamy.

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

This French Yogurt was very tasty — I liked the Pressed Lemon in the ceramic container. The flavors were very subtile and the creamy texture was divine.

Watch for the new products coming up soon at a Lassen’s near you! I didn’t get a photo of Justin’s new Cashew Cup, but it should arrive soon in the stores. It is delicious!






danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage

Danish Creamed Cabbage

The first time I had Oda’s Danish creamed cabbage was at Christmas time. After a fancy Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day offered a more laid-back menu — Danish Frikadeller (meatballs) and creamed cabbage.

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage

Cabbage is one of those nutritional unsung heroes — full of dietary fiber, vitamin C, K, and B6. It’s also a great source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, and folate, to name a few. It’s versatile and delicious, too! The Danes use cabbage in many recipes, and this side dish is one of my favorites.

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage

Danish Creamed Cabbage

Serves about 8

You’ll Need:

  • 1 head green cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 6 TBSP flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Reserved cabbage water, about 1/2 cup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cinnamon sugar or nutmeg or cardamom

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


  • Wash cabbage head, cut in quarters, removing stalk
  • Cook in covered saucepan with 1″  salted water until tender
  • Drain, reserving water, then press out moisture ( I use a wooden spoon)
  • Chop and squeeze out more moisture
  • Make white sauce:
    • Melt butter, add flour and whisk
    • Add milk a little at a time and whisk until smooth
    • Add reserved cabbage water a little at at time until sauce is the right consistency, stirring constantly. You’ll want to keep it a little on the thicker side, since the cabbage will give up some moisture
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Add cabbage to white sauce, stir to combine
  • Serve with cinnamon sugar to top ( the traditional Danish way) or salt and pepper. I’ve also seen some people sprinkle nutmeg or cardamom on top.

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage



Oda+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+Story, Lassen's+Anniversary

Happy 100th Birthday to Our Founder, Oda Lassen!

Celebrating a Life Well Lived

Monday, August 20, 2018, is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of our Founder, Oda Lassen. Although we lost her in 2013 (at the age of 94 1/2), her spirit and spunk have stayed with us.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how at the age of nearly 53, she bravely opened the first Lassen’s in 1971 (you can read that post here) and this week I just want to celebrate the person that she was.

Oda+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+Story, Lassen's+Anniversary

Oda was unafraid to say what she thought. I don’t know if it was the fact that English was not her native language that made her so blunt, but she would just tell you what she thought. When some of our boys were teenagers with long hair, she complained to me about it. I told her it was just hair and not a big deal, and she replied, “But it looks so awful!”

Oda was very willing, and often anxious, to pass on her wisdom, regularly with humor. She had heard someone say that the only reason you should raise your voice at home is if the house was on fire. One day she came into my house and caught me yelling at — well, who knows what. She just said, “Where’s the fire?” That made me laugh, and, as you can tell, I don’t even remember what all the yelling was about.

Oda+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+Story, Lassen's+Anniversary
Lassen’s first logo — very proud of the Viking heritage!

Oda had a quick wit. During a Sunday dinner she scolded one of her grandchildren for being so sassy. He replied, “Well, I can’t help it since I got it from you!” She shot right back, “You couldn’t have gotten it from me because I’ve still got it!” She was well into her 90s and hadn’t skipped a beat.

Oda was very smart. She loved learning everything that she could about Natural Foods and Supplements. She was constantly reading and studying so that she could help her customers in the store. She also loved to read magazines that carried stories about people and products, and in the 1990s was even featured in one of the bargain magazines with an article about how Green Magma had helped her arthritis. That laminated article was on the wall of the store for a long time! She was very proud of that!

Oda+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+Story, Lassen's+Anniversary

Oda also had quite a head for math, and could keep track of every expense and sale. She watched the books very closely, and didn’t make risky moves in the business. This vigilance carried into her personal finances — If we went to a store together and she paid for both of our items, you can bet she would make sure that she was repaid in a timely manner, and to the penny!

Oda+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+Story, Lassen's+Anniversary
Lassen’s sponsored the Miss Camarillo Pageant in the late 70s, and this was their portrait for the program. Looking dapper!

Oda put her family first. She had a large family — seven children — and a large extended family but everyone knew that she loved them. Most of all, her husband Hilmar knew it. One day I was at her house in the morning when she left for work at the store. After a few minutes she came rushing back into the house with an explanatory, “I forgot to kiss my husband goodbye!”

There was no greater Bedstemor — Danish Grandmother — than Oda. Sometimes, when my kids were little, she would call me and tell me I needed a break. She would drive to our house, pick up the children, and take them for a walk or to the park while I had some time to myself. She was also a great Svigermor — Danish Mother-in-law. One of her daughters-in-law tells about how Oda would show up at their front door with a broom, mop, and bucket and announce that she was going to mop their floor. She’d sweep and mop, then be on her way.

After she and Hilmar downsized from their home, they came to live in a granny flat next to our house. Our children grew up with Bedstemor and Bedstefar just a few steps away, and that enriched their lives every single day. I would often go see what she and my children were up to, and they were making cookies together or watching Shirley Temple or Disney movies, or just sitting on the couch, Oda patting their little legs, listening to music. When the grandchildren were babies, she was in heaven. She would swoop up a screaming baby, hold him close, and dance and sing  until he calmed down. Her trick was to sing louder than the baby was crying. She had a special “dep-a-dep” song that all of the Lassen children, grandchildren, and most of the great-grandchildren can still sing.

Oda+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+Story, Lassen's+Anniversary
Oda with her first employee, Jennie.

Oda was blessed with beautiful olive skin (not a standard pale Dane!) and a thick, full, head of hair. I liked to tell her that she had enough hair for three people, and several of her children — including all of her sons — inherited that thick hair. So lucky!

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Oda. She was a woman of incredible integrity and perseverance, even in the face of real hardship. Honest, hard-working, and loyal, all of us in her personal and business family knew that we could count on her, no matter what. There are so many things that we have been able to accomplish and experience because she paved the way. It is our quest to honor the legacy she left for us. It’s what gives us our values: Passion, Commitment, and Respect.

Happy birthday, Oda!


All of your family and team at Lassen’s

bulk+almonds, organic+almonds, almond+butter, organic+almond+butter, yemetz+family+farms, organically+grown+almonds

Our Bulk Almonds are Local and Organic, too!

Brought to you by Yemetz Family Farms!

Lassen’s is committed to supporting organic and local farmers, and that applies to how we source our bulk items as well. A case in point is our bulk almonds, grown in the Central Valley of California.

bulk+almonds, organic+almonds, almond+butter, organic+almond+butter, yemetz+family+farms, organically+grown+almonds

A few of weeks ago I visited George Yemetz at his almond grove just north of our Fresno store. It was easy to know when I was at his farm when I saw almond trees with green underbrush. Most of the almond groves have bare ground all around, indicating that toxic weed killers have been applied all around the base of the trees. But organic groves are easy to spot!

bulk+almonds, organic+almonds, almond+butter, organic+almond+butter, yemetz+family+farms, organically+grown+almonds

Producers and manufacturers usually have amazing stories, and George sure does! His parents and grandparents fled Stalin’s Ukranian atrocities in the 1940’s, and settled in the Los Angeles area, where George was raised. Ukraine was known as the Bread Basket of Europe, so they were watching for agricultural opportunities. They had gardens in LA and around 1980 when the chance to buy farmland in the Fresno area appeared, they jumped at it. George learned all he could on his family farm, and in 1997 bought 12 acres of untilled land. He had a mentor that encouraged him to farm organically, so right from the start his almonds have been grown organically and sustainably. He has expanded his acreage by another 11 acres, and has his eyes open to further expansion in the future.

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Almond trees live about 25-30 years, but don’t produce for a few years after planting. George said it took five years before he was able to break even, and the 2008 recession was difficult. Add California’s long drought into the mix, and needless to say it’s been a challenging decade for farmers, including Yemetz Family Farm. But George has been able to keep his trees healthy through a strong soil ammedment program (using the manure from an organic chicken ranch nearby), and his own well water. The groves are mowed every three weeks which helps keep the soil around the trees healthy and cooled.

bulk+almonds, organic+almonds, almond+butter, organic+almond+butter, yemetz+family+farms, organically+grown+almonds
If you’re wondering, yes, almonds and peaches are in the same family!

George grows two varieties of almonds — Carmel and Nonpareil. Nonpareil is the premier variety, but Carmel is harvested about a month later, making harvesting and processing more convenient. Both are wonderful almonds for all kinds of uses. Almonds are harvested by equipment that shakes the trees, then blowers and sweepers gather the almonds. They are processed by hulling and shelling, then these organic almonds are frozen to kill any moths or other pests. Yemetz almonds are never heated at all, so they are truly raw. 

In about 2007 there was a big almond processing operation that had an problem with salmonella, so laws and regulations were put in place that require pasteurization of all almonds. Most organics use steam pasteurization, but conventional operations use chemicals (!!) to pasturize their almonds. Ick! 

bulk+almonds, organic+almonds, almond+butter, organic+almond+butter, yemetz+family+farms, organically+grown+almonds

George is a true believer that we have a choice  — we can pay a bit more now for healthier, organic food, or we can pay the doctor later when our health suffers. It’s certainly a belief that we at Lassen’s share. We are proud to count on such a strong commitment from our farmers and producers to help us bring your family the Best of Everything Good! 

Look for our beautiful bulk almonds and Lassen’s brand Almond Butter, brought straight to you from Yemetz Family Farm!



Origin+story, Lassen's+history, lassens+history, Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassens+grand+opening, the+best+of+everything+good, we+care+about+your+health

Lassen’s Started with a Brave Woman and a Problem to be Solved

Oda Saw She Could Help Solve that Problem

When I came into the Lassen family and learned that Oda owned and ran a Health Food Store, I just sort of thought, “Oh, that’s cool.” It wasn’t until about ten years ago that it really hit me how astonishing that was.

Oda was born in August, 1918 — nearly one hundred years ago. That means that when the first Lassen’s store opened in 1971, she was almost 53 years old. Fifty-three. At a time when most are thinking about the end of their careers, she bravely began one. But she was driven to do so because she saw a problem and she knew she could help solve it.

As mentioned in previous posts about Oda (read about her childhood, growing up, love of good, healthy food, during World War II in Denmark, immigration to America, and settling into a new country) she felt very strongly that quality food was extremely important.  She had lived through food rationing as a young mother during the WW II in Denmark, and knew what it felt like to not be able eat or to feed her children healthy food.

When the Lassens arrived in America in early 1952, the industrial packaged food trend was really gaining steam. Oda was appalled. She was horrified with much of American food — low quality, pre-packaged, tasteless, full of refined sugar, salt, preservatives and artificial ingredients, and definitely lacking in nutrition. This did not seem like progress to her. She knew how vital quality food was to overall health — she’d lived without it during the war and knew how detrimental that could be! She knew that families needed access to more healthy foods as well as information about natural solutions to health issues.

So once her youngest children were in school and more independent, she decided that she could do something to solve that problem. She took a job at a local Health Food store, and devoured as much information as she could. She took advantage of every opportunity, even questioning the way the owner ran the business. She was disgusted with much of what he did, from his product mix (junk food right next to the supplements) to his habits (smoking fat cigars in the office.) When he let her go in favor of a younger woman, she decided that losing the job was a blessing — that she could do better. She wanted to help her community to be knowledgeable about natural remedies and have access to healthy, nutritious foods .

The idea to open her own store began to grow and expand, and as she discussed it with Hilmar, he said he would help her do it. They found a little store to lease on Pickwick Drive in Camarillo, and got to work. They made plans and received permits, then built and set up everything. The shelves were cleaned and stocked. They opened the doors for business.

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Forty-seven years ago this week, on July 6, 1971, Lassen’s Health Food Store held its Grand Opening. This ad ran in the local paper. People began to shop at the little store, and Oda gained more confidence. At first the divider between the selling area and the back room was close to the front of the store, but as her sales volume grew and as the product offerings expanded, that divider was moved back farther and farther. After a few years she moved across the street into a larger store, and that store has been expanded another time since then.

Origin+story, Lassen's+history, lassens+history, Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassens+grand+opening, the+best+of+everything+good, we+care+about+your+health

This was very much a family undertaking, as shown here with a teenaged Anna. All of the Lassen siblings spent plenty of time after school and during the summer dusting shelves, stocking product, bagging nuts and dried fruits, and helping customers. Hilmar did the produce run to LA and served as the handyman, while still maintaining his masonry business.  But Oda was the hub of the business, and her customers remained loyal to her well after her retirement.

Origin+story, Lassen's+history, lassens+history, Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassens+grand+opening, the+best+of+everything+good, we+care+about+your+health

It was a big step when Oda was able to hire her first employee, Jennie. She became a wonderful asset to the business, and almost part of the family. You can see that there is a lot more product on the shelves than in the previous photo!

Many people told Oda and Hilmar that the Health Food craze was just a fad, and would never last. But Oda knew that this wasn’t just a hippie thing — it was a basic, human, need to nurture bodies, strive to heal naturally, and to take care of the earth.

All along the way, Oda kept uppermost in her mind her purpose to provide families in the community with healthy,  nutritious, high quality foods and supplements. In those early days organic foods were difficult to find, but she sought them out wherever she could. And of course, the organic standards were not codified into law at that point, so she had to be extra vigilant in checking ingredients and manufacturing practices.

Origin+story, Lassen's+history, lassens+history, Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassens+grand+opening, the+best+of+everything+good, we+care+about+your+health
This article in the local paper appeared a few years later, when there were more supplements on the shelves! Oda’s friend Gerda is on the far right of this photo — even her friends helped when they were in town!

There were plenty of discouraging times, but Oda continued to build on her foundation of caring about everyone who came into the store. She learned more as she attended seminars and read everything she could so that she could help them with their health concerns.

Now, forty-seven years later, we at Lassen’s strive every day to build on Oda’s foundation of caring about our communities. Our dedicated buyers constantly search for the highest quality healthy, sustainable, and ethically produced items.  We feel grateful to have so many great producers, many who live and produce locally. Our knowledgeable staff is trained and anxious to help you find solutions to your health needs. Those are traditions that Oda started so many years ago — supporting both suppliers and the community.

Thanks, Oda, again for setting us on this path!





We Call it Dessert, and it’s Perfect for Summer!

A Delicious, Rich, Summery Treat

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts, Kærnemælkfromage

I love to make this Danish dessert whenever we have guests come to dinner because it is different from anything they have ever had. We always make a game of having them guess the main ingredient, and they can never figure it out. It’s simple to make and so delightful — rich, and yet light.

So, drumroll…

The secret ingredient is buttermilk! Kærnmælk, in Danish.

So here is it is: kærnemælkfromage, Buttermilk Dessert


You’ll need:

  • 1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depends on how sweet you like your desserts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup cream, whipped until stiff


  • Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water in a 2-quart saucepan, and then put on the stove over low heat.
  • Stir constantly until disolved (which will take less than a minute), then add the sugar and stir until dissolved
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla, orange juice, and buttermilk; stir to blend well
  • Place the saucepan in the refrigerator to cool and gel
  • Check in about 30 minutes. When the mixture starts to firm, whip the cream
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture into the whipped cream, and blend with a wire whisk until smooth
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until firm, about an hour
  • Serve with Danish Strawberry Pudding (Jordbær Grød — the recipe can be found here). It’s also wonderful with fresh berries

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
I like Great Lakes Kosher Gelatin (we carry this in our Supplement Department, so you should be able to find it there) or Knox, which is found in our Grocery department

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
Dissolve the gelatin and the sugar over low heat, stirring constantly

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
Add vanilla, buttermilk, and orange juice and stir to blend

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
After the buttermilk mixture stiffens (it doesn’t have to be this stiff — it gelled really quickly this time!) whip the cream, pour the buttermilk mixture into the cream and blend  with a wire whisk until smooth

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
Pour into a bowl to chill

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
It looks like ice cream, but it’s a totally different experience! You’ll love it!

Try this amazing dessert!




health+ade+kombucha, focus+on+local

Still Focused on Being the Best Tasting and Highest Quality Kombucha!

Where We Check Back in with Daina, Justin, and Vanessa

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three-and-one-half years since I last interviewed Daina at Health-Ade (read about my visit here) so recently a few of us headed to Torrance for an update. What we found was amazing! They have gone from a little three-person start-up in 2012 to a massive operation, but the spirit of small, hand-crafted quality still permeates everything in the building.

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This time Vanessa showed us around. She, Daina, and Justin started brewing kombucha in a closet just a few years ago, and now they are a national company. They brew 120,000 bottles of kombucha every day! 

health+ade+kombucha, focus+on+local
Daina, Justin, and Vanessa in 2014

The forces that drove these three when they first started Health-Ade are the forces that still drive them today. They still brew in 2 & 1/2 gallon glass jars — 60,000 of them every week. No plastic! They still use the highest quality ingredients possible. Their ingredients are Organic! They filter their water. They source responsibly. The leftover tea bags, SCOBYs, and juice pulp are all composted. And so much more. 

You have to see it to appreciate the scale of this operation. There is fifty-thousand clean, organized square feet of activity that pumps out 320,000 cases of Kombucha per month — that’s just a bit of an expansion from the 35,000 cases per month they were producing in 2014! 

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And each batch rests for 1-3 weeks while the kombucha develops just the right amount of bubbly probiotics that are so crucial for a healthy gut.

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Thanks for hosting us, Vanessa — We love Health-Ade! It’s great to see how you’ve grown!

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