Category Archives: favorite products

apple+crisp, apple+recipes, apple+dessert, easy+apple+crisp

Apples–The Fruit That Can Do Everything!

We’re Coming Up Galas at Lassen’s!

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The Gala apples are gorgeous and so delicious!  I love the crispy snap of Galas, and the taste has just enough tart and just enough sweet.  A friend of mine recently used Gala apples, sliced thin, in a turkey sandwich!  Great idea!

Yesterday I took advantage of the proliferation (and great price!) of Gala apples, and made some apple crisp for my family.  This is one of the simplest fruit desserts possible, and you can use all kinds of fruits to make a crisp!

Gala Apple Crisp

 
 
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You’ll Need:

  • 5 organic Gala, or other crisp apples (you could also use pears–especially the firmer Asian varieties, cherries, berries, or any combination of fruits desired.)
  • 1/4 cup organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup organic rolled old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup organic unbleached white or whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 3/4 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 TBSP organic butter, softened
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  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Wash, peel (if desired) and slice the apples into a 8- or 9-inch baking dish
  • Pour the maple syrup over the apples, and stir to coat.
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  • Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chia seeds until well blended.
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  • Add the softened butter and blend with the back of a large spoon. 
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  • Blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
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  • Pour the oat mixture over the top of the apples
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  • Spread the topping evenly over the apples.
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  • Bake 35 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the apples are tender when pricked with a fork.
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  • Remove from the oven, and serve warm.  I poured a little half-and-half over my warm apple crisp!
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I’d love to hear your favorite ways to use apples!  

Make a comment with your ideas for cooking or baking with apples!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
freezer+monkey, frozen+treats, focus+on+local, local+products, local+producers, women+owned+business

Focus on Local–Freezer Monkey Gourmet Frozen Treats

These Are Not Your Average Frozen Treats!  They are Gourmet!

Freezer+Monkey Frozen+Gourmet+Treats, lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens
 

Meet Tiffany!

Tiffany grew up in Santa Barbara, and has always loved this area.  She went to art school in New York, but eventually ended up in San Francisco, where she found her true calling in culinary school.  She worked in restaurants for over 15 years as a pastry and dessert chef.  She got to develop recipes and see her creations bring joy to many patrons.
 
But life brought her back to Ventura County.  She decided that she wanted to branch out and do something on her own, so she took a 14-week course on how to start your own business through WEV–Women’s Economic Ventures.  (For more information on WEV, click here.)  She had to write a business plan, and thought that she might start her own bakery.  But those plans just didn’t seem right for her and her children.  In October 2011 a sweltering heat wave hit Thousand Oaks and she found herself making frozen treats for her kids.  They were a huge hit and the kids kept coming back for more.   It was a light-bulb moment.  She dug out her recipe collection, looking for sorbet and ice cream recipes.  Her business plan abruptly changed.  Soon she created several different flavors and launched the Blueberry Dessert Company.  Her son named the line of pops when he came in, asking for more of those “freezer monkeys!”

 

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Watch This!

Last week I got to follow Tiffany around as she made her Caramelized Pineapple Pops.  First, she caramelizes some sugar in a heavy pot.  (To learn how to do this yourself, see my post on candying pecans for a spinach/pear salad found here. )

 

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Tiffany poured the caramelized sugar over fresh pineapple pieces, 

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and then added a little red Hawaiian sea salt.

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Tiffany blended the pineapple, caramel and salt until pureed.  

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Once everything was pureed very fine, she strained the mixture to remove the tough solids. 

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After removing the foam (too much air for a pop!) Tiffany poured the strained puree into these amazing molds that she got from Brazil.

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The lid, with the sticks, went on last.  It clamped everything together.

 

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The mold was lowered into a container with propylene glycol, a food-grade liquid that has a very low freezing point.  The liquid was -15 degrees, and the pops were frozen in about 15 minutes!  (None of the propylene glycol gets into the pops–it just surrounds the mold.)

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Amazing!  The quick-freeze time reduces the opportunity for crystals to form in the treats, so the result is a smooth and creamy texture. 

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The treats were popped out of the molds, and they were ready for packaging.

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Tiffany stamps the date on every pop.  

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Lassen’s carries six Freezer Monkey flavors–all delicious!  Great for these hot days, but also for all throughout the year!  (No reason to stop eating frozen treats in California!)

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Next up for Tiffany?  Watch for her Bon-Bons, coming soon!  I tried the Vietnamese Coconut–it was amazing!

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There’s nothing like the fun of a frozen treat on a stick, and Tiffany’s Freezer Monkey Treats are more than just frozen colored sugar water!  They are made with real fruit and other natural ingredients!  You’ll love them! 

Love,
 
Lassen’s
spinach+salad, easy+salad, pear+salad, gorgonzola+cheese, easy+salad+recipes, Newman's+Balsamic+Dressing, balsamic+vinegar, delicious+salad, spinach+recipes

Pears to the Rescue!

Simple, Delicious, Nutritious!

Lassen's+Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears
 
I have always love Bartlett Pears.  They are sweet and the texture is just right.  We would eat them by the dozens when I was growing up.  But when I left home for college I learned that some people did not love them like I did!  
 
Maybe you are one of those who haven’t yet learned to appreciate the humble pear.  So here are some great facts about them!
 
A medium pear has about 100 calories, and no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.  They are nutrient dense; high in Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  A single pear has almost 25% of the recommended daily amount of fiber!   Here is a brochure with pear facts and more recipes.
 
Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree.  They are mature, but still green, when they are harvested.  If you leave the green fruit in a bowl for a few days, you’ll see them begin to lighten to a nice yellow color.  Eat them before they get too yellow or start to brown.  Delicious!

Pears are Wonderful in Many Recipes! 

Lassen's+Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears
 
 
Many times when I am going out to eat I will find a spinach salad on the menu that appeals to me.  I often order it, and I’m always happy with my choice (I have no menu envy when I do!)
 
When I noticed that these salads often only have four or five ingredients, I realized that I could make them myself, and now I do–a lot!  
 
So instead of spending upwards of $15 for a spinach salad, make it yourself!  This recipe serves 3-4 (2 for a main dish salad).

Spinach Pear Gorgonzola Salad

 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 package of washed, organic, baby spinach 
  • 2 TBP organic raw sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup organic raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup crumbled organic gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 ripe organic Bartlett pears
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil, or your choice of Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Optional — Candied Pecans

If you’d like, you can candy your pecans.  I think it adds a nice crunchy sweetness to the salad, but it is optional.  If you want to do it, here’s how.

 

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In heavy-bottomed dry pan, pour 2 TBSP sugar.  Shake the pan to spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat to medium and watch the sugar as it heats.  Be careful to not let the sugar burn on the sides, where the pan may be thinner.  You can stir it around.

 

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The sugar will melt.  Right when the sugar crystals have all melted, turn off the heat and sprinkle the pecans over the top.  

 

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Using a spatula, turn the nuts over.  You have to move quickly to coat the nuts with the sugar.

 

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Turn the nuts onto a plate to cool.  I try to separate them as much as possible as I get them onto the plate.
 
While the nuts cool, assemble the salad.  

 

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Place the spinach on a plate, core and slice the pears, sprinkle the cheese and nuts over the top of the salad.

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I twisted a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top.  
 
Then just choose your dressing!  Lassen’s carries a large variety of delicious balsamic vinaigrette dressings!  I like the Newman’s Own brand, but sometimes I just like to use plain Extra-Virgin Organic Olive Oil and Organic Balsamic Vinegar with some freshly ground salt on top.

 

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And there you have it!  A restaurant quality salad with your own, gorgeous organic ingredients, including the humble and delicious Bartlett pear!
 
Happy eating!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
team+member+spotlight

Team Member Spotlight–Our Artist, Mykey!

She’s Behind the Scenes…  But Making Great Scenes!

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Let the Artist Work!

Mykey has worked at Lassen’s for nearly five years, but she has really made her own path here!  She started as a cashier in our Thousand Oaks store, but her goal was to work in the Supplements Department, which she was able to do after just a few months.  She said Jamie in the Thousand Oaks store is the “Best Teacher Ever!”  Mykey loved being a Supplement consultant, and she put her own twist on the department….

 

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With her Artwork!

Whenever there was a need for a display to be spruced up, Mykey stepped in with her creativity and artistic talent.  
 
She even won a contest with this display!

 

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All of this extra creativity didn’t go unnoticed.  Soon the Owner and Regional Manager saw Mykey’s work, and asked her to design a reusable bag for the stores.  This was what she likes to call her “initiation!”

It. Was. Fantastic.

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Mykey came up with a design that we all love!  Even the sides of the bags are creative and beautiful!

 

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You can buy these reusable bags in all of our stores! 

Funny.  Kind.  In Love.

When I asked Mykey to tell me three quick things about herself, she said first that she likes to make people laugh.  She and her friends love to act in and make funny YouTube videos.  She loves to be a ham in front of the camera!  Her wish for the world is that everyone would be kind and respectful.  And  (drum roll, please!) …. she is getting married in less than 100 days (She knows exactly how many days.  You’ll have to ask her what the countdown is now!)
 
And this is how her fiancee proposed…
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Oh look, her foot is popping!

  Can I get an “Awwwwwww…..?”

In the Beginning

Mykey started out in Pasadena, and then her family moved to Thousand Oaks when she was in second grade.  Her mom would sneak health foods into their meals, and so she grew up with an interest in eating in a more healthy way.  She was always a little artist–before she could write she would draw pictures and make up stories that her dad would write down for her.  She always took art classes in school, as well as music and film editing.  She said, “Anything that I can get my hands on I like to take a whack at it!”

 

Mykey loves to create and develop characters.  You may have seen some of her creations around!  Here are two of them on our Kid’s Day Ad–Pink Lady and Broccoli Boy:

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She also has come up with some villains to draw attention to the need for healthier eating.  Here’s the Mystery Fried Nugget that was part of the Mega Food Display.

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And who could ever miss ZenPeach?  Isn’t she great?  (And you ought to try one of these smoothies from our Deli–delish!)

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She’s Got Some Favs!

Mykey said there are many things she loves about her job at Lassen’s.  She loves the people she works with.  She loves being able to create and see her creations developed.  She loves being a part of the team that has philosophical discussions about the business and the business direction.

And Here are Some of Her Favorite Products

Mykey has a lot of favorites!  Some of them I hadn’t had before, but immediately picked up and gave them a try!

Artisana Coconut Butter

 
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Mykey spreads this on toast with cinnamon for a quick and delicious breakfast.  I had never tried this, and found it wonderful!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Renew Life Triple Fiber

Mykey adds this fiber to smoothies, yogurt, or applesauce.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Wild Poppy Drinks

Mykey’s favorite is the Peppermint Lemonade.  These drinks are found in the refrigerator case. I tried the Grapefruit Ginger, which was also wonderful!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Lassen’s Deli Raw Kale Salad

Mykey will often order this salad when she comes out of the office for lunch.  It is a very popular salad from our Deli!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, majestic+garlic

 Majestic Garlic Spread

This is an amazing Non-GMO, Raw, and Vegan spread that is fantastic on bread or vegetables or crackers.  We usually have some of this spread at my house, too!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So next time you see some fantastic artwork at Lassen’s, you’ll know to thank Mykey!  So…

Lettuce Celebrate!

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Enjoy the artwork!  (And aren’t we grateful for the amazing talent of our artists?  I sure am!)
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
team+member+spotlight, lifestyle+products, favorite+products

Team Member Spotlight–Megan!

She’s One of Our Great Team Members!

 
Megan is our Regional Lifestyles and Gift Buyer. She especially watches out for unique and exciting gift items.  She is also the model for our Beads of Hope necklaces!  
 
Megan grew up in Northern California and got a degree in Geography with an emphasis in City Planning.  She even speaks Polish!  She spent 18 months in Poland during her college years.  
 
ragnar
 
Megan really loves to eat healthy and she is also a runner.  She has run the Ragnar Relay and some half-marathons, too.  She loves to work in her garden and is devoted to clean and green living.
 
Three quick fun facts about Megan:
1. Because she was raised in Northern California, she is very partial to Redwood trees and foggy beaches.
2. Not only does she run for exercise, but for stress relief and meditation.
3. If she had to listen to the same musician over and over again for the rest of her life it would be Cat Stevens.
 
Megan’s favorite part of her job is learning about the different products that Lassens carries and meeting with companies that are passionate about their products, as well as passionate about improving our world.
Megan says, “Many of the products found in Lassens represent companies that give back to their communities in a big way. These contributions range anywhere from Alzheimer’s research to providing clean drinking water in developing countries. The contributions go beyond donations, because a lot of these companies choose responsibility in every aspect of production–such as fair labor practices, sustainable sourcing, waste reduction, etc. It’s exciting to me and also further convinces me of the power of the consumer in supporting such responsible companies.”
 
Megan’s heros are her grandparents– on both sides. “They were such hard workers–both in their professions and also in their volunteer work. They took great pride in their communities and volunteered much of their time and energy to improve them.”

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Team+Member+Spotlight, flipside+hats

When I asked Megan about some of her favorite products she mentioned these adorable Flipside hats.  Flipside is a family owned and operated business, the hats are made in the USA (California and Oregon), and they are made with repurposed and/or recycled materials.  

 

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They use all of the organic materials that they can.  These great hats are just in our Ventura and Los Feliz stores right now.  So cute!

 

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I totally agreed with her next recommendation–a “Winning Combination.”  You should try this!  Get some Leslie Stowe Raincoast Crisps.  They are small, thick, tasty, crispy breads in amazing flavors (Cranberry and Hazelnut, Rosemary, Salty Date and Almond, Gluten-free Oat, to name a few!) I love that they are fancy and so delicious.  They make me feel like a gourmet when I eat them!

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Take a crisp and then spread on some Drake Family Farms fresh Chèvre cheese.  The Drake family farm is a six-generation operation!  The original farm is in Utah, but they also have a farm in Ontario, California where we get our fresh Chèvre.   

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The cheese comes in a convenient plastic tub so you can have some now and save some for later! 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Team+Member+Spotlight, Leslie+Stowe+Raincoast+crisps, Drake Family+Farm+Chevre

This is Megan’s favorite combination!  Yum!  

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Team+Member+Spotlight, Evanhealy+Facial+Tonic, Evanhealy+Skin+care

Megan also recommended the Evanhealy facial care line.  Her favorites are the Rose Geranium Facial Tonic HydroSoul, and the Rose Vetiver Day Moisturizer.   

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Team+Member+Spotlight, Evanhealy+Moisturizer, Evanhealy+Skin+care

The rose line is for combination/oily skin, but they have other lines for different skin types.  Megan likes that the line is really clean (no chemical, preservatives, non GMO, etc) and extremely gentle.  She quoted Evan Healy herself:  “The less you interfere with the skin’s own ability to achieve balance, the better.” 

When I asked Megan what she would like to change about the world, she said changing primary school curriculum to include gardening education. “So many people are disconnected from the food they eat and I love that gardening helps reconnect people to basic food. Working with the soil, watching how food grows cultivates a deep respect for the earth, energy, and other resources that go into making a tasty meal.”
 
Thank you Megan for sharing your favorites with us!  Love those “Buyer’s Picks!”
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
 
avocado+recipes, braggs+liquid+aminos, liquid+aminos, lemon+juice, avocado+recipes, easy+avocado+recipes

THE 3 INGREDIENT POWER SNACK

Oh Avocados!
 
So many options! So many ways to transform their wonderfully versatile taste into brilliant works of art! At only 99¢ per Organic Avocado for the rest of July at Lassens, chances are you’ll be buying in bulk!
 
Of course there are those lazy summer days when the amount of effort you’re willing to put in doesn’t quite match up with the expectations of greatness that sits at the edge of your taste buds.
 
Fear not my friends, for I come armed with a little snack that’s not only packed with nutrients, but it is also as easy as 1-2-3! In fact, that’s exactly the amount of ingredients that go into this little creation. 
Here they are, are you ready?
avocado, Lassens, Lassensloves, organic, power snack
 

You’ll Need: 

1 organic avocado
+
1 organic lemon (juiced)
+
1-2 Tablespoons of Braggs Liquid Aminos
THAT’S IT!

avocado+snack
 
avocado+snack
 
avocado+snack
 
avocado+snack
 
avocado+snack
 
avocado+snack
 
avocado+snack
aaaaaaand….. 
avocado+snack
GONE.
 
If that sounds a little too simple to you, rest assured, the taste is NOT!
Of course it can be dolled up if you wish (I’d recommend Phony Baloney Coconut Bacon or pine nuts), but sincerely, this flavor combo can stand alone!
 
But why is it a POWER SNACK, you ask?
The secret lies in each ingredient’s list of benefits.
avocado+nutrition
 
 
lemon+nutrition
 
Bragg's+Liquid+Aminos
 
Some of the best things in life are simple – this snack is no exception.
Enjoy and have a lovely and healthy day!
Click HERE to pin this as an infographic!
Love,
 
Lassen’s
 
 
 

gaia+herb, know+your+herbs, gaia+farm, herbal+supplements, meet+your+herbs

Producer Spotlight–Gaia Farm Tour

What a Gorgeous Farm!

 
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Have you ever wondered how those herbs get in the extracts, the tinctures, the capsules, the bulk boxes, and the tea bags?  We had the amazing opportunity to visit the Gaia Farm in North Carolina recently.
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs

 

With the morning sun gently shining, we looked out over the ginko trees to survey some of the 350 acre farm.  The temperate weather influences and land formations of this area provide a unique habitat–ideal for growing many herbs for their products.  The diverse red clay to black loam soils also provide a fertile landscape.  Gaia Farms grow about 20% of their herbs right here in this beautiful farm.  For the rest of their herbs they scour the world for the best, most ethical, and “clean” producers and gatherers.  

 

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This is Ric Scalzo, the owner, CEO, Herbalist, and Naturopath at Gaia Herbs.  He took us throughout the farms for two days, explaining the herbs that they are growing.  Here he is showing us the Ginko trees.  Ginko is great for mental alertness (in fact, Gaia has a formula called “Mental Alertness” which contains Ginko!) 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs, Gingo, Mental+Alertness

 

These leaves will be harvested for greatest potency when the edges begin to have a golden edge.

From Seed to Shelf

At Gaia, the herbs are cultivated carefully from seed to harvest.  

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs
 
Here are thousands of Echinaea seedlings in their greenhouse.  They beging to plant seeds in February. Once they get bigger and stronger, the seedlings are taken outside to the Hoop Frames where the plants get acclimatized to being outside, and are allowed to grow bigger and stronger.
 
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The plants in the foreground are ready to be planted in the fields.  
 
Everything grown at Gaia, as well as all of the herbs they get from sources around the world, is certified organic, according to Oregon Tilth standards, and recertified every year.  Gaia also does yearly soil analysis as well to be sure the soil has all of the nutrients needed for plant strength.  In the winter they grow crops to be tilled back into the soil to increase the nitrogen level in the soil, and it is amended in the spring with fish, kelp, and seaweed amendments, as well as compost, of course.  Pests and fungi are managed organically–no chemicals!  They use wasps to control the Japanese Beetle.

Knowledge

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs, Hawthorn+Buds, Hawthorn+Leaves
 
Here is the group learning about Hawthorn buds and leaves, which were being harvested right behind us.  Hawthorn is a great source of flavanoids, which are extracted right at the Gaia plant.  Hawthorn is a great heart support.
 
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This was the view we had (perfect photo-op area!) as we walked to the fields.
 
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Experience

Ric actually had us taste some of the herbs as he explained their use.
 
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Some of us even planted some Gotu Kola plants from the trays and into the ground.  Here are a couple of rows that had just been planted.  Ric said that Gotu Kola can “calm an overanxious mind.”  Some of us who have a hard time turning off our brains at night could use some of that calming!
 
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We tasted some lemon balm herb, one of the ingredients in formulas for gas and bloating. 
 
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The fields were so well maintained are beautiful.
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs
 
I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful herbs!
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs, Stinging+Nettle
 
This is Stinging Nettle.  Gaia farm is allowing it to go to seed this year so that they can harvest 500 lbs of seeds.  Stinging Nettle is an Anti-inflammatory, among other uses.  The seeds, the leaves, and the roots are all used in herbal medicine.  

Purity.  Integrity.  Potency.

Gaia Farms has partnered with several universities, as well as international groups to conduct research on herbs.  They recently did some research on Tumeric with Auburn University.  One thing that I was very impressed with was Gaia’s committment to quality.  They test their own products, as well as the herbs they recieve from other sources, to make sure that they have the purest and most potent products possible.  On their own herbs, they will take a sample to the lab to make sure the plant has the best potency before they harvest.  If it doesn’t, they will wait a few days or longer while the plant continues to grow.  They test again, and will not harvest until the plant has reached the target potency.  
 
Gaia does the processing of the herbs–they generally receive the herbs as raw material.  They test it to make sure that it is not only what the supplier says it is, but that it is the target potency.  They make sure there is no pesticide or herbicide residue.  Gaia has a beautiful lab and plant where quality is job #1.  
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs, Valerian+Flowers
 
Valerian Flowers–the root of the beautiful and sweetly-fragrant plant is a sedative for insomnia, as well as muscle pains and spasms.  It is found in the Gaia Sleep formulas.
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Gaia+Herbs, St.+Jphn's+Wort, Thyroid+Support, Sleep+Thru
 
Gaia has an amazing website, where you can literally “Meet Your Herbs.”  You can enter the ID number on the box or bottle of product, and the website will give you the history of the herbs in your product.  You can also learn about herbs what they are good for, and how your health can be enhanced by using herbal products.  There you can see how Gaia supports local and global concerns as well.  You can find their website here.
 
Thank you Gaia, for a great tour!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
moss+botanicals, essential+oils, focus+on+local, local+products, produced+in+Ojai, Ventura+County+products

Focus on Local–Moss Botanicals

Natural Aid for Our Well Being 

Last week I had a delightful time as I met Stacey Moss of Moss Botanicals.  She lives and works in Ojai.  Her company has seven aromatic blends, each available in a roll-on oil for the skin, and an aroma mist for diffusing into the air.  
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals

Stacey has always been interested in the field of healing, and has dabbled in herbology.  She took lots of classes in natural healing.  She has some Native American heritage (Lakota), and she has always been fascinated by their belief in natural remedies and cooperative society.  Stacey attended the College of Botanical Healing Arts in Santa Cruz, and is a registered Aromatherapist.  She also has a BA in Social and Behavioral Sciences.  

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Stacey loves plants and herbs, especially natives.  She started to blend her oils for her own personal needs, and soon was sharing them with family and friends.  They started to call her “Medicine Woman” because they could see the benefits of her botanical oil blends.  She launched Moss Botanicals in 2008 as a hobby, but within the last year has started to branch out more.  

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Educating people about the science and art of Aromatherapy is important to Stacey.  She wants to teach people that Aromatherapy is complementary to every kind of lifestyle.  Her blends have names that match what they support in our bodies and lives, but she said that people should see how each blend feels to them as they use them.  Her blends are Ceremony, Balance, Transform, Clear, Relax, Euphoric, and Let Go.

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Stacey’s blends are complementary to Hindu Yogic Chakras as well.  Stacey said they can help balance and harmonize the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of life.  

Stacey is very careful with the sources of her oils.  She makes sure that they are organic and chemical free, and they are blended in a base of pure jojoba oil.  There are no synthetics or preservatives.  Her blends are simple–from 3-5 oils–and are hand blended in small batches.  She would like to try her hand at distilling the oils herself, and is working on making that happen.  
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

Stacey loves this field because there is always something new to learn.  The science and scientific evidence is growing each year, which is very exciting. 

Stacey said, “I want people to find these [aromatic blends] because of what they can do to help them.”
 
It was such a pleasure to meet Stacey and her daughter Clrallyn, who even drew a portrait of me as I talked with Stacey!  

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Moss+Botanicals, Aromatherapy

You can find Moss Botanicals in our Ventura store, and Stacey comes there regularly to introduce her botanical blends.  

 
Thank you Stacey, for a wonderful time!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
vegan+zucchini+lasagne, vegan+lasagne, zucchini+recipes, healthy+lasagne

Vegan Zucchini Lasagna

A True Labor of Love

…and there’s so much love!

Vegan+Zucchini+Lasagne 

Most of the good things in life are at least a little labor intensive.
Building a house, painting a mural, planting a garden…
but the outcome is always oh, so nice and oh, so worth it.
As Stephanie, our Lassen’s Ventura Sample Captain confessed, such was the case with this recipe for Vegan Zucchini Lasagna. It’s just a lot of chopping and dicing, which can all be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. Paleo, Vegan and Gluten-Free! Oh yeah, and the taste is fantastic!

You’ll Need:

Vegan+Zucchini+Lasagne
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 Tb oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 8 zucchini squashes (cut into thin strips)
  • 3 tsp thyme
  • 1 bunch black kale
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 lemons (juiced – save peels for zesting)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (25 oz)
  • 4Tb extra virgin olive oil
Vegan+Zucchini+Lasagne

 

 
Cucina Antica Garlic Marinara is now sale this month (May, 2013)!
 
Instructions:
Preheat Oven to 450
Dice eggplant, red onions, bell peppers and garlic. Place in a saucepan on medium heat with zest from lemon, olive oil, thyme and oregano. Stir constantly for 10 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Add kale and lemon juice and simmer for another 2 minutes. 
Set Kale mix aside in a bowl.
 
On medium heat simmer zucchini strips for 8 minutes – flip regularly. Place 1 layer of zucchini strips on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. With a spoon, evenly spread half of the kale mixture over the zucchini strips, covering it completely. Pour 1 cup marinara sauce evenly over the top of the kale mixture.Top with another layer of zucchini strips followed by the kale mixture and then one more zucchini layer. Pour the rest of the marinara evenly over the final zucchini layer. Sprinkle the top with Nutritional yeast and walnuts.
Bake for 30 minutes.
 
Vegan+Zucchini+Lasagne
 
love,
 
Lassen’s

Focus on Local–Highwood Eggs

Don’t they look like Easter?

 
Highwood+farms+eggs, highwood+Eggs
 

Lassen’s is so excited to feature a new local producer–we have just started carrying Highwood Farm’s beautiful blue and brown eggs in our Ventura and Thousand Oaks locations!

Highwood+Farms+Eggs, Highwood+Eggs

Last week we went to Somis to meet Devon and Patrick and tour their farm.  Despite my trepidation about being near chickens (my shins have scars from the vicious rooster pecks I got when I was a little girl!) I was ready to face my fears.  We learned so much about chickens and eggs, too!

Devon had 6 or 7 chickens when she was growning up in Santa Monica, and now she and Patrick have taken that childhood hobby into a budding business.  Patrick also grew up in the LA area, but visited relatives who farmed soybeans and corn in Minnesota and became interested in farming and in animals.

lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs

The farm is 200 acres, and there are about 300 chickens, and growing.  They started about 2 years ago with a few chickens who roosted in their laundry room!

lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
These have got to be the nicest coops I’ve ever seen!
 
Now the chickens roam around all day long and then gather to their coops each night to roost.
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs

Highwood Farms has three varieties of chickens–two lay brown eggs ( Rhode Island Reds and Australorps) and one that lays blue eggs (Araucanas).  They scratch around, free-range, on fields of hay and grass.

lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
Here is a Rhode Island Red–isn’t her color gorgeous?

 lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs

Australorp Chicken–they are also sometimes white

Everything that the chickens eat is organic, and they are never confined in cages. Patrick moves the coops to a different part of the fields about once per month so that the chickens always have a good food source.
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
Here is a Araucana chicken–she lays blue eggs
 
The chickens come into the coops to lay their eggs (although they do sometimes sneak into other places, like buckets or under bushes to lay, and Devon and Patrick have to go hunting!)
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
These laying sections are on the sides of the coops
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs

 

Most of the laying is done by about 4:00 each day, and Patrick and Devon gather all of the eggs, mark them with the date and then refrigerate them.
  
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs

 

They make sure the chickens have water and extra feed, and clean the coops so there is a nice clean place for the chickens to lay their eggs.
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
A rooster watches over the brood
 
Highwood Farms has a few roosters and are starting to hatch some of their own chickens.  They also grow some hay, wheat, and barley to use for feed for their own animals and also to sell to their neighbors and some to the feed store.  And speaking of their own animals…
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
 
Here are some of the piglets that are at Highwood Farms.  They have had three litters of piglets in the last five months!
 
They also have a horse and two miniature donkeys, who were very friendly!
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
The donkeys coming over for a look at us!
 
lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
Bethany, our Marketing Director enjoys petting the soft nuzzle of their horse!
 

We have noticed that these eggs are not only beautiful on the outside, but firm and full-colored on the inside (not that pale, drab yellow of commercially produced eggs), as well as delicious.  We have enjoyed them at home for about a week, and think you’ll love them too!

lassensloves.com, Highwood+Farm+Eggs
Thanks, Patrick and Devon!  We had a great time!
And I got over my anxiety about chickens!  (but I didn’t approach the rooster, either!)
highland+farms+eggs, focus+on+local, local+eggs, free+range+chickens, free+range+eggs
Look for Highwood Farms in our Ventura and Thousand Oaks locations!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
expo+west, new+products, favorite+products, trade+show

ADVENTURES AT NATURAL PRODUCTS EXPO WEST 2013

Once again the trip to Natural Products Expo West this year wast an adventure, both thrilling and dangerous! Thrilling because of all of the new and wonderful sights and smells! Dangerous because, well, by the time I left I thought my stomach was going to explode! I’m usually very good at stopping when I’m full – expo is one of those rare times when I decide to ignore that little voice that says “Ahoy there! You’re done! Quit eating!” … but there’s no much to try!!!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West 

Here are a few of the highlights!

Of course the first place I ran to (if you can remember last year’s Expo blog) was Barleans. I was particularly excited for the prospect of frozen Omega Swirl, as they had done the previous year. Thankfully when I arrived, mouth salivating and eagerly awaiting a frosty delight… 

lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
I was not disappointed!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Not only was my frozen treat waiting for me but it was also the icy debut of their new flavor for the Essential Women’s blend of Omega Swirl, formerlly chocolate raspberry, it has now been changed to chocolate-mint… which happens to be my favorite!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Wandering over to the MegaFood booth, I get a tip that momentarily Dr.Weil will be having an interview.
I popped into that for a minute. Click HERE for a little article on that conversation. 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
As I made my way through the supplements portion of the Expo I caught glimpse of Now Food’s Cranberry, mannose + probiotics concoction and I thought I might take a little taste. It was pretty darn good I tell you!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Host Defense Organic Mushrooms has a neat and informational booth displaying the actual wild mushrooms that they put into their supplements! 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
By this point green coffee bean extract has practically become a household name for it’s weight loss supporting properties. I got the chance to try Genesis Today’s Skinny Coffee, a creamy cappucino using green coffee bean extract. Yum! 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
I had to stop by Spring Dragon to check out their Wild Reishi extract. While there I was also able to try Ant Extract… something I never really thought I’d try…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Natural Vitality was sampling out their new product Plant Sourced Minerals liquid which is made from fossilized plants! Craazy! 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 

Here’s a new one! 100% Organic Aronia Berry Flax Oil from Sawhill Hallow!

 
On to the foods…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Gotta stop by Angie’s…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
For some Politely Sweet & Spicey popcorn! Nom nom nom!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Clif revealing their NEW protein bar which yields 30g of protein!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Pretty self explanatory… kale chips are probably one of my very favorite things to eat…
that is, of course, until CHOCOLATE comes into view…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Absolutely  wonderful gluten-free chocolate brownies from Flax4Life!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
With my sweet tooth singing, we come across Halo Top – DELICIOUS light ice cream!
While the vanilla was yummy…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
my heart belonged to the lemon cake ice cream.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
So  Delicious was freshly baking fancy little cinnamon pecan scones!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Suja’s raw, cold pressed organic juices are currently in our locations but until this moment I had yet to try them. My favorite flavor, Glow: green apple, cucumber, celery, collard, spinach, kale & spearmint!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
That WAS until I tried Spark:the delightful mix of lemon, tart cherry, strawberry, honey, stevia and then WHOOOOOOOO cayenne! 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
“SUUUUUJJJAAAA!!!” she cried into the night.
Until she spotted Daiya..
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Well hello there!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
I don’t feel captions are necessary for these. 
Just  take in these pictures. 
Feel what you gotta feel. 
I think I just feel hungry.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Some organic maple syrup to sooth the soul.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Mia’s kitchen set up a little vinegar and oil tasting station. 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Here was a cool company with some awesomely fantastic all-natural dips..
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
including this caramelized onion yogurt dip which was knee weakening-ly good.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Another new one – bombay curry dried green peas!!! mmmMMMmmm!!
 
Suddenly I spotted the words EPIC. by first instinct was to laugh – my thoughts jumped to an image of two surfer dudes pumping fists. “That was an EPIC surf sesh Brah…”
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Epic at Expo West meant grass-fed beef, bison and turkey protein bars mixed with fruit.
While this may sound strange, I assure you, it was truly epic in taste!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
…and I’m pretty excited about them.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
OH! Goodness me, this was great! Arugula pesto vegan alfredo sauce! 
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
This was seriously cool: a great way to drink iced coffee. 
Fair Trade cold brew coffee concentrate from Secret Squirrel!
 
Another tasty beverage that I got to try…
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
How good does pineapple, coconut nutmeg soda sound? Well guess what, it is!!!
And it’s coming soon to Lassens!
 
Probably one of my very favorite things that I ate whilst
 browsing the long and lovely aisles at Expo was this bad boy…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Feta cheese, raw beet and spinach tossed in balsamic vinegar on lavash bread.
Make it – eat it – love it.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Time to get festive!!! Susty-party makes compostable plates, cups and straws for 
 entertaining friends and family! And they’re cute to boot!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Silk Road Teas, just beautiful.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
and the winner for most adorable packaging at Expo West (unofficially and just according to this 25 year old female blogger … you may not agree. It’s cool!) goes to Worker B, honey and bee’s wax products.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Aside from the cute labels, this company also won my heart
 for their honest and simple list of ingredients.
 If it isn’t on the table there, you won’t find it in their products.
 HERE HERE!
 
Hey! This is cool!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Nova Scotia Fisherman Sea Kelp soap!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
Coming Soon to Lassens!!!!
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
To end our long awaited journey at Natural Products Expo West, I decided to check out the Hugo Natural’s booth where some fancy looking artist boys made some beautiful spring-time art out of Hugo’s beautiful soaps.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West

Look at him go!

lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
The end result – Gorgeous!
 
Well, we all had a SUPER time… (har har har)…
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
But all good things must eventually end.
 
lassensloves.com, Natural+Products+Expo+West
 
You won this time Expo West… but I guess I did too!
Until we meet next year. 
 
If you saw something that you loved and that we’re not yet carrying at Lassens, tell us about it! Leave us a message here or on our Facebook page (the locations are listed on the right side bar on our lassensloves.com page. Is there something else that you were hoping we would find at the expo? 
Let us know! We’re dedicated to bringing YOU what you want and need
…but we’ll never know unless you tell us 😉
 
Wishing you a happy healthy day!
Love,
Lassens
lori's+original+lemonade, lavendar+lemonade, ojai+lemonade, focus+on+local, local+products

Focus on Local… Lori’s Original Lemonade and New Oak Ranch Lavender

Yes, there is a Lori!

 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
This is Lori, owner of Lori’s Original Lemonade.
 
It started with a lemon tree in the front yard 
and three kids who wanted to make some money.
So Lori made some lemonade and the kids set up a stand outside their home in Ojai to sell that lemonade.  
It was a big neighborhood hit! 

But then Lori had an idea…

…to spruce up that lemonade with some lavender.
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
She got some lavender from a local farmer, brewed some lavender tea, and infused her lemonade with that delicious lavender flavor.
Soon people–including her three children–
were encouraging Lori to bottle her lemonade.  

Mom… you can do it!

So a year ago Lori took a deep breath and jumped into the business.  
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
Recently Bethany (Marketing Director), Mykey (Art Director and Graphics Designer) and I met Lori at New Oak Ranch in Ojai, where Lori gets the lavender for her delicious lemonade. She told us her story and shared her excitement for her wonderful product.
Lori started by selling her lemonade in several Ojai shops, but then decided to expand.  
She had a goal to put her three kids through college.
 
She visited our buyer, Josh, at the Ventura store and was thrilled when he wanted much more than she expected him to order.  
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
Lori uses Organic lemons for her lemonade, as well as Pure Cane Sugar–

No high fructose corn syrup!

Lassen’s is proud to have helped Lori as she was launching her business!  
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade 

New Oak Ranch

We also got to meet Bill, the owner of New Oak Ranch.  
Bill showed us the different kinds of lavender and taught us all about it.  
The culinary variety of lavendar is Provence, but Bill also grows the Grosso variety, 
which is used for oil.  
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
It takes about 30 lbs of lavender buds (shown here) to make (through steam distilling) 
6 oz of oil!    
It is used in many kinds of bodycare products.
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
This beautiful variety, Buena Vista, holds its color and is often used for decorating and in other items that need the color retained.
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
Bill also showed us his greenhouse where he has propagated (by cuttings) a full crop of new lavender plants.  
The cuttings take about 8-10 weeks to be strong enough to be planted.  
Bill will soon plant a full field of these new plants.
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
Bill also grows Olives, Ojai Pixie Tangerines, and Walnuts at his ranch.
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
With her unique and delicious recipe, Lori is getting rave reviews for her lemonade.  
Mykey, Bethany and I decided that heating up the lemonade to soothe a sore throat just might make feeling a little under-the-weather not so terrible!
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade
 
Stop into Lassens and try LOL–Lori’s Original Lemonade!
Maybe her family motto will rub off on you too:
“Wish It, Dream It, Do It, and Anything is Possible!”
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
 
PS–and by the way, the drive through the Ojai Valley is spectacular!  Take Highway 150 through Ojai and beyond (keep following it and you’ll get to Santa Paula) for a beautiful drive!
 
lassensloves.com, Lori's+Original+Lavender+Lemonade