Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Bitchin’: Adj: Wonderful, First Rate, Excellent

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are lots of ways to use Bitchin’ Sauces!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Lassen’s

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

Bogüe Milk Soaps — As Local as You Can Get!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bogue+Goat+Milk+Soap, Bogue+Soap, Bogue+Goat+Soap, Shave+Kits, Natural+Soap, Handmade+Soap, Natural+Soap

Love, Lassen’s

It’s Brine Time!

Ready set brine.  

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

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

So why would you brine a turkey?

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

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

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

Let’s get started!

Simple Ingredients

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

Brining Instructions

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

Cooking the Turkey

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


Aloe Life

There’s a Big Difference in Aloe Vera Products!

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

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

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

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

Why Aloe Life?

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

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

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

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

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

Aloe Life products

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

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

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

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



Kiwi to the Rescue!

King of Kiwi, that is!

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

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

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

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

Did you know there is a yellow variety of Kiwi?

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

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

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

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

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

King+of+Kiwi, Kiwi+Fruit, Prebiotic+drinks, Malibu+Mama+Loves

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

Thanks, Glenn!

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

Here’s a link to Glenn’s YouTube Video

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

Rock Front Ranch

You Won’t Find Purer Honey!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

Aura Cacia Essential Oils

Not a Newcomer to the Industry!

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

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

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

Essential+Oils, Aura+Cacia

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

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

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

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

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

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

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

Why use Essential Oils?

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

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

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

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

Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils

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

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

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

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



Aura+Cacia, Essential+Oils
Looking out over the Iowa countryside
history+of+yogurt, Natasha+Trenev, Yordan+Trenev, Continental+yogurt, lassens+blog

From Yogurt to Probiotics — Natren is the Pioneer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you know?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big News!

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

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



Our Branded Honey helps to Save the Bees

Colony Collapse Disorder

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

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

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

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

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

Buy organic.

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

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

Don’t use insecticides, particularly neonicotinoids.

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

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

What we are doing

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

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

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



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Lassen’s Loves Our Producers!

These are some of our Anniversary Celebration Sponsors!

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Starting with a quarter acre of lettuce back in 1984 and an idea of doing things differently, Danny Duncan formed Cal-Organic Farms. More than three decades later, we have taken the business to include approximately 60 different year-round and seasonal vegetable and fruit items. Today the business has grown to thousands of certified organic acres. It still remains family owned and operated, while promoting family values and integrity every day. Cal-Organic works hard to prove personal service and to find solutions for all of our customers’ needs. Our goal is to constantly advance the technology of organic agriculture to the highest levels and to provide you with finest quality organic produce all year-round. Our headquarters are located in Lamont, California at the southern most end of the pristine San Joaquin Valley, 15 miles southeast of the city of Bakersfield. The San Joaquin Valley is known as one of the world’s premier agricultural growing regions. The bounty of sun and good weather in Lamont allows us to continue the tradition of quality that we are known for. We also farm in some of the most beautiful and richest soils outside of the Southern San Joaquin Valley, enabling us to provide you with year-round supplies. These areas include the Tehachapi, Cuyama, Coachella, Antelope and Imperial Valleys. Cal-Organic has been dedicated to organic farming and maintaining a balance with nature for over 30 years. As one of the select organic farms in California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley, we are very proud of our rich organic farming heritage.


Our Commitments
It’s important to us that you know we stand behind what we say. But we don’t want you to just take our word for it. Our certifications come from the most trusted experts in their respective fields.

We believe good business means building a better and healthier world. Our mission is to be the leading natural products company in the USA, admired for the quality of our products, the service to our customers, our respect for the environment and commitment to our values. We’ve achieved B Corporation certification thanks to our rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. This means we’ve been recognized as a purpose-driven company that uses the power of markets to make the world a better place. As a B Corp we share our commitment to integrity, the founding principle of our company. B Corp certification gives us the metrics to continually improve on our goal. Joining the B Corp community offers a natural expression of our identity as a company that believes in complete transparency.

YES, Certified Gluten-Free.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans that follow a gluten-free diet, or one of the 2 million having gluten-free be a requirement due to celiac disease, Country Life wants you to know we recognize that being gluten-free is an important issue to many of you. To show that we share your beliefs and concerns, we’ve ensured 100% of our products are gluten-free, certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group. In fact, we are the first supplement company in the United States to be certified as 100% gluten-free. Our entire manufacturing facility is also certified gluten-free. Our products contain no more than 10 parts per million of gluten, which is currently half of the 20 ppm standard the FDA requires for a product to be labeled gluten-free. As most processed gluten-free products or foods are not enriched or fortified with vitamins and minerals, your gluten-free diet may be low in important nutrients. We at Country Life recommend these top 5 gluten-free supplements for any gluten-free lifestyle.

YES, Certified Vegan/Vegetarian.
While 7 million Americans have made the choice to adhere to a vegetarian diet, over 22 million more of you have implemented vegetarian practices into their diet as well. We want to make it easier for you to adhere to your vegan and vegetarian practices, not just in the foods you eat, but also in the supplements you choose. We are proud to offer over 200 vegan products and nearly 400 vegetarian products. All of our vegan and vegetarian products are certified by the American Vegetarian Association. These products are marked “YES Vegan” or “YES Vegetarian” on the side of our labels.

YES, USDA Certified Organic Manufacturer.
Country Life is a proud supporter of the organic movement and has been certified as an organic manufacturer by the US Department of Agriculture. Look for the USDA logo and you’ll see several product lines within the Country Life family showcase our passion for all things organic, from our Realfood Organics® Aloes to our BioChem® organic whey protein.

We at Country Life are committed to providing products that are non-GMO (not genetically modified). Within each category, we already have several non-GMO options. These products are marked “NO GMOs” on the side of our labels. For the rest of our line, we are currently undergoing the process of reviewing every product we offer. Due to the fact we offer you over 600 products, with each containing as many as 30 ingredients to check, this intensive and comprehensive review is a very large undertaking. We are looking to complete our review within the next several years. Additionally, Country Life has been working with the Non-GMO Project for several years to define the standards for supplements industry, and you will find the butterfly logo on the reviewed and approved products.

YES, Certified Kosher.
Another of Country Life’s commitments is to those who live kosher. If you’re one of 10 million Americans who live kosher, you’ll recognize the iconic Kosher Symbol from KOF-K, an internationally recognized kosher supervisory network, on many of our products. These products are marked “YES Kosher Parve” or “YES Kosher Dairy” on the side of our labels.

YES, Certified Good Manufacturing Practices.
Country Life is not just a name placed on someone else’s products. We manufacture 97% of our products and are happy to say that our manufacturing and production facility in Hauppauge, New York, is a NSF-GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) registered facility—one of the largest supplement companies certified by NSF. Even when we have to use a contractor to craft a highly specialized product for use, we conduct a full investigation of their manufacturing facilities to ensure they continue Country Life’s high quality standards. All of our suppliers are also required to have high standards of GMP which are verified by frequent audits by our internal specialized teams. This means that when you choose any of the over 600 products we offer, you can feel confident that tight quality controls are in place so you get the product value you deserve. You have our word and the word of our certifiers that we are all we say we are. Experience our quality today and every day.

YES, Sustainable Manufacturing.
We at Country Life are committed to helping people and the earth we all live on. We use 100% recycled paperboard for all our packaging boxes, and 100% recycled paper for our promotional materials certified by the FSC, an independent, nonprofit organization that sets the standards for environmental protection. Country Life uses electricity from the national power grid, just like you do, but we purchase green power in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset our electricity use and reduce our carbon emissions. Our purchase of 100% wind power RECs (from Renewable Choice Energy) provides financial assistance to wind farms and helps to grow domestic green power production.


In the year 2001, while working in the herb section of my local health food store, I became aware of the multitude of properties inherent in mineral-rich products from the Dead Sea. At the same time, I learned that one of my nephews had been using the Dead Sea bath salts to manage a throbbing pain he continued to experience in a leg he had severely injured in a car accident.
Intrigued, I asked my husband to try the Dead Sea Bath Salts on his painful fingers. Lo and behold, he would, after a 10-minute soak, regain pain-free use of his hands for up to 4 hours after!
Always having suffered from just plain dry, itchy skin, I then decided to test the Dead Sea Bath Salts for their skin-softening ability. The results were amazing! My skin felt silky smooth and totally itch free! No body lotion needed!


NeoCell is a natural product company based in Irvine, California, with a number of products designed to promote health, beauty and wellness.

The company was established in 1998 by Al Quadri after he suffered a heart attack and underwent a triple bypass surgery. Quadri’s recovery was slow and he suffered atrophy in his muscles, a sore chest and a loss of overall vitality. He added collagen to his recovery regimen on the theory that the structural protein plays a key role in fortifying and reconstructing depleted muscle and restoring connective tissue. Within a few weeks his health had improved dramatically. After his recovery, Quadri set out to understand how collagen had stimulated his own regenerative systems and helped him during his recovery. His research became his life’s work and he founded NeoCell with the goal of creating and promoting collagen products that could help others the same way that they helped him.

NeoCell’s manufacturing plant is a Natural Products Association GMP certified facility. This certification is awarded to companies that meet a high level of compliance to industry standards as verified through comprehensive third-party inspections of facilities and GMP-related documentation.
NeoCell products are packaged in post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles. In 2012, the company received an award from the Responsible Packaging Project for its switch to 100% PCR plastic, which generates fewer greenhouse gases, reduces reliance on petrochemicals, and keeps plastic out of landfills and oceans.


Taste: Our simple, high quality ingredients and balance of flavors come together in what we believe to be the best tasting deli meat and cheese. We value the taste that is sourced from the quality of raw ingredients and our grass fed ground beef and steak reflects the quality of its local territory.
Animal Welfare: We believe in providing the land and animals we manage with the best possible facilities to source the very optimum quality products. Our animals are treated humanely, have more roaming space than the industry standard and are fed the diet nature intended for them.

Environmental Impact: Our animals have free range access to outdoor areas that provide natural sunlight and fresh air. The practice of grass fed diet besides space to roam is optimal for our environment since the grass absorbs the toxins that are produced through animal waste.

Organic Commitment: All of our feed and land are Organic Certified, this provision ensures the optimal quality for the land and animals we raise and in turn impacts the safety and nutrition of the product we provide for our customers.

Health Benefits: Free of antibiotics, common growth hormones and GMO, our products also omit potentially dangerous additives and mystery ingredients to bring consumers a clean, wholesome variety. Rich and healthy diet for our animals specially grass fed cows allow us to obtain higher level beta carotene, omega 3’s and Vitamin E.

Domestic Source: Sustainability, environmental impact and food safety are optimized when animal products are sourced domestically and can be traced to their origins. All of our cows and poultry are born and raised in the USA. Every product consumed can be sourced to optimum in quality of land used, feed given and humane treatment.


At Nuzest we believe in making good nutrition easy for everyone. We only use top quality, responsibly-sourced ingredients. In fact, we like to think that we make the kind of choices you’d make for yourself.
Knowledge about human nutrition is constantly evolving, so coming up with an effective formulation once and letting it run just isn’t good enough. We challenge ourselves to continually improve our supplements so that we produce outstanding nutritional products – time after time.

We like to keep things real, so our products are based on real foods that are rich in nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals. Once sourced, these ingredients are carefully handled to retain all of their goodness. You can relax knowing that every batch of Good Green Stuff and Clean Lean Protein is independently tested before it gets to you.



Finally an alternative….

The Goal of Oral Essentials is to produce and distribute a revolutionary line of oral hygiene products for daily use that combine natural ingredients & ingredients with evidence based benefits to create a long-term solution for oral & whole body health. It was created in leu of a gaping hole in the industry’s available products, and is presented as a new and innovative solution for a forward-thinking generation of consumers who seek out companies that care.

“None of the Junk – Just the Essentials!”

Oral Essentials has, through a lot of patience and hard work maintained a track record we are proud of, producing an ethical product in small batches here in California, to help boost your oral care, or local economy and hopefully, the world at large!


Plantlife’s mission is to consistently create all-natural body care products using the freshest organic herbs and 100% pure essential oils. Each of our aromatherapy creations is prepared with the intent of enriching our lives as well as our environment.

Customer Satisfaction is Important to Us

Our commitment to you begins from the moment you place your order with us. When you use Plantlife products, you can be assured of quality and value in natural body care. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with any of our products simply return them to us for a prompt, courteous replacement, exchange or refund. If for many reasons you enjoy our products please call, write or email us and let us know. We would love to hear from you!

About Plantlife Natural Body Care

Plantlife Natural Body Care products are the perfect blend of science and nature, using “old world” formulas combined with the timeless sciences of herbology and aromatherapy. Plantlife’s mission is to consistently create all-natural body care products that are good for you, using the purest ingredients such as fresh herbs and 100% pure essential oils. Each of our therapeutic blends and aromatherapy creations is prepared with the intent of enriching our lives as well as our environment.

Quick Facts About Plantlife

Manufacturing 100% natural products since 1994 (we were being green and natural way before it was cool!)
Always been Eco-conscience in all aspects of manufacturing and products

Everything natural, nothing synthetic with your health and wellness in mind

Chemical free – No SLS, no parabens (preservatives), no phthalates, no artificial colors or fragrances, no dyes or synthetics

Products enhance and help one’s body/skin versus tear down or harm

Manufactured in small batches to ensure product quality and freshness

Product lines are vegan (except lip balms) and gluten free

Cruelty free – no animal testing

Made in the USA


Rainbow Light Mission and Core Business Principles
For over 30 years, Rainbow Light has been dedicated to creating natural, food-based supplements that make a difference in the health and well-being of our customers, while promoting sustainable practices for planetary health and contributing to the fight against global malnutrition.

Our mission is to be the performance leader in building a stronger state of health for our customers, natural trade partners, global community and planet. Four core principles drive our business:
Formulas for Transformational Wellness
Natural Products Leadership
High-Impact Global Aid
Sustainability & Environmental Stewardship

Innovation and Industry Leadership

Rainbow Light is synonymous with natural health and nutrition. Our reputation as the #1 Most Trusted Natural Vitamin Brand† is the result of consistent innovation that began when we created the food-based natural vitamin category and continues to this day.

We continue our natural products leadership with innovative formulas that include clinically researched ingredients, always safety and purity tested in our production facility in Sunrise, Florida. These products are formulated based on the latest nutritional science to ensure appropriate potencies and optimal combinations for absorption, utility and effectiveness.

As new scientific research sheds light on key ingredients, our product offering evolves. Year after year, Rainbow Light introduces fresh new choices of effective nutritional products for every age, life stage, and health concern.
† Independent Study, Wiest & Co., 2014


Every chicken is fed a wholesome diet that meets the species’ unique dietary requirements. Feeds are studied carefully by in-house poultry nutritionists who continually evaluate ingredients such as corn and soybean meal, natural limestone and phosphates, salts, vitamins, and mineral supplements. Our chickens are never fed antibiotics, growth stimulants, animal by-products, or hormones (which have been illegal in poultry production since the 1950s).

Organic Smart Chicken vs. Smart Chicken
Organic Smart Chickens are certified organic in accordance with the standards of the National Organic Program. As part of that certification, our certified organic chickens are fed a certified organic, certified non-GMO diet. The inability to source sufficient certified organic, certified non-GMO grains limits the number of certified organic chickens that Smart Chicken growers can raise.

Smart Chicken is committed to sustainable, humane practices that reduce stress on animals and provide better working conditions for employees. All of our chickens are cage-free, with plenty of space to roam, perch, dust bathe, and participate in other natural social behaviors. Our certified organic chickens are also free-range, which means they have access to outdoor pastures. In addition to contributing to a higher-quality product for consumers and their families, humane handling practices are simply the right thing to do.


The year was 1913. Jean Demakes had just emigrated from Greece to join her husband Thomas in the United States. And the foundation for a family business was inspired by four little words:
“I can do better.”

That’s what Jean said to her husband after he brought home the “best Greek sausage in Boston.” She knew she could do better, and when Thomas gladly accepted her challenge, a far better sausage is exactly what Jean made.

It was so good, in fact, they began selling it to nearby stores. And over time, their four sons helped them grow sales, expand their product line and give back to their community.

Four generations have passed and we still own and operate our family business in Lynn, Massachusetts. More importantly, doing better is still the foundation of everything we do.

It’s what inspires us to always take the time to do things right. To never cut corners for the sake of higher profits. And to build personal relationships with farmers so we know where our ingredients come from.

Food with such integrity isn’t the easy way, it’s the right way. The way we’ve been doing things for over 100 years.

Our commitment to giving back has been around since the very beginning. Thomas Demakes believed it was important to do more for those who have less – to share and give back, even if that meant giving away a Thanksgiving turkey to a family in need.

Yes, Thomas believed a dinner of vegetables, beans and no meat for his own family was a fair sacrifice. He was always one to lead by example and share his good fortune with others. And that tradition is still alive and well in how we do things today.

We will always embrace our responsibility to help others in our community, whether it means donating food to local pantries, charities and outreach programs or offering support to YMCAs, Girls Inc., boys’ and girls’ clubs and other organizations in our area.

After all, we have children. We know the importance of nurturing young minds and teaching the meaning of teamwork, developing friendships and imparting values that will last a lifetime.

Thanks to our Anniversary Sponsors!



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Cage Free, and the Living is Easy!

Chino Valley Ranchers Organic Eggs

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Chris shows us his mad chicken-whisperer skills!


Chris Nichols went off and did his own thing for a few years, but his grandfather’s business drew him back. Now he leads the crew at Chino Valley Ranch, where Organic is in their DNA. Some of us at Lassen’s got to drive out to see Chris and his Egg operation, and it was a treat!

When we visited Chino Valley, we were able to see some of the flocks. We started by seeing a new flock of chicks, just about 11 days old.  They get about 31,000 at a time from certified growers, and at 5 days old.

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These chicks, in a flock of about 31,000, are about 12 days old!

The first building was full of the fluffy little bodies, and they were not quite used to people walking around them. They skittered away from us, some to go out the doors to the outside. But it was a hot day, and most preferred to stay in the shade.

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Free to wander… but still like the shade and company!

After World War II, Charles Burton came to California from Iowa, and he needed a job. He worked for a Dutchman delivering eggs and milk. He did such a good job that he ended up buying the route. He soon realized that he could make more money selling eggs, so he started a small backyard flock in Arcadia. Well, it depends on your definition of small, but that first flock had about 300 birds. Charles built up the business, doing everything by hand. His son was a machinist, but when Charles suddenly died at age 63, he ended up taking over the business.

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Peter holds a little fluff-ball chick!

In 1988, Nichols Ranch bought Chino Valley Ranches, and the “hippies” who ran it pushed him to establish a cage free and organic operation. After attending a Natural Foods Trade show in the early 1990s, they saw the direction that they wanted to go.  With encouragement from Alta Dena Dairy, they started to produced fertile eggs, too. 

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Here’s a look at the special, nutritionist-designed organic feed for the birds.

The Natural, Cage-free, and Organic eggs just “took off.”  Equipment was purchased, the Ranch was expanded, and Chino Hills Ranch became an organic powerhouse in the egg industry.  

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Yup, these are full of the organic ingredients for the special feed!

Now with the third generation of Nichols in the business, Chino Valley has their own Nutritionist, to make sure the feed is nutritionally balanced, as well as organic. Every batch of feed is sourced specifically for their Ranch, and milled in-house to have maximum control. Chino Valley Ranchers also tests every batch of feed to make sure it is 100% organic.  It takes 4 lbs of feed to produce 1 dozen eggs, so they want to make sure every bit of feed is the highest quality possible!

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This is a tasty blend! These are 6-week-old chicks
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At six weeks they aren’t as nervous around people

Next we saw 6-week old chicks, then some at 14 weeks. The older they got, the more used they were to people coming into the hen houses.  

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Old enough to lay eggs

We were able to see the older hens as they hopped onto the platforms and went into the laying enclosures to have a little privacy as they laid their eggs. Food, water, space, and training were all carefully managed so that the chickens were treated humanely and healthily.  

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She’s content!
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Hens like a little privacy when they’re laying eggs
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Once the eggs are laid, a conveyor belt takes them to the sorting area

After enjoying the chicks and hens, we drove to the packing plant, which is a marvel of modern machinery. Everything from cleaning and sorting to packing, inspecting, and labelling was handled smoothly and efficiently.

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This equipment not only washes the eggs, but aligns them all to have the pointier ends facing the same way

When we asked if there were about a million eggs in the plant, we thought we might be exaggerating, but David, our guide, told us that they had 22 million eggs in the inventory that day! Yes, twenty-two MILLION! They were all headed for distribution, and the eggs go from hen to store shelves in just a matter of days. 

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Twenty-two Million Eggs!

Lassen’s is proud to support a local and organic egg producer, particularly one who has been a leader in the organic movement.  Let’s support organic whenever we can!

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We love Chino Valley Ranchers!

Enjoy these delicious Chino Valley Ranchers Eggs — available every day at Lassen’s!, lassensloves, organic+blueberries, local+blueberries, organic+local,, blueberry+growers

These Berries Are Candy Without the Guilt!

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Lassen’s has found a wonderful local blueberry grower right here in our back yard!

And last week I got to tour their farm on the Oxnard Plain!

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Born in Hawthorn to a farming family, Chas grew up down dirt roads and in the midst of acres of tomato plants. He  started farming in the San Gabriel Valley, and has been a berry grower in Ventura County since 1982.

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When he came to Ventura County, he grew conventional strawberries.  Ten years ago the strawberry market started turning mostly to the huge producers, so Chas and his son Rick transitioned into blueberries.  About three years ago, he decided that he wanted to go “instantly organic” by planting young blueberry bushes in organic peat moss. He has mastered the intricacies of growing organically — keeping down weeds and pests with mats and hand-weeding, as well as using vinegars and soaps. Everything from planting to harvesting and packing is done with great care, and strictly to Certified Organic standards.

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And they grow their berries in Hoop Houses so they can manage the elements, as well as keep the birds away. Those birds love the blueberries as much as we do! 

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One thing that I found absolutely fascinating is the science of blueberry pollination. Blueberry blossoms are very small and long, and a regular honeybee’s body doesn’t catch and move the pollen very well. So Chas and Rick use a variety of bumblebee that has dense hairy bodies that pick up and distribute the pollen.  The Hoop Houses also keep the bumblebees contained. No swarming bees here!

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Chas and Rick grow two varieties of blueberries — Emerald is the early producer, and now we have Jewel. Both are incredibly sweet and just the right texture. I am looking forward to having Chas’s berries for the whole season next year, but in the meantime, I’m eating more than I thought possible. 

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We love our local farmers and producers!

Thanks, Chas and Rick for a great tour!

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