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Jan 26, 2011 01:06 PM

SoCal Artisanal Food Producers?


I'm working on compiling a list of artisanal food producers in the LA/SoCal area and have used the search function here but knowing that many of you fellow hounders have steel-trap memories, was hoping some of you could point me to previous discussions, or to existing lists outside this wonderful site?

Thanks all. I will make the list available to all when done.



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    1. I hope when you compile your list you will include the excellent Graber Olive farm in Ontario. The Graber family has been curing olives there since the late 1800s.

      Any time i have introduced Graber olives to people they are pleasantly surprised at the experience. Sadly, the prices have soared in recent years to $10 - $12 a can! I don't buy them as often.

      Be sure and take the tour of the old fashioned olive curing plant. It's at their website:

      1 Reply
      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

        Got them too. They are great! Thanks SilverlakeGirl!

      2. That's it?!

        Come on, Chowhounders! How about primal producers (vs. value-added stuff)? No grass-fed beef? Any cheesemakers other than Winchester and the mozzerella producers?

        4 Replies
        1. re: michaelyee

          I would be much more inclined to suggest local producers to you if I knew I wasn't duplicating places you already have on your list. I hate finding out I've been spinning my wheels and not getting any traction.

          1. re: Servorg

            Understood! I apologize if my emails came across as being obnoxious. The "list" I have so far is only from a couple of days of googling. I really don't have anything on primary producers, heirloom farmers, and the like. Anything, particularly your favorites would be greatly appreciated!

            1. re: michaelyee

              Well, you still aren't letting the board know what you DO have on your list to this point. But I'll add one of the more unique places in the Southern California area (as far as I am concerned). Lindner Bison of Valencia:

        2. E. Waldo Ward. Maker of fine jams, jellies preserves and pickled and preserved things. Family owned for over 100 years.

          E Waldo Ward & Son Marmalades
          273 E Highland Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

          1. I hope that you will avoid using the "a" word in your list? Not only is it overused, but it's really not an accurate description in most of the cases it's used for these days.

            5 Replies
            1. re: will47

              Yes, especially if we include the items from E Waldo Ward, which while excellent are produced in an industrial setting, using quite a lot of bought, commercially-grown fruit. They used to grow most of it on-site, but no more. In this category I would also include Kruegermann's krauts and pickles, made the old-fashioned way in a small factory in Atwater Village, and to a lesser extent (nowadays at least) La Brea Bakery.

              1. re: will47

                Good point, Will. On further consideration this thread should probably be asking for GOOD local producers vs. artisanal. I think most will agree that taste is paramount, local might be more important than organic and that industrial isn't aways a bad thing, etc.

                1. re: michaelyee

                  Especially since that's about the ONLY way you can make food to package and sell any more. No more big wooden tubs you roll out into the alley and hose down at the end of the day … In my little Illinois town we had a real butcher, grandpa of a good friend of mine. He had a grocery store, in partnership with Phil's dad who ran the front end. Old Charlie stayed in the back mostly and cut meat. There was a shed out back, open at the front when he was in it, with a giant pot on a kerosene burner which he used to render lard. If I happened by while he was doing this he'd insist on giving me a big paper sack of cracklin's, which I would dutifully take home so Mom could throw them away. Of course I would not do that now … but Charlie couldn't make lard like that now, either, probably not even in a small Illinois town.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Nice story. I dunno...I know you're correct, legally speaking of course, but here in LA there are tons of places that dish up tasty food with ad hoc (illegal) cookery. I think there are just too many places to enforce. Caveat emptor, I guess. btw, did you know you can sell food on Etsy? They wash their hands of it (pun intended) by stating that the producer must comply with all local regulations. Wonder when the first botulism case will be?

                    1. re: michaelyee

                      "I know you're correct, legally speaking of course, but here in LA there are tons of places that dish up tasty food with ad hoc (illegal) cookery." The outstanding example being the totally illegal bacon-wrapped hot dog, another fine artisanal treat. I bought a package of the already-prepared ones, and the label says: "Como en la calle!" Had to laugh at that.