It’s Day Five of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” See end of article for how to win a Farmer Freed culinary salt three-jar set. Special note: it’s been brought to my attention that after my articles are posted, there is sometimes a several-hour delay before a notification is emailed to my subscribers. These email alerts are not something I control, so during this giveaway (or anytime, for that matter), you can always check my home page to see if a new article has been posted.
Santa Cruz resident Emily Jane Freed runs her own business, Farmer Freed culinary salt blends, which she makes with organic ingredients from local farms along the California Central Coast. “We know all of our farmers and their families’ names, and we are proud to know the people that grow the additions for the culinary salt blends,” says Freed. The salts can be used in two ways: add a pinch when cooking, or use as a finishing salt as you sit down to enjoy a meal.
Farmer Freed salts are sold in Santa Cruz County stores, online and at selected stores in the greater Bay Area. Her blends come in six flavors: Everyday Herb Salt, Sababa Salt, Spice It Up Salt, Pucker Up Citrus Salt, Dilly Goat Salt, and Vanilla Bean Baker’s Salt.
They make great gifts—to yourself or to others—and this weekend you can buy them in person at two events. Farmer Freed will be at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for a Holiday Artisan Food & Gift Market, which features over 25 vendors selling unique, local, small batch artisan foods and gifts, and at the Live Oak Farmers’ Market Sunday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Vanilla Bean Baker’s Salt, which Freed says is good with items like cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, breads, pancakes, and waffles, is sourced sea salt from South San Francisco which is the only North American sea salt bed in the US. The sea salt is steeped with both whole and ground vanilla beans (grown under organic conditions) from The Vanilla Company in Santa Cruz who works with vanilla farms throughout the world to bring better working conditions and wages to their farmers.
“Everyday Herb Salt is a perfect match for eggs, popcorn, avocados, roasted veggies, and everything,” says Freed. “One of my favorite things about the Everyday Herb Salt is when people sing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Scarborough Fair’ since this salt blend includes parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme,” she adds. All herbs are organic and grown locally on Hwy 1. Spice It Up pairs well with pizza, pasta, eggs, popcorn, and can be used as a meat rub.
An interesting note: Freed is also Regional Production Manager at Santa Cruz’s Jacobs Farm/del Cabo, Inc. where she grows organic culinary herbs, edible flowers, and mixed vegetables. Seems like farming is in her blood!
“When creating Farmer Freed, I wanted a way to give back to the Jewish community—which plays an important role in my life,” Freed says. She created the Sababa Salt, which is modeled after Za’atar, (a Middle Eastern herb mix that includes oregano, marjoram, and thyme). Additionally, 36 cents from every jar of Sababa Salt goes to support female farmers via Farmer Freed’s “You Grow Girl” program—which empowers women to farm organically and sustainable within a Jewish agricultural context. This “You Grow Girl” network includes female farmers from California and Canada; Freed is working to include farmers in Israel too.
There is a group of people behind Farmer Freed, not just Emily. Cheryl Isaacson from Lincoln Street Studios came up with the logo and labels for the salt blends. “Cheryl is a creative genius and I feel lucky to have her on the Farmer Freed team.” Keith Holtaway, founder of Pizza My Heart, is Farmer Freed’s business advisor and mentor via the Small Business Development Center. “Keith has gone above and beyond to help Farmer Freed get on shelves of shops and grocery stores throughout California and beyond,” says Freed. Keith is a fan of Pucker Up Citrus Salt (he uses it on fish and salads), and Sababa Salt (for roasted vegetables).
Emily Freed has been thinking about creating a women’s food entrepreneur group in Santa Cruz. “There are so many strong women in Santa Cruz who produce food products,” she says. “I think we could all benefit from sharing our experiences, networking with one another, etc.” She’s looking for a venue that would host the first gathering, and her idea is that all could bring their culinary creations to share. She encourages anyone that might have a space for this group to reach out and connect through the Farmer Freed web site’s contact form.
One lucky reader will win a culinary salt set worth approximately $30. It will include Spice It Up, Everyday Herb, and Vanilla, which are the most popular salts.
To enter, email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org by Fri. Dec. 18 at 9 p.m. and include the words “Farmer Freed.” The drawing will take place the next morning and the winner will be notified via email. Employees of byteclay.com are not eligible for the promotion.
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