Thursday, 15 December 2011

Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market

I was in search of a Christmas market, online, instead, I came across the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market link. What was inviting was that for the holiday season the Artists Alley, featuring specialty arts and crafts, had been added. There is one more Saturday to catch this, December 17, and then things will be back to normal at this market.

Open all -year round from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., this market is set up in Chapman University's Historic Villa Orchards Packinghouse. The Villa Park Orchards Packinghouse was formerly owned by the Santiago Orange Growers Association (SOGA) which was organized in 1912 when a group of local growers got together to harvest, pack, and market their fruit products. It was the largest packing house for fruits in the city of Orange in 1918. The Villa Parks Orchard Association's (VPOA) operations were moved here in 1967, when SOGA went out of business.

Orange County was mainly planted to oranges in the 1940s. The orange groves comprised 65,000 acres of the territory. With the residential and commercial development in the county in the last five decades, the orange groves have been reduced to less than a 100 acres. 

In 2004, Chapman University purchased the packinghouse and leased it back to VPOA. By 2006, the packing operations had ceased and the plant was left vacant. Orange Home Grown Inc. (OHGI) - an association of long-time Orange residents, aims to work on cultivating a healthy community. Through educational programs for the families in the community, with emphasis on "wholesome nutrition, sustainable prices, health and fitness, and strengthening neighborhood and  community relationships" they have been successful in their efforts.

It is so fitting to find a market in this place, once a center for local farmers to pack their produce to market. In partnership with Chapman University, OHGI has organized the Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market. Local California farmers and artisans have been given a place to bring their products to sell, to the community.

To my surprise, my visit here has turned out to be some kind of an educational tour as I learned new things. What attracted my attention were some of the banners' messages, which were succinct, descriptive, and question provoking in my mind.
Does this mean it's organic?   
I found bee keeper/honey expert, Bill Walter of Guerilla Beekeepers, to answer my question.

I have bought organic honey elsewhere in the world and have been looking for one, locally. According to Bill, the USDA has not formalized any standards to certify honey production as organic. Perhaps, it's understandable when you think about the population of the bee colonies who travel within a 6 mile radius in search of flowers to draw nectar from, to bring back to their beehives. In this case, Guerilla Beekeepers maintains their surroundings for their bee colonies chemical-free, pesticide-free, and also by keeping their bee colonies healthy through natural means. Therefore, no antibiotics are used to keep the beehives disease-free. Just regular maintenance. In my books, this is organic.

Bee colonies are so important in our eco system. They are nature's pollinator. They create a third of what we eat. We need to protect them and keep them around. This group specializes in residential and commercial honeybee rescue and relocation. 
Aside from their unfiltered honey that is produced in Silverado Canyon, Southern California, they now carry a rich, natural, nourishing line of facial and body products from the uncontaminated wax derived from the beehives.  

Organic produce from Ray's Ranch of Temecula

When people look to a nutritional approach to healing, organic raw fruits and vegetable play an important part in healing the body. Much of the websites that talk about the raw food diet, juicing, detoxification have their roots in the Gerson Therapy that was developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1920s. He found, through the process of elimination, that the foods that cured him of his severe migraine condition was by eating organic fruits and vegetables, and detoxification through coffee enemas. He passed on this diet to his other patients who also got cured, not just of their migraines but also of their other diseases. Eating organic produce is free of chemical, pesticides, and fungicides, which are toxins to the body and impair liver functions.

The nutritional approach to healing many serious conditions seems to be the most effective, and economical in the long run. Since natural treatment protocols cannot be tested in the laboratory, they are not FDA approved. I invite you to read about it, understand it, and try it. 

At Ray's Ranch, other organic foods can be sourced for those who want to eat healthy.

DeyDey's Best Beef Ever products come from their ranch in Santa Rital Hills. They are hormone and antibiotic free, grass fed, and "pasture raised.".

What a difference it is to eat grass-fed meat and poultry. They are more tasty, tender and leaner. With the promise of bigger livestock at an accelerated rate, farmers began giving grain feed to their animals. In time, it has been discovered that animals fed with a low-fiber diet have nice marbled meat but are higher in cholesterol levels. Back to basics. Livestock farmers are beginning to give the animals their natural food, grass. It's the same scenario with poultry.

Rancho La Viña's organically grown premium, coastal walnuts 

This is a first for me, to come across organic walnuts. When I sampled it, it was sweet tasting. That sweetness turns out to be characteristic of walnuts grown along the coast. It takes 5 years of maintaining a farm according to approved organic standards, with the use of only natural means, for it to be certified organic. Chemical and pesticide free, Rancho La Viña farms (since 1869) in Santa Rita Hills on the central coast of California continue to raise livestock and grow agricultural products suited to the soil and climate in the area.

If you look at a walnut, it looks like the brain. This will help us remember that walnuts are brain food with 15 to 20 per cent protein, containing omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin E and Vitamin B6. As nourishment for the nervous system, walnuts help us to be in good spirits as it has anti-depressant effects from the omega 3 acids.
Aside from a variety of walnuts, waiting to be certified organic is their walnut oil. This oil is manufactured from walnuts coming from three farms. Two have been certified organic, and the third one is in the process of being certified, soon.

So Good Gluten-Free Foods' line of products  for those who suffer from celiac disease and other auto-immune diseases

More and more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and other auto immune diseases. These diseases have symptoms that overlap, so it is easy to mistake one for the other. Going on a gluten-free diet is one of the major steps to take, to start feeling better. For the celiacs, being on a gluten-free diet is for life.

Lindy Pine, the chef and owner, draws from her personal experience of fighting an auto-immune disease. It is for this reason that she has created this line of products made in a dedicated gluten-free facility in Temecula.

There is more to see in this market:
From the Fat-Plant Man's stand - adeniums, pachypodiums, desert tropicals, and caudiciforms

To us, these are simply cactus varieties or succulent plants. Cliff Meng started as a hobbyist,  getting a cutting of this and that, or buying a plant each week, as a reward for giving up  smoking. After gathering a small collection of these beauties, he started to join shows. Propagating and selling them became the next thing do. Speaking engagements came after. This  has become his home business that supports him and his wife in their retirement. These all started about thirty years ago.

Using these plants in ornamental containers and landscape gardening have become the vogue.  You can see them in nurseries, specialty stores, in mall landscaping, and in some people's homes. If you know enough about them, they are easy to maintain. For a wide variety to choose from, get in touch with The Fat-Plant Man himself.

From Maureen Mac Donald of Springbrook Studios

Maureen works out of her kitchen to design her ceramic creations. It is something she had studied when she was younger, and got back into it after she retired from working an eight-hour job. This hobby has grown into her business. Here are her unique, hand built Christmas ornaments, bowls, plates, tiles, and other decorative and functional items. 

LOVE Propagation finds another way to send out the "seeds of love, peace and joy." 

Wear a button or a bandana to deliver this message. Or, give them as gifts. A bandana can be decorative as a fashion accessory, useful  to wrap or carry something, and in this case, a good way to deliver positive messages to others, to lift their spirits.

Love Propagation partners with local charities, donating a percentage of their earnings to help them financially. In the spirit of giving, let's join together to bring love, peace, and joy to others.

In the artists alley, there were other vendors of fashion jewelry and accessories. If you are running out of ideas, you may find gift items here for some on your Christmas lists.

Goodies from...

Debbie's Homemade Delights' baked goods and sweet and savory dips and sauces

Debbie offers a sampling of her products. I had a taste of the Basil Pesto and that was so good. Her baked products are served in several coffeehouses in Orange.

Cookies for all occasions, made from traditional Italian recipes by the Angel Bites Cookie Co.

A taste of their cookies brought me back to a memorable visit to as faraway as Florence, when I entered a shop there specializing in cookies. Amaretto is one flavor I like. For my order, I will take the biscotti to dip in my thick chocolate.

Prepared-food stalls:

From Mom's Specialty Foods - Mediterranean appetizers, taboule salad, pita bread, hummus, grape leaves and more

Our palates have become so international. Mediterranean influences in what we eat is so common, anywhere we go. There is a great variety of products from Mom's Specialty Foods, at this market. It will be so easy to have a Mediterranean meal ready in an instant, when you get home.

Tamales - a traditional, Mexican dish

It is made with masa - a starchy dough that is usually corn based. It is filled with different ingredients: pork, beef, chicken, cheese, sweet corn, fruits and vegetables in a variety of preparations. It is wrapped in corn husk and steamed in a flavored liquid. Delicious and filling! The early preparations of tamales are traced back to the Ancient Mayans.

The artisan bread selection from OC Baking Company

On a Saturday, it is likely that you will run into executive baker Dean Kim, himself, to  give you recommendations on which bread to use for your sandwich preparation or for your lunch or dinner bread pairings. With it's proximity to this community, the OC Baking Company's facility which is located in Orange, assures their  consumers of freshly-made daily bread. 

Sweet treats from Sweet Lilikoi Patisserie - French pastries, cakes, candies, and confections.  

This patisserie's pastries and sweets are made under the watchful eye of pastry chef, Louise Chien. If you love French pastries, you can find croissants, macarons and other sweet and delightful things that are typically French, locally made in Orange. 

This is a delightful market with something for the health conscious, the decadent in tastes, and the creative. It has attracted fabricants from Orange and the nearby cities, and the farmers from around Orange County. Come visit and see for yourself. 

As for me, there is an emphasis on my part to eat healthy. It's the natural way to healing, with no drug side effects. Eating organic foods makes a big difference in getting and feeling well, again. It is a blessing to have reliable organic sources in our midst, in the markets and in the stores. Thanks to the farmers who have continued or gone back to the healthy, natural, basic farming and production practices.

There is still room for more vendors to join this market. Vendor application forms are available at their  websiteThe market will be closed for the Christmas holiday, after December 17,  and will reopen on January 7, 2012.

Old Towne Orange Farmers and Artisans Market
304 Cypress Street (corner Palm Ave.)
Orange, CA 92856


  1. Thanks for the coverage Yolanda. Good Work !!!

  2. You are welcome, Maureen. I like your pieces a lot.

  3. Wow. I am so jealous. Our farmers market closed down for the winter weeks ago. All those veggies look amazing. Thanks for stopping by my blog



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