Ocean Ranch Organics started at the Ojai farmers market seven years ago. Founder Kim Redman was a plant-based chef who specialized in organic cuisine at a yoga retreat center. During her 20 years as executive chef, she created the granola recipes that would later become her signature products. 

“As a vegetarian chef, cooking for people who were often not vegetarians, I created my dishes to be bold flavored and with interesting twists,” said Redman. “I wanted to provide our healthy grab and go foods to the broader community and so I decided to start packaging some of our products.” And that’s how Ocean Ranch Organics got started.

Redman was inspired to become a chef out of her passion for organic, natural foods. She learned about the organic food movement as a student at UCSB. After graduating, she traveled nationally and internationally to study sustainable agriculture and cooking practices. “Eating organically-grown foods is really important for the health of our bodies and the environment,” she said. “It helps protect the soil, water supply, seeds and promotes biodiversity. Organic farmers are not spraying herbicides, they are pulling weeds by hand, growing the microbes in the soil and supporting the ecosystem. It takes so much more labor than conventional farming because you’re involved in the entire process and is the reason why organic foods tend to be more expensive.”

Ocean Ranch makes their products in an old-school style, keeping things fresh and flavorful with hand-made, small-batch products. Their kitchen in Ventura employs a small, efficient team of bakers that hand-make all their products. They prefer to employ local people as opposed to processing their granola in a food factory. “When a customer purchases a bag of Ocean Ranch granola, they are supporting all the people that have helped create that bag of food,” said Redman.

Their signature handmade style also allows them more control over the process. Ocean Ranch granola is more nutrition dense and flavorful than the average bag of granola. Their refreshing variety of ingredient combinations includes hemp seed, quinoa, chia seeds, chickpeas, whole organic raw nuts and seeds, and sun-dried fruits. They also offer varieties that are naturally sweetened with honey or dates for vegans. 

“We make fresh, real, pure food that’s not processed,” said Redman. “We strive to create fresh, flavorful, nutritious and artfully made snacks and granola that are imbibed with soul.”

Ocean Ranch is also a women-owned, women-run business. “It’s important to hire women,” said Jenn Smith, their marketing and events coordinator. “Many studies prove that the more you hire women, the more the economy grows. I think it’s really important for women to have as many opportunities as men do because we have our specific strengths. Our business does well because it is run by women. We are a team, and we like to do everything that way.” 

On why she chose to create a female-run company, Redman remarked, “we value creating healing and nurturing food that is nutritious and women have an innate understanding of that. I’ve always been about creating friendships and family within the business and providing a place for creativity and opportunity to flourish.”

Ocean Ranch Organics began with selling items at farmers markets and local natural foods stores. Despite opportunities to expand, today they remain dedicated to supporting their local community. Their oats are grown in the Eastern Cascades and their organic honey comes from a family-owned honey business in Arizona. They work directly with small beekeepers around the Americas. 

“We want to keep our community healthy and strong and support organic farmers in our area,” said Redman. Ocean Ranch often collaborates with local businesses. Their products can be found at Pacific Health Foods, Mesa Produce, Lazy Acres and almost any non-corporate grocery store. They recently worked with Lucky Llama on an acai bowl and with brewLAB to create a porter. “The local businesses have carried us these past six to seven months,” said Smith. “We all work together since it’s such a small town. We are also in Whole Foods locations for all of Southern California and some small stores in Hawaii.” 

The Ocean Ranch women emphasize their gratitude for the community’s constant support. “It’s always great to get messages from customers saying how much they love our product and how they get all the flavors because each family member has a favorite,” said Smith. “I love hearing that people enjoy our product. It renews my sense of purpose to help people that are trying to nourish their families.”

Ocean Ranch Organics just came out with gift baskets including the superfood snack box, the breakfast lover oat cups, and the baker’s bundle. To shop, visit oceanranchorganics.com or your local health food store.

 

 

Brenda Tan is a columnist and a freelance writer. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English, Writing and Literature, and Art History with an emphasis in Museum Studies at UCSB. She can be reached at brendatan321@gmail.com.

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