Pacific Health Foods has been nourishing Carpinteria for many years and has become the community’s go-to spot for healthy, organic produce and supplements. Working alongside the health food store owners, Whitney and Nathan Noll, is the store’s spirits buyer, Amy Stanfield, who believes in the mission of the family business. “We want people to think of us as a very warm and welcoming place,” said Stanfield, “where you can come to buy something that will make you feel good about buying, something that allows you to nourish yourself and help the community by doing it.”
Before working at Pacific Health, Stanfield was a dedicated customer. “Probably half of my paycheck went to this store,” she joked. “The owners, Whitney and Nathan, are around my age. When they came into owning the store, they did a lot of good work. They added the refrigerator units, smoothie bar, backloading storage area and storage coolers.” Stanfield appreciates how big of a role the Nolls play in this community in providing healthy food. “People come to Nathan all the time with their ailments and he shares everything he can. He’ll even be in the middle of eating his lunch and come down to help someone with a question,” she noted.
Stanfield previously moonlighted at Island Brewing Company for eight years before returning to school for art. She’s also nannied, traveled, made art and displayed her work in a few art shows. “I feel like I’m still so new, having started (at Pacific Health) in May, but I am slowly bonding with everybody,” she said. “It’s like when you’re fresh in a relationship.”
Working at Island Brewing for so long and living in Carpinteria, Stanfield notes that she has become a part of the community and continues to meet new people. “Knowing the community is a big part of my job because I’m trying to buy for different clientele,” she said. “Certain people like certain beers and wines, etc. So, it’s nice to be able to reach out and hear what people are looking for when I’m buying.”
Stanfield’s father was a brewer and Stanfield has worked in the service industry since she was 16. Growing up surrounded by food and beverages eventually led to her love for finding and sourcing the people and companies that are creating “beautiful products of great quality.”
“I really appreciated the slow art of creating your own beer at home,” noted Stanfield. “When I source the beer and wine for Pacific Health Foods, I look for the same in other companies, the slow process, and not the mass-produced companies out there.”
When choosing companies to buy from, Stanfield does background research to see where they are from, if they are helping their community or the environment in some way, and if they are being creative in style, such as innovative beer styles. “If their art and marketing is awesome, then I try and taste their product with whoever is representing them,” she said. “My father was a brewer and my fiancé is one of the founders of brewLAB, so I am constantly surrounded by products, makers, brewers and events. The beverage market is constantly evolving. People are always coming up with new things—new labels, new styles. It’s always changing which makes my job really fun and interesting.”
Stanfield is an avid proponent of the organic movement and advocates for people to be more conscious and aware of the products they are consuming. She plans on taking courses to receive a few Sommeliers certifications, which would help further her knowledge of wine. “When wine was starting to become mass produced and commercialized, instead of letting the grape naturally ferment to create its character, they started putting additives in the wine to control the outcome and consistency for the consumer,” she explained. “It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for the environment. Natural wines are typically wildly fermented and with no additives, low amounts of sulfites for preservation, lower alcohol and low intervention—and these are becoming more popular. It’s what people want and they want it from organic grapes, farmed biodynamically so that whatever is taken from the earth is then replenished. It’s an amazing movement because it’s helping us in the long run for future generations.”
Stanfield expressed her pride in working at Pacific Health because they support and help people by creating a positive environment dedicated to feeding the community. Their sandwiches are made with fresh baked bread, freshly sliced meat and cheese and vegetables from the farmers market. All of their produce is sourced from the local farmers markets. They get their meat freshly butchered from Ojai and their fish from the Santa Barbara Fish Market at the harbor.
“It’s nice to be a hub to all these small companies and the families it supports, she said. “We provide healthy organic options for those in need and support local artisans. As a consumer you have that small choice, and you can choose to support people who are trying to create something in a better way.”
Pacific Health Foods is located at 944 Linden Ave.