July Artisans Spotlight

July Artisans Spotlight

Valencia Creek Farms is renowned for their locally produced, award winning olive oil, but did you know they also make premium castile soap from their olive oil? The beautifully crafted, luxurious bath bars are lightly scented with rosemary mint, pear, lavender, almond and lemon verbena essential oils.

Chris Banthien, owner, explained how she makes her soap. “It is a simple process — the recipe is 95% olive oil, 5% castor oil, ionized water and essential oils. A small amount of sodium hydroxide is used to get the process going. This mixture is poured into wooden molds, left to set up and then cut into bars. The bars require quite a bit of drying time, and depending on the weather conditions, this can take up to three or four months.”

“Castile soap cleans the skin without stripping away the natural oils so skin doesn’t become dry and flaky after using it,” Chris continued. “Castile soap also helps skin maintain it’s elasticity and retain moisture. It is a very gentle soap delicate enough for baby skin, sensitive skin and is also helpful in treating eczema and psoriasis.” The six-ounce bars last a long time if stored on a soap rack in the shower between uses.

The bath bars are elegantly wrapped and finished with a raffia tie, making them a lovely gift for a friend or to pamper yourself.

Soap photo credit: Elizabeth Hodges

Zena Foods introduced two new summer salads this month, including a vegan Roasted Vegetable Pasta salad that is light and satisfying with tri-colored pasta, roasted tomato, red onion, red bell peppers and fresh basil tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette.

Also introduced this month was Sahara Carrot salad. According to chef Josie Rowe, “The salad is on the spicy, full flavored side with extra zing! It makes a great side dish for almost any entree or a satisfying healthy snack!”

Zena Foods offers a variety of freshly-made Mediterranean foods including a wide selection of spicy-delicious hummus dips, freshly baked pita and focaccia bread, salads, olives, sauces and dips.