Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's orchard orderlies kettle-dip tart granny smiths into handmade caramel to craft an array of candy-coated creations. Caramel apples range from classically simple to loaded with toppings, accommodating different degrees of decadence more tastefully than a pair of convertible mink pants. Available flavors will vary by day, but may include everything from the english toffee—with almonds, toffee pieces, and a drizzle of rich milk chocolate—to the apple pie, coated in a white confection, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
The produce curators at Planet Organics look to the green thumbs of small local farms to shuttle organic fruits and veggies from fields onto area tables in less than 48 hours. An armful of earth's bounty appears eagerly at doorsteps or tree-house ladders, and patrons choose from a case of all fruits, all vegetables, or a half-and-half mix of fruits and vegetables. The organic outfitter ensures freshness by maintaining strict delivery logistics and only recruiting fruits grown for flavor and hereditary dimples rather than longevity. Patrons can keep jonagold apples on necklaces at all times of day to ward off visits from hungry doctors, or add Watsonville strawberries to cool spring salads to delight dinner guests.
Roy Strassman has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to helping people live fulfilling, pain-free lives. Although Roy can use a lighter massage technique to ease his clients' suffering, his chosen treatment modality is Hellerwork—a bodywork system that uses deep-tissue pressure to promote proper alignment among the muscles and joints. This pressure can do more than just relieve the tension caused by stress-laden muscles. It can also help increase flexibility, improve posture, and reenergize clients while contributing to a balanced sense of holistic well-being for the mind as well as the body.
Al Courchesne, affectionately known as "Farmer Al," planted his first peach orchard in 1976. In the years that followed, he learned the best ways to grow all sorts of other foods too, including apples, plums, and most anything else that can sprout in Californian soil. Eventually, Al started Frog Hollow Farm, producing steady harvests for more than 20 years as a certified organic farmer with a focus on sustainable practices.
Frog Hollow's success likely lies in Al's fine-tuned growing process. As harvest nears, Al and his staff purposely underwater the trees. They also leave every piece of fruit on the branch until it's completely ripened. The process results in a heavily concentrated flavor, which has garnered much attention from national publications, including the New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, O Magazine, and Cooking Light Magazine.
Farmer Al keeps all 133 acres of his farm in constant operation. Therefore, the farm is generally closed off to the public except for occasional special events. Locals, however, have plenty of opportunities to taste the seasonal harvests without secretly stowing away inside incoming shipments of fertilizer. They can buy the fruit at Frog Hollow Farm Market inside of the Ferry Building or get it shipped directly to their home via the farm’s delivery program. Otherwise, they can head to the farm kitchen, where chef Becky Courchesne uses it in turnovers, cookies, and other goods. The farm also sends blemished, but useable produce to their Community Supported Agriculture Program.
The Smiths don't have a family tree. Instead, their legacy stretches back through a long vine, all the way to the heirloom tomato farmers of Spain. In the 1970s, Janice, Ken, Bill, and Shirley Smith opened Smith Family Farm to carry on that legacy. Their staff has since grown to include cousins, other relatives, and family friends, all of whom lend a hand in growing the farm's seasonal produce. The literal fruits of their labor arrive at The Smith Family Farm Fruit Stand, which showcases a rotating selection of fresh basil, strawberries, peppers (both hot and sweet), and various other fruits and veggies.
The farm itself also welcomes visitors. Throughout the growing season, its gardens invite families to pick their own fresh fruits and vegetables, including plums, apricots, and squash. The farmers themselves double as educators, and their spring tours for elementary and preschool-aged children lift the curtain on farm life—which, of course, includes opportunities to dance along to bluegrass music.
In 1946, John Kinder opened his first meat market in the Bay Area town of San Pablo. More than 65 years later, Kinder continues to oversee daily operations at more than 15 neighborhood locations. He owes his continued success, in part, to the second- and third-generation family members who have leant their own tireless dedication to the company.
This dedication has certainly paid off. The Kinder family’s barbecue sauces, marinades, and rubs consistently take first-place ribbons from judges across the country and have earned the market a loyal following of cowboys and outlaws alike. In a 2008 article on what to order at Major League ballparks, the New York Times hailed the ball-tip steak sandwich and its "mess of Kinder's smoky-sweet sauce" as a much-welcome relief from the fried menu items at McAfee Coliseum. :m]]