Matilija Nursery yields seasonal crops of plants native to the Golden State and farther-flung environs—a stroll through the nursery’s rolling fields reveals such nonindigenous offerings as bearded irises that bloom in both spring and fall. Though the nursery has supplied Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties with flora since 1992, its in-house botanical specialists began to hybridize Pacific Coast irises only recently, and the resulting varieties have proven as colorful as a sailor's vocabulary. Befitting of those who work so close to the earth, the nursery’s staff supports eco-friendly practices and populates the gardens with noninvasive, low-water plants. Customers can browse an online plant-availability database that regularly features botanicals such as matilija poppies, manzanitas, and hummingbird sages capable of luring their hovering namesakes in for a long drink of nectar.
Warehouse Discount Center is primarily a purveyor of home appliances and plumbing wares, although it also hosts in-store cooking classes led by experienced chefs. Amidst an outside grilling theatre, using the finet equipment, Chef masters Craiger Van Zee and Chef JoAnn Hecht teach students the finer points of roasting, grilling, and preparing international dishes. Students are able to sample delicacies created and also take home a new set of culinary skills along with information packets.
Chef Craiger has been in the culinary business for more than four decades and heads up his own educational venture, To Grill or Not to Grill. He has taught more than 3,000 students how to sear and season on the barbeque and enjoys sharing his knowledge with groups of all sizes. Chef JoAnn comes from a teaching and catering background and tailors her classes to complement the seasons.
Hearts of Jade's decorative pieces possess the power to draw a hummingbird to your window for a nip of sugar water, convert a breeze into a medley of chimes, or spice up gardening chores with colorful spades and clippers. And that's just a small selection of its ever-changing home and garden decor. The shop also sells a variety of hardy succulents that compose living artworks, as well as decorative pots, wrought-iron garden ornaments, and rustic wall decor by local artisans. Its staff can even help customers devise a landscape design.
Where Ojai farmers planted olive-oil trees in the 1880’s, Ojai Olive Oil’s family-led staff eventually refilled the sun-drenched valley with more than 2,000 new olive trees imported from Italy, France, Greece, and Spain. Located in the midst of a giant olive grove, the family barn contains an olive mill and tasting room. From November to January, workers hand-pick the ripened fruits and cart them into the barn, where the olives are processed within hours to prevent oxidation or fermentation. Using a cold-pressing technique, the staff creates the oils, then bottles and labels the final product to be sold at the Ojai Farmer’s Market, poured at the tasting room, or shipped off to vendors nationwide.
Each Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors arrive at the olive grove's barn to enjoy samples of the farm's products before embarking on a walking tour of the grove and facilities. While strolling verdant grounds that invoke images of a rustic Italian landscape, guides tell the story of the grove's history and its varieties of olives.