Ventura County's Support-Local Program

Making The Foodie Scene

You can find gourmands and perhaps a few undiscovered gems in lots of cities. But when it comes to cool towns, hip foods, local wines, beers and fresh and in-season, Ventura is truly making the scene. Food Scene that is.

At Totally Local VC, we often use the term “celebrate the bounty that comes from our county.” But that celebration is about more than just acknowleding all the agriculture we have here. It’s also the fact that Ventura County has become a true foodie heaven.

photo by Polly Hoganson

You might wonder what makes a place a foodie town. It is usually not a list of celebrity chefs though many of our locals feel that our chefs are rock stars. Foodie towns tend to draw people who enjoy good food and celebrate it and, for reasons of geography, they usually have high concentrations of or access to dedicated farmers, food purveyors, innovative shopkeepers, an excellent Farmers Market and talented chefs, bakers and cooks. A thriving food scene usually reflects a strong sense of identity and is connected.

photo by James Scolari

Most foodie communities generally have pro-active locals who also support the arts, music, independently owned shops, butchers, bakers and fisherman. (We know you were thinking candlestick maker but they support that too!) There are other aspects that play a role in building a foodie town. Ventura County is home to a number of food-related businesses. For example, we have over 17 wineries producing amazing wines daily (Four Brix, Vino V, Ojai Vineyards, Cantara Cellars, Old Creek Ranch… the list goes on), fantastic locally crafted beers (Surf Brewery, Ouroboros, Anacapa Brewing), companies like Ventura Limoncello, Alquimia Tequila and Beacon Coffee, Chef Stroh’s Pestos, Jolly Oyster, Buon Gusto Farms Olive Oils and so many more.

photo by Robert Lemaire

A diverse group of dedicated local farmers and ranchers (Petty Ranch, Watkins Beef, McGrath Family Farms, Rio Goza, McGrath Brothers Farms, Atmore and Sons, Underwood Farms, Houweling’s Tomatoes, Dave Pommer, Tomi Farms. You pair all that with our very creative and talented chefs (Tim Kilcoyne, Rachel Main, Andy Brooks, Jason Collis, Gary Daniel, Adrien Nieto, Marie Shannon Confections – just to name a few from another long list) who all understand the connection between our food source and community and you have not only a winning hand, or should we say plate, you also have a foodie town.

photo by Robert Lemaire

One of the greatest advantages of living in a place that has such a connection to its food includes improved health, social cohesion, beautiful land and seascapes. But there is an advantage that I feel is intangible and that is the sense of pride that comes with living in a dynamic, connected and agriculture community. We each play a role in this evolution, this creation of our community, whether you are the grower, chef or purveyor… or even the customer who supports it. When we support our local community, when we learn and take part in what surrounds us, we become a link in its success and nourishment and that is just cool. Join the support local movement today.

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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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