In your basket
Chico favorites get national attention
While fast food and big box chains sprout on every corner, new strip mall weeds quickly fill in the gaps. No wonder Chico residents often feel like the city’s small-town character is slipping away, overgrown by the ubiquitous suburban jungle.
Luckily, seasoned local entrepreneurs continue to plant new seeds and nurture their perennial successes. Here’s a look at a few of the Chico area’s homegrown delights for your home, garden and kitchen table.
Mountain Fruit Company Jams
With less sugar and gluten than most, Chico’s award-winning Mountain Fruit Company jams pack in more intense fruit flavor with each bite. Spread A Red Duet (Strawberry and Raspberry jam) on your toast, drizzle Delicioso (a fruit dessert sauce) on vanilla ice cream, or eat the Raspberry Tart straight from the jar. For the more adventurous, the exotic Rose Petal jam comes highly recommended. Available at Great Harvest Bread Co., Zucchini and Vine, Made in Chico, online at www.california-flavors.com/aisle4-jam.html
Baked not fried, Lundberg’s all-natural rice chips provide the perfect healthful alternative to your usual, preservative-filled potato or tortilla chips. These crunchy, savory triangles, recently featured in The San Francisco Chronicle Food Section, are perfect to dip or eat plain and come in Original Sea Salt, Sesame & Seaweed, Pico de Gallo, Santa Fe Barbecue, Fiesta Lime and Honey Dijon. The nearly 70-year-old Richvale company’s products are available at many large grocery stores as well as local co-ops and health food stores and online at www.lundberg.com. Overland Equipment
Started in the early 1980s by two Chico State grads, this bag company has expanded over the years, but still manufactures its lifetime-guaranteed goods in Chico—not China. The purses, totes and backpacks are made to endure heavy use, without compromising fashion. Many feature an impressive array of compartments for stowing phones, mp3 players, pens and more. Overland slashes prices on old inventory at an annual factory sale. In the meantime, find them at local sporting good stores, at Made in Chico, or online at www.overlandequipment.com. Alex Marshall Studios
Somewhere in the intersection of art and dinnerware you will find Alex Marshall’s ceramics. Each unique piece is a sleek, modern sculpture waiting for your gourmet meal. They’re even dishwasher and microwave safe. In fact, Alex’s picture-perfect creations have been featured on the covers of national food magazines. With an MFA in conceptual art, she produces graceful, handcrafted plates, bowls, vases, candles and lamps with big-city style from her studio in Corning. Available at Nantucket, Zucchini and Vine, and online at www.alexmarshallstudios.com. Earth Juice
This Chico company produces premium organic liquid fertilizers. With a solution of water and a few drops of Earth Juice, everything from your lawn to azaleas and veggies will perk up, stimulate new green growth or burst with flowers or fruit. Products in the diverse line contain only natural ingredients, and the easy-to-use concentrates can be applied alone or in combination, to enrich soil or with hydroponics. Distributed nationwide but available locally at Northern Star Mills, Greenfire, Little Red Hen and Made in Chico. Feather Falls Soap Company
Combining the 2,000-year history of aromatherapy with handmade soaps, Feather Falls Soap Company offers 16 soap varieties containing luxurious olive, coconut, palm and soy oils, pure essential oils, herbs and spices, and natural glycerin to soften your skin. Choose from among scents like Harvest Festival, Rosemary Lace, Luscious Lavender, Sweet Licorice and Wild Rose. Feather Falls Soap Company now also offers face creams, aroma mists, massage oils, bath salts and more. Products available at Made in Chico or online at www.featherfallssoap.com