tv [untitled] November 4, 2010 9:30am-10:00am PST
>> coming up on "california country"--good gourd! meet a family who always knows how to pick the perfect pumpkin. then, you know their name, you know their wine, but now see what else this famous family is producing. and see why everybody is nuts for this new line of snacks, including me. it's all ahead, and it starts now. >> about a quarter of all pumpkins in america actually come from california, especially stanislaus and san joaquin counties. the perrys say there's a good reason for that--this is the perfect place for pumpkins. you could call art perry a pumpkin king since his family has been growing the golden crop in california for decades. they mainly grow traditional pumpkins, but you'll find just about every type and variety in their fields or warehouse.
>> in the terminology of a pumpkin, you would call these jacks. you got this to start out with as a mini, and then we got this one here, which we call a we be little. a mini, we be little. then we call this a trickster. so you see-- >> oh, my god, you got a whole family of pumpkins there. >> so we got a little one, a little bit bigger one, a little bit bigger one. a little bit bigger one, and then we go to those. and there's some more in between. i mean, there's a lot of different sizes in betqeen. >> it all started back in the 1920s when art's grandfather immigrated from the portuguese islands of azures when he was 16 years old. >> his name was delfino. he was the immigrant--he was from the azure islands. and when he came to this country--i knew my grandfather very well. we were very, very close. and he told me all these stories of life and how it all began and how he came and all that. and when he came to this country, he came here to better
himself. and then he brought other family members into this country as the years progressed. but he was a farmer and so he started farming. and then just little by little, it kept growing and growing. >> the company is called "george perry and sons", named after art's father. and today it's handling thousands of pounds of crops that are packed, stacked and delivered across california. four generations of family members manage every aspect of the business, from new sales to processing orders, managing drivers, and, of course, the warehouse, a nonstop hub of activity. every now and then, 91-year-old george and his wife violet come out of retiremt and visit the company they nourished. >> well, i think i got a beautiful thing here because i, you know, at my age, i was able to have my family all around me and watch all the business and see my sons run the business. this is my life.
>> he says the first few years in the business, the family barely made a profit. but fast forward to today and the company bearing his name is now one of the largest shippers, growers and handlers of pumpkins in california. george perry and sons delivers produce to almost every grocery chain you can think of. >> you know, the biggest enjoyment to it is, we have a lot of people that work for us. and it feels good to know that there's a lot of families that are supported out of this deal. all the way down to workers. we've had workers that have been here for before i took over. and then frcm there, it goes to somebody's house and they're enjoying it. whether it's, you know, looking at it, carving it, you know, it's full circle. >> this is a banana squash. and if you go into your stores, you won't see them like this. i'll be cut and wrapped
with cellophane, like in about a 2 pound package. and that's banana squash. >> and then there's butternut squash--hundreds of pounds of them with a sweet nutty taste similar to pumpkin. and who could miss those boxes of spaghetti squash stacked 14 feet high? >> and this year, charlotte, we really are fortunate because the squash is just a lot nicer. and a lot of times on spaghetti squash especially we get scarring. like from wind damage or the mice. but this year, look at how pretty they are. >> smooth as can be. >> yeah, and nice color. but this variety actually, we actually have a patent on this already. and a seed company. so whenever you buy one of these, doesn't make a difference who you're buying it from, it comes from our seed. [charlotte laughs] >> kinda fun, isn't it? >> so what do you call it, they're just called white pumpkins? >> well, yeah. there's different names for them. this one happens to be illumino. >> art studied agriculture at san lois obispo but says his real knowledge came from years of working off the land.
>> and, of course, the number one thing was they taught us how to work. and we actually enjoyed it. i mean, to us, it wasn't work. i think it's a way of life for us. and from there, it just grew. >> he says knowing they all work together handling fresh california produce is an unbeatable feeling that leaves him feeling glowing and golden, kinda like those pumpkins. >> it's a happy crop. it's a crop that makes you feel good. it's a good feeling crop. >> in manteca, charlotte fadipe for "california country tv". >> perry's pumpkins! >> hi, my name is donna insalaco, i'm the chef at beautiful. today i'm making a roasted buttnut squash, cranberry salad with roasted red onions and pomegranate vinaigrette. so we're starting
with the butternut squash. and here i have a whole squash that i cut in half. it needs to be peeled down, like this here. it's very easy, just like you're peeling a potato. and then the seeds get scooped out with a spoon. ok, after that, we take the squash and cut it in strips. just long strips like this. and we're going to cube it in, you know half inch, one inch pieces. whatever you like. i like them nice and big because it makes a more dramatic salad. >> once that's done, you would take some red onion and cuit in the same size and shape, ok? and then we're going to combine the red onion and the butternut
squash with rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss it very well. just give it a nice tossy toss to evenly distribute the herbs and the olive oil. and we're going to put it in a 350 degree oven. and roast it for approximately 15 minutes. so take the roted squash and onion and add them to a bowl. and then from there, we take dried cranberries, couple tablespoons. probably 2 heaping great. actually, you know, one more for me. and then this is a pomegranate vinaigrette. it's simply pomegranate, syrup and sherry vinegar and a little oil. and we're just going to very lightly coat the squash,
just to sweeten it up a little more and give it a little more character. and then that gets tossed really well. ok, so here you go. you have a beautiful, simple salad, very easy to prepare. it's beautiful and simple and colorful and very reflective of the season. >> brought to you by allied insurance, a member of the nationwide family of companies, which also includes nationwide insurance. on your side.
>> welcome back to "california country". >> sure we recognize the name "gallo" as being synonous with california wine. but what goes better with wine than cheese, right? enter joseph gallo, brother to wine entrepreneurs ernest and julio. joseph broke way from the family wine business in the eighties and took a handwritten recipe for making cheese and followed his dreams, all the way to
merced county. he remained farming there until he passed away in 2007. but now his son michael and grandson peter are working to advance joseph's dream of sustainable farming and thus continue the gallo legacy in agriculture. >> i get to learn a lot on the farm, and my dad has a wealth of knowledge. he learned a lot from his dad, so, you know, we've been a family farm since 1946, so there's a lot of history there. and every day is a new adventure, and there's always lot to learn. >> just like the family's wine business, which is the largest family-owned winery in the world, nothing is done small around here either. with more than $3 billion in cheese sales annually, joseph farms is one of california's largest cheese making operations. making everything from mozzarella to pepper jack to sharp cheddar. they see the process of cheese making from cow to curd, even growing their own feed for their herd of cows which produce the milk for their extensive line of cheeses.
>> so when we got in the business, we decided we were going to produce a quality product. and, you know, my father always told me that you can't make a quality product unless you put quality into it. >> they are now making a hundred thousand pounds of cheese a day here, which means a lot of milk from a lot of cows that also make a lot of something else. yep, you guessed it, a lot of cow waste, shall we say. but in order to keep with joseph's beliefs of staying sustainable, the family came up with a solution. they built one of the first methane digesters in the state, which turns cow poop into power. t@e cow power now provides as much as 80% of the electricity needs for the cheese plant. >> the methane digester was important because it literally turns wastes into resources. and it turns something that normally would be a waste management problem; it turns it into green energy that runs our
plant, and it really makes our cheese a sustainable cheese brand. and i think beyond saving us money, it's also really great for the environment. >> what are we walking on? >> well, it's air caught inside the digester. and it's essentially the world's largest waterbed. >> it is, right? the farm is so committed to extending joseph's legacy of loving the land around him that they even donated an area around the farm to the state of california and to the u.s. fish and wildlife service to create an environmental preserve for water fowl. it's all part of the larger picture that joseph had when he started his venture. having grown up on a farm, he had always enjoyed the outdoors and believed that wildlife and agriculture are fully compatible, and that connection should be protected for generations to come. >> the new phrase is "sustainability," and it's a new phrase for something that farmer have been doing for centuries, which is to
preserve the farm. preserve the family farm. and preserve the way of life. to do that, you have to put in as well as take out. >> and as long as people are enjoying the products they are making on the farm, the next generation will continue joseph gallo's legacy in the world of sustainable agriculture. after all, what tastes better than the success of knowing you've left something better than they way you've found it? >> i have a lot of pride in what my family's done and the business that they've created, and i'm just proud to be a part of that and help out any way i can. >> this segment is brought to you by the california farm bureau federation. from farm to feast. stay tuned for more of the tempting tastes of california.
>> did you know that california is the only state in the country to commercially grow almonds? there are more than 6,000 almond farmers throughout the state, growing on more than 500,000 acres. almonds are easily one of the state's biggest crops, but down in san diego, they're getting a new life. and it's all thanks to a little help from mom. meet mama mellace. she's the face behind the newest company to utilize and expand on california's booming nut crop. the company's headed by mike mellace and mike runyon, who were living good lives in the corporate world until one day fate intervened in the form of a simple snack. >> he buys these cinnamon almonds that come in a bag. you see them at a lot of the festivals. i had never seen them before. and they're real big out on the east coast. and so we started eating them. he givese some, i say, "oh, my goodness, these things are great." >> we went back, he bought a whole bunch, and so then we started talking about how
cool it would be to have like a little thing on the side doing fairs and festivals to make a little extra money. >> they agreed on the idea, but not much else at first. with one mike from the west coast and the other from the east coast, they quickly realized they quite possibly could be the odd couple entrepreneurs of the food world. >> i'm a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. you know, he's from new york. our families are totally different, you know. but it works out good because we look--everyone thinks we're brothers. and literally today, we dressed just alike. i go, "hey, hey, i'm glad you got my phone call," you know? "hey, what are you wearing tomorrow?" but it was so funny and there are so many things that, you know, we're going, "oh, my gosh." i mean, it's almost like we were separated at birth. >> around here they call him happy mike and me serious mike. >> so the two started experimenting and began making small batches of flavored nuts in their own garage. word quickly spread about their unique products, and it was only a matter of time before they had to find a name and face for their new company. that's when they turned to a familiar person,
mike mellace's mom. >> anybody's who ever met my mom would say food is love. i mean, she definitely expresses her her love for food. that's-- so, i mean, that's just, right or wrong, that's what she does. >> but before mama signed off on the company, they had to stick to some of her principles. first of all, a kitchen should be filled with the taste and smells of home; something that is evident the moment you step into the sweetly-scented production plant. from irish creme to butter rum to pumpkin spice, there is no flavor that is off-limits here, even if they're a little hard to tell apart. >> try that one. that's an almond. >> got that part, mike, thank you. maybe orange? >> no. >> see? what is it? >> that's amaretto. amaretto.
it's amaretto. there you go. >> well, clearly, mike, you don't know me that well. but that's all right. all right. >> ok, this one, when we first did the batch, it smelled like dirty feet. >> i gotta tell you, i got nothing on that one, either. is that the irish creme? >> no, butter rum. >> close. butter rum. >> close! >> there you go, it's an alcohol flavor, you got it. you gotta get this one for me, you gotta get this one. >> ok. onion? >> yes. >> yay, yay! >> whoo! >> nice job, look at that. look at that. >> only took me 10 pounds of nuts before i got . another principle mama insisted on is to use only top ingredients. she insisted her name would only be on the best. so for the company's most important ingredient, nuts, they turned to one of their largest and mosd respected farms in the business--the stewart and jasper farm in the san joaquin valley.
>> we first started buying frm them, we bought, you know, a few hundred pounds and they used to come on ups, you know. they remember selling us a few cases. >> and one of the main reasons stewart and jasper took a chance on the small company was because they could identify with two young men coming from opposite backgrounds to start a company on a simple dream. started in 1948 by poultry farmers romain stewart and lee jasper. the farm has grown into a hugely successful integrated operation involving thousands of acres of hauling, shelling, processing and marketing. the second and third generation of jaspers are running the business and finding new ways to market their nuts, including through people like mike and mike. >> you gotta start somewhere. you don't see too many people that come, want to buy a pick-up load of almonds and all of a sudden they're buying truckloads, but it's been great to see that progress. >> people like mama mallace's
has made the almond industry as successful as it is. >> today, while maintaining their own business, the company supplies mama mallace with all of their almonds. and over the years, the two companies have come together and formed a unique partnership that, yes, even a mother could love. >> so even if it ended tomorrow, the people that we've made friends with; the people that we've reached out to, the things hat we've done, you know what, it's great. it really is great.
>> welco back to "california country". >> when you think of small coastal towns in california, you think of beautiful beaches. but in pescadero, a town about 33 miles from santa cruz, something else is bringing in the tourists. that's right--goats. welcome to harley goat farm in san mateo county, where alpine goats are the star attractions.
dee harley runs this 9 acre farm looking after about 200 goats. this is the only dairy in the county. >> it's not that i had this dream of having a goat farm. i think i was always going to be a farmer of some kind. i grew up in northern england, in yorkshire, and it was a very rural place. so i was always attracted to that lifestyle. i just didn't necessarily think it would manifest with goats, you know? >> like many of the cheese makers in california, it's all largely done by hand, although a vegetable [indistinct] culture is added to the pasteurized milk to give it the initial yogurt texture. the mixture is collected in cheesecloth bags and the resulting curds are left to hang in them for about 2 days. after that comes the fun part--kneading the cheese. >> look at that. it's like ice cream. but also this, the feel of this, you can't learn that overnight.
it's something that comes with a lot of repetition. >> so you know how much to knead. >> yes. you know, and when to stop and when it's right or when it's been hanging for the correct amount of time. >> harley goat farms sells its cheese to specialty stores like whole foods, as well as restaurants and hotels, like san francisco's fairmont hotel and the ritz carlton. there's no shortage of customers tasting the different chses, including feta, fromage blanc, and snapping up the goat milk products like soap and skin lotions. this farm store helps to strengthen the direct relationship between farmer and consumer. and it ensures customers keep coming back. >> no, actually i didn't. they just had it in the store, but i never really know the difference, not till i started coming over here. and you can just taste the difference, you know.
and it's just really nice. >> although visitors come from all over the world, most are from the golden state. goat cheese is increasing in popularity in california, and here at harley farms, they believe in controlling all aspects of it so that they get great taste and great quality. >> our secret ingredient is right here, is in the grass that is grown in this wonderful soil. we're 2 miles from the ocean. so that ocean air comes in, and quite often it's foggy, especially during the summer, and it brings in that foggy, salty air which grows the grass that the goats eat. and we consider that a secret ingredient. so you see it on a lot of menus all over the country now. even in cheese courses, lots of the chefs are doing after dinner cheese courses, which is great for small cheese makers like ourselves, because we're so supported by the chefs. >> that ncludes today's tour of the best of "california country". join us next time for more undiscovered treasures from the most fascinating state in the country.
[captioning made possible by california farm bureau federation] [captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--] hey, yo, check out this chef, right? right? that's so gay. that's really gay. dude, look at those pants. please don't say that. what? don't say that something is gay when you mean that something is dumb or stupid. it's insulting. it's like if i thought this pepper shaker was stupid, and i said, "man, this pepper shaker is so 16-year-old boy with a cheesy mustache." just saying.