The Valley Girl Story
Valley Girls Foodstuffs is dedicated to handcrafted, small-batch cooking that preserves those old school methods of making food that tastes, well, TASTY!
We are a collaboration with Sonoma Valley Teen Services (SVTS), a non-profit organization that provides skill based programming for teens of Sonoma Valley. Their hands-on programs are designed to reinforce and foster student's academic and career interests through involvement with the community and local businesses. Currently, the teens who work at Valley Girls Foodstuffs are kids who take part in the programming at SVTS. The founder and "head honcho" at Valley Girl, Anea Botton, has mentored teens at SVTS since 2009, spearheading the cooking program that is still going strong at SVTS.
We specialize in using seasonal produce and ingredients to create our small batch foodstuffs that range from jams to mustards, chutneys to syrups, dried fruits to baked goodies. We experiment constantly and believe that mistakes are the inspiration for finding new flavors to tease the tastebuds! We grow some of our own produce like Meyer lemons, beets, cucumbers, squash, ground cherries, tomatoes, grapes, peppers, nasturtiums, onions, berries, herbs and whatever else we can eke out of the small plot we use to garden. We have a flock of 4 hens (Samantha, Buffy, Fudge and Pepper) whose eggs are gathered by Gretchen, Anea's 5-year old daughter. We pick wild blackberries in the summer. Local dentist, Dr. Pang, lets us pick his beautiful tree of grapefruits when they're ripe and local business owner, Craig Miller, threw his garden grapefruit into the mix. Ricardo at the local market picked his plums for us so we could make a batch of jam. Sonoma Valley Teen Services shares bruised and battered donated produce with us so we can make something delicious from what would otherwise be outcast food.
We are driven by the belief that it's important to be a "social purpose business," a place where we can make a difference in our small part of the globe by reaching out to at-risk kids and young adults. We are on a mission to teach some old school but mad cooking skills to young people who might not otherwise have the chance to learn cooking methods their grandmas, nonnas and abuelas might have used. We also believe in teaching kids at a young age the ins and outs of running a business. They know that they are an integral part of how successful we can be.
The Benefits of "Social Purpose"
What does it mean, exactly, to be a social purpose business? For us, it's a definition with many parts. Part of it is reaching out to kids who might otherwise not be given the chance to learn these sorts of skills. Part of it is offering those kids work. Part of it is teaching them about food and food systems. Part of it is getting together as a group and eating the food we make. Part of it is going out into gardens and farmers markets, fields and farms to get up close and personal with the food we use to make our products. Part of it is realizing that the food used to cook doesn't have to look perfect, that tastiness is often a function of flavor over form. Part of it is demonstrating that wastefulness isn't cool but using as much of each ingredient as possible is. And part of it is to be a part of something that's bigger than you are.
Our sales help to fund the Sonoma Valley Teens Services skills for life programs that benefit Sonoma Valley teens.