7 Mendocino Food Souvenirs
article and most images by Carole Terwilliger Meyers
I’ve made many visits to Mendocino through the years and have built up quite a shopping list of locally-made foods to purchase when I hit town. I also have some favorite products I collect a few miles north in Fort Bragg, and I’ve also found goodies that I stop for on the drive in or out. When you discover how delicious these foods are, you might want to add a few to your own list. Please let me know if you discover something yummy I have missed.
1. Thanksgiving Coffee
Though the cafe they once owned in Mendocino is now operated by someone else (it is now the Goodlife Cafe, but it still serves Thanksgiving Coffee), the factory is still in Fort Bragg and the coffee remains a favorite in the area. Many inns have their very own special blend. Working together with The American Birding Association to help save the song birds and the rain forest, this company has promoted organic, shade-grown coffee production for more than 50 years. The company’s motto is “Not just a cup, but a just cup.”
2. Early Bird Cashew Granola
I love this Cafe Beaujolais cereal. In the past, I have bought this cashew-heavy, raisin-free breakfast delight at the Corners of the Mouth natural foods cooperative store–which is a must-visit because of its location inside a former church–but most recently the bin was empty and they didn’t know when they were getting more. So I went to the source, the Brickery, located behind Cafe Beaujolais and was lucky to get the last two bags to take home. While there, I wanted also to pick up a loaf of their fabulous dense Austrian sunflower bread but was told it was sold out and they told me to come back the next morning. When I did, I found the bakery closed up tight for their Monday day off, as was the cafe. So I made a stop at Harvest at Mendosa’s market and found a fresh-baked loaf! Ah, the mysteries of this town. In the past, I’ve also found delicious Bates & Schmitt organic apple juice here on sale.
Update: I am sad to report that this granola is no longer my favorite. Corners of the Mouth stopped selling it because it is no longer organic, and it is now made and packaged in Santa Rosa. I think it definitely suffers from these changes. Currently, my favorite granola is the one I make myself, and which I modestly call the World’s Best Granola.
3. Mendocino Jams and Preserves
This dear shop at the end of Mendocino’s main commercial street is tiny but the prices aren’t. Prepare for a splurge on the beautifully packaged jams. At Mendocino Jams and Preserves, you can taste before you buy. My personal favorite is the sour cherry and my husband’s is the rhubarb marmalade. What will yours be?
4. fresh raspberry bark
The main reason I stop in at Papa Bear’s Chocolate Haus at 45150 Main Street is to get a fix of this exciting delicacy made with white chocolate and fresh organic raspberries. But I am also tempted by the fudge and caramel apples. If you hit it right, you might get to watch them work the candy on the big marble slab.
5. Mendocino Mustard
Made in Fort Bragg, hot and sweet Mendocino Mustard is so good. I love it on sausages (the company motto is “put the best on your wurst”), but I also love it in egg salad sandwiches. Keep your eyes open for it as you browse shops.
6. hot pepper jelly
Located on Main Street in Fort Bragg, Carol Hall’s Hot Pepper Jelly Company dispenses a variety of jellies that turn into an instant hor’dourve atop a cracker with cream cheese. I prefer the colorful red pepper jelly, but there are many other flavors, including mango pepper and jalapeno pepper. More house products include jams and mustards and dessert topping, and many other local food products are also available here.
7. apples and apple juice
On the way in, I love to pull in under a tree at Gowan’s Oak Tree Fruit Stand on Highway 128 in Philo. I pick up some homemade apple cider (they often have both fresh and frozen) and an array of apple varieties fresh from their own orchards (unfortunately, when I purchased my last batch of apples out of season in May, they were disappointingly mushy). In season you’ll also find peaches, pears, and plums. Frozen apple pies are available year-round, and fresh fruit popsicles area a revitalizing treat in summer.
(www.berkeleyandbeyond2.com; copyright Carole Terwilliger Meyers)