August 13, 2005

Clint, Make my BLT Gary Ibsen is a long-time advocate of certified organic, sustainable farming and the practice of seed saving. He has grown heirloom tomatoes for more than 30 years and is currently growing more than 500 heirloom tomato varieties from seeds he has personally harvested. Heirloom seeds are originally sourced from family farms around the world and typically over many generations. Now Ibsen has announced a new variety called 'Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red' all in honor of Carmel's most famous resident. This new heirloom tomato possesses a deep-red color, with a beefsteak fruit that has the kind of robust, tomatoey flavor that many prefer. He chose to name it 'Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red,' after the actor's character named Rowdy Yates in the Rawhide television series." For the past 14 years Ibsen has celebrated the love apple with his Carmel TomatoFest. The festival offers a tomato “tasting” of 350 varieties, including the recently released “Julia Child”, an extravagant country BBQ and a sampling of exemplary gourmet tomato entrees created by top chefs from 60 of America’s finest restaurants. The festival also includes a tasting of more than 100 Monterey County and California premium wines, a savory salsa showcase featuring 90 of the nation’s best tomato salsas, and an international olive oil tasting featuring extra-virgin oils from eight countries and California. Attendees can also purchase hard-to-find heirloom tomato seeds. Monterey is 115-miles from San Francisco. Reservations are required in advance by ticket purchase. General admission tickets are $85. Special VIP/Hosted Entrance tickets are $150,...
Hershey's High End Binge After the close of the market yesterday Hershey announced it was acquiring San Francisco-based chocolate maker, Joseph Schmidt Confections. It also closed the deal on Bay Area-based Scharffen Berger Chocolate. The two acquisitions, taking place in less than a month are part of a new subsidiary of Hershey, Artisan Confections Company. The combined value of the two deals rests in the neighborhood of $46.6MM- $61.1MM; combined annual sales are approximately $25 million. Founded in 1983, Joseph Schmidt's signature products include high-quality, artistic, handcrafted truffles. He can shape chocolate as well as any sculptor. He uses a Belgian chocolate for his products. I have fond memories from the time I ran the retail gift shop during SF Ballet's Nutcracker boutique. To hell with sugarplums, tall chocolate painted soldiers were big sellers. These chocolates are available in both department and specialty stores and in the company's own Bay Area retail outlets. On the surface it looks like CEO Richard Lenny is looking to gain a share of the $1.7 billion premium segment. Scharffen Berger is a leader in the high-cacao-content, distinctive dark chocolate arena, while Joseph Schmidt specializes in fine, handcrafted chocolate gifts. The industry defines premium chocolate as any chocolate that is priced higher than $16 per pound. Category leaders such as Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli and Lindt have become more widely available. American tastes have shifted over the years to a preference for dark chocolate and a higher quality milk chocolate. The smaller premium chocolate, often available in small packages are...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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