Zayante couple seeks crowd-sourced funding for Cecilia’s Gardens

October 16, 2013

DSC_3493A Santa Cruz County couple has launched a kickstarter campaign to help fund their pickled and preserved produce, as well as the produce stand they run in Mill Valley called Cecilia’s Gardens. 

Marika Bourdeaux and her partner Joshua Rickett have been working to carry on the legacy of the produce stand Rickett’s parents first founded in 1982. Cecilia and Michael Rickett started the stand with the thought that Cecilia could have a fruit and flower stand to work at close to home, while still being able to have a family. Eventually she’d even bring her children to work with her. At the time, Bourdeaux says, Michael Rickett also ran several produce stands in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

Tragedy struck, however, when an accountant stole most of their money, rendering all of the Ricketts’ ventures bankrupt except for the fruit stand. Jaded, the family picked up and moved to Hawaii with their three sons….where they proceeded to start a new fruit stand.

OK. So back to present day.

Joshua Rickett took over his parents’ stand in Mill Valley four years ago and changed it to an almost exclusively organic produce stand – with all produce coming from within 150 miles of the stand and a focus on seasonal availability.  The stand also provides a place for other producers to sell their wares – including bread from Stinson Beach and a local skin care line from Fairfax, among others.

Bourdeaux and Rickett  started making pickles and preserves about a year ago, in large part as a way to use of excess fruit and vegetables that would have gone bad otherwise.

Bourdeaux describes the jam in her own words:

Specifically all our jams are made with RIPE fruit and so only need a fraction of the amount of sweetener that you will find in any store bought or even homemade jam. Typically jam is made with 1 part fruit to 1 part sugar. We use one part fruit to 1/4th part organic evaporated cane juice, and lemon juice. That is it. No fillers, nor artificial preservatives. We don’t use added pectin as a thickening agent, which means we have to cook the fruit down more to bring out the natural pectin found in the fruit. This is an older traditional way of making jam, a slow boil taking around 4-5 hours. In consequence we have to charge a little more money, given the extra time and the simple fact that it reduces.   All of our jams are made this way and have only three ingredients, unless they are specialty and have an herb or spice added to make them extra tasty. For example we make a Maple Bourbon Peach Jam, which has only maple syrup (real of course), bourbon, peach, evaporated cane juice, and lemon.  

The couple also does pickles and roasted salsas, chutneys, sauces and kimchi, among others.

So what will the kickstarter campaign fund if it’s successful?

The number one goal is to get the couple’s preserves officially certified as organic. Technically, their products are organic but you have to go through a special process with the government to be able to actually call your products certified organic. And as you might imagine, that’s not an easy or cheap process. The campaign would also help fund an expansion into farmers’ markets and the wholesale market, as well as allow the couple to purchase new equipment and supplies — as well as necessary permits for all their ventures.

Kickstarter campaigns require rewards for donors, so those who make donations to Cecilia’s Gardens will receive – among other possibilities – samples of their preserves, fittingly. More information about the campaign is online here. 




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One Response to Zayante couple seeks crowd-sourced funding for Cecilia’s Gardens

  1. Grace Teresi
    October 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    How do you find your kick start? Grace

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