Chocolate goes well with candied orange peels.
“They pick oranges from a friend’s tree,” said Joy Jacobsen, co-founder of Sonoma County Goods, which sells subscription boxes of locally made food. “They candy orange peels and sprinkle them on one side” of the chocolate, made by Healdsburg-based Volo Chocolate. “You get textured pieces of good, candied orange peel. The rest is just smooth — melt in your mouth.”
About two years ago, Jacobsen and Dinora Benites founded Sonoma County Goods to market boxes of food products made in the North Bay. Both co-founders have degrees from University of California, Davis, in managerial economics with concentration in agriculture. “We are tightening up our business plan and moving forward,” Jacobsen said.
The company plans to set up booths at Santa Rosa farmers’ markets in 2018 to reach business and individual customers, Benites said.
For one subscription box, they included chocolate from Volo Chocolate, launched in 2017 in Healdsburg. “It’s my favorite dark chocolate,” Jacobsen said, made by “a husband-and-wife team (Jeff and Susan Mall). We wrapped it really nicely” to keep it from melting, she said.
Sonoma County Goods sends a subscription box on the first day of each season, Jacobsen said. They draw products from merchants at North Bay farmers markets who make “good, small-batch, high-quality foods, most of it grown locally,” she said. Each season’s box contains different local products. The subscription service will help support small, artisan-food purveyors. So far about 80 food producers have had products included in the boxes.
Honey keeps well and ships well.
“Our honey guy is Hector’s Honey,” said Jacobsen. “He has all raw honey, unfiltered, his own bee boxes all around Sonoma County. It’s the best honey I’ve ever had,” she said.
“We did a chili mix in our last box,” she said. One box contained olive oil from Eyrie Olive Oil Company, owned by Suzanne and Lewis Jester and based in Santa Rosa.
“At first it was private individuals” who bought the seasonal boxes for $125, which includes shipping in the U.S. About a year ago they launched corporate gift boxes and got about 80 orders over the holidays. Jenner-based ORCAS Project Controls and River’s End Restaurant & Inn ordered 60, Jacobsen said, “and shipped them all over the country. We did another 25 for other companies,” friends and families, she said.
They plan to sell picnic baskets of local products at wineries, wholesale for $30. The baskets may be co-packed for branding by each winery, pairing food with chardonnay or other varietals. “We can be behind the scenes,” Jacobsen said, “find purveyors” of food. “The bottle of wine is part of the package.”
Each basket has salami, cheese, crackers, and cookies or chocolate. Currently they use Cookie Take a Bite, based in Santa Rosa, and Kettel Krakkers, based in Fulton, featuring seed-based, gluten-free crackers with no sugar.
“They taste seedy,” Jacobsen said, “really crunchy and yummy.”
Sonoma County Goods also sells the picnic baskets to bed-and-breakfast inns to market to their guests.
“If you let me, I could talk about food all day,” Jacobsen said. “We found a great new salami person. We have a favorite cheese lady” in Valley Ford. The Estero Gold cheese “goes with everything,” she said. “It’s nutty and dry enough so we can ship it.”