July 17, 2018 – Eating organic, delicious and healthful plant-based meals at home just got a whole lot easier. All at once, The Open Hearth has begun offering home delivery and online ordering as well as branching out into Monterey County from its long-time base in Santa Cruz.
“I love having an opportunity to make my living doing something close to my heart—making food that’s really healthy and satisfying and that’s aligned with my values,” says Open Hearth chef and owner Beth Freewomon, a certified Natural Food Chef.
To offer a small taste of the many entrees, sides, drinks and desserts that The Open Hearth provides, this Wednesday July 18thand next Wednesday July 25th, Freewomon will be handing out free samples as well as selling some foods to take home at the Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market’s at Cedar and Lincoln Sts. She’ll be at the El Pajaro Commercial Kitchen Incubator booth and her samples will include a citrus-basil cooler, probiotic-rich homemade sauerkraut, quinoa tabouli, veggies, salad dressings and cookies.
And Edible readers who want to sample The Open Hearth at home will get a 15% discount on their first order by using this coupon code: EMBS15.
With a belief that food is medicine and a commitment to cooking with whole, unrefined, nutrient-dense and ethically produced organic ingredients, Freewomon and her team have been quietly producing healthy prepared meals for Santa Cruz area residents since 2006, soon after Freewoman graduated from Bauman College, the holistic nutrition and culinary school.
The Open Hearth sources produce from farms local such as Lakeside Organics, Route 1 Farm, Happy Boy and Coke Farm, and all dishes are gluten-free. The dishes are also all plant-based except for the bone broth Open Hearth offers from Kitchen Witch Bone Broth. And to ensure healthfulness, they are cooked exclusively in glass, stainless steel or cast iron vessels.
Freewomon had initially thought that following graduation from Bauman she’d need to become a personal chef in someone’s home. But when a potential client approached her about producing prepared meals that could be packaged for pickup, Freewoman realized that following this model would make her offerings more accessible.
“It’s so aligned with my values,” Freewomon says. “It feels good to be able to serve more people.”
Fast forward to this year, and after a move from downtown Santa Cruz to Watsonville’s El Pajaro Commercial Kitchen Incubator, Freewomon has found that her cooking capacity has greatly expanded.
So now, she’s offering deliveries as far south as the Monterey Peninsula and Carmel Valley, and as far north as Campbell, Saratoga and Los Altos. She also now provides home delivery in addition to pickup options.
And a new online ordering system on The Open Hearth’s website (iamtheopenhearth.com) provides tiered pricing and allows both a la carte and meal package orders. Generously sized meals range in price from $12 to $20, depending on factors such as how many courses are included in the meal and whether they’re ordered as part of a package.
“We’re working towards removing the barriers so that it’s more useful and convenient for the clients, Freewoman says.
This writer has had the opportunity to taste several of The Open Hearth’s dishes, and our whole family—including our tween—has loved their extreme freshness and delicious flavors. And although omnivores, we don’t mind the absence of meat or fish—we find the meals are deeply satisfying; some favorites have included the Borscht w/Cultured Cashew “Sour Creme”, Millet Sunflower Croquettes w/Smoky Black Bean Sauce , Coastal Kale and Enzymatic Entrée salad, varied Open Hearth salad dressings, Shepherd’s Pie with Golden Gravy and Rustic 3-Bean and Brassica Soup.
Just remember, if you order online, don’t forget the Edible reader coupon code: EMBS15.
The Open Hearth • iamtheopenhearth.com • 831.471.9677
SARAH WOOD—founding editor and publisher of Edible Monterey Bay—has had a life-long passion for food, cooking, people and our planet.
She planted her first organic garden and cared for her first chicken when she was in elementary school in a farming region of Upstate New York.
Wood spent the early part of her career based in Ottawa, Canada, working in international development and international education. After considering culinary school, she opted to pursue her loves for writing, learning about the world and helping make it a better place by obtaining a fellowship and an MA in Journalism from New York University.
While working for a daily newspaper in New Jersey, she wrote stories that helped farmers fend off development and won a state-wide public service award from the New Jersey Press Association for an investigative series of articles about a slumlord who had hoodwinked ratings agencies and investment banks into propping him up with some early commercial mortgage securitizations. The series led Wood to spend several years in financial journalism, most recently, as editor-in-chief of the leading magazine covering the U.S. hedge-fund industry.
Wood could not be happier to now be writing and editing articles about the Monterey Bay foodshed and the amazing people who help make it so vibrant and diverse. And, after spending much of her adult life gardening on fire escapes, she’s very glad to be planting in the ground again.
Wood lives with her husband, Rob Fisher, a fourth-generation Californian, and young daughter in Carmel Valley. Their favorite meal is a picnic dinner at Pt. Lobos State Reserve.