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Ojai Road Trip

Emily Thatcher

Woah! Laura broke out of the studio and hit the streets in our extra special NOT LIVE season finale. Come along for the ride in our first-ever California road trip.

Citrus Salad


  • 2 bunches of watercress

  • 2 oranges

  • 1 bunch mint

  • 1 bunch basil

  • 1 avocado

  • Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1-2 small shallots, minced salt and pepper


  1. Cut up veggies and herbs.

  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake.

  3. Dress salad.

Citrus Salad




Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox


- Hi, guys. It's Laura. I broke out of the studio. Welcome to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. So this is where we actually get most of our produce for the show. I think it's probably the biggest in Southern California. Good way to spend a Wednesday morning if you can. Let's go check out some produce. If you remember, we did a really awesome cabbage wrap recipe in the first season, and this would be awesome with that. And then this is daikon with a little ladybug on it. That's how you know this just came straight from the farm. - These are almonds from my farm. - [Laura] Thank you. You do just almonds? - Just almonds, yep. We don't actually have a recipe for any of our products, so we just kinda wing it. - Oh, really? - Yeah, so. - That's my style right there. Oh, watercress. Boom. How ya doing? - Good, how are you? - [Laura] What do you have here? - We have three different types of tangerines and the blood orange. When are the Pixies? - [Voiceover] When are they coming? - March. - What are the Pixies? - Out of all the varieties of the tangerines, the Pixies are the number one seller. - I'd love to see this farm at some point, it sounds amazing. And it's called Friend's Ranch, which is adorable. I really want to buy a basket of these. I would love to see where all of this amazing, weird, citrus grows. Guess what? We're going on our very first Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. road trip. As we saw at the Farmers Market, you can still get so much awesome stuff even in the wintertime. So, we're heading up to Friend's Ranch. Now we're gonna see the whole operation which I'm real pumped about. Going to a farm, it seems like magic. You can just pull an orange from a tree and eat it! It sounds really dumb, but when you're actually there doing it, you're like, "I feel like I'm the richest person in the world right now." Look how adorable all of this is. Let's see what the deal is. Friends Packing House. The most adorable name for a packing house that ever was. - [Both] Hi. - I'm Laura. - Nice to meet you, Emily. - Thanks for having me. - Yeah, it's fun. - I'm really pumped to be here. - You guys came on a beautiful day. - You want to get down into the orchard and try some of the citrus? - Yeah, I'm super excited. - Good. - Let's do it. Can you tell us about Friend's Ranch? - [Emily] Well, we've got 16 types of tangerines here and we've been farming here since the 1870s. - [Laura] Whoa. So you have a river right here, too? - [Emily] Yes. - So you have a river, you have mountains, and you grew up on an orchard. - [Emily] Yes. - [Laura] Oh, man. - But we also, this property we've had for about 60 years. So these are Tahoe Gold Tangerines, which, there's a whole series of tangerines that were developed. - [Laura] You can see the spray going. - Oh yeah. They've got super oily skin, you can see that. - [Laura] Yeah. - [Emily] These make a great zest, if you're gonna make a-- - Oh, wow. - [Emily] Cocktail out of it. - It's so soft. - Mm-hmm. Yeah, hardly any pith. - Yeah, hardly any pith, that's what, yeah. - [Emily] It's all juice. - Wow, yeah, you can... - Yep. They're really hot among the cocktail makers of the Santa Monica restaurant scene. - Oh, I bet. Some artisanal cocktails with this. - Yeah, yeah. - For the record, Emily just peeled these very beautifully, and I am slaughtering this 'cause I don't have the skills. - [Emily] 40 years of practice. - [Laura] Ho! - [Emily] Avocados? - [Laura] Avocados! - [Emily] Yeah. - [Laura] I don't think I've ever actually seen avocados growing on a tree. - [Emily] Oh, no! - I know, they don't have those where I grew up. They're huge! I did not expect avocado trees to be so big. - [Emily] They will grow really tall. - Yeah, how tall do they get? - They'll go up, I don't know, 20 feet. Citrus growers would grow them on hillsides, avocados don't like to get their feet wet. - [Laura] Mm-hmm. - They don't like wet roots. And so, you plant them on a slope. - Oh, 'cause it's just constantly draining. - So it's really common, you'll see, you know, the citrus groves on the bottom and then the hillside planted to avocados. - [Laura] Oh. - So this is a Pixie orchard. The variety that my grandfather planted in 1970. So there were 10 original trees, when my brother and I were just born, basically, and we would eat all of them off the tree. And then there'd be some way up at the top-- - Yeah, not from here down. - That we couldn't reach, yeah, but not from here down. - What is it about this particular one that kids like? - They're really low in acid. - [Laura] Oh. - So they taste sweeter. They peel really easily. They're amazing-tasting. And we will not sell our Ojai Pixies unless they taste good to us. And so our focus is really on flavor. Jim Churchill, who my dad went to school with, came up and was talking to my dad about what to plant and he tasted a Pixie, and he said, "Oh my God, what are these, I'm going to plant some." - "This is amazing." Uh-huh. - And so he planted 800 trees or so. - [Laura] Whoa. - And then two other friends of my dad, they planted some. So pretty soon, there were enough Pixies to ship like a whole pallet load. - So it's like a bunch of farmers getting together. - [Emily] Bunch of farmers. - A joint account with a wholesaler. - Yep, yep. 25 years later, there's 43 different Pixie growers in the Ojai Valley. - [Laura] Wow. - 43 different orchards. And last year, we sold two and a half million pounds of fruit. So basically-- - But that's incredible, because it's a lot of family farms that are actually going out to all over the place. So you really have a community here. - We do, we get along. And with the Ojai Pixie Growers Association, we have breakfast together once a month, totally informal. - This just sounds like the most adorable group of people I've ever heard of. - Yeah, but we're all different, like. - Pixie growers. - [Emily] Yeah. - [Laura] Emily, do you mind if I take some of these? - [Emily] Yeah. - [Laura] To use in a recipe? - [Emily] Sure, grab a handful. -I think they're gonna be really good in a salad. - Oh yeah, Pixies are delicious peeled and sliced. - Do you do that a lot? - Yeah, I put citrus in my salads all the time. - Yeah. This was basically the perfect day. I learned a ton about citrus, I got to hang with a really cool lady. Friend's Ranch is a really special place. You should definitely try to come check it out. I am super pumped, we're gonna make a delicious raw, vegan, not gross salad. To start, I have some watercress. A lot of people don't know about this green. It's kind of got like a sharper taste. I don't know if you'd say like peppery, but it's just a really nice green. Really different. So, I'm just gonna basically just chop it off here. And maybe give it one more chop. But that's it, I like it to be pretty rough in here. That's it. I am also going to add some basil and mint. Again, I'm just gonna do a real rough chop here. And, get that in there. I am, however, gonna pull some mint leaves off, because the stems on here are a little tough, so. Okay, I think that'll be enough. I will use that, the rest of that for something else. You can do the same thing with basil. I like to keep the stems on the basil just 'cause it's quicker and I'm lazy. I'm gonna throw some avocado in here. Get that out, you can see that they're all nice and sliced up. This is awesome, because we were literally just standing under the avocado tree. So now, we're gonna move on to our freshly picked Pixies. The Pixie is not only adorably named, but it's also really a specialty of Ojai. It feels very Ojai-an. Just toss those in there. Let's do a few of these. Now, let's make a really easy dressing. So, my trick for making dressings on the go, and at home, really, is to just dump everything in a Mason jar. And shake it up. Let's start with a shallot. I'm just gonna do one of these, I think. When you scoop like this, use the back of your knife. Otherwise, if you do it with the sharp side, it's gonna dull your knives quicker. Now I am just going to cut up some citrus. I'm gonna use an orange and just literally squeeze it straight into the jar. It may be a little messy, but this is an on the go type dressing. We're gonna use one orange, just to add like a little bit of sweetness. And, then I'm also, I'm gonna eat one of these. And then I'm also going to use a lemon. 'Cause I kind of just think lemon should be in every dressing. This is a Meyer lemon that I'm using, which is a little bit sweeter than your average lemon that you probably get in the grocery store. Let's add some olive oil. You need that. Okay, so I think all we have left is to add in some salt and pepper. We shake. So you can see that the consistency has totally changed because we've mixed the oil with the citrus, it's getting really delicious. You can make a big jar of this and just keep it in your refrigerator for a week. And just always pour it on salad. It makes you eat greens a lot more. So it's actually really great. You can dip veggies in it. It's wonderful. Now, gonna pour it straight on to here. Okay, and that is it. Let's toss. Shan't we? Oh, God, this looks delicious. Okay. Let's try this baby out. Mm. You gotta love California. I was at a farmer's market this morning, and then I went and picked citrus and avocados at a farm, and now I'm at a park making a salad. In February.