We partner with some great local companies to ensure the freshest and highest quality ingredients in our products. Gretchen Bee Ranch has supplied us with our natural beeswax since the birth of our company and Kitchen Pride has supplied the Shiitake mushrooms for one of our most popular products. Not only are these business owners our colleagues, but our friends.
Because goat milk is the key ingredient in our soap, we insist on the freshest and best quality goat milk possible. For that reason, we raise and nurture our own herd of majority Nubian milk goats. Each goat is special and named and lovingly cared for. They are provided with the best quality hay and grain, which often includes organic produce from our farm. Vitamins and minerals in their diet are important and supplemented so as to pass through to the milk and thus to the soap.
We source our fragrant chaparral from the Chihuahuan desert near Fort Stockton, Texas; where it is harvested sustainably from our private nature reserve. Native Americans used the waxy, aromatic leaves for medicinal purposes. Our "Desert Rain" soap and skin saver, as well as our Shiitake salve, and beard balm are enhanced by this beautiful fresh scent.
GRETCHEN BEE RANCH
Pure Beeswax & Raw Honey
At the Gretchen Bee Ranch our first commitment is to provide you with fresh, healthy products from our beehives and from the hives of other beekeepers that we know and trust. You can be assured that when you buy our honey, and other bee crafted products, you will know exactly where they come from. All of our products are presented to you as purely as they come out of the hive. Nothing added, nothing taken away.
Our second commitment at the Gretchen Bee Ranch is to help replenish the bees that have disappeared from our area. Varroa mites, colony collapse disorder and small hive beetles are three of the adversaries that imperil bee hives today, and that have taken a serious toll on our world’s bee population. With 30% of our diet dependent on pollination, the problem is troubling.
At the Gretchen Bee Ranch we are taking steps to remedy this situation locally by strategically placing our bee yards where they can pollinate farms and native plants throughout the region. Unlike large migratory bee companies, our hives stay put throughout the year so that they can pollinate the crops and flowers that bloom in each season. The way we see it, our bees are adding beauty, color and abundance to the world around them.
Kitchen Pride has developed a state-of-the-art process for growing the freshest, local, highest quality and consistently supplied mushroom that can be found in Texas. With 300,000 square feet under roof, Kitchen Pride grows mushrooms in specialty designed growing rooms that are dark, climate controlled and therefore allowing for growing mushrooms year round.
The process begins with creating a perfect medium for growing which is similar to soil typically used for other vegetables. The medium (a compost) is made of a variety of agricultural by-products. The primary ingredients are wheat straw, cottonseed by-products, brewers grains, water and other supplements. This outdoor composting process takes about three weeks. Temperatures will reach up to 180 degree F. during this period. The materials are mixed, aerated and moisture levels are managed to change these raw ingredients to a chocolate brown material, rich with nutrients. Once the outdoor composting process is complete the material is loaded on to shelve in a Phase II composting room.
Over the next week the compost is managed under tight temperature ranges and pasteurized to create a very selective growing medium. At the end of Phase II the compost has somewhat of a sweet, earthy smell. The material is transferred to a growing room where it is planted with the pure mushroom culture called spawn. This pure culture will grow over the next thirteen days to completely colonize the growing substrate with white strands of mycelium. These mycelia would be similar to a plant’s root system. The shelves are then covered with a 1.75 inch wet layer of peat moss. The mycelium will grow through the layer in about seven days where the crop will go through an environmental change, which initiates the fruiting process.
From this point the tiny mushrooms will start appearing on the surface of the peat moss. They will double in size every day until they are ready to harvest within ten days of this environmental change. The entire process from the creation of the medium to crop completion takes about 12 weeks. When the mushrooms are ready, they are harvested by hand to ensure consistency in size when packaged. Once they have been picked, the mushrooms are transported by Kitchen Pride’s own proprietary Mushroom Transportation Conveyor System (MTCS) that transfers mushrooms from growing rooms to coolers, eliminating excessive handling, expediting cooling while extending shelf life and optimizing mushroom product quality.
Kitchen Pride delivers fresh mushrooms to most Texas markets each and every evening on Kitchen Pride owned- and operated trucks.