Monday, December 07, 2015

Field Trip

E. Waldo Ward Farm House (1915), Sierra Madre, CA

On Saturday we met up with some of our friends from the ModCom in Sierra Madre. Destination: E. Waldo Ward & Son Gourmet Food Products. The Ward family has owned this property since 1891. The farm house and barn are still on the property.  At one time the Ward Ranch was 30 acres, it is now only about 2 or 3 acres. 

The Barn at E. Waldo Ward's

Ward wanted to make English-style (bitter) marmalade. He imported and planted Seville orange trees on the ranch. In 1915 Ward built a factory and started making marmalade. He was so successful, he added other food items like jams and hand-stuffed olives form Spain to his list of products. Jeff Ward (fourth generation) is now running the family business. Jeff conducted our tour on Saturday.

Jeff Ward conducted our tour

Tours are on Saturdays and they are FREE!. We began inside the factory and heard a short history of E. Waldo Ward. We moved through the factory to hear about how their products are manufactured. They not only have jams, marmalade and olives, but they manufacture and sell barbecue sauce, hot sauce, pickled and brandied fruits, syrups, fruit butters, condiments and more. They also handle private label products for other food companies.
The equipment in the small manufacturing plant is old. There were burners from 1915 and stainless steel citrus-peel slicers from the 1930s and six kettles from the 1940s.

We proceeded to the packaging building and farming museum. There were old letter-presses and linotype machines to make the labels! They do it all right here on the premises. 
The tour was only about 45 minutes. 

Hot Sauce

Leslie and Ellen in the Ward Shipping Department

It was great seeing a time-honored business, started in Southern California and still run by the same family. There is a little gift shop where you can buy products after the tour. Ward also has a mail order business if you can't make it out to this lovely section of Sierra Madre.

Vince and Chris checking out Jeff Ward's vintage VW Bug

After the tour, we had a marmie and jam tasting. One of our tour guests, Katherine, a professional baker, brought the most delicious mini-scones for our tasting. Thank you, Katherine! 

Thanks to Adriene for organizing our special tour day!

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At 12:01 PM PST, Blogger Dorette Amell said...

I love this blog!

At 12:03 PM PST, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Thanks so much, Dorette! Happy Holidays to you.

Ellen B.


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