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Janet Brauer, from Grammy's Granola, knows all her customers by name. Photo by Jano Nightingale
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Jano’s Garden: Holiday gift ideas abound at Carlsbad Farmers Market

There is still time to shop at the Carlsbad Farmers Market for last-minute gifts for friends, family and even dogs! The market is open Wednesday, Dec. 23, from 3 to 6 p.m. and many of the vendors listed also have websites and directions for online purchases.


Hot Mama Jamz was created by Annette and Dan Tufts, after both retired from “boring corporate jobs,” and has blossomed into a full-time job for the couple. But when you love your work, it doesn’t seem like work.

Dan Tufts, from Hot Mama Jamz, is happy to share his wife’s recipes made with locally sourced fruit. Photo by Jano Nightingale

“Annette took her traditional strawberry jam, added dried habanero, and the result was a landslide of customers. We are so particular that we pick our own fruit and freeze dry the habaneros that go into our now-famous recipe,” said Dan.

Annette and Dan have created a collection of recipes on their Facebook page, including savory dishes such as Brussel Sprouts with Hot Habanero Jamz, Habanero Jam Grilled Cheese and sweet treats such as Brie Pastry Cups with Raspberry Jamz and Peekaboo Jamz Cookies.

Dan recommended the Spicy Cranberry Jam as an accompaniment to any holiday meal on a charcuterie plate, as a glaze for ham or spread on turkey sandwiches.

To order any of their products featured on their Facebook Hot Mama Jamz page, contact them at [email protected] or call (760) 889-0636. Farmers markets that the couple will be visiting are listed as well as local shops that carry their product.


Her multi-grain granola may be her most popular product, but Janet Brauer also makes mouth-watering specialty breads and sweet, healthy snacks. Janet, who is the Grammy in Grammy’s Granola, is a friendly, energetic cook who knows all her customers by name.

She, too, was completely frustrated with corporate life, and began making granola for friends and family. She needed a job to support herself, and did some soul searching to discover what she really wanted to do with her life.

She knew she had a good product and “just wanted to work outside instead of sit at a desk, and I knew I loved to cook. Fifteen years after selling granola at my first farmers market, I am still going strong!”

“The granola-making process takes about six hours,” she said. “Fresh batches are made once or twice a week. All in all, two or three full days every week are dedicated to the production of my products. I prefer to make less more often to guarantee that wholesome fresh taste.”

The extensive list of fresh ingredients and their health benefits appears on her website ( as well as a full product list and instructions for ordering and sending to friends.

Melanie from True Pet Kitchens shares samples of turkey jerky with eager dogs at Carlsbad Farmers Market. Photo by Jano Nightingale

“So many people who have visited me at the market asked if I could find a way to mail my products, so I created a webpage with complete instructions for ordering online.”

Presently, she can be found at the Carlsbad Farmers Market, Laguna Beach Farmers Market and Hillcrest Farmers Market. Contact her at (760) 809-8892 for market days and hours.


Melanie and Kent Dunwell created True Pet Kitchens because Melanie adopted a tiny Chihuahua who needed training and was looking for treats for good behavior.

“I wanted Sophie to live a long, healthy life. Feeding her healthy food that would prolong her life was important to me,” Melanie said. “I found it difficult to find dog treats that didn’t contain glycerin, preservatives or other ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce. When I did find treats with healthy ingredients, it seemed like they were all dry, brittle, crumbly, burnt and contained sharp edges. So I decided to make something more realistic.

Their jerky and healthy treats are made with no feed-grade ingredients or fillers, and the hours-long process is the same as making jerky for humans.

“We make all of our treats by hand, in small batches, not in big factories or plants. We also make sure that all of the ingredients we use are sourced in the USA and approved by the USDA.”

When visiting their Carlsbad Farmers Market stand, the dogs line up patiently to receive a treat from Melanie and then convince their owners to buy some!

The couple visits numerous farmers markets listed on their website (, which also has extensive product information and doggie testimonials! To place an order call (949) 220-4935, and visit them on

A customer browses Humble Olive Oils at the Carlsbad Farmers Market. The boutique oil company puts together holiday gift boxes filled with infused olive oils, aged Modena Balsamic Vinegar and spice mixes to send to friends and family. Photo by Jano Nightingale


Zac and Amanda Markham opened their gourmet shop in Carlsbad six years ago featuring olive oil, balsamic vinegars sourced from “growers in both the northern and southern hemisphere, providing our customers with the highest quality and freshest product in all seasons.

“The four crushes of olive oil each year come from Chile, Australia and Spain, depending upon the season of the year. Our 18-year-old Modena Balsamic Vinegar is loved by all our customers and they use it not only in a salad dressing but also in sauces and marinades,” commented Zac as he led me on a tour of the oil and vinegar shelves.

Humble Olive Oil, located on State Street in Carlsbad, previously featured olive oil tastings that have been suspended, but the staff is savvy and happy to explain, in detail, the flavor and use of each product.

While I was visiting, two sets of customers came into the shop to create gift boxes filled with gourmet cooking products for their entire families.

Their well-designed website displays all the varieties of olive oil such as Myer Lemon, Tuscan, Rosemary and Chipotle as well as Modena Balsamic Vinegar, spice mixes, chocolates and pasta.

Zac and his staff are available at the State Street shop or on Wednesdays at the Carlsbad Farmers Market. Their products are available on their website ( or visit the shop at 2922 State Street in Carlsbad; (760) 994-0132.

Jano Nightingale is a horticulturist and works on community gardens in North County. She can be reached at [email protected].