Sweet treats in Tinseltown
Visit Hollywood's latest culinary hit
Cookies, cakes, cupcakes and pies—California is home to some of the sweetest treats in the business. But to make the best, you need to start with the best, which coincidentally is what has turned Mrs. Beasley's Bakery into the hottest ticket in Tinseltown.
"Well, Mrs. Beasley's is going to be 30 years old next year. And it was started by two sisters in Tarzana. And the very first customer was Barbra Streisand. And Barbra gave out Mrs. Beasley's baskets as Christmas gifts. And before we knew it, we had lines out the door and the business just grew from there," said Ken Harris, President and CEO of Mrs. Beasley's.
And grow it did, from a makeshift kitchen and a few gift baskets 30 years ago to today, with nine retail outlets, a thriving mail order business and a 30,000 square-foot production plant that pumps out some of the best cookies, cakes, brownies, bars and cupcakes around. And despite being in the middle of diet-crazed Los Angeles, it has a fan base as rich as the homemade treats—although you don't have to be famous to enjoy the wholesome goodness served every day here.
Mrs. Beasley's is best known for its mouth-watering carrot and lemon cakes. You won't find any powders, food colorings or prepackaged mixes, either. Everything is homemade from the best ingredients around and for that the company turns to a whole host of farmers from around the state. Each year, the bakery uses more than 300,000 eggs; 30,000 pounds of butter; 25,000 fresh oranges; and 150,000 fresh lemons.
Just a hop, skip and jump away from Los Angeles, you'll find one of the biggest secrets to Mrs. Beasley's signature carrot cake. This is where the Kern Ridge group of growers is located. It's a year-round grower and shipper of carrots. And it's no accident this is where it calls home. As it turns out, Kern County is one the best carrot growing regions in the country.
The area is so conducive for farming, that almost 75 percent of the carrots grown in the United States are produced in California. Almost every day, somewhere in the state, carrots are either being planted or harvested and at Kern Ridge, they can harvest up to 150,000 pounds of carrots an hour during peak season. Rain or shine, 52 weeks a year, you'll find them picking, cleaning and packing some of the best carrots in the world.
"It's like Florida oranges in Florida or winegrapes in Napa or Paso Robles—that area is conducive for them and this area is conducive for carrots.That's why we have such great carrots here, they're so sweet and great flavor. It's very appealing to the customer, and especially to Mrs. Beasley's," said Orchel Krier, a farmer for Kern Ridge.
And quality like that is one of the fundamental principles that has helped this grower turn a small family store into a favorite bakery that families all around the state can enjoy. It's just another way to experience the bounty that California offers up every day, in a variety of forms from a variety of farms.
For more information about Mrs. Beasley's, visit www.mrsbeasleys.com.