Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tara Hamilton and Naomi Hendrix of Whole Farms Market visit Baker: In the City

Tara Hamilton and Naomi Hendrix, two of the founders of Whole Farms Market in Fresno, CA, visited Baker: In the City ( Dec. 21 to discuss their approach to healthy eating and the importance of farm fresh and local organic produce and offer recipes for viewers of the popular Internet television station.


"We want to provide people with healthier food options."

                                                           Tara Hamilton, Owner, Whole Farms Market

Hamilton demonstrated how to make snow balls, a sweet dish made of raisins, almonds, lemon juice and coconut. Hendrix offered her version of a kale salad.

Tara Hamilton of Whole Farms Market (r) prepares snow balls with Sheldon Baker during a live segment of Baker: In the City on (Photo provided by Naomi Hendrix)

Whole Farms Market also offers Fresno's only organic raw food café, called Revive, providing organic raw food entrées and fresh pressed juices and desserts that are changed daily. The café serves only vegan raw food. All ingredients are organically grown and all-natural.

"We want to provide people with healthier food options," said Hamilton, whose store carries many products that are organically grown on her farm at the nearby town of Kerman. Other products are sourced and provided from local growers and producers.

Naomi Hendrix (r) makes kale salad with Sheldon Baker on the set of Baker: In the City. (Photo provided by Tara Hamilton) 

Located at 1807 Broadway St. in downtown Fresno, Whole Farms Market and Revive are open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Baker: In the City hosted by Sheldon Baker, publisher, editor and vegetarian, airs every Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. on

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Swede Johnson Basks in the Glory of 1950s Baseball

The Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame held its 52nd annual dinner Thursday, November 4 at the Fresno Convention Center.

Inductees this year included Dennis Janzen, coach of Fresno Pacific's five-time national champion volleyball program; his former player Tracy Ainger-Schulte, coach of Fresno City's powerhouse team in the Central Valley League; and snippets on ex-Fresno State track and field coach Red Estes; former Roosevelt High and USC hurdling star Jerry Wilson; and Bill Woodward, the long-time voice of Fresno State sports who's retired and living with wife Sheila in Lakeland Village, Wash. Other inductees were four-time NHRA drag-racing champion Gary Scelzi; and the 1950 Sanger Valley championship baseball team led by Swede Johnson, plus the 1955 Fresno City state champion basketball team.

According to published online reports, nearly 100 fans from Sanger were among the crowd. Several Sanger baseball team members were in attendance, including Johnson.

As I have read, the 1950 Sanger baseball team, a school of 600 and with a roster of only 15 players, won the 1950 Central Valley championship. The Apaches rallied to win the County championship against Roosevelt 11-9, then came back from an early 5-run deficit early to beat Visalia High 9-8 for the Valley title on Swede’s winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth before a crowd of 1,200 on their home field. That’s a lot of people for a high school baseball game then and now.

I recently had the chance to chat with Swede at a recent Christmas function where he and I talked about the team's big night, his high school days and sports in general in today’s world. publisher and editor Sheldon Baker (r) with Swede Johnson, former Sanger High School baseball star and recent Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame inductee. (Photo by Karena K. Dillon)

Johnson credited the entry of Japanese players into the baseball program after WW II as a key element of that championship season. He also that mentioned four members of the ‘50 baseball team signed pro contracts including Gene Green, who played seven seasons in the major leagues.

"Of course Green's contract was a lot different than it is today for professional athletes," said Johnson as he watched the Christmas Day Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat game on ABC-TV that featured all those highly paid players. Incidentally, the game also marked the introduction of a new line of basketball shoes by Lakers' start Kobe Bryant. The Laker players and many fan notables in attendance were wearing them. You can't beat co-branding on national television. learned that during the dinner, commemorative medallions were awarded to each player and survivor’s representative. The team received praise from California and U.S. legislators in the form of a framed proclamation from the U.S. House of Representatives signed by Congressman Devin Nunes, and a California Assembly Resolution commending the accomplishments of the team, signed by Assemblymen Michael Villines and Dave Cogdill.

11th Annual KNBR Radio Sports Auction

KNBR radio’s Murph & Mac, Gary Radnich and Tony Bruno, Fitz & Brooks, Damon Bruce, and Ralph & Tom broadcasted live from the Public House at AT&T Park in San Francisco for the 11th Annual KNBR Sports Auction on Friday, December 10 from 5 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.

From l to r: Ray Woodson, producer, KNBR, Ralph Barbieri, Tom Tolbert, and F.P. Santangelo, KNBR air personalities chat on-the-air during the sports auction held at the Public House in San Francisco.

The KNBR Sports Auction raises several hundreds of thousand dollars for the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, which allocates the funds to over 90 Bay Area youth sports programs each year. The day included a free breakfast buffet from courtesy of the Public House, live auction on once in a lifetime sports experience packages, silent auction with autographed sports memorabilia and gifts and special guests all day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apolo Ohno Greeted by Hundreds of Fans in Fresno

Apolo Ohno is the co-founder and formulator of 8zone, a dietary supplement company. But he is best known for being the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time.
Monday in Fresno, he was known for his new book, Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday. The face of short track speed skating worldwide was greeted by hundreds of fans waiting to catch a glimpse of their favorite U.S. Olympian and have their book autographed.

  Ohno talking to Fresno media while on tour to promote his new book.

            Ohno was on the 16th stop of his book signing bus tour that when it ends on December 4, will have covered 34 cities in nine days.
            “I’ve been living on that bus,” Ohno told Fresno media.  A bus that is adorned with Ohno’s book cover and picture of him doing what he likes to – skate.  

Ohno's touring book bus in Fresno.
             Ohno redefined the sport of short track speed skating starting in 1999, when he became the youngest athlete ever to win a World Cup event title. He won the overall World Championship in 2008, the World Cup Overall title in 2001, 2003, and 2005, and the men’s national title 12 times.
He has won eight Olympic medals and 23 World Championship medals. In October 2003 and March 2008 he was the United States Olympic Committee’s Male Athlete of the Month.
In 2007, he was also the winner of the fourth season of the popular ABC-TV television show, Dancing with the Stars. 

In Zero Regrets, Ohno shares his moving personal story behind his great success, as well as the hard-won truths and strategies he has discovered in good times and bad.
The book is much more than an account of racing competition. Zero Regrets is a captivating story of a father-and-son relationship that expanded over time and based on respect, love and unwavering faith in each other.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Former Harlem Globetrotters Nate Branch to Appear on

Nate Branch, former Harlem Globetrotters will make a guest appearance on Baker: In the City, the Internet television show on, Tuesday, December 7. The live phone-in interview takes place from 1-2 p.m. Pacific. Baker: In the City is hosted by Sheldon Baker, publisher.

Branch attended Nebraska University and began playing with the Harlem Globetrotters in 1967. He recalled that his starting salary in 1967 was $20,000, which is quite different from present day contracts. He has been around the world six times and Branch will discuss the many memories that stand out for him.

Branch, a Palo Alto, CA resident is the musical director at his local church. He also plays four instruments, including piano.

Nate Branch at the piano.

“My purpose is to inspire to know life can be good. You can always inspire to be better. If I can reach one kid, I have reached my goal to learn all you can at any age,” he says with a smile.

“Learn all you can.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fresno Area Firms Team-Up to Provide Thanksgiving Banana Cakes to Poverello House

What's a good way to give thanks on Thanksgiving? Let them eat cake!

Take flour, sugar, bananas, eggs and traditional spices provided by Baker Dillon Group, Starbucks and Rodeo Coffee Shop of Clovis and AlphaGraphics of Fresno, and in the better part of a day you've got about three dozen banana cakes for the Fresno-based Poverello House, a private, non-profit, nondenominational organization that has been serving the hungry, homeless and destitute for 37 years. With the continuing support of the community, through volunteers and donations, Poverello House now serves approximately 1,250-1,400 meals a day, 365 days a year.

Levi of Poverello House helps unload the banana cakes early Thanksgiving morning.

The cake making idea was the brainchild of Sheldon Baker ( publisher and editor) and Karena Dillon, principals of Baker Dillon Group, the Clovis, CA-based brand marketing, advertising and public relations firm.

"We didn't have plans for Thanksgiving and we thought about how we could provide a service to the community," Baker said. "This seemed like the perfect way."

Baker first approached John Sanders, California Central Valley district manager for Starbucks about contributing bananas. Sanders requested one of the Clovis stores order extra bananas that could be used for the project.

Eggs were donated by Rodeo Coffee Shop in Old Town Clovis, cake mixes from AlphaGraphics in Fresno and the other condiments and making coordination by Baker Dillon Group.

Dillon, who often makes cakes for her firm's vendors, is rolling up her sleeves and preparing all the cakes over a 24-hour period and will deliver them Thanksgiving morning.

"Poverello House was delighted to receive this dessert donation which they said would be used throughout the Thanksgiving weekend," said Dillon.

"We just decided to do this a few days ago and we didn't have a lot of time to gather the ingredients," Baker said. "but all the organizations we contacted were more than willing to ante up the baking supplies."

In 1973, Poverello House founder Mike McGarvin began offering peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless and hungry community. Through the years, inspired by his example, others began to lend a hand.

"We're already thinking about next year and with an earlier start and more preparation we might make peanut butter and jelly cupcakes and cookies," said Dillon.

Other Poverello House services include free medical and dental care through the Holy Cross Clinic; showers and laundry services to the homeless; a day shelter for people on the streets; a safe, overnight shelter for women at Naomi's House; temporary shelter for 44 individuals at the Village of Hope; a 28-bed residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation program; a five-bed transitional home; free clothing, mail service, transportation, referral services and other various social services, as well as a homeless dog kennel for abandoned pets. Poverello House is located at 412 F Street in Fresno.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Put Healthy Induldence on Your List this Holiday Season

(ARA) - Pie, cookies, peppermint - you name the sweet, and it's surely no stranger to the holiday season. For many, this time of year means extra indulgence and, consequentially, extra inches added to the waistline. You may be surprised to learn, though, that you can enjoy holiday goodies in a healthy way by incorporating ingredients like dried fruit, nuts and whole grains.

Indulging every now and then is important to any healthy lifestyle. The key is to eat in a healthful way that not only satisfies your craving for sweets and comfort foods, but also adds nutritional value to your diet. Spending time as a family in the kitchen baking up tasty holiday treats can also be a great way to learn about cooking delicious and healthy foods. Pick out some new recipes to try this winter and work as a family to choose tasty ingredients that boost nutrients, such as dried fruits and nuts. Follow these healthy baking tips from Sunsweet Growers and learn how easy making healthy choices can be, while still satisfying your need for a little indulgence:

Healthy Baking Tips
* Try using whole wheat flour. Whole wheat adds both fiber and magnesium to your diet.

* Add sweetness and texture with dried fruits. Try mixing in a dried fruit blend for both great flavor and added nutrition.

* Go nuts. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios, are a heart-healthy addition to holiday baking.

* Substitute fruit purees for oil or butter. Pureed prunes make a great swap for fat-laden oils.

* Glaze, don't frost. A simple glaze can be the sweet topper to a delicious dessert and will save nearly double digits in fat grams over butter-rich frostings.

To get started, serve up this new, healthy holiday classic for brunch, incorporating nutrient-rich dried fruits for added flavor and nutritional value. Try adding Sunsweet Antioxidant Blend, a delicious mix of dried blueberries, red tart cherries, cranberries and plums, delivering important vitamins and minerals at only 130 calories per serving. This holiday season, join Sunsweet and Recipe For Togetherness in the Play Scratch, Bake & Win! contest where you can win one of several pre-paid debit cards. For more healthy recipes, visit

Whole Wheat Berry Chocolate Loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 envelopes Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (5 ounces) Sunsweet Antioxidant Blend or Dried Cherries
3 ounces chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts, optional

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons very hot water

Combine whole wheat flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixer bowl.  Heat milk and butter until very warm (120 to 130 F). Add to flour mixture with eggs and beat on medium speed with electric mixer until smooth and elastic, about three minutes. Gradually stir in all-purpose flour. Add dried fruit, chocolate and nuts (if desired). Spread batter in two greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans, filling each half full. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Bake in preheated 325 F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack. While the bread is cooling, prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Pour glaze over top of each loaf and continue to cool. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Products for Diabetics Finally Taste Good

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are over 23 million diabetics in the U.S., and another 40 million people with pre-diabetes and other blood sugar issues. The CDC projects that 1 in 3 people could have diabetes by the year 2050.

Jeff Cohen has been a diabetic since 1993. He was frustrated while trying to find a snack that didn’t cause a blood sugar spike and also tasted good. He finally decided to create his own, and his company Granola Gourmet was born to solve the problem.

From humble beginnings in his family kitchen, the meal replacement bars were made in small batches using organic ingredients and became a weekly family tradition. His teenage boys began getting requests for new flavors from their friends. The cast and crew of Hollywood television shows from The Ellen Show, The Mentalist, Entourage and others on the Warner Bros. lot and CBS-TV began buying the bars. Soon they became the healthiest product on the Craft Services table catering to the motion picture industry. And Granola Gourmet became a local family-owned business success.
"'ll find our energy bar products priced the same or less than many of the bars that are not healthy...”

Jeff Cohen, Founder
Granola Gourmet

Cohen’s company has just introduced what it calls its Ultimate line of individually wrapped energy bars replying to consumer and grocer requests for natural portable snack items. The individually wrapped bars also respond to consumer demand for 100% natural grab-and-go snacks that don’t spike blood sugar. Made entirely in the U.S., the bars come in four flavors.

According to Cohen, as demand for diabetic food items becomes mainstream, many national retail and grocery store chains are expanding their healthy and natural product lines.

“While Granola Gourmet Ultimate Energy Bars are designed to satisfy your sweet tooth, the bars do not have refined sugar or the fat and sodium content of other popular protein and energy bars in its formulation,” explains Cohen.

“As a Type 2 diabetic, I wanted to create a product that is healthy, tasty and filling that could meet the needs of diabetics, as well as athletes and health conscious consumers.”

But is healthy food too expensive?

“Not anymore,” says Cohen. “Organic ingredients have come way down in price. We are seeing small differences in the cost of many of the organic ingredients we acquire today. In our case, you'll find our energy bar products priced the same or less than many of the bars that are not healthy,” Cohen notes.

This is the first time consumers will have the opportunity to purchase Granola Gourmet’s individually wrapped bars or in a caddy of 10. Ultimate Berry with blueberries, Ultimate Fudge Brownie with a nutty texture, Ultimate Mocha Fudge with a chocolaty base and touch of coffee flavor and aroma and Ultimate Cran-Orange make up the Ultimate selection.

Granola Gourmet bars contains 10-12g whole grains and 530-590mg of omega-3. For those with other dietary requirements, the bars are free of wheat and dairy, low in sodium, and are kosher and vegan.

Santa Clarita, CA-based Granola Gourmet also uses Low Glycemic Index ingredients. Low Glycemic foods provide longer periods of sustained energy, hunger relief and reduces the risk of experiencing blood sugar spikes. As a result, Granola Gourmet bars convert to sugar more slowly.

In Northern California, Safeway and Vons are carrying the products. The nationwide grocery chain launch is supported by a giveaway rebate offer that enables customers to receive free Granola Gourmet Energy Bars in exchange for proof of purchase. For more information about Granola Gourmet visit

In a sea of energy bars, customers have found Granola Gourmet products are 100% natural and formulated with several organic ingredients.

“When I think about our brand two words come to mind, healthy and delicious,” says Cohen. “When Whole Foods in Southern California began carrying our product line I knew we had something and decided to put extra effort into the business. Today, we are expanding and excited about the future,” Cohen says, with a big smile.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Buster Posey is NL Rookie of the Year

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, was named the winner of the National League Rookie of the Year Award on Monday. Posey, 23, the Giants' first-round draft pick in 2008, began the 2010 season with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies where hit .349 with six homers in the first 47 games of the season in the Minors before being called to the Giants May 29.

Buster Posey

Visit the November 11 post on and listen to the interview conducted with Posey on April 6 while he was still a member of the Fresno Grizzlies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Posey and Bumgarner Discuss Their Approach to Health and Fitness

On April 6, 2010, the San Francisco Giants announced the Opening Day roster for the 2010 Fresno Grizzlies, their Triple A minor league affiliate. Headlining the list of top prospects were Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Both were the top two prospects in the Giants’ minor league system, according to Baseball America. Posey, 23, was rated the fourth-best overall prospect in baseball by, and Bumgarner, 20, ranked 10th on the same list. Both were first-round draft picks, with Posey going fifth overall in 2008, and Bumgarner 10th in the 2007 first-year player draft. For a few short months they were a formidable battery led by former Major League catcher and San Francisco Giants player, Steve Decker who was entering his first season as skipper of the Grizzlies.

Later during the 2010 season, Posey (who became the Giants’ starting catcher) and Bumgarner (now a mature 21 year-old World Series game winner) were called up to the “Show” and as they say, the rest is history. Both players had a huge impact on helping the San Francisco Giants win their first World Series championship since moving to San Francisco.

During media day in April, at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, home of the Fresno Grizzlies, I had the opportunity to speak with Decker, Bumgarner and Posey about their health, fitness and training regimens.

Steve Decker, Manager – Fresno Grizzlies:

Madison Bumgarner, Pitcher – Fresno Grizzlies:

Buster Posey, Catcher – Fresno Grizzlies:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Economic Recovery for the Natural Products Industry?

It's difficult to imagine that we have to even think about saying economic recovery for the natural products marketplace. Nevertheless, that's the word on the street.

Now comes the announcement this month from United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), the leading independent national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and related products including nutritional supplements, personal care items and organic produce in the United States, that they beat analyst expectations in their just released third quarter earnings. The company increased sales by 11% year-over-year to $986 million, and net profits grew 16% to $20 million. Statements issued by UNFI attribute the successful quarter to operational efficiencies and strong growth in the supernatural and supermarket channels. And in case you didn't know, the company supplies customers globally with over 60,000 different products ranging from apples to yoga mats, or so says their Web site.

Steve Spinner, UNFI president and CEO said "Our fiscal 2010 third quarter reflected the continuing rebound of the natural and organic industry as our growthaccelerated during most of the quarter, resulting in both record revenues and net income." It should be noted that UNFI also raised its full-year sales guidance and narrowed full-year earnings to the higher end of the range. Furthermore, UNFI extended its agreement with Whole Foods Market for an additional seven years allowing UNFI to remain Whole Foods primary wholesale distributor in the markets it presently serves. This extension provides substantial earnings visibility to UNFI. Whole Foods accounted for 33% of UNFI's sales in fiscal year 2009.

So what does this all mean? It's been said that as UNFI goes, so goes much of the health food and natural products market. Combine strong sales that appear to be in an upward direction and UNFI's earnings and successful negotiation of a long-term deal with Whole Foods could point towards bluer skies ahead and suggest positive news may lie ahead for the natural and organic segments of the market.

Regarding the economic recovery, in a recent interview conducted with Brian Stuesser, president of Global Recruiters of Madison, WI and founder of and the Natural Products Division, I asked him if natural products industry companies were hiring. Stuesser, whose company is roughly 50% fully retained executive search, generally at the director level and above, with the other 50% of contingency or engaged search usually at the manager level or below, said that since he launched in 2005, he has not seen more activity than he is seeing in 2010.

"Last year was a record year for our firm, which now includes six people who are dedicated to natural," Stuesser said. And he added, "2010 is trending as our best year ever."