Bradleys are all about organics

The media and numerous publications are providing us with information about how important proper nutrition is for families. The economy is forcing people to take a serious look at ways to make better food options available to families, while staying within budget constraints.  Realizing the community’s need for organic foods and products, a start-up emerged as Robert and Victoria Bradley realized their dream and established a new company called Ramona Family Naturals.

The Bradleys wanted a different type of lifestyle for their family. They relocated to Ramona from Orange County so their children could experience the country, away from the hub of the city. In addition, they began to question the quality of the foods they were providing to their family.

“I started reading up on the effects of pesticides, artificial colors and flavors while I was pregnant with our third child,” said Victoria. “According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ report entitled Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children, government pesticide standards did not protect the health of children. Because of their lesser body weight, up to 35 percent of lifetime exposure to some carcinogenic pesticides occurs by age 5. They also suggested that one out of four developmental and behavioral problems in children may be linked to pesticides.

“By definition, organic food is grown, processed and packaged without the use of agricultural chemicals, artificial colors or flavors, genetic modification (GMO) irradiation, or other synthetic ingredients. Another eye-opener for us was Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions Cookbook.  This cookbook revealed many ancient food preparation techniques that are now helping our family. We prepare meals that provide high-density nutrition for our family.”

“When we became more selective about our food and other consumables, our grocery bills began to rise,” said Robert. “Ramona Family Naturals was created to help us and other families who are interested in eating and living healthier, by offering a lower cost alternative to driving down the hill to shop at health food chain stores.”

Robert said he was a skeptic for years. He would snicker at what he called the “food police” warnings about highly processed foods containing chemicals, growth hormones, non-natural sweeteners and preservatives.

“Age seems to have made me more aware of my mortality,” he said. “More and more of my peers are afflicted with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Now I am more concerned about pro-biotics, enzymes, phytic acids and a bunch of other works that I never knew before. Not any hot dog will do for me. I want to know what went into that dog before it goes into me!”

Robert and Victoria combined their talents. His 15 years in information technology and her 10 years in marketing makes their venture a winning combination.

“In order to reduce operation costs, most products are not inventoried,” said Robert.

“The model is simple,” said Victoria. “We price everything as low as possible. In fact, I tell my customers that if they find something for less, I want to know about it.”

Ramona Family Naturals offers approximately 20,000 items that can be ordered on Monday morning and be available for delivery on Tuesday.

“That’s my kind of shopping” said Victoria. “With four children in tow, the fewer trips to the store the better!.”

The Bradley household consists of five children, ranging in age from 10 months to 21 years. Victoria home schools her children and it was through the home school community of friends that she started teaching cooking classes.

“The cooking classes were in response to the interest of others seeking healthier lifestyles, when I started sharing new recipes with them,” she said. “The class is quickly becoming my favorite aspect of this business. What is more fun than a bunch of ladies eating and talking about food?”

She is in the process of outlining new cooking classes. The first series is  called Fundamental Cooking and will start Thursday, Feb. 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seating is limited to six people, and cost is $25 per class. Pre-registration is required.

“I will provide lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and attendees will be able to take away something new to enjoy,” said Victoria.

“We spent the early part of 2008 building our business model/plan and launched our first Web site in June,” said Robert. “I have been working nonstop updating and changing our Web site and launched a whole new site last month.

“We are an online natural foods grocer, with products from top natural and organic manufacturers,” said Victoria. “In addition to groceries and supplements, we can provide our Ramona community with organic produce boxes containing fresh local organically grown produce bi-monthly. The contents of these boxes change depending upon the season. Our source is a biodynamic farm, which is a special kind of farming; one might call them the platinum standard of organic farming. We are strong advocates of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. This program helps local farmers be sustainable for longer periods of time between crops.

“We want to be known as your online organic grocery store, focusing on the Ramona community by providing approximately 20,000 natural and organic food product lines, providing raw milk deliveries (farm fresh milk), organic free-range eggs, organic produce delivered to your home; cooking classes and lectures for a healthier lifestyle for your family. We are very social people and if someone calls and they are excited about one of our products, we are happy to have that product shipped to them.”

The couple’s dream, said Robert, “is to have a site here in Ramona, where we can employ 200 people, ship direct our products nationally, while giving back to our community. We really love Ramona and its people.”

As Ramona Family Naturals expands its product lines, it will be featuring additional natural and organic products made from Ramona businesses.

“We have a lot to share with you,” said Victoria.

During January, with each order, Ramona Family Naturals offers free local delivery.

The Bradleys encourage Ramonans to browse through their online organic grocery store at www.ramonafamilynaturals.com or call 1-800-778-3515.

   
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