Theo Stephan – Global Gardens

In 805conversations by Mark Sylvester

For me, life begins with food.Theo Stephan, Founder, Global Gardens

Theo Stephan, the founder and life force behind Global Gardens tells us a great story of how she’s brought her Greek culture and passion for food to Los Olivos. Theo is interested in permaculture, resilience, and food. She trained as a graphic designer and escaped LA a couple of decades ago. She’s been an entrepreneur since she was eight (selling seeds she saw in an ad in the back of a comic book), then started a recycling business at twelve.

When she moved to the Santa Ynez Valley, she imported 500 trees form Crete and started an Olive orchard. That grew to 2000 trees before she eventually sold that farm, though she still retains the harvest and are the source of the Olive Oil she produces. She also maintains 60 trees that she uses to harvest table olives.

Her main public presence now is a farm stand in Los Olivos where she sells amazing olive oils, olives, nuts and spectacularly tasty vinegar. We did a tasting on the air, hard to convey the deliciousness over a podcast, but we tried.

Theo can talk all day about the deeper senses that food can touch, and you can tell in a minute how much she cares about the impact her foods can have.

She also has a unique claim to fame; she was the first in the US to have a monthly subscription based Food Club. She’s still running that club and curating selections for her members.

Listeners know that I am a Chef and this was one of the rare interviews where I could go deep on food and entrepreneurs. You’ll love the insight Theo offers on this episode.

Theo has a new book coming out in November 2017 focusing on Greek Cooking. We can’t wait for it. While you’re waiting, check out her 2011 book: Olive Oil & Vinegar For Life: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Caliterranean Living