Woman of the Week: Taran Rowe
Taran Rowe’s background in food started early on, although she may not have realized it at the time. This Santa Cruz Socialite’s Woman of the Week is the creator of La Onda: tasty and healthy almond dips. She was raised on a cattle ranch in Hollister and claims, “I’m a total country girl!” We won’t argue, since she grew up riding horses and doing rodeos (she’s probably pretty tough).
During her childhood, Taran visited Santa Cruz every chance that she got, so it seems only fitting that she’s here today. “My heart has always been in Santa Cruz,” she says.
But it took her awhile to get here. When she was 17, Taran moved from Hollister to San Diego and started a career in hairstyling. It was a hectic, fast-paced environment, and she often didn’t get a chance to eat the way she wanted to—people would bring her food, but she got a little tired of eating muffins all the time. She thought, “I have to start eating better.”
Then she decided to branch out and moved to San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico, where she lived for a year and a half. While there, her interests in both food and animal welfare deepened. She had grown up with her mom’s home cooking, and the cattle on her family’s ranch where humanely raised. But she began to see that animals raised for producing meat weren’t always treated as well as the ideal she had experienced.
The state of the food industry spurred Taran to know what was in the food she ate, and she began making her own plant-based foods at home. Eventually, she made the switch to a completely plant-based diet.
While she was experimenting in the kitchen, she came up with her signature almond dips and spreads. Her business began in Mexico and she made deliveries with her ex-boyfriend via motorcycle. Today she chuckles at the memory.
In September of 2014, Taran moved to Santa Cruz, bringing La Onda with her (lucky us), and has been retailing in the area since March of 2015. She loves being in Santa Cruz, especially because “people really care about what’s in their food here.” The community has been supportive and encouraging, and she met Monica Karst and became involved with the Santa Cruz Socialites through the Santa Cruz Food Lounge.
Business is blooming, and La Onda can be found at the downtown Farmers’ Market and basically any natural foods store in town—all the New Leaf Markets, Staff of Life, and Aptos Natural Foods—as well as four Safeways, and soon Whole Foods.
Inspired by the cattle ranch she grew up on, Taran is passionate about the environment, food, and animal rights. As her business grows, she’s working on creating a “give back program” to Animal Place, a sanctuary for animals saved from factory farming.
Taran Rowe, you are W.O.W. and we celebrate YOU!
Thank you to this week’s W.O.W sponsor: Pillow Pow Therapy Party