Biz Beat: Garden bounty leads to business

10/12/2013 4:24 PM

10/12/2013 10:39 PM

It got to the point where Bambi Porter’s friends would shut their front doors when they saw her coming.

OK, that’s probably not literally true, but the Oakdale woman loves food and she loves gardening, and she would grow an overwhelming amount of tomatoes, zucchini and the like. Because her garden produced faster than she and her friends and family could consume the bounty, Porter decided to learn how to can it.

And with that, a new business was born. Porter, certified as a master food preserver, opened Gypsy Cowgirl Kitchen Co. in July. Porter leads workshops on making jams and jellies, crafting cheese and even putting up liqueurs.

“It’s really fun,” said Porter. “And it’s not as hard as some people might think.”

Porter conducts workshops at Direct Appliance in Modesto and Bordona’s appliance and furniture store in Oakdale, as well as other places. She said she has worked with entire families interested in the preserving process.

“In this world of Facebook and instant messaging, when you come to a workshop, it’s a really great way to socialize and reconnect over food and I love that,” she said.

Contact Porter at, on Facebook or by telephone at (209) 484-5492.

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

It’s coming up on Halloween pretty soon, and we have come a long way since the days of my youth when most of the costumes were plastic, with a cheap mask held on by elastic (yes, I am that old). I will have a story next week on some of the elaborate costumes and makeup available locally – there are some Hollywood-worthy transformations out there.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for party goods and such, Ray Pogue, who operates two area Party Guys stores, has added a temporary Halloween Guys store to the shopping center on Dale Road across from Vintage Faire Mall. It’s worth a look. And if you’re on the hunt for costumes, two shops in Modesto – Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Second Chance Consignments/Costume Corner – would be happy to help you out. You can also check out one of the area’s many thrift stores for inspiration.

Just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I got a news release from the Breast Health Center of Modesto Radiology Imaging saying it’s the first women’s center in Stanislaus County to offer 3-D mammography for breast cancer screening. According to the release, such imaging produces a three-dimensional view of tissue “that helps radiologists identify and characterize individual breast structures without the confusion of overlapping tissue.”

For more information, call (209) 577-4444 or go to

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