Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Brailsford.
Julie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in Los Angeles – the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles with my two brothers. We would spend part of our summer school vacation living with our paternal grandparents who had a large farm in Victoria, Texas. It was exciting for us to be there and to be able to visit with all of our cousins, aunts, and uncles. It was extremely hot during that time of year, and it was also their harvesting time. Their vast fields of cotton were in full bloom and ready to be picked before the rains came. And it was a race because if the rains came, they would lose the crop and yield nothing.
They also grew maize, sorghum, soybeans, sweet corn, had cattle, sheep, and chickens. My grandmother had an organic vegetable garden that supplemented her meals, baking, canning, pickling; and fruit trees which she produced the most amazing jams and jellies. They were up early and in the fields before the sun came out. My grandmother would be in the kitchen fixing dinner (“our lunch”) before we even ate our breakfast. That was their large meal of the day and it had to be ready and on the table when the men folk returned from the fields. The smell of her freshly baked bread and bacon would usually wake us lazy kids up!
I learned from their discipline, hard work, joy, and passion they had for living and the loving care they had for the land that gave them so much. These memories have had a lasting impression and a major impact on my life today. They were sustainable farmers before the word was even coined. I learned to cook, sew, garden, taking care of chickens and dogs during those summers on the farm. We even tried our hand at picking cotton which was painful! I, also, learned the importance of family and how much fun we all had being together. Sitting around a table eating or playing a game of checkers or dominoes meant you’d be with family, talking and laughing. Work was always balanced with family and fun!
I majored in Art at University High School or affectionately called “Uni High”, and after graduating, attended Santa Monica City College and Los Angeles City College, where I graduated, majoring in Art, again. (My maternal family was very artistic and I grew up with a strong appreciation for the arts; painting, music, art history, history, science, education, and teaching. Many of my family members are gifted artists and their work reflects the beauty of our land in their land and seascapes, either on canvases, walls, surfboards, or reclaimed wood pieces). I then went on to UCLA, this time as a History major. Before I knew it, my husband and I were having our first child, a boy, and school would be put on hold. Two and half years later, we had our daughter, and we decided to move down to the San Diego area to raise them. We had some land and put in vegetable gardens, fruit trees and flowers, had horses, chickens, peacocks, dogs, and an African Grey parrot and a tank of saltwater fish. We even had an alpaca, goat, and pig at one time. This was in part to give to my children some of what I had had at my Grandparents farm in Texas. They loved to garden, and to cook. They still do! Their connection to the land has gotten under their fingernails and I don’t think they’ll ever get rid of it… or would ever want to!
Once my kids were grown and living on their own, along with taking a few painting classes with my mom, I went back to school to earn my degree in the culinary arts. Did some catering and part-time chef work and took over the meals business that I run today. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I do and to work in an industry that serves people. That also gives the gift of time to them, by allowing us to do the monthly chef-created menu selection, shopping, food prepping, and meal delivery so that they can sit around their tables at home with family and friends. Our customers appreciate locally grown organic produce that supports our hardworking farmers, whose dedication to organic farming respects and honors our precious land.
Has it been a smooth road?
In my free time, I do recipe development in the kitchen at home. My passion is food and cooking and customizing recipes to meet evolving dietary needs and challenges. So, a lot of time goes into homework, research, study, recipe development, cooking and of course tasting… it has to taste good!
I love my work and that helps because it can be physically challenging at times with the long hours of kitchen work, shopping, meal development, etc. But it is also rewarding for me at the same time, especially when customers let us know their appreciation. Everyone needs encouragement and appreciation from time to time. It goes a long way.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Healthy Creations story. Tell us more about the business.
My business comes naturally from the years of preparing gluten-free and dairy-free meals for my daughter and catering to my husband’s vegetarianism. Because of my daughter’s gluten intolerance, I know how important it is to have a gluten-free kitchen and to protect from any cross-contamination. I’ve also been using organic produce for years and value the importance of health. I also know how much time and work goes into making healthy tasty meals and to have them on the table in time for family to come and sit around the dinner table. My main focus for my customers is to give them the gift of time and for them to be able to put a meal on the table for their family that is both healthy and delicious. We provide ready-to-cook, Take-and-Make Meal Kits, Grab n’ Go meals, and ready to cook meal components. There is no subscription to our service or minimum order. We offer delivery for a nominal fee and free pick up at our Vista Kitchen, or 02 Wellness Center in San Clemente. We are mindful of using eco-friendly packing and shipping materials. I think we stand apart from mass-market meal kit companies in the fact that we are accessible to our customers and are able to customize their meals to their specific food allergies. Our program was designed to enable families to bring back the sit-down home-cooked meal without time-consuming tasks of menu selection, shopping, kitchen prep, slicing, dicing, etc. at affordable prices. Our servings are large; a half meal feeds 2-3 adults, and our full size feeds 4-6 adults. Our menu changes monthly, utilizing seasonal organic, sustainable and locally sourced produce, organic free-range/hormone-free, grass-fed meats and poultry when available. All our meals are prepared at our commercial kitchen in Vista, California.
We are committed to always using the finest, freshest, and healthiest ingredients with our customer’s health and satisfaction in mind! We hope that our service enables them to enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal that they can all sit around a big table together to talk and laugh!
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
None that can’t be overcome.
- Our Half Sized Meals (feeds 2-3 adults) range from $28.50 to $31,50, Full Sized Meals (feeds 4-6 adults) $53 to $59
- Address: Mailing address: 6965 El Camino Real, Suite 105-281, Carlsbad, California 92009. Our Vista kitchen address: 2515 Pioneer Ave., Suite 6, Vista, California 92081
- Website: HealthyCreations.com
- Phone: 760 281-0204
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Healthy Creations Meals Instagram
- Facebook: Healthy Creations Meals Face Book
Julie Brailsford at Healthy Creations