Kit and Gary
Makers behind the Clif Family powerhouse, Kit Crawford + Gary Erikson took over the farm and vineyard from Gary's father in 1998. As avid cyclists, Clif Family is perhaps most famous of their Clif Bar line of products. Now with a line of spice blends and their own food truck, Kit and Gary are sharing their passion for wine and food with the America.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
We began our food and wine adventure in the Napa Valley in 1998 when we purchased the Clif Family Farm. Since then, our goal has been to craft unique, regional wine and foods using practices that care for the earth and to support growers who use sustainable and organic farming methods. In this way, we can contribute to a more vibrant and healthy food community.
Tell us about your products.
Clif Family Kitchen artisan food products are inspired by the foods and flavors of our wine country home, including our own gardens and orchards. These unique products can be enjoyed on their own or added to other simple, seasonal ingredients to create delicious new dishes. As vintners, the role of wine in a meal is never far from our minds. As a result, many of these products will further delight when paired with wine.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It means to us that we care. We strive to make products that have a sense of place, that truly reflect the amazing resources we have at the Clif Family Farm and in our local community.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
We are addicted to our Clif Family Kitchen chocolates, especially the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels.
What Drew You To Food?
Good food means family to us. We both grew up in environments where gardens and family dinners played large roles in our upbringing. So gathering at a festive table with a big spread to share with those nearest and dearest is very important to us.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Our best friends, Nene and Paolo, live in a tiny village in Italy, Bassano del Grappa. They own a Bruschetteria by the name of Samsara. The food at Samsara is truly amazing and was the inspiration for our food truck, The Clif Family Bruschetteria. The energy and love that they put not only into that restaurant, but life is a big source of laughter and inspiration for us.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We always wait to see what the farm produces to figure out our product line-up. This year we were really excited about our Persimmon Butter. Persimmons are such a unique and colorful part of the fall Napa Valley. It is the harvest season in a jar!
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
Year after year, our Clif Family Kitchen Meyer Lemon Marmalade proves to be one of our favorites. Nothing says wine country like Meyer lemons and it is just perfectly captures in this preserve.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
We are obsessed with salt! Our latest product is a collaboration with Jacobsen Salt Company in Portland, OR. They just produced a Gewurztraminer Sea Salt for us using our Clif Family wine and it is just beautiful!
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
We brought home a fabulous roast chicken from our food truck with kale salad with apples and Pecorino and a side of decadent hand ground polenta. We had a rich chocolate budino with sea salt for dessert!
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Gary’s dad, Cliff. He would’ve enjoyed seeing the farm and vineyards flourish and using all the Clif Family Kitchen Products!
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Go with your gut and be your authentic self. Through the many growing stages of Clif Bar and now the winery and farm, we’ve learned that your own instincts are usually right. Stick to your guns!
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
We love what Chef Matthew Accarrino is doing over at SPQR. He is a vegetable wizard and all of his dishes are a symphony of taste and color.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Porchetta with a side of fresh oysters with hot sauce to slurp down...what could be better?!
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
Our Bruschetteria Food Truck, of course! It has been amazing to see what our Clif Family Executive Chef John McConnell creates with the seasonal produce from our farm.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
We are avid cyclists. When we aren’t at the Farm digging in the dirt, we are on or bikes cruising around Pope Valley and Howell Mountain or enjoying a glass of wine and a bite with the wonderful patrons of our Clif Family tasting room, Velo Vino, in St. Helena.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
We are big jazz lovers, as Gary is a jazz trumpeter. We often have a jazz great, like Miles Davis, playing in the background as we are cooking in the kitchen.
What is your favorite recipe to make with the product featured in our basket?
We actually make a Dukkah-rubbed turkey for Thanksgiving. It gives the bird serious flavor! We also love sprinkling dukkah on roasted veggies, salads or using in the traditional way as a simple appetizer with bread and olive oil.
What other product in The Box from Chef Matthew Accarrino would you most want to try?
All of them, but especially the Bee Local Oregon Buckwheat Honey