What does wellness mean to you?

Navigating the wellness industry, sturdy crops with big potential, an expanding olive oil business & more

By: Vanessa Labi

What is wellness to you? Sitting atop a meditation cushion for 10 minutes? Getting your steps in? Talk therapy? Wellness is a lot of things: a perpetual pursuit, a form of prevention and an entire economy. Though the pandemic saw a pause in the global wellness economy — consumers eased off discretionary spending during the lockdowns, slowing the industry’s upward trajectory — the lag was followed by a surge as people pursued wellness as prevention against illness. 

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a greater interest in wellness since prior to this pandemic, because the pandemic has really driven home the need to be resilient,” says Dr. Scott Fishman, executive director of UC Davis’s new Office of Wellness Education.

For my November health story, I sought to examine our developing culture of self-reliance as people deal with continued isolation and a fragmented health care system. I was also curious how the Capital Region was reflecting the national uptick in wellness-centric businesses, and who those businesses are accessible to.

Here’s the rest of the Capital Region Rundown: 

The leaders of small radio stations with indie spirit and community objective are proving their business model is possible; Lodi-based olive oil company Calivirgin has reshaped its business to include a new wine line and consumer-facing facility; Northern California agave farmers are demonstrating that the crop can thrive on acres traditionally known for fruit, nuts and wine grapes; and a Solano County roofing contractor is planting agave crops on his land with plans to sell his matured plants to regional distilleries. 

Recommendations from our editors:

In this section we editors share what we’re reading, listening to, watching or even eating. Here’s what we’re consuming this week:

Judy: I spent a lovely afternoon in the Capay Valley visiting the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation’s Seka Hills Olive Mill and Tasting Room. You can taste six different delicious olive oils, including the fresh-pressed Olio Nuovo, along with fig, berry and pomegranate balsamic vinegar. You can spend the day having lunch and sipping wine in the tasting room, which features an expansive gift shop with items perfect for gifting.

Jennifer: A few years ago in Reykjavik, I searched on Facebook for free events and found a concert by the Greenlandic folk musician Simon Lynge. When I got to the venue, I didn’t see any signs of life, so I posted a comment on the event page. “We’re here,” Simon messaged me minutes later. “Come on up!” The intimate concert, on the second floor of a cafe, was so much fun that I’ve been listening to his music now and then ever since. Now he’s come West for a series of shows in California, including one in Paradise today and in Carmel Valley tomorrow

Vanessa: I’m participating in Verge Center for the Art’s monthly Artists’ Salon, where a bunch of local artists (or art-adjacent people like me) sit and discuss a few assigned readings. This month one of the articles was about how Burning Man, the annual art festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, was so much worse this year. I don’t think I’ll ever go to the fest, but I was intrigued by the writer’s thoughts on how the pandemic’s effect on our cultural systems, attitudes and trust in one another was felt even at an event as idealistic and community-focused as Burning Man.

Odds and ends:

Nominations are open for Comstock’s Women in Leadership issue, so send in your picks by Dec. 1! Don’t forget to subscribe to the magazine to stay up to date on the region’s business trends, and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for daily stories and extras.

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