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Bless your Heart Specialty Baking’s Rosemary Hawthorne shows Santa that their guilt-free treats of no wheat, no sugar, no butter cookies, pies and cakes can be a Healthy Sweet Treat.

John Teeling throws a scoring bocce ball in a head to head game with Santa at the Calcareous bocce court.

Santa presents a creatively carved pumpkin to Sasha Irving at the Studios on the Park. This one is a “pumpkin pi.”

Stacked Stone Cellars winemaker Donald Thiessen shows Santa how they transfer the grape harvest to a shaking table where stems, leafs and other stem parts can be removed at the beginning of the production process.

Santa prepares for a much needed rest at the oh so comfortable Adelaide Inn.

Sustainable Santa Applauds the Creativity in Paso Robles

November 1, 2014 - Paso Robles Magazine

By Helen Nielsen

He calls himself “Sustainable Santa,” anxious to draw a line between the Santa he knows is needed in contemporary society and the fellow described in Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “The Night Before Christmas.” “That diabetic, obese, jelly-bellied old guy who smokes and blows smoke rings around his head is 190 years out of date!” says the modern Sustainable Santa.

He and Mrs. Claus were in Paso Robles last month as part of a trip through Northern California promoting an agenda advocating healthy eating and sustainable living.

And he lives what he advocates, having lost 73 pounds in recent years simply by embracing what he calls a “flexitarian” diet: whole foods - not too much – mostly plants, all organically and sustainably grown, using no GMO seeds. With regards to protein they eat seafood and poultry in moderation.

They start each day with a breakfast consisting of a blended vegetable and fruit smoothie and they shun potato and wheat products which turn into sugar inside your body. In short this contemporary Santa is a senior citizen who is active and energetic, exercises by walking, biking, hiking, even surfing and eats healthy.

He’s a Santa with a focus on what he calls “the real needs of our society” and as he travels he makes every effort to promote healthy eating and lifestyle practices particularly among the children.

“The examples of the many positive things which can be done in communities are so evident in Paso,” says Sustainable Santa, “it is always a pleasure to visit.”

Among his favorites is Kids Art Smart, which provides all 3,000 public elementary students with hands-on professional art classes completely free of charge. It is a program of Studios on the Park, the nonprofit open studio art center in downtown Paso Robles.

“Kids Art Smart is at the heart and soul of our efforts to share the creative process with our community,” says Program Director, Sasha Irving. “The arts are essential to the social, emotional, and intellectual development of every child. Our program provides an opportunity for local children to develop creative thinking and personal expression that might otherwise be lost.” To learn more about Studios on the Park, check it out at 1130 Pine Street in downtown Paso Robles, phone 238-9800, on the web at studios

Exploring how many of the wineries that have adopted “sustainable production practices” is another favorite Paso activity for Santa. Stacked Stone Cellars, Santa cites as a good example of sustainability, where in addition to dry farming their vineyard, the production process developed by Donald Thiessen, owner and winemaker, captures every piece of stem, leaf and jack and is composted with the remaining skins, seeds and pulp yielding not only 1,000 cases each year of a very clean boutique wine, but also enhances the vineyard’s soil in the process. They have no garbage pickup, at Stacked Stone. Everything from food waste to metals and plastics are either composted or recycled, notes Thiessen.

When it comes to healthy eating, Thiessen and wife Madeline told Santa they recognize that it’s more than just the winery and vineyard that is biodynamic. Their own bodies also are. Thus they ferment the vegetables they grow producing probiotics – good bacteria which increases the nutrition and taste quality of what they eat, and enhances the ability to keep veggies for long periods without adding artificial preservatives.

“It also keeps us healthier,” Thiessen told Santa.. “It has given us a new meaning to the term ‘TGIF.’ For us now that’s ‘Thank God Its Fermented’.” Stacked Stone Cellars is located at 1525 Peachy Canyon Road, phone 238-7872, on the web at

Exercise is also part of the healthy sustainable living routine advocated by Sustainable Santa. When in Paso, he and Mrs. Claus always visit Calcareous Winery to challenge the staff to a serious game of Bocce Ball which visitors to the winery can play on their hill-top court. “It’s great fun whenever they come,” says John Teeling, Hospitality and Sales Manger at Calcareous. “Sometimes Santa even lets us win.” Calcareous Vineyards was established in 2000 and is located at 3430 Peachy Canyon Road in the Westside hills of Paso Robles, “Our search for the perfect combination of terroir, climate and varietal selection brought us to the Central Coast of California, and more specifically to the rare and unique calcareous soils of West Paso Robles,” said Teeling. “Our goal is to produce the finest Rhone and Bordeaux blends and distinctive Burgundies this region will allow.”

For more information, phone 239-0289, or on the web at

While staying in Paso, Santa and Mrs. Claus made their reservations at the Adelaide Inn to return and relax after the ‘round the globe December journeys and chatted with owner Matt Masia, “At the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, we want our guests to make themselves at home. It’s a real pleasure and a thrill to host Santa and the Mrs. That is why all our spacious rooms include a full array of amenities including coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves, hair dryers, complimentary shampoo, rinse and lotions. One of our special amenities is our Front Desk Staff that is available 24 hours a day, which Santa especially appreciates. We welcome you to Paso Robles and the Adelaide Inn to make you feel right at home.” The Adelaide Inn is located at 1215 Ysabel Avenue in Paso, phone 238-2770 or on the web at

While enjoying our amazing community and wandering around downtown Santa and Mrs. Claus stumbled upon Bless Your Heart Specialty Baking and owner Rosemary Hawthorne on Railroad Street and enjoyed sampling their guilt-free treats of no wheat, no sugar, no butter cookies, pies and cakes. They subscribe to Sustainable Santa’s Food Rules, especially Rule #3: Follow the “S” Rule…no Sodas, no between meal Snacks, no Second helpings, no added Sugars or add Salt (Sodium) and no Sweets…except on days that begin with the letter “S”- Saturday or Sunday. Bless Your Heart Specialty Baking features gluten free, naturally sweetened and low glycemic baked goods. You’ll find them at 1335 Railroad, phone 227-4969, on the web at

Sustainable Santa’s approach to promoting the agenda of encouraging everyone, especially the children, to embrace a healthy diet and a sustainable life style is gentle but persuasive. In Paso, he says, you can see programs which not only help children see the health benefit of choosing an apple over a cookie, but also programs promoting their involvement with the arts, playing an instrument, increasing their literacy, and having compassion and empathy toward others. “One of the keys,” says Sustainable Santa “is to help today’s children understand the difference between ‘I want’ and ‘I need,’ the former being promoted by our consumerism and consumption based society. That is not a sustainable lifestyle,” suggests Santa.