Having grown up in Karachi, Pakistan (a city of over 14 million people), Shazieh Gorji missed the spontaneity of the community she knew so well as a child. “People would just show up at your house,” she said, “whether you liked it or not!” Shazieh moved to Tucson in 2012 and appreciated the “space” that one has here, but often felt isolated. She was looking for how to find a balance between the two (aren’t we all?!) Fortunately, she found community through Tucson CSA when she joined in April of 2019 – shortly before so much would shift due to the pandemic. She has appreciated “feeling part of something” through the CSA throughout it all.
As an artist (translation: potter, baker, ritual-maker), Shazieh knows what it means to be innovative and deal with change. She has been honing her skills in pottery, baking, and day to day ritual-making for over fifteen years. Agave Pantry is her pop up shop and custom order artisan bakery dedicated to using organic, non-gmo and pure ingredients. She is genuinely committed to ethically sourcing organic herbs and spices, and the quality and care shine through all of her creations.
Agave Pantry offers handcrafted baked goods, pottery, infused salts, and spice blends along with ceremonial items influenced by daily life in the Southwest. Quality ingredients blended, baked, and fired with care, these creations evoke the desire to slow down, take a moment and enjoy simple pleasures.
At Tucson CSA we are incredibly fortunate to offer one of her most delightful creations: hand-crafted caramels. As it goes, they are something that she never would have thought of making without collaborative inspiration. As Shazieh said, “I may be a one person show, but we all thrive off one another’s creative influences.” When she was asked to contribute something with a “honey lavender” theme to one such artistic collaboration, creamy caramels became the delicious result. This innovation has helped her to experiment with different flavor profiles.
Starting this week, you can find her hand-crafted caramels at The CSA Shop in an assortment box (½ dozen or dozen) of Chai Spice and Lavender Honey. Shazieh uses local wild honey, organic cane sugar – never corn syrup – and all other organic ingredients. She makes her own blend of spices for the Chai and sources the fair-trade herbs and spices she incorporates into her creations from Mountain Rose Herbs.
The caramels will store fine at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, and for a few months in the fridge. If they make it long enough to go in the fridge, she suggests putting them in an airtight bag or container to keep out any other potential smells (i.e. garlic, kimchi). Buy them now and they will be fine until your end of year holiday celebrations. They are nice paired with cheese boards or dessert trays, or enjoyed on their own. These are NOT toffee, and so they do not get stuck in your teeth – a primary reason that Shazieh says her elderly clients like them so much.
“You cannot keep doing what you love to do if no one is buying,” Shazieh says. We all hope you will want to buy them and taste some of that love in there!
Keep posted for more information about her chai and flavored salt gift sets, ceramics/pottery and amaretti cookies at an upcoming Holiday Pop-Up Market at the CSA.
Even though it is “another thing to do”, Shazieh values coming to pick up her share for the experience of community that she, and her 8 year old son, has each week. “It is such a great feeling to walk in and see people,” she said, “and have my son see the vegetables and understand where they are coming from.” After walking out carrying a small watermelon last week, Shazieh’s son asked his mom if he could work for Tucson CSA someday. Wonderfully surprised, Shazieh said she would love that, and so would we! Going to the CSA has become a ritual for her son as well, and she hopes that one day he may even eat the vegetables, too!