CHICO — I was really impressed after chatting with local Mary Mooney yesterday about her Bella Sun Luci salad dressings and sundried tomatoes.
Mooney is the owner of Mooney Farms and Bella Sun Luci, a brand of sun-dried tomatoes and salad dressings. She recently received a USDA grant from her association with Morrison and Company.
Mooney used ingredients from California farmers and producers to create her dressings and support the local farming community, according to a press release. The salad dressings are sold at Costco, Gelson’s, Bristol Farms and Pavilions in Southern California, with plans for expansion.
The company is family-run. Mooney’s sister, Kelly Gray, and her sons work for her.
“My sister Kelly Gray is still with me. We’re a sister act,” Mooney said. “My sons also joined the company. They went to college and came back after graduation.”
The business started in Gridley 35 years ago and came to Chico 20 years ago. Mooney started a kiwi jam company. Your company is the largest producer of sun-dried tomatoes in the United States.
“We make the best salad dressing you can make with chico honey and wildflowers,” Mooney said. “It’s like being prepared in your own kitchen. The dressings are phenomenal. It’s a real vinaigrette. We import balsamic vinegar that has been aged for ten years for these dressings. The orange vinaigrette is made with Chico honey. Extra virgin olive oil is used for the dressings and no canola oil or soybeans are added.”
Mooney believes in the highest quality products.
“We believe in premium products, they should be of high quality and fit our mission statements,” said Mooney. “The value is very good. We don’t outsource and everything is made right here in our 100,000 square foot facility.”
Mooney is currently hiring primarily for leadership positions. Visit the website for more information at bellasunluci.com.
Mooney’s products are sold locally at Maisie Jane’s, S&S Organic Produce and Natural Foods, Made in Chico and New Earth Market.
The products could be sold in major grocery stores like Albertson’s in the future.
Mooney said when the economy is bad, “people treat themselves to good food and stay home.
“It’s fun to treat yourself,” she said.
Sun-dried tomatoes are $4.99 for an 8.5-ounce jar. The salad dressings are $4.99 to $5.99
Mooney’s Shop is located at 1220 Fortress St. Call the shop at 899-2661. Her website is www.bellasunluci.com. Bella Sun Luci can be found on Instagram at Bella Sun Luci and on Facebook at Bella Sun Luci. Mooney currently has 60 employees and is hiring. Visit the website for more information.
The company will also participate in a holiday preview on November 18 from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Jennie Blevins writes a weekly business column. To make suggestions, comments or questions, email her at [email protected]