If you live in Los Angeles and you're interested in hobbies like raising chickens or baking with locally milled flour, you've got to drive around and do lots of online research just to start out. Roe Sie did that, too, when he first got serious about fermenting foods and setting up an aquaponic farm in his Silver Lake backyard. He found no shop in L.A. selling all the supplies his expanding hobbies required. So the successful serial entrepreneur and his wife, Trish, launched The King's Roost, an urban farming and DIY store that also aims to give back to the neighborhood. On Saturday, Nov. 8, The King's Roost holds its open house/community gathering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Along with wine, cheese and conviviality, the open house will feature granola bars made of organic whole oats milled right in the store and house-made Italian sodas. They'll donate 10 percent of profits to one of the three closest public schools, two of which their children attend: Ivanhoe Elementary, Franklin Elementary and Thomas Starr King Middle schools. They'll also host a weekly bake sale to raise additional money for King school, and plan to host ongoing donation days.
The store itself is bright, welcoming and has a clean design. You can choose from a very well-researched assortment of books, aprons, kits and tools for brewing kombucha, making soap and more. In the store they'll also have ferments in progress. Trish Sie says, "We want people to see everything in various stages. It's going to be like Colonial Williamsburg in here."
"You can buy things online, but that takes away from the tactile experience," says Roe Sie. "The point of a brick-and-mortar is so customers can come in and see how everything works and be able to ask us questions."
The Sies will not just send you home with a mushroom-growing kit, they can give you tips on how to use it because they've done it. Bought one of their elegant pickle-making crocks but don't quite know how to use it? They have you covered with videos edited by Trish (who happens to also be an award-winning director) that show each step.
One of the highlights of the store is its selection of organic whole grains — hard wheat, soft wheat, corn, teff (an Ethiopian lovegrass) and purple barley — and their stunningly designed KoMo grain mills.
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"People have been milling grains forever, but now we don't do it at home. When you touch the mill and the flour and see it working it’s an "ah-ha!' moment, and you think 'This is what I should be doing,'" says Sie. The store aims to be a hub for the growing DIY community and they are for sure off to a good start.
4281 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles, 90029. (213) 321-6550