For Larry Osborne, known by most as “Ozzie,” toffee is more than a treat. It is also a way to nourish his retirement.
Ozzie’s Handmade English Toffee lets Osborne be Ozzie. When Osborne sets up at the Farmer’s Market on Alvarado street, he’s in the business of doing something different and enjoying it. Osborne’s customers come by every week not just for the dark chocolate English walnut-topped toffee, but for the friendship.
Weekly: What is a day like at a farmers market?
Osborne: The farmers market is part of the reason I decided to do this. I really wanted to be in the farmers market. I wanted to make the most of my retirement and to be an inspiration for other seniors who have retired. I wanted to lead by example. Most of my friends thought I was crazy for doing this. And it can be busy. I like it because it is a social experience, and I am so impressed with the other vendors. They – all of us – work hard. And you know, this is how America got started. Many of these vendors will go onto owning their own business.
Since toffee has so few ingredients, which is the most important one?
They are all important – without all of them, it cannot work. Most importantly is how it’s cooked together. The temperature, the constant stirring, pan not too hot, not too cool, allowing the toffee to rest before adding chocolate.
Are you popular with the grandkids?
Yes. I have seven. My daughters have made recommendations to me for toffee, and the grandkids’ stockings at Christmas get stuffed.
How do you keep yourself in such fine shape with all this toffee around?
Making toffee is very aerobic. Sometimes you are stirring for hours at a time. And setting up and down here at the market is hard work.