Patricia Bragg may be the embodiment of perpetual motion.
Sitting in a patio chair on a recent day at her 120-acre property in Goleta’s Winchester Canyon, she abruptly jumps up from the conversation to prune some of her 700 rose bushes.
At barely 5 feet tall, she's every bit the diminutive dynamo — dressed in her trademark rose-themed attire and one of her signature pink, flower-laden hats.
As quickly as she is off to tend her garden, she's back again, a process that repeats itself throughout the afternoon.
Shifting her slight weight from one petite pink boot to the next, the 60-year veteran of the health food industry runs through a variety of facial expressions, perfectly matching the excitement in her voice.
“And woo hoo!” Bragg says. “Well, guess what?”
She launches into another story, this one about a 1920s starlet who, at an old age, credited Bragg’s father Paul, founder of Bragg Live Foods, with helping her live a long, healthy life.
Now CEO of the company founded in 1912, Bragg ends the tale by reverently describing her father’s deep commitment to organic products and fitness.
“You are what you eat, drink, breath, think and do,” says Bragg, who gladly offered her own age — “ageless.”
Bragg’s conversation style could be mistaken for a bit scatter-brained until you realize this is what she’s been doing for decades: multitasking and storytelling.
She’s traveled the world 30 times over giving lectures and lessons in healthful living, which all began when Paul Bragg opened the first-ever health food store in Los Angeles.
Since his passing nearly 40 years ago, Bragg has taken the helm of the self-help book writing and public speaking, and this week will give free lectures in her hometown.
Back on Bragg’s certified organic farm, fragrant flowers and apple trees span as far as the eye can see, and a creek divides the property speckled with a pond, fountains and more fruit trees.
Tiny, colorful houses, with doors just large enough for an average-sized person to walk through, hold hundreds of porcelain dolls, an eccentric collection that Bragg inherited from boxes she found in storage at 30.
Dolls overflow into her home, and Bragg, a self-described tomboy in her youth, has grown to appreciate the toys relatives secretly compiled when she was still an infant.
The Bragg Organic Farm moved a dozen years ago from a smaller Hollister spot to the outskirts of Goleta, now home to Bragg and headquarters for the company’s nonprofit arms, Bragg Health Institute and Bragg Health Kids.
“Everywhere you look you can see the ocean, the mountains, the palm trees,” Bragg notes. “Gala apple is my favorite. I’m the apple queen.”
The apples become part of the most popular Bragg health product, a raw, organic apple cider vinegar drink consumed by Hollywood stars and athletes — George Clooney and Katy Perry among them.
The Dalai Lama even travels with Bragg’s soy sauce alternative.
Bragg brings out a picture of her and Perry posing together, explaining how she paid for the pop performer’s singing lessons and keeps in touch with her local family.
A picture of the Bragg father-daughter duo adorns all the gluten-free products — herb seasonings, salad dressings and more — available at health food stores and a growing number of grocery chains.
The Bragg brand is also working its way into schools, as its health institute develops curriculum that could hopefully be integrated in 2015, according to Dr. John Westerdahl, the company’s director of health science and institute.
“She’s really an icon in the health food industry,” Westerdahl says.
Bragg embraces short, often rhyming phrases to perpetuate her father’s message, admonishing smoking and pesticides.
“The bigger the waistband, the shorter the lifespan.”
“Your health is your wealth.”
“I live it and breath it.”
She’s up every morning at 5 with the birds, exercising and sometimes doing five radio interviews a day.
The industry legend, who’s been honored with several local and international awards, says she feels 18 going on 21, and jokes that she tends more roses at her farm than are in the garden of the Santa Barbara Rose Society, where she’s a member.
A more reserved manner returns when quoting her late father, offering a glimpse into her floral fascination.
“A rose is God’s artistry of beauty, fragrance and love,” Bragg exclaims, staring lovingly at her garden. “This is all in honor of my father.”
Bragg will be giving a free health lecture — "You Are What You Eat, Drink, Think, Say & Do" — at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Victoria Theatre, 33 W. Victoria St.