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Archive for January, 2014


Raph

Touchdown! Superbowl Noms!

Superbowl XLVIII is on Sunday! With all of the 49ers fans on our staff, we at Bi-Rite are still licking our wounds from the playoff loss to Seattle. But the game must go on and we want you to enjoy it, even if only for the company, good food, and the commercials. You bring your friends, the couch and the television. We got you covered for noms and beer.

Don’t miss these awesome shareable party foods from our pre-pack case:

  • 7-Layer Dip – $13.99
  • Organic Black Bean Chipotle Dip – $4.99/8oz
  • Spicy Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip – $9.99
  • Willie’s Chili Con Carne – $9.99/32oz

IPASuperbowl

In honor of the Denver Broncos, we recommend washing this great food down with the excellent IPA from Avery Brewing of Colorado. You can get six-packs of this hoppy, acidic ale from our cooler, right before you stop by the deli counter for sandwiches, or to try great meals prepared by our kitchen. These offerings include:

 

  • Fried Chicken, $10.99/lbSuperbowlGrub2a
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings, $9.99/lb
  • Poached Wild Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail Sauce, $24.99/lb
  • Heritage Pork Ribs with House-Made Chipotle BBQ Sauce, $14.99/lb
  • Deviled Eggs with Pimento, Celery and Caviar, $2.00 each
  • Macaroni and Cheese, $12.99/lb
  • Potato Skins, $3.99 each
  • Pasta Salad, $9.99/lb
  • Chili, $5.99/pint

To fill your snack bowl, stop by one of our in-store displays to get some Primavera Tortilla Chips and local favorite Papalote Salsa.

bothFor dessert, Bi-Rite Creamery has created two brand new Superbowl SundAES. Seahawks fans will want to grab the “Every Day I’m Russelling,” featuring Coffee Toffee and Salted Caramel ice creams, fudge, roasted almonds, and whipped cream. For Broncos fans, we ask “What Is the Manning of This?” with seasonal Orange Cardamom and Earl Grey ice creams, caramel sauce, house-made graham cracker crumble, and whipped cream. We assure you these aren’t any given sundaes, but tasting is believing, so come load up before kickoff.

 


Kiko’s Food News, 1.31.14

Or maybe I should call today’s issue “Farm Bill News”? 

On Wednesday the House approved a massive five-year farm bill, which includes nearly $1 billion in annual reductions to food stamps (SNAP) that will affect about 850,000 families across the country; the Senate is expected to pass the bill next week: (NPR)

Within the 900 pages of the bill is a nationwide program that will allow low-income families to double their food stamp benefits to buy fruits and veggies at farmers markets; the program provides up to $20 million annually in matching funds for five years: (Washington Post)

The bill also signals a win for animal welfare due to the removal of the dangerous King Amendment that would have threatened states’ powers to enact their own agricultural standards (such as California’s mandating larger cages for egg-laying chickens): (Sioux City News)

***

A group of “agrarian elders”, including some of the biggest rock stars of the sustainable food movement, met to document what they want to pass on to younger farmers; topics ranged from how they’ve structured C.S.A.’s to how they’ve marketed heirloom varietals to restaurant clients: (New York Times)

India’s growing taste for “exotic” veggies like broccoli, leeks and cabbage are making these more profitable for farmers there to cultivate: (BBC)

If you’re watching the Superbowl on Sunday, look out for this year’s Chipotle production: their new “Farmed and Dangerous” series will take a satirical look at industrial-scale farming to promote the company’s concerns about the humane treatment of meat animals: (New York Times)


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatch Part 2: Direct from France

JHBlog2a

Domaine de Sulauze

The winds in San Francisco are fairly regular, which is perhaps the reason they do not have names, as far as I know. The climate breathes in and out each day according the sun and the pressure of the torrid Central Valley, and we accept that this is the way of things. A well-known wind in Provence is theMistral that blows down theRhône Valley between the Alps and the Massif Central. It is a cold, dry, hard wind that nevertheless conjures images of olive groves, pissaladière, and red-tiled roofs. It was this wind that was blowing as we entered Provence the other night. We came to attend a gathering of organic vignerons at the Domaine de Sulauze, a largish estate that makes biodynamic rosé that is both typical and delicious. We ate and listened to music and tasted lots of wine. Small plates of hand sandwiches were passed. The Tramontane is another such named wind which I encountered yesterday as we drove from Provence through the Languedoc and up into the Roussillon, the Catalan part of southern France. It is also worth knowing.

France Crispeels

France Crispeels of Domaine de Réveil

Tramontane: tra – meaning over or across, and montane – mountain. It is a wind that here in the Roussillon passes between the western edge of the Massif Central and the Pyrenees to the Southwest. It blows air from the Atlantic coast into the South, howling through the mountains and gathering speed as it descends. We had come to the Roussillon to meet a Belgian vigneronne named France Crispeels from the Domaine de Réveil. We met her down by the coast at her winery in a little warehouse where she makes wine naturally and without sulfur. Her 2013 harvest had gone well, and the reds had finished fermenting and were in vat waiting it be transferred into the large concrete tanks she uses for aging. The Carignan Grenache blend that we tasted first was reduced, funky still. The wine needs air in order to mature. But the Syrah was sublime, bright purple fruit, black pepper, a hint of lavender, just enough animal to keep things interesting.

salauzeestate

Domaine de Réveil

Then we followed her up into the higher altitudes to see the vines. She farms biodynamically, working hard to bring life to the vineyard so that the vines and the wine will be lively too. Picturesque old stumps of Carignan and Grenache with mountains in the behind, blurry clouds moving swiftly in the background. Scraggly wild herbs perfumed the air. A neighboring conventionally farmed parcel with its moonscape blasted look stood on stark contrast to the vibrancy o f her plots. Back at her home she served us a meal of locally made seed bread and homemade tapenade (black olives with pits, garlic, olive oil, anchovies, capers, c’est tout!) veal steak from her favorite ranch which raises the calves until 18 months of age and lets them wander free, a chicory salad with garlic lemon vinaigrette and avocado, and simple brown rice. We tasted the current vintages, all delicious. Réveil means to wake up. A nice black coffee finished us off.


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatches from France

Here at Bi-Rite we love to celebrate the awesome wine made right here in California. Passionate winemakers like Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Ross Cobb at Hirsch Vineyard, and Angela Osbourne of Tribute to Grace are forging their own paths and making food-friendly, vibrant and delicious wines that have a sense of place. I also love to taste things from where they started; every wine buyer has his or her own wine Mecca. For me it’s France. I admit it, je suis un francophile. I love French food, I love French culture. I love the people and their language. And I love their wine. I lived in Paris in dingy apartment for a year teaching English to little French kids, and even though I was pinching my pennies I still managed most days to eat the most delicious baguettes I have ever had to this day and indulge in a bottle of Cahors every once in a while, the first appellation that I ever fell in love with. So it is with great excitement that I am departing to go on a two-week long tour de vin around the country to visit with some of my favorite producers from an importer that we work with, Return to Terroir.

We will be traveling by car in a giant circle around almost the entire country. Landing in Paris we will depart immediately for Champagne, then onto Burgundy and the Northern Rhône and into Provence. We will spend a day or two in Montpellier for the giant organic wine expo Millésime Bio and then head North (to Cahors!), Bordeaux, and Sancerre. We will stay in Saumur for a day or two to check out the Dive Bouteille, the incredible natural wine fair hosted yearly by Catherine and Pierre Breton. From there, back to Paris and a long flight home.

Why am I going? To taste new wine, meet new people, learn a thing or two about what makes winemakers tick, to be sure. I will also be in search of new and exciting wines to bring back home for you, our guests and wine friends; but what I really want to explore is a topic that I mentioned above. That sense of place, terroir as they call it in France. What is it? The best wines from California have an unmistakable feeling of being from here, right now, in the moment. I’ve visited some of these places. Time to check out those other terroirs. I will be making posts here on our Bi-Rite blog to keep all your internauts at home informed about what I will be doing, where I’m going, and hopefully talk about some new wines that are going to make their way over the pond and onto our shelves. Keep checking and see you all when I get back!

A bientôt!

John


Kiko’s Food News, 1.24.14

Does your family debate ideal quantities of protein intake as often as mine has recently? If so, this article offers guidelines on how much, and what kind, of protein we should be ingesting: (Washington Post)

I’m proud to see that my girlfriends who work as chefs are part of a broadening posse, as women are increasingly filling the kitchen jobs that will produce the next generation of leaders in America’s best restaurants: (New York Times)

This chart shows how Americans’ grocery spending habits are out of whack with USDA recommendations; for example, we spend four times the amount recommended on refined grains but about a fifth of the amount recommended on whole grains: (Mother Jones)

People in 13 states have been sickened by salmonella detected in “white slime” — think back to the pink stuff, but from poultry instead of beef — which is made by forcing chicken through a sieve to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue, and sold for institutional food service: (NBC)

Monsanto is rolling out new varieties of lettuce, peppers, broccoli and other “superveggies” at supermarkets across the US; what’s surprising is that they aren’t genetically modified, created instead by crossbreeding (which farmers have done for millennia): (Wired)


Matt R.

Featured Winery: Fausse Piste

FausseJesseWhat do you get when you combine a chef with Rhone varietals from Oregon and Washington? Fausse Piste wines is what! We’re pleased to welcome our first featured Winery of 2014, Fausse Piste from Portland, Oregon. Winemaker Jesse Skiles, a Portland native, founded Fausse Piste six years ago in St. Paul, a suburb of Portland and moved the operation along with his new sister restaurant, Sauvage to Portland in the summer of 2012.

Jesse’s first experience with wine was working as a harvest cook for Owens Roe Winery in Oregon. When we spoke over the phone earlier this week, Jesse told me he sort of fell into winemaking by accident. He had tried opening restaurants, and the timing was never right. But having been inspired by his hands-on time at Owens Roe and visits to the Rhone Valley in France, Jesse and his partners Nicolas Vernon Duff, Chris Vandersloot, and Jeff Vejr started an urban winery + restaurant hybrid in the heart of Portland.

Jesse draws his inspiration from the wines of the Rhone Valley, in particular Matthieu Barret in Cornas. After visiting Matthieu, Jesse was blown away by how differently Matthieu approached winemaking in comparison to what Jesse had seen here in the US. It was all very non-interventionist, and surprisingly old school for a relatively new producer. Jesse’s style of winemaking is greatly influenced by this style. He sources grapes from a handful of growers in Washington and Oregon and is very minimalist and experimental in his winemaking. He doesn’t add anything during the process except for minimal sulfur at the end for stability, and he experiments with various vessels for fermenting and aging from concrete and stainless steel to acacia and large casks.

It’s impressive that Jesse is also the chef for his sister restaurant Sauvage, attached to the winery. His approach to food in similar to his winemaking. He strives to simplify things for his guests and keep everything approachable. His wine list has a staggering 70 wines by the glass, all naturally made and natively fermented, including rotating Fausse Piste selections, and all food-friendly. His food is also remarkably ‘wine friendly’ – seasonal and uncomplicated. If you’re ever in Portland, definitely check out Sauvage and Fausse Piste, but until then come by either Market to sample his wines!

2012 Fausse Piste Heart of the City Rosé  -  $19.99

Fausse1Jesse’s rosé is 100% Syrah, but is a blend of various vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The deep ruby color is a result of everything being blended for 8 days before being pressed off into cask. Jesse got an old 1400 gallon cask from a producer in Gigondas (which barely fit through his winery door!) and the wine fermented and aged directly in this cask. The resulting wine is a robust rose, with gripping peppery notes and plenty of juicy tart cranberry flavors. And who said rose is only for warm weather? This will pair perfectly with hearty winter dishes like leek risotto or cioppino.

2012 Fausse Piste Viognier  -  $19.99
Fausse2The Fausse Piste Viognier is sourced from a site with a good amount of granite soil. The warm, dry, desert, climate of the Walla Walla valley in Washington can often result in overripe grapes, but Jesse and his partner Chris pick early and use the natural canopy of the grape leaves to protect the grapes. The result is a Viognier that’s not at all flabby or too floral, but full of gripping acidity and flinty minerality that make it an easy pairing with anything from fresh seafood to a citrus and fennel salad.

 

2011 Fausse Piste ‘Garde Manger’ Syrah  -  $21.99
Fausse3
The ‘Garde Manger’, named as an homage to Jesse’s cooking background, is a blend of all of the vineyards he works with. It’s an homage to all of his growers and a chance to showcase the raw material they had to work with in a given year. Each plot is vinified separately, about 85% of them whole cluster, and then blended together. The end result is a lovely and rustic Syrah with plenty of dark cherry, rosemary, and savory notes. A great Syrah to pair with some roasted duck and winter root vegetables.

2010 Fausse Piste Les Vignes de Marcoux Syrah  -  $29.99
Fausse4The Les Vignes de Marcoux is from the Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley of Washington. The ‘Vignes de Marcoux’ is a single plot within that vineyard, first planted with Syrah in 1980 by the Sauer family, some of the first to plant Syrah in Washington state. Fermented about 80% cluster, this Syrah is rich and robust, with savory notes of black olive, currants, smoke, and earth. Jesse only made 44 cases, so grab some while you can!
 
Upcoming Tastings:
18th Hour Cafe - Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In - At 18 Reasons

 

Wine Seminar: New California Wines with Jon Bonné
Wednesday, February 12, 6:30-8:30pm

Rich Higgins Beer Workshop: Food Pairing Techniques
Saturday, February 15, 3:00-5:30pm

Tasting Seminar: Wine Basics with Pamela Busch
Saturday, February 22, 1:00-5:00pm

Inexpensive and Incredible: How to Spot Great Value Wine
Monday, April 21, 7:00-9:00pm
(First session sold out. New session added!)


Jason Rose

Welcoming “Winter” with a New Menu

NewDish2aWinter in San Francisco is looking more like Summer this year, but we are still thrilled with the bounty of produce that comes into season in January. Take a look at the new dishes we’ve just developed in our kitchen, made with the best of local, organic, and farm-direct ingredients. They’re all available at our Deli counter and in our pre-packed case to grab and go. Come in for a taste, we’d love to share these new recipes with you and help you plan a beautiful meal.

 Roasted Root Vegetables with Nettle and Pistachio Pesto
May contain any of the following root vegetables: Celery root, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, potato, Brussels sprouts, carrots, arugula, nettles, pistachio, garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, chives, parsley, lemon juice
$10.99/lb

Baby Carrots and Brussels Sprouts with Preserved Meyer Lemon
Rainbow baby carrots, brussels sprouts, arsley, paprika, chives, preserved lemon, salt, pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
$8.99/lb

Multigrain Tabouleh with cucumber, Ras el Hanout and Sumac
Wild rice, faro, quinoa, cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, garlic, salt, pepper, mint, parsley, ras el hanout, sumac, oregano, lemon juice, rice bran oil, extra virgin olive oil
$9.99/lb

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Romesco with Calabrian Chili, Currant, Capers, Mint, & Meyer Lemon
Cauliflower, broccoli, Romanesco, Calabrian chili, mint, currants, capers, Meyer lemon, salt, rice bran oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
$10.99/lb

Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad with Sesame, Miso, Orange, & Ginger
Brussels sprouts, kale, miso, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, chili flake, ginger, garlic, orange juice, soy sauce, sesame seed, salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
$9.99/lb

Roasted beets with Blood Orange, Caraway, & Dill
Red Beets, blood orange, lemon juice, salt, pepper, caraway, rice bran oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, dill
$8.99/lb

NewDish1a


Celebrating SF Made – Part II!

booze displayyyyyyyyyyyyyWith the Fancy Food Show in town, Raph took some time to tell you about some of the fantastic local, artisanal food products that he’s highlighting at our Markets. To accompany them, we’ve also got a wide selection of great spirits and beer that are proudly crafted right here in San Francisco. Here are a few that I’m particularly excited about this season.

 

Sutton Cellars Vermouth – A thicker-bodied, grapey vermouth that tastes beautiful all on its own over ice. Crafted from a base of Sonoma white wine and infused with botanicals, including rosemary from the bush near the winery.

No. 209 is a San Francisco gin distillery owned by the Rudd family (owners of Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and Dean & DeLuca). They pride No. 209 on being a “handcrafted, unique and intriguing spirit that is truly artisanal in quality”.

Junipero Gin, which was given the “Best Gin in Show” award at the 2012 NY World Wine and Spirits show, is made by hand  in a small distillery in the Potrero Hill section of San Francisco. Anchor Distilling Company, which produces Junipero Gin, also produces Anchor 18th Century Spirit Whiskey, hand-crafting from a mash of 100% rye malt.

Legendary San Francisco brewer Anchor Brewing, an affiliate of Anchor Distilling Company, produces Anchor Bock Beer, a fine seasonal offering that’s dark, strong, refreshing and perfect for the onset of spring in San Francisco.

Junipero

Speakeasy Betrayal is a seasonal release from this San Francisco brewer. It’s an Imperial Red Ale with flavors of caramel and malt and hints of tropical fruits. With its rich mouthfeel and full body, it pairs well with stew steak.

Almanac Biere de Chocolat is a collaboration between nomadic farm-to-barrel San Francisco brewers Almanac and our friends at the phenomenal San Francisco chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate. The result is this rich, decadent, dark and smoky beer.

You can find all of these local products in our Made in SF display at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero, and just ask for them at 18th Street and we’ll be happy to help you out. We hope you enjoy these products from our friends and neighbors as much as we do!


Raph

Celebrating SF Made!

 

Display 1It’s that time of year! The Fancy Food Show is back in our beloved city by the Bay. As food-lovers, we consider ourselves fortunate that this premier event for specialty food makers comes to San Francisco every year. And as the Grocery Buyer for Bi-Rite, it’s always a thrill to try new products from outstanding food artisans, and to welcome them to our stores to meet our staff and peruse our shelves.

Those shelves are stocked full of delicious foods from great local producers, and to celebrate all the visitors from near and far to the Fancy Food Show, we are highlighting some of our local favorites this month. Visit the displays marked “SF Made” and you’ll see why!

Boozely'sBoozely’s Pickles are made by Brad Boozely, one of our neighbors on 18th Street. Brad comes from a long line of picklers and his love for the art shows in the crisp, tasty crunch of his pickles. He supports local farmers with his selection of produce.

We Love Jam is a two-person operation where literally everything, from recipe development to cooking to graphic and web design, is done in-house. The owners have forty years of combined experience experimenting in the kitchen, and work directly with local family farms to source the best fruit possible for their amazing jams.

Hey Boo 1

Hey Boo Coconut Jam, one of our most popular “SF Made” products! Coconut jam, also known as Srikaya in Indonesia, has been consumed for hundreds of years in Southeast Asia. Hey Boo’s San Francisco version is slow-cooked in in small batches using high-quality natural ingredients. It has a silky smooth texture with a golden color and a rich creaminess that is achieved by cooking the ingredients according to traditional Srikaya-making techniques.

Dandelion Chocolate are neighbors and great friends to Bi-Rite Market, and are a favorite among our guests and staff. From their location in the Mission District, they operate a bean-to-bar chocolate factory where temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. They have close relationships with their cacao growers and have prioritized sustainability since opening in 2010. Stop by for a visit while you’re in the neighborhood!

Kika's 2

Kika’s Treats, another neighbor, was founded in 2006 by Cristina Arantes, who produces pure chocolate-covered confections using a variety of alternative sweeteners and is committed to using the finest locally-sourced ingredients to make her delicious treats. She also gives back to the community through in-kind donations to local non-profits by donating 5% of net profits to La Cocina, a non-profit food incubator in San Francisco that helps low-income entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

All of these products will be highlighted at both of our Market locations, so stop by for a look, chat and taste. We look forward to sharing these products from our friends and neighbors with you!


Kiko’s Food News, 1.17.14

Wondering if your favorite pickle, coffee, beer or chocolate is the best our country’s food makers have to offer? Our friends at the Good Food Awards just announced the 2014 winners of the blind judging! (Good Food Awards)

General Mills said it is no longer using genetically engineered ingredients to make Cheerios, after a nearly yearlong campaign by a consumer activist group: (Los Angeles Times)

But will other food marketers divert their energy from certifying their food as organic because it’s easier to become certified as GMO-free? (New York Times)

Google web traffic data has an uncanny way of reflecting when foods are running out–check out how dramatically web searches were affected by shortages in Velveeta, Sriracha and Twinkies: (CNBC)

Americans are consuming fewer calories and eating at home more often according to a new USDA study, but the improvements could be attributable to cash-strapped Americans eating at home out of necessity during the recession: (Wall Street Journal)

I had a ball learning about “sokkuri sweets,” Japanese confections that look like inedible objects — check out these celebrities caught on TV biting shoes and calendars they thought could be made of sugar! (Kotaku)


Simon

Citrus Juice Everywhere!

CitrusClementinesWhen January rolls around the selection of fresh fruit and veggies from our local growers is not as abundant as other times of the year. Winter is when local farmers try to take a little time off, plan for the upcoming season and build their beautiful soil. At both Bi-Rite’s we are so excited to celebrate California’s main winter crop, CITRUS! Cali citrus season is a wonderful joy ride from local Satsuma Mandarins in November till the “sweet like candy” Pixie Tangerines in early spring and the flavors are so unique from one variety to another.  Our produce buyers are always trying to find the best tasting fruit available and they love to see how many different varieties we can get on the shelves at one time.

BloodOrangeWe also love to build relationships with farmers throughout California and promote their farming practices and amazing produce.  It’s a lot easier to build these relationships with vegetable farmers because they are all over Northern California.  Citrus farmers on the other hand are mainly in Central and Southern California and grow on a larger scale which leads to using distribution companies to get their fruit to the Bay Area. Citrus is also a less perishable crop and can be harvested and stored without the stress that the more perishable vegetable crops bring.  Well, this isn’t completely true, citrus growers deal with plenty of stress! The freezing cold weather that hit all of California in early December actually damaged citrus crops throughout the state. This  being said we are still have almost 20 varieties at our stores right now and the flavors are as delicious as ever. The peak of California season is usually in February and the Citrus Bomb at Bi-Rite will be exploding with up to 25-30 different varieties!

Moms LOVE Mandarins
One of the main reasons California citrus is the best are all the different varieties of Mandarins that are harvested for up to 5-6 months of the year.  This gives all the Moms the opportunity to give their kids sweet, seedless and easy-peeling fruit as their daily treat.  Mandarin season starts with the seedless Satsuma in late November and then rolls right Clementine Tangerines and the Algerian is the most common variety.  We are very fortunate to get most of clementine’s from straight from the Tangerine Man,” Jim Churchill who farms in the beautiful mountains Ojai which is just South East of Santa Barbara.  Jim is a top-notch specialty citrus grower who works cooperatively with other growers in the Ojai area, helping them distribute their fruit throughout California. We are just starting to get the clementines from Ojai, along with Kishu Mandarins. These little, sweet, seedless “pop the whole thing in your mouth” mandarins are about as unique a citrus variety as you’ll see. They have the classic tangerine flavor!

Mandarins vs. Tangerines: What is the difference?
This is one most common guest question in our produce department. Not only do they both originate from China and taste and look alike but they grow on very similar trees. Tangerines are a special type of mandarin, so a tangerine can be called a mandarin but the reverse of this not true. The tangerine skin tends to be thicker with bumps and the orange color is usually a little darker.

Some of the other mandarin varieties you’ll find at Bi-Rite are the Murcott Tangerine and Page Mandarins. The Murcott Tangerines from Deer Creek Heights in Porterville about are another sweet and juicy variety but the early season fruit has a nice level of tartness for the folks who love a little extra pop. The Page Mandarin is a sweet, juicy, rich flavored cross between a Minneola Tangelo and a Clementine. They do have a few seeds but are still an ea

CitrusMandarinsThe Heirloom Washington Navel Oranges from Deer Creek Heights are harvested at their peak level of ripeness and offer the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  Citrus like a lot of fruit that grows on trees need to develop their sugars on the tree before they are picked.  A lot of commercial citrus may look good from the outside but when you bite into it they are overwhelming tart and not sweet enough.  Most of the commercial growers harvest citrus according to when the market price is best and not when the flavor is the best.

PinkMandarinThe #1 selling pieces of citrus at Bi-Rite this season has been the Cara Cara Pink Navel from Tenalu in Porterville.  It looks very similar to the Navel orange but when it’s cut in half the pink flesh shows that this is not your average orange. The Cara Cara is very juicy and sweet like the Navel but is not nearly as acidic.  It’s one of the most versatile pieces of citrus, eats great out of hand, makes the yummy juice and when segmented goes perfectly on the winter chicories salad.  The other orange variety that is great with chicories and just starting taste great is the Moro Blood Orange.  This Italian variety is named after its blood-like flesh and is one of the most complex flavored pieces of citrus all year.  Bloods have a nice balance of sweet/tart but also have berry tones coming through in the flavor.

For those of you who are more creative and love to get in the kitchen and make marmalades, syrups, marinades, etc., we have the Seville and Bergamot Sour Oranges. The bergamot is widely known for the oils from the rind that is used to make Earl Grey tea but both this varieties have great skin for zest.

Got Grapefruits

CitrusCocktailGrapefruitsAt the market we love to find a new vegetable or fruit that might be popular at a handful of restaurants but hasn’t yet hit the grocery store scene. Grapefruits are one of these crops and growing up back east my only experience with grapefruits was cutting a red-flesh variety in half, sprinkling sugar on it and eating for breakfast. The sugar always came along to mask the bitterness of the fruit. We are lucky in California to have numerous grapefruit varieties that different flavor profiles and really change the way we can enjoy grapefruits.  Cocktail Grapefruits (a cross between a Frua Mandarin and a Pomelo) from Cunningham Organic Farm in Fallbrook continue to create a buzz their delicious and much sweeter and less acidic flesh than traditional grapefruit. The Chandler Pummelos from Tenalu have beautiful large segments of flesh that aren’t overly juicy and are lot less pithy than is typical. The Oro Blanco Grapefruits is a white-flesh, low acid piece of fruit, great for eating out of hand, juicing, and in cocktails.

Citrus season at Bi-Rite is a blast and we just lit the wick some come on in and let all the terrific flavors explode your mouth!


Kiko’s Food News, 1.10.14

A study found that poor people with diabetes are significantly more likely to go to the hospital for dangerously low blood sugar at the end of the month–when food budgets are tight–than at the beginning of the month: (New York Times)

Yes, young Americans are increasingly pursuing careers in agriculture, but do single farmers need to BYOB (“bring your own boyfriend”) if they want to live off the land? My friend Kristina made this video to pose the question: (Youtube)

McDonald’s announced its commitment to begin purchasing “verified sustainable beef” in 2016–but how will they do this if there isn’t even a universal definition of sustainable beef? (Huffington Post)

Anthony Bourdain has signed a deal to open a massive international food market in Manhattan, in hopes of “giving young chefs a showcase to strut their stuff” and bringing Asian and European hawker foods to New York: (Fox News)

Maybe he’ll offer artichoke or pepperoni gelato, like some shops in Italy that are offering savory flavors–often with a wine pairing–to compete with the glut of sweet gelato shops! (New York Times)