Archive for May, 2014


Matt R.

Unconventional Beauty: Jolie-Laide Wines

TrousseauGrisGrapes

Trousseau Gris Grapes (Image from Scott Schultz’s Instagram)

Jolie-Laide literally translates to ‘pretty ugly’ but is more a euphemism to refer to something with unconventional beauty. Winemaker Scott Schultz of Jolie-Laide Wines is one of the small craft winemakers in California working hard to express the beauty of what many consider ‘unconventional grapes’.

Scott hails from Chicago and moved to Napa in 2007. Having worked in restaurants for a while, he’s been on most sides of the service-life from working the restaurant floor to sweating in the kitchen. When he moved to Napa, it was to head up the wine program at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. After years of restaurant work, Scott decided to get more into the winemaking side of things. He volunteered to work a harvest and loved it! He worked at Realm for a few years as cellar master and currently works with Pax Mahle at Wine Gap Wines. He shares winemaking space with Wind Gap, Ryme Cellars, and formerly Arnot-Roberts; all like-minded winemakers searching for beauty in the unconventional.

Scott is sourcing grapes from unique vineyard sites all organically or sustainably-farmed. His goal is to highlight these unique sites, producing wines in lighter and fresher styles that are made with very minimal intervention. His wines, and thus the labels, change slightly each year, “like album covers,” as Scott says. This year’s labels feature botanical drawings of butterflies, inspired by lepidoptera taxidermy (those huge boards with various butterfly specimen pinned onto them for study); something unconventionally beautiful in its own way.

Come by either Market to try these fascinatingly beautiful wines. Scott doesn’t make very much of any of these, so grab them while you can!

TrousseauGrisWine2013 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris  –  $26.99
Trousseau Gris is one of the greatest wine grapes you’ve probably never heard of. A mutation of the red-skinned Trousseau grape, which is native to the Jura region of France, Trousseau Gris’ skin and juice are both a blush rosy pink hue. Once widely planted throughout California and more commonly known as Grey Riesling, there are very few plantings remaining here. Scott sources his Trousseau Gris from the 10-hectare Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard in the Russian River valley, an organically farmed vineyard that he shares with Wind Gap Wines. At first glance in your glass, it might be hard to identify this wine as either white or rose, and it truly does toe the line between the two. Aromatic notes of citrus, green tea, and stone fruit lead to a richly textured palate with flavors of orange zest, wildflowers, and gentle tea-like tannins. It’s layered texture would pair beautifully with a variety of food, but we recommend something simple like a whole grilled trout stuffed with herbs.

RossiRanchWine2012 Rossi Ranch Red Blend  –  $36.99
The Rossi Ranch Vineyard is a truly special place. One of the remaining true ‘field-blends’ where different grapes are inter-planted, this vineyard is home to Grenache, Syrah, Muscat, and Viognier grapes. Most other people who have used this vineyard in the past have ignored the white varietals, leaving them to rot on the vine, and have made wines with the more traditional blends of Grenache and Syrah. However, Scott felt this site needed to be expressed as a whole, so he co-fermented all of the grapes together! The percentage of the white grapes blended is small, less than 2%, but once you realize they’re there, the aromatics are unmistakable. The light floral touch from the Viognier and Muscat are complemented by notes of rose, raspberry, rich tannins, and a long spicy finish. Drink this lightly chilled and enjoy it on it’s own – no food necessary!

Upcoming Wine Events:

  • 18th Hour Cafe – Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In – At 18 Reasons
  • Wine Tasting with Keelyn of Alexia Moore Wines – Friday, May 30th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Wine Tasting with Daniel of Kermit Lynch Wines – Friday, June 6th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Anchor Beer Tasting – Saturday, June 7th, 3-5PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Producer Dinner: Mas de Daumas Gassac – Friday, June 6th, 6:30-9PM – At 18 Reasons
  • Organic Women Winemakers of Italy – Saturday, June 7th, 3-5PM – At 18 Reasons
Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or special requests: (415.241.9760 for 18th St. or 415.551.7900 for Divis) or email wine@biritemarket.com.

Kiko’s Food News, 5.30.14

Michelle Obama wrote about what she sees as “attempts in Congress to undo so much of what we’ve accomplished on behalf of our children”: (New York Times)

For example, the House of Representatives passed a budget bill that would allow schools to opt out of the White House’s Healthy, Hunger Free Kids nutritional guidelines from 2012; apparently this many healthy meals for children is “too much, too quick” for some: (New York Times)

Half of 900 men recently surveyed said they do most of their family’s grocery shopping, and over half of those said they do all of it; am I the only one that finds this encouraging, yet hard to believe? (Boston Globe)

McDonald’s introduced a new animated character to serve as its Happy Meal brand ambassador; “Happy,” is supposed to represent wholesome eating, going hand in hand with kids’ recent menu option of apples and yogurt in lieu of fries. (The Motley Fool)

A UC Davis report showed that food quality will suffer as CO2 levels continue to rise; nitrate assimilation is slower under these conditions, and elevated CO2 lowers protein concentrations in grains and potatoes: (Food, Nutrition & Science)

A countercultural movement in the European Union is aiming to break the dictatorship of government over fruit and veggie aesthetics, and thereby combat food waste: (New York Times)

 


Simon

The Joy of Masumoto Stone Fruit

It typically takes three to four weeks into California stone fruit season before the flavor of our local peaches and nectarines really starts popping with that celebrated balance of sweetness and acidity, but this year we’ve already got some great ones rolling in. Almost all of the peaches and nectarines that hit the shelves at the Bi-Rite Markets are from farms with which we’ve spent years building relationships, but last season we were able to take our peach and nectarine selection to the next level with a new farm-direct relationship.

masumoto red diamond

Mas Masumoto with his Rose Diamond Nectarines

Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey, California is a beautiful eighty-acre orchard located fifteen minutes south of Fresno. It was purchased by the Masumoto family in 1948 and its current owner is third-generation farmer and author Mas Masumoto, who has mastered the art of building soil to support the growth of the beautiful fruit-bearing trees. At Masumoto Family Farm, fruit is always harvested at the perfect level of ripeness, and you’ll notice one thing all varieties of Masumoto stone fruit have in common: beautiful yellow flesh. The Masumoto family loves the tang of the yellow flesh of the fruit, and their fruit boasts a sugar/acid balance that is a dream-come-true for summer refreshment.

Due to the warm winter, Masumoto harvested this year’s first yellow peach variety earlier in the year than they can remember ever having done before, and this past week we received our first shipment of Spring Lady Peaches. This is a very juicy peach with medium acidity that falls into the clingstone category of stone fruit (meaning that the flesh of the fruit is attached to the pit, the best to eat but hard to work with in the kitchen, as opposed to freestone fruits where the flesh is detached from the pit, making them easier for canning, freezing or cooking). We’ve been enjoying these beautiful, delicious peaches and they’ve definitely primed our tastebuds for what’s still to come.

Soon after the Spring Ladies, we received the first of Masumoto’s Rose Diamond yellow nectarines. Mas’s daughter Nikiko, who is keeping the family farming tradition alive into its fourth generation, refers to this clingstone nectarine as a “mini firecracker.” The Rose Diamond is usually a large, richly-flavored nectarine with a dazzling red skin. This year, due to the lack of water caused by the drought, this nectarine is smaller than usual but is packing an extra-sweet punch.

masumoto peaches

Beautiful Masumoto Peaches

Early June should see the arrival of the semi-freestone Gold Dust yellow peach, considered by some to be the best early variety for eating. With its firm texture and rich, sweet flavor, it’s the textbook grilling peach. The Gold Dust will be followed shortly by one of the most popular varieties in California, the freestone Flavor Crest yellow peach, and shortly thereafter by everyone’s favorite, the freestone Sun Crest yellow peach (large with red-blushed skin and very juicy, it’s the peach that put the Masumoto family on the map). The last variety of stone fruit we’ll see from Masumoto is the clingstone Le Grand yellow nectarine, a large piece of fruit with rich, sweet flavor and firm flesh, making it great for producing nectarine ice cream!

PerfectPeachBook2

The Perfect Peach by the Masumoto Family

Tree-ripened peaches and nectarines truly are some of the most exciting treats of the summer. If you haven’t had the chance to sink your teeth into Masumoto fruit, you have the next couple months to swing by our Markets, so make it happen!

Stephany from the Produce Team at 18th Street is a huge fan of the Masumoto family’s fruit, as well as an accomplished cook, and she has pulled together a few recipes here to help you celebrate the season!

“Rose Diamond” Nectarine & Habanero Salsa

  • 6 ripe yellow nectarines, not too soft but with a little give (any bright flavored yellow peach or nectarine with medium to high acidity will work, but Masumoto’s “Rose Diamond” is particularly amazing & flavorful)
  • 1 habanero pepper, with slits cut all around sides but left whole
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1 spring onion or ½ red onion, sliced finely
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Dice the nectarine into ¼ inch cubes. Add to a bowl with the slit habanero and stir around. Chop cilantro and onion finely, add to salsa. Season with salt and pepper.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes, then taste and add salt, and a squeeze of lime or honey to adjust the acidity or sweetness as needed. If it is spicy enough, you can remove the habanero, although cutting the slits as opposed to chopping lets the flavor get out without adding too much heat, and the floral notes of the habanero go particularly well with yellow nectarines & peaches. This can be done 1-2 days ahead. Store refrigerated.

Wonderful on grilled or roasted meats: chicken, pork, salmon. Try it on toast with ricotta or burrata for a quick appetizer, on fish tacos…the possibilities are endless!

Stone Fruit & Pt. Reyes Mozzarella “Caprese” Salad

  • 1 lb mixed stone fruit, ripe but not mushy: nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots, cherries…whatever you like. Or try a mix for color and flavor
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, such as the lovely Pt. Reyes mozz we have right now. Burrata is also delicious in this.
  • ½ bunch basil
  • A few handfuls arugula
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, such as Bi-Rite’s own PUBLIC label oils, something grassy with a peppery note is good to offset the sweetness
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Good sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel…something with a crunch

Slice up your stone fruit and mozzarella. Layer the cheese and fruit on a large platter over the arugula. Tear some basil and sprinkle it around. Dress with olive oil, balsamic, and coarse salt. Eat right away!

This is a great alternative to the classic caprese while we let the tomatoes do their thing and get delicious! In the fall and winter I do the same salad with persimmons & citrus!

“Gold Dust” Peach-Ginger Shortcakes with Bourbon Whipped Cream

  • 4 yellow peaches, such as the “Gold Dust” we just got in from Masumoto (which is hands down one of the best peaches I have ever had)
  • A 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or minced finely (I use a microplane, one of my favorite kitchen tools)
  • A handful of brown sugar or turbinado sugar, depending on the sweetness of the peaches
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I love Straus for the rich, grassy, buttery flavor)
  • 1 shot of your favorite bourbon whiskey- anything with nice caramel or brown sugar notes is delicious, like Bulleit or Elijah Craig
  • 4 shortcakes, from Bi-Rite Creamery or homemade (chopped crystallized ginger is a nice addition if you’re making your own!)

Dice or slice the peaches as you wish. Place in a bowl, and add a sprinkle of sugar and a pinch of kosher salt. If the fruit is very sweet it will need no more than 1-2 tablespoons. Add the ginger, stir, and set aside to macerate for a few minutes. This can be done up to 1 day ahead.

Whip the cream to soft peaks with the bourbon, a sprinkle of brown sugar (to taste), and a pinch of kosher salt. This is best done right before serving. Though it can be whipped a few hours ahead, the cream tends to break down after a day or so. To fix this, re-whip to desired texture.

To assemble: Warm shortcakes briefly in the oven to re-crisp (5 minutes at 375 should do it). Cut the shortcakes in half crosswise, and layer peach compote and bourbon cream over bottom half. Top with second half of shortcake and serve.  A little fresh basil or thyme adds a nice herbal note. A drizzle of salted caramel sauce is also a great addition.

Pickled “Gold Dust” Peaches

  • 6 peaches, ripe but quite firm. Masumoto says the “Gold Dust” yellow peach is particularly delicious pickled.
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tsp each coriander seeds, black peppercorns & fennel seeds- or whatever spices you like!
  • 3 dried arbol chiles (or use your slit habanero left over from the nectarine salsa!)

Bring everything but the peaches to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt. Slice or dice peaches as desired and place in a clean jar. Let the liquid cool slightly. Pour over the peaches, let cool to room temp, then refrigerate overnight. Enjoy them the next day! They are a delicious addition to a charcuterie platter, grilled pork chop, or a grilled cheese sandwich. Their brightness cuts nicely through anything rich and fatty.


Matt R.

Memorial Day: Wine Picks & Wild Local King Salmon!

With the recent heat waves it feels like summer has already come and gone! But Memorial Day weekend is here and that means awakening those grills from their long winter hibernation. And since you’ll be doing some grilling and cooking up some BBQ this weekend, we’ve got our wine picks ready for you! Each of these is the perfect addition to a Memorial Day picnic or BBQ!

Unti2013 Unti Vineyards Rosé  –  $24.99
Unti Vineyard’s 2013 Rosé is made of mostly Grenache from their Benchland Vineyard, blended with about 20% Mourvedre. Located in Dry Creek Valley, Unti specializes in Rhone and Italian varietals, all farmed biodynamically. We love their rosé every year and the 2013 vintage is no exception! It’s light in color with plenty of mouth-watering acidity. A floral and fruity nose leads to a lush, yet crisp and dry palate the remindes us of fresh Provencal-style roses. Pair this with anything from whole grilled fish with spring veggies to simply a park blanket and sunshine!

SalmonPostIf  you’re looking for the perfect fish to pair with your Unti Rosé, look no further than our Memorial Day special on fresh-caught local wild King Salmon. We’re offering fillets of this beautiful fish from Half Moon Bay for just $19.99/lb. Don’t miss this incredible price, available through Tuesday, May 27 at both Bi-Rite Market locations!

Tendu2013 Matthiasson Tendu White  –  $19.99
Tendu is a joint project of Steve Matthiasson and his friend (and wine distributor) Matthew Plympton. In a fun-sized 1-liter bottle, it’s a nod to the ubiquitous liter bottles of Grüner Veltliner you might find in Austria. The blend consists of Vermentino, Cortese, and Arneis – all native Italian varietals grown right here in Northern California! We can’t get enough of this refreshing and approachable wine. Dry, crisp, and minerally, with flavors of tart green apple, flowers, fresh lemon, and just a hint of white pepper. What more could you want along side a BBQ or picnic? Be careful though, you just might drink the whole liter by yourself!

GreenRed2011 Green and Red Vineyards Chiles Canyon Zinfandel  –  $21.99
Jay and Pam Heminway first planted their vineyards on the hills of the Chiles Valley District of Napa in the 1970s. Today, the iron-rich soil and varied vineyard terrain provide ideal growing conditions for unique Zinfandel. The Chiles Canyon Zinfandel is a blend of all three of their vineyard sites, with elevations ranging from 900 to 2000 feet above the valley floor. Aged in half American and half French oak; the resulting wine couldn’t be more prefect for Memorial Day grilling! Black cherry and raspberry aromas, with plenty of spice and notes of espresso and clove make this great with most BBQ!

Tellus2010 Tellus Vinea Bordeaux Rouge  –  $19.99
Made by brothers and winemakers Jacques and Jean-Paul Pueyo, of famed Château Belregard Figeac, this Bordeaux blend is an incredible value. They harvest their grapes by hand from organic vineyards that border the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. The blend is mostly Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc, and Bi-Rite is the only retail shop in California to carry it! It’s a stunning Bordeaux with a soft perfumed nose, great structure, and long finish. The perfect red to accompany all your summer BBQs!

Upcoming Events:

 


Kiko’s Food News, 5.23.14

I’m happy to see that it’s becoming the norm for cities, colleges and food service companies to pioneer programs tackling the more than 36 million tons of food wasted by Americans every year; from trayless initiatives in dining halls to food waste weigh stations, public awareness is leading to institutional action! (New York Times)

The produce prescription model is spreading around the country: participating doctors issue prescriptions to children ages 5 to 12 who could use healthier diets, then area supermarkets accept them and track the varieties of produce purchased: (Minnesota Star Tribune)

We’ve heard that a Mediterranean diet delivers health benefits, but now scientists are offering reasons why: the combination of olive oil with leafy salad or vegetables gives the diet its healthy edge, as these two food groups come together to form nitro fatty acids which lower blood pressure: (BBC)

Dan Barber suggests that by focusing on all-star crops like asparagus and tomatoes, foodies and chefs have sold the sustainable food movement short; we must eat more unsung staples and cover crops such as cowpeas, mustard, millet and rye: (New York Times)

Even though female journalists, writers and advocates form the backbone of food and agriculture reporting, gender bias runs rampant in the news media; to remedy this, here’s a list of 24 bad-ass women educating the American public about our food system: (Civil Eats)

 


Stephany

Summer Squash: Fun, Versatile & Perfect for Dinner!

Hi, I’m Stephany! I’m a member of the Produce Team at Bi-Rite 18th Street, and I’m also an experienced cook with a passion for food, community, and sustainability. This summer I’ll be writing a series of posts highlighting my favorite summer produce along with ideas for how to prepare them. This is the very first post and I’m delighted to share my passion for food with you.

SDinner1GeneralSquashUp first: summer squash. I get excited when summer squash comes in because it’s a fun, versatile section of our produce aisle that has tons of variety. Summer squash comes in a number of different varietals. Zucchini is the most well-known, but here at Bi-Rite 18th Street and Bi-Rite Divisadero we have lots of others, like Zephyr, Crookneck, Flying Saucers, Baby Acorn, Sunburst, Pattypan, Costata Romanesco and Eightball. Some of these don’t look like what you think of when you think of squash, but trust me–they taste great. Most squashes share similarities in flavor–fairly mild, sweet and creamy–and are a good foil for bolder flavors.

We get summer squash from some of our favorite local farms, typically first from Balakian Farms, then from Happy Boy, Tomatero and Terra Firma as the season progresses. They’re beautiful and delicious, but just as importantly, they’re also easy and fun to prepare. Summer squash can be eaten raw, but it also cooks quickly. It’s lovely in a shaved salad, tastes great roasted to bring forward sweetness, looks and smells beautiful next to those burgers and onions on your grill, and is rich and substantial sautéed. Smaller and rounder squashes like Eightball or Pattypan make fantastic ingredients for stuffings.

You can shave summer squash into ribbons using a peeler; you’ll find that it comes out almost like noodles, making it a great substitute for pasta. If your shave it into ribbons, you can salt it (called “cold-sweating”) and the salt will pull out all of the extra water; you can then hand-squeeze the water out after about five minutes. Then you can dress your noodles however you want. Personally I like them with pesto, basil or any kind of fresh, bright herb, and they also go well with cheeses, peas and other fresh summer produce like cherry tomatoes.

Here’s a favorite recipe of mine using summer squash that I hope you’ll enjoy! You can get everything you need for this recipe at either of our two market locations. Just ask our staff for help.

 SDinner1Ingredients

Summer Squash “Pasta” Salad

SDinnerFinalIngredients:

  • 4 long summer squash such as Zucchini, Crookneck & Zephyr, for shaving
  • 1-½ lbs mixed summer squashes such as Pattypan, Sunburst, Flying Saucer & 8 Ball, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 lb English peas, shelled
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, stems removed (I used Terra Firma Farm’s Golden Nuggets, first of the season! We also have their Sungolds & Sweet 100s)
  • ½ bunch basil
  • 1 stalk green garlic, bulb halved and greens finely chopped
  • 1 red spring onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or to taste. Any milder/sweeter vinegar would work- champagne or white wine, or lemon juice)
  • Olive oil
  • Golden Valley Farm’s Pepato Cheese to finish (Pepato is a wonderful peppercorn-studded aged sheep’s milk cheese from the fine folks who make Yosemite Bluff, down in Chowchilla, CA. The pepper complements the natural sweetness of the squash and other veggies.)

Directions:

  • Shave long squashes into ribbons using a mandolin or vegetable peeler. (If you don’t have one, a Benriner Japanese mandolin is one of the best kitchen tools you can have. They cost around $15 and are long-lasting and durable).
  • Place squash shavings in a bowl, and salt generously. Toss to distribute salt and set aside. The salt will pull out the excess moisture from the squash so you salad won’t get soggy. If you are eating it right away, you don’t need to do this, but it helps tenderize it as well.
  • Heat up a cast iron skillet over med-high heat. Add a little olive oil, and add half of the chopped squashes in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding the pan; if it is too crowded the squash will just steam. Giving them a hard sear caramelizes the sugars and brings out the natural sweetness, and adds a bit of nice crisp texture on the outside. Season with a little salt. Once they are browned, flip to brown on all sides. Set aside, and cook off the rest of the squash.
  • Wipe out the pan, add a little more oil, then drop in the English peas. Sauté for 1 minute or until just barely cooked. Set aside. Add a bit more oil, then add the green garlic and cherry tomatoes, sauté until the garlic is browned and the tomatoes are starting to split. Set aside.
  • Pound the green garlic with half of the basil to form a coarse paste. Add enough red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt to taste.
  • Toss with the squash “noodles,” roasted squashes, peas, tomatoes and spring onion. Finish with some torn fresh basil and shaved Pepato Cheese to taste.

 


Kiko’s Food News, 5.16.14

Since protests waged by fast food workers over the past 18 months have not yet swayed McDonald’s or other major restaurant chains to significantly raise their employees’ pay, the movement went global this week: (New York Times)

Does your grocery cart contain yogurt-infused guac and cookie butter on the reg? If so, you might be the typical Trader Joe’s customer: (Huffington Post)

100% of California is now in one of the three worst stages of drought; combine this with the current heat wave and you have wildfires and a farmer’s worst nightmare: (Climate Central)

This year, 3,300 lbs of venison from 106 white-tailed deer found in Washington DC’s Rock Creek Park have been donated to charities; the National Park Service has the meat inspected and processed and then turns it into meals for the hungry! (New York Times)

Now that we’re all planting herbs in our pots or yards, it’s time for a briefing on how to dry them so they stay with us beyond the summer (leave it to Heidi Swanson to make dead plants look this beautiful): (101 Cookbooks)


Patrick

Bi-Rite Divis: Ready for Bay to Breakers on May 18th!

Bay to Breakers 2013 - Andrew Dalton

Outside Bi-Rite Divisadero at Bay to Breakers 2013. Photo by Andrew Dalton.

Bay to Breakers is coming up on Sunday, May 18th and the event route runs right past our Divisadero Street Market. To enhance the celebration, we’re opening a full hour earlier than usual at 8am, and will be ready with everything you need to stay happy and hydrated. Bay to Breakers isn’t just the oldest consecutively-run annual footrace in the world, it’s also one of the biggest, craziest, and most fun days on the San Francisco summer calendar!

Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero is the newer of our two Market locations, having flung open its doors to the Western Addition just a few months before last year’s Bay to Breakers. We had a great time and we’re looking to having even more fun our second time around.

Viet sandwiches

Sandwiches! We’ll have ‘em ready to go for you as the race goes by.

We’ll be highlighting all of the snacks, sandwiches, beer and water that you’ll need to enjoy the day. Even our Bi-Rite Creamery Scoop Shop will be serving up ice cream! Whether you’re running the race or cheering from the sidelines, make sure to get up extra early and come by Divis. The day can be crazy, but we’ll be there for you, an hour early and with everything you need ready to go, to make it chilled out, fun and cool. See you on the 18th!


Zach Berg

All I Want! Sprocket and Manchego!

AllIWant3As a Cheesemonger at Bi-Rite Divisadero, I have access to an array of beers right across the aisle from the Cheese Department. One of the many fun parts of my job is developing pairings of my favorite cheeses and beers to complement and draw out their flavors. My current favorite combination is Sprocket Bier and Artequeso Manchego.

Sprocket Bier won an intra-brewery tasting at Stone Brewery, hosted and judged by their three top brewers. Similarly, the Artequeso Manchego was a standout among the exhausting list of different Spanish Manchego cheeses available to us in the Bay Area.  At Bi-Rite, our Cheese Buyer Anthea has worked to select the perfect Manchego for us–creamy and yet salty and crumbly. The beer is a dark rye with big toasty notes that are balanced by a crisp dry finis –a perfect foil for the rich sheep’s milk cheese. Together they create a perfect snack!


Simon

Local Cherries and the Realities of the California Drought

cherriesWith the arrival of the first red sweet cherries from the Central Valley coming later than usual, the reality of the Northern California cherry crop failure has set in. Now more than ever, it’s critical that we support local, organic farms and farmers.

Over the past ten years we’ve started cherry season at Bi-Rite with the amazing Red Garnet cherry form Ed George, followed a week later by cherries from Hidden Star Orchard and Frog Hollow’s Burlat Cherry. By the time the third week of May rolls around, we’re usually knee-deep in Brooks, Bings and Rainier cherries from our favorite local growers. Unfortunately, the warm weather and drought this winter wasn’t kind to the cherry trees. Without enough cold nights this winter, the trees never met their chilling requirement after entering dormancy. The lack of cold nights, coupled with the stress of drought conditions, means that instead of beginning to produce fruit from the dormant buds, the trees go straight to preparing for the next season.

cherries 3

Cherries are currently on our Produce shelves!

Ed George, who has historically brought us our first cherries of the year from Winters, CA, had complete crop failure, leaving him with only a handful of cherries per tree. Johann Smit of Hidden Star, who usually brings us the season’s first organic cherries, said he’s gotten about 50% crop failure (we will have some of the Hidden Star cherries on our shelves this year but it won’t be the epic cherry celebration we’ve come to love). Meanwhile, Farmer Al of Frog Hollow lost about half his crop and only has enough for farmer’s markets.

We will do our best to source California cherries throughout May but the price will be a little higher than usual, starting the season at $9.99/lb. Most likely, the cherries coming in from the North West in June will be some of the best of the season. We do have some good cherries on the shelves now, but if you can’t get your hands on them in time or if the prices prove too high, “Eat a berry instead of a cherry.” And for the sake of all of our local farmer friends and all of our guests who count on us for good local produce, let’s hope that weather conditions improve soon!


Kiko’s Food News, 5.9.14

A new federal report called the National Climate Assessment presented the challenges to agriculture introduced by climate change; from topsoil runoff to decreased snow water availability, this article shows the threats in pictures: (Mother Jones)

Eating bitter foods is one of the best things we can do to boost our nutrition, as they moderate both hunger and blood sugar, yet America may be the most sugar-philic and bitter-phobic culture in human history: (Huffington Post)

By adding cocoa powder to simulated stomachs and intestines, scientists have deduced that chocolate’s indigestibility is the reason for its health benefits; undigested cocoa matter absorbed into the bloodstream can reduce cardiac inflammation, and fermented cocoa remains improve cholesterol levels: (New York Times)

The calorie counting that defined dieting for so long is giving way to other considerations, like the promise of more fiber or natural ingredients; this is chipping away at the popularity of products like Diet Coke or Lean Cuisine, which became weight-watching staples by removing calories from people’s favorite foods: (Chicago Sun Times)

Make sure you’re keeping the right foods in the fridge by checking out this list of foods that should be kept out! (Huffington Post)

 


Chili

4 Days Only! Friday-Monday Fresh-Caught Wild Local King Salmon Just $19.99/lb

Fishies

Wild Local King Salmon season is booming! To celebrate the kickoff of a bountiful season, we’re pleased to offer fillets of fresh-caught Wild Local King Salmon at just $19.99/lb, a special price we’ll be offering for just 4 days–from Friday, May 9 through Monday, May 12.

Fresh from Half Moon Bay and brought to us by our good friends at All Seas, this hook-and-line caught fish is beautiful; ideal for a special Mother’s Day weekend brunch, grilling, broiling, or as a centerpiece for dinner on a warm evening, such as Sam’s Eat Good Food recipe for Seared Wild Salmon with Late Spring Succotash.

SalmonRecipe