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Simon

From Kishus to Cocktails

Kishus

Kishus

The California Citrus Experience is in full swing at the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses!  The beginning of February is when the California citrus season hits its peak, with so many diverse varieties and flavors.  Whether you want a piece of citrus to quickly peel and eat, or a variety to make your Grandma’s favorite citrus marmalade recipe, we have you covered.

Throughout California there are many different micro-climates that have the advantage in growing specific types of citrus. In the mountains of Ojai, just southeast of Santa Barbara, there’s a collective of farmers that grow some of the sweetest fruit you can find in the state.  Jim at Churchill Orchards is the master of growing Kishu and Pixie Tangerines.  The Pixie harvest doesn’t start until the end of February, but the bite-sized Kishu Tangerines are perfect right now. The Kishu is a seedless, easy-peeling, about 2 inches in diameter, and kids love them!

Rio Red Grapefruit

Rio Red Grapefruit

Growing up back East, my main experience with grapefruits was cutting a Rio Star Grapefruit in half, sprinkling sugar on it to cut the tart flavor, and eating it with a spoon.  The grapefruit situation in California now is at a whole other level.  Grapefruits are historically known as a high-acid fruit, and most of the time the acid dominates the sweet flavor. We currently have three to five different grapefruit varieties in the Produce Department, and they all have their own unique flavor profile.  The Melogold Grapefruit from Deer Creek Heights Ranch in Porterville is a cross between Siamese Sweet Pomelo and a Duncan White Grapefruit. They have the sweet juicy Pomelo flavor and very few seeds.  The Cocktail Grapefruit from Cunningham Organic Farm in Fallbrook is very special because of the “acidless” flavor — it’s the best for juicing and making cocktails.

The California Citrus Experience at Bi-Rite wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t offer our guest some creative cocktail recipes to try out all this amazing fruit.  Josh Harris of The Bon Vivants was kind enough to create a few recipes that highlight not only citrus but some of our artisan liquors.  The Spicy Paloma is the perfect cocktail to showcase these unique grapefruit varieties.

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Not all citrus is for eating out of hand.  Some varieties need a preparation before consumption.  There are two varieties that are really hard to find and are the most versatile in the kitchen. The Seville Orange is sour, tart, and full of seeds but it’s very juicy, and it offers fragrant essential oils, and is perfect for marmalade.  The Bergamot Oranges are most commonly known for its skin’s essential oil, used in Earl Grey tea (and Bi-Rite Creamery’s Earl Grey Ice Cream!) It’s a combination of sour orange and lemon, and both characteristics come through in the appearance and flavor.  Here’s another wonderful cocktail recipe that highlights both of these sour oranges! We are loving the California Citrus Experience at the Bi-Rite Family of Business, and we hope you are too!

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Chili

Amazing Braising Meats

BraisingHopefully, many of you were able to take advantage of our great lamb shank sale over the last couple of weeks.  So now that you’ve dusted off the dutch oven, found a home on the counter for your crock pot, and honed your mirepoix game why not keep the braises rolling.  El Nino is doing his best to keep us indoors, so make the most of it by keeping the kitchen cozy and the belly full.  Over the next two weeks check out our butcher case for some terrific braising options like:

  • Beef Short Ribs
  • Pork Shanks
  • Ox Tails
  • Duck legs
  • Pork Belly
  • Lamb Shanks
  • Pasture-raised, heritage chickens

In a day and age where many grocery stores’ butcher departments consist of an unmanned refrigerator full of pre-wrapped meats, we are excited to have a counter hosted by a skilled butcher, who can cut to order, provide recommendations, and is also quite knowledgeable about the meats and cuts they are selling.  Our butchers are here to provide you with the services of a trained meat cutter. Our knowledgeable butchers can set you up with everything you need to get your braise going, and while you’re at it, go for the full monty and grab a box of Baia Pasta and a bottle of  Cab Franc to pair it with! The same way you have someone that cuts your hair, your favorite bartender, and your tailor, we want to be your butcher.

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Trac

Celebrate SF Beer Week with our Exclusive Ricanelas Ale!

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SF Beer Week is coming to Bi-Rite!
Visit the Markets from January 22 through January 31 to discover our favorite local breweries like Fort Point Beer Company and Calicraft Brewing Co., save $2 on each day’s featured beers, and celebrate the debut of our exclusive Ricanela’s Cream Ale brewed by Woods Beer Co.

BeerWeek2016_V4_Web CanOur friends (and 18th street neighbors!) from Woods Beer Co. are brewing a special, Bi-Rite exclusive ale based on Bi-Rite Creamery’s perennial favorite Ricanelas (cinnamon-infused ice cream with chopped Snickerdoodles), premiering at both Markets on Saturday, January 30.  Brewed with caramelized sugar, cinnamon, and Madagascar vanilla, the Ricanelas Cream Ale will be canned in 32-ounce crowlers (can growlers) in limited quantity.  Be sure to stop by the Divisadero Market on Saturday, January 30 from 2-4pm for a taste!

Each day of Beer Week, from Saturday, January 23 to Sunday, January 31, Bi-Rite Divisadero will be hosting a different local brewery for an in-store tasting. We will also be offering $2 off ALL beer titles brewed by the day’s featured brewery! This sale includes offerings at both markets.

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Trac

Make Franc Your Friend!

franc_FRANCCabernet Franc is an underdog variety, always in the shadow of its more popular relative, Cabernet Sauvignon.   We can understand though, with its green herbaceous notes and austere fruit, Cabernet Franc can be a challenging to like; but we have a soft spot for the underdogs and more interesting varietals (this is one of our favorites!).

Cab Franc can make truly phenomenal wines when given the chance. It is an incredibly versatile food wine, able to pair deftly with nearly everything from goat cheeses to braised meats. Now that our El Niño winter has officially arrived, make friends with Franc over a dinner of Braised Lamb Shank Ragu with Baia Pasta (read on for our recipe).  From the Loire Valley to the West Coast, we’re featuring producers who are making some of the best examples of this variety – we’re looking forward to introducing you to our friend Franc.

BaudryChinonBaudry Chinon “Les Granges” Loire, France 2014 | $19.99
Bernard Baudry is one of the superstars in Chinon. He is blessed with having varied soil types in his vineyards, and showcases them through different cuvees. He has a light touch with Cab Franc so the terroir really shines in his wines. Les Granges is Baudry’s first release and most youthful wine, that is meant to drink young. It is supple and fruity with smoky cherry fruit. It is the perfect wine for simple food and cheeses.

BretonNuitsdIvresseBreton Bourgueil Nuits d’Ivresse 2014 | $34.99
Catherine and Pierre Breton are passionate about biodynamics and organic viticulture. They work with several sites and makes different cuvees from them. Their wines are made with such great integrity but also have wonderful charm and generosity.  The Nuits d’Ivresse, “Drunken Nights,” is the name of a special cuvee of selected old vines in Bourgueil. It’s an homage to natural wine pioneer Jules Chauvet, and does not see a drop of sulfur throughout its lifetime. We also have a limited amount of Breton Bourgeuil  “Les Perrieres” 2003 ($79.99). This is the Breton’s greatest red, from one of the most prized hillside parcels in Bourgeuil. It’s also special treat to have a 12-year-old bottling that is drinking beautifully right now.

Lang&ReedLang & Reed Cabernet Franc North Coast, CA 2013 | $24.99
Lang & Reed was started by Tracey and John Skupny in 1996 to focus solely on Cabernet Franc in Napa Valley, a rarity to this day. They were inspired from their trip to notable wine regions in France: Loire and Bordeaux. They seek to produce similar wines here in California and have found much success. This Cab Franc is a bold “true-to-varietal” expression from California. It has aromas of raspberry and cherry with highlights of herb and wet stone. Really mouthwatering, this is best served with family and friends.

AirGuitarBow & Arrow “Air Guitar” Cab Franc Willamette, Oregon 2014 | $24.99
Bow & Arrow wines was started by winemaker Scott Frank and his wife, Dana Frank. Both are obsessed with the Loire Valley, and seek to make wines inspired by the Loire but made in Portland. The Air Guitar proves that Oregon is not just Pinot country: this is a blend of Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from two very cool vineyards. Fresh red and black fruits and a dash of herbal charm, this is great with roast chicken.


Simon

The California Citrus Experience at Bi-Rite

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Taste our wall of citrus!

Due to the shorter days and the colder weather, many local and California crops slow down for the winter. One crop thrives in cold weather and is farmed throughout our beautiful state — citrus! Citrus is one of California’s most bountiful crops, and the fruit is shipped all over the world.  At the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses we love to celebrate what’s in season, and for the next couple of months we will focus a lot of our attention on all varieties of citrus.  When folks come into the Produce Department, the Markets, or the Creamery we want them to experience all the different uses, flavors, textures, and juices that are produced by the 30 to 40 varieties of citrus that will hit our shelves from January to April.  Join us to explore winter in California as it should be – with the California Citrus Experience.

Cara Cara Orange

Cara Cara Orange

The California citrus season usually kicks off at Bi-Rite in November with the easy-peeling, seedless  Satsuma Mandarin that offers a very refreshing balance of sweet and tart.  Satsumas are one of the only mandarin varieties that flourish in Northern California.  The local Satsuma season usually goes through mid-January, but this year the cold rain damaged the fruit and ended the season early.  We’ll still have Satsumas from southern growing areas this month!  Satsumas are the first tangerine varietal of the season and we usually see two or three new varieties each month of the new year.

The season of the Navel Orange — one of the most popular varieties of citrus — begins in Southern California in December, but these early oranges don’t have the perfect balance of sweet and tart that will come with the Navels in January. By early February we are blessed with the textbook tree-ripe Navels harvested at Full Belly Farm in Yolo County. They are great to eat out of hand, by the segment, added to a salad, or simply juiced. The Cara Cara Orange is also known as the Pink Navel — they usually show up at the Markets around the same time.  If grown correctly, this can be one of the sweetest oranges of the season and is not very acidic.  The fruit has nice floral qualities and is ideal for cocktails and zesting.  Cara Caras are one of our most popular oranges of the season at the Markets!

Moro Blood Oranges

Moro Blood Oranges

As we head into the New Year one of the most beautiful pieces of citrus hits the scene.  Moro Blood Oranges, known for their dark red and purple flesh, might be one of the most versatile pieces of fruit in the kitchen.  Not only do do these oranges produce that amazing dark red juice, but when segmented and added to any dish they will make it pop with flavor and color.  The Moro Blood Oranges are usually around into March.

Earl Grey Ice Cream

Earl Grey Ice Cream

The California Citrus Experience at Bi-Rite is just getting going and if fresh-cut citrus is not for you, the Produce Department is teaming up with Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop to use citrus in so many tasty treats this season.  Keep an eye out for the debut of our newest ice cream flavor in January, Tangerine Dream — Bi-Rite’s classic Vanilla Ice Cream with a Tangerine Swirl. Plus, we’re bringing back a couple of our guests’ favorites — Earl Grey Ice Cream (containing the oils of the Bergamot Orange) and Meyer Lemon with Gingersnaps Ice Cream.

We’re citrus-crazy in the bakeshop, creating a bunch of goodies like the Cream Cheese Lemon Cookie with Citrus Glaze, Lemon-filled Yellow Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream & Candied Citrus, Orange Olive Oil Cake, and our Sour Cream Lemon Pie with Graham Crust.  Have a taste of your favorite citrus variety and stop by the Bi-Rite Family of Bussinesses to try something new!


Shakirah

Good Food & Gratitude in the New Year

Who can resist an end-of-the-year listicle? Not us! We are incredibly grateful for our guests, staff, producers, and neighbors in 2015. Here are 5 reasons we thank you for your support of Bi-Rite and our Family of Businesses this year:

  1. You ensured a happier holiday for those in need. From Jedi light sabers, to jazzy paint sets, and Winne-the-Pooh books, the 2015 Bi-Rite Holiday Toy Drive supported 485 low-income and homeless familiesin San Francisco this December. Your generosity didn’t stop there. For our annual Holiday Food Box Giveaway with Collective Impact and Kaiser Permanente, our Divisadero neighbors received 1,200 lbs. of free, organic produce (e.g. fresh greens, potatoes, onions, carrots, cranberries, and satsumas, courtesy of some of our favorite farmers), recipes, and a free-range turkey! In total, nearly 1,000 residents of low-income housing developments had a happier, healthier holiday table.
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  3.  You made our monthly Divisadero Scoop Shop Campaign a sweet cause. We’re super grateful for all the ice cream eaters in our ‘hood. At the end of December, our Scoop Shop donations totaled $13,509 to 11 SF-based non-profit organizations. Through this program in 2015, you supported under-served LGBT youth, the beautification of San Francisco with new trees, and getting necessary care to domestic violence survivors, to name a few.
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  5.  You provided good, fair food (and opportunity) for all. Your support allowed us to double the purchasing power of low-income shoppers at farmers’ markets and provide extra income for family farmers through our EBT Farmers’ Market Match program. With increased cash incentives from Bi-Rite, the Mission Community Market and the Heart of the City/Civic Center Farmers’ Market saw an increase in produce purchases by CalFresh customers and farmer sales. Your purchases also helped us train 5 corner-store owners in East and West Oakland to source, merchandise and sell healthier options in food deserts, via our Healthy Retail Program with HOPE Collaborative.
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  7. You supported a more vibrant, healthy San Francisco: From breakfast at SF Bike to Work Day to produce games at Sunday Streets, to harvest days at Mission High School, we believe that supporting our community goes beyond our four walls. In 2015, over 400 schools and non-profits received in-kind donations from Bi-Rite. Given our rapidly changing city, it is imperative that we all give. We could not support our San Francisco community without YOU.
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  9. You’re creating a stronger, sustainable good food movement. Your grocery basket empowers hundreds of farmers, cheesemongers, ranchers, winemakers and producers to feed us delicious, responsible, good food. Thank you for voting with your fork and dollar.

We look forward to continuing this good food work with you in 2016!

Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Photo Dec 17, 10 25 42 AM

It’s all smiles for Tamara, Sarah, Faun, Shak and Sean at our annual Western Addition Holiday Food Box Giveaway!