Bi-Rite Blog


 
Raph

Bi-Rite From-Scratch: Preserving Our Local Economy!

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Every time you open a jar of Bi-Rite jam, you become a part of our mission of “creating community through food.”

Our Producer Buyer, Simon works directly with our farmers to source the ripest peak season fruit, that is then delivered to our chefs within 24 hours of harvest. Our relationships with some of the most respected farmers in Northern California means that the fruit going into our preserves is always single-varietal, single-farm produce that we’re over-the-moon to be sharing with you all.

Beyond just preserving beautiful and beloved local fruit that would otherwise leave us much too soon in the fleeting days of summer, Bi-Rite Preserves are about elevating unique and flavorful varietals of fruit using our Chefs’ tried and tested recipes.

Our Peach Preserves from the Masumoto Family Farm  are a perfect example of that communion of fruit, farmer and chef. Made from some of the best peaches in the world and grown by a California farming family that cares about their community and the future of agriculture enough to write bestselling books on it and processed at peak ripeness by our Bi-Rite Chefs. All so that you can crack open a jar of summertime peach goodness, all the way into the foggier days of fall.

We know there’s nothing quite like biting into a perfect summer peach, but we’re hoping that diving into a jar of our preserves will come in a close second.

Our Preserves are made in very limited quantities and only available as long as supplies last, so stop by the Markets and snag your jar of single-varietal fruit goodness while you can! Or, just go ahead and have them delivered right to your doorstep via Instacart.

We also lined up a few recipes for you, in case swirling ’em into oatmeal and slathering ’em onto toast just isn’t gonna cut it these days…

  1. Jessica Koslow of Sqirl’s cult-classic, highly Instagram-ed Jam-Stuffed French Toast with our Blackberry Preserve is the perfect indulgent brunch (just in time for the launch of her new cookbook too!)
  2. This Grown-Up Grilled Cheese with perfectly melty Brie and our Strawberry Preserves is everything we want for every meal.
  3. Lucky Peach understands the importance of Morning Buns, and then they add Apricot Jam to the equation. We’re swooning and they know it.
  4. We’re adults and sometimes, we like a good cocktail. Peach Bourbon Cocktail with our Peach Preserve? Yes please.

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Waverley

Shana Tova: Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

Shana Tova! While the weather may not reflect it, fall is here and it’s nearly time for Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur.  This year, we invite our guests to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and break fast on Yom Kippur with Bi-Rite! From honey to apples to brisket and more, we have what you need for however you’re cooking or marking the occasion.

wisesonschallah_webOur Grocery team is thrilled to announce some exciting new products this year, including Wise Son’s cult-classic Round Raisin Challah, as well as favorites like Lover’s Lane Farm Wildflower Honey.  Our Produce department is spotlighting local, organic apples while our Butchers are bringing the best of grass-fed  beef brisket from local rancher, Five Dot Ranch. And of course our wine team has something to suit every palatte, from Manischewitz to Côtes de Provence.

Too busy to cook? You can still celebrate the holiday meal from scratch with our chefs’ holiday menus, now available for pre-order by calling the Markets (for 18th Street: 415.241.9760, for Divisadero: 415.551.7900), or you can order online for delivery (prepared foods will be available online starting Friday, September 30).  Our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur menus will be available from Friday, September 30 through Wednesday, October 12. Don’t forget dessert! New this year, Bi-Rite Creamery has crafted a special fall flavor, Bourbon Cider Ice Cream with spiced apple cake and candied ginger.

High Holiday Menu



 
Jon Fancey

Cheese Trek Travelogue: Spicherahlde Alpkäse, Bavaria, Germany

spicheraldeThe tenth stop on the Bi-Rite Market Cheese Trek takes us high in the Allgäu Alps to a chalet on the border of Germany and Austria.  The chalet is the summer home of the Vogel Family.  Each May, the Vogels take their small herd of red and brown Holsteins to the chalet where the cows graze on Alpine pasture and their milk is used to make one of the best examples of alpkäse.

This cheese is very traditional – only two wheels are made each day using copper vats, homemade rennet, and century’s old cheese making techniques.  The large wheels are aged in a cellar under the chalet for a year or more.

The cheese is a true expression of the pastures surrounding the chalet. Delicate floral notes are balanced by an earthy nuttiness with lingering buttery finish.

spicheralde2The wheel available for the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek was made at the end of the 2015 cheese making season.  The wheel has an excellent smooth paste and notes of cream and hay.  Spicherhalde would be the perfect cheese to enjoy with any of the Oktoberfest beers currently available in the Markets, and would pair nicely with a Riesling too.

Just a quick note for all Cheese Trek participants – this is the tenth cheese and the first opportunity for ten passport punches!  Once you’ve purchased 10 cheeses and your card has been punched 10 times, please ask a cheesemonger for your exclusive Bi-Rite Cheese Trek tote.

The next stop on our cheese journey will be much closer to home since we’ll be celebrating American Cheese Month in October. Look forward to a great California cheese from a farm in the Sacramento Valley as you continue to #cheeseyourownadventure.



 
Trac

Whiskey – You Deserve It

Whiskey’s been rising to dizzying heights of popularity these days. Each year, we’re seeing more and more of our guests buying as much whiskey as we can stock our shelves with.

It’s not just here in San Francisco eithe; nationwide, demand has escalated so quickly that producers are struggling to keep up with the demand. Given the rise of pop culture like Mad Men, the resurgence of the high end artisanal distillery, and the plethora of mixologists across the country highlighting innovative whisky cocktails, it’s an exciting time to be (or become!) a whiskey lover! Today, every bar worth its salt in San Francisco will feature a handful of cocktails using whiskey as their base.

We’ve been wanted to dive headfirst into our favorite whiskeys for a while now, and this time of year, we all deserve a little whiskey boost. Our favorites at the market range from sweeter Bourbons to peaty Scotches to elegant Japanese whiskies, with so many incredibly options, we’re confident we can help you find the right whiskey to suit your style.

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Scotch

Edradour 10 yr – Edradour is from the Scots Gaelic phrase Eadar Dhà Dhobhar, meaning “between two rivers.” This is an old distillery, rumored to be the the smallest in Scotland, producing only eighteen casks per week (whilst this may sound like a lot, trust us, it really isn’t). They also claim to have the smallest stills and keeping with tradition, employ just three men.The vast majority of their Scotch are of limited release and rarer than a hot day in the Richmond District. This 10 year has aromas of sherry and marzipan with flavors of butterscotch and a sweet, grassy finish.

Irish

Green Spot Irish Whiskey – Originally produced specifically for Mitchell & Son of Dublin by Irish Distillers- it is finally available outside of Ireland! A wonderful single pot still whiskey that is aged 7 to 10 years in bourbon and sherry casks. Loaded with flavor and aromas of unripe banana, light honey, and grains.

Japanese

Hibiki Harmony – Hibiki Japanese Harmony is made with malt whiskies from the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, as well as grain whisky from the Chita distillery. The whiskies are drawn from 5 different types of cask, including American white oak casks, Sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks. The blend itself was crafted by the Suntory Whisky blending team, led by Master Blender Shingo Torii. An elegant expression, with wafts of honey, orange, a herbaceous touch or two and light oak.

American

Buffalo Trace Bi-Rite Single Barrel– Made from the finest corn, rye and barley malt, this whiskey ages in new oak barrels for years in the famed century old warehouses until it reaches peak maturity. The taste is rich and complex= with hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit.

Noah’s Mill Bourbon – A small batch bourbon bottled in Bardstown, KY as part of the Willet family of bourbons. It’s aged 15 years and is a great value for a bourbon aged this long. Aromas of toffee, coffee, and caramel with flavors of vanilla and cream. This is a top notch, classic American bourbon.

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Because late-summer is synonymous with porch sitting and dusky sunset drinking, we asked our resident bartender, Kitty Galisia, to create a whiskey cocktail to help us celebrate, hard-earned whiskey in hand.  A seasoned bar veteran and mixologist, Kitty learned the art of mixology at the hands of local cocktail legends like Thad Vogler, Erik Adkins, and the team at NOPA (where Kitty tended bar for nearly a decade). Kitty’s cocktail philosophy is to make each drink its own, so that every sip takes you to a special time and place. Visit our recipes page to learn how to make yourself an Eastern Nectar, a honeyed concoction of Hibiki Harmony whisky, subtle Rooibos and citrus on the rocks.

 



 
Trac

Oktoberfest! Beer! Sausages! Prost!

Oktoberfest, which originated in Munich in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria, has transformed over the years into a month long celebration of German food and drink. This year Bi-Rite will be joining in on the Oktoberfest festivities by putting some shine on our German inspired sausages and traditional beers.

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The Germans are serious about their beers, going so far as to passing a “Beer Purity Law” called Reinheitsgebot to regulate the ingredients that can be used in beer making to only water, hops, and barley. Of course, this law is 500 years old and clearly dated but it did lead to brewers in Germany creating some of the best tasting purist beer in the world. We will be offering a number of German beers, including Paulaner Oktoberfest, the original beer brewed for Oktoberfest in Munich. If you’re a fan of Kölsch, try Riessdorf, a cult producer from Cologne, the birthplace of the Kölsch-style beer. If you’re a fan of Berliner Weiss, currently one of the trendiest beers in the US currently, we love the Prof. Briem “1809”. It’s complex lactic tartness and fruitiness is the benchmark for this style.

In addition to the awesome assortment of sausages that our butchers regularly craft in house we have also added three new links to the mix: a frӓnkische, a currywurst, and a chicken bockwurst. The frӓnkische is a traditional Franconian pork sausage flavored with marjoram.  The currywurst is a tasty spin on a classic bratwurst with added zing from an aromatic blend of curry spices.  Finally the bockwurst takes an Oktoberfest favorite and substitutes the traditional veal and replaces it with chicken which makes a great canvas for its subtle spice mix.

Grab some beer, a pack or three of sausages, and a jar of mustard and join the Oktoberfest party! If cooking sausages intimidates you, we’ve got you covered! The path to sausage success is as simple as simmer, sear and eat!

Prost! 

– Trac Le (Alcohol Buyer) & Chili Montes (Meat & Seafood Buyer)



 
Chili

California Beef, “The Time is Now!”

Ask any cattle rancher about producing great beef and they will tell you that it starts with the grass.  As summer comes to a close we should take the time to celebrate California beef at its best, whether 100% grass-fed or grain finished the most pleasurable eating experience is going to come from cattle that got fat from grazing on lush pasture.

We are lucky enough to work with a number of top notch beef producers, but today we’re shining a spotlight on Richards Grass-fed Beef and Five Dot Ranch whose programs both exclusively feature California born and raised cattle.

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Richards Grass-Fed Beef:

A fourth generation cattle ranch located along the Yuba River about 70 miles North East of Sacramento.  By only harvesting 10 head of cattle every two weeks, the Richards are committed to focusing on quality over quantity resulting in extremely limited availability of their amazing 100% grass-fed beef, all born and raised entirely on the ranch! The genetics of the cattle are mix of the well-known Black Angus and the Australian Murray Grey.  The Richards have found that the addition of the Murray Grey genetics resulted in animals that excel at converting lush pasture to tender, great tasting beef.

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Five Dot Ranch:

The Swickard Family has been raising livestock for over seven generations.  In 2006 the family started Five Dot Ranch in Susanville, CA and today, the ranch is the largest public lands grazing permittee in California.  They raise Angus herds that are on pasture from the Napa Valley to the High Sierras grazing in wide-open spaces. Their cattle are 95% grass-fed and then finished on a short grain ration to achieve a consistently delicious product. They practice holistic land management, believe in low stress handling and exceptional quality care, which all result in excellent tasting premium quality beef. Bi-Rite was one of Five Dot Ranch’s very first customers and it has been since into a relationship we’re incredibly proud to have had ever since.

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So come visit us in the markets, meet our butchers and take advantage of the opportunity to taste beef at its peak, or have it delivered to you via Instacart.

How to enjoy all this best of season California beef? Sicilian Meatballs with Fresh Basil Marinara from Eat Good Food.

These baseball-size meatballs are the mainstay of the market’s deli case. They’re flavorful and tender and stay good for several days after they’re made. If you have leftovers, they make an incredible meatball sandwich; just slice them up, reheat in the sauce, and put them in the middle of a good crusty roll. Then top with mozzarella or provolone if you have it!

Makes 6 large meatballs

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Sugar, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions:

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Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment or a nonstick liner and set aside.

Put the breadcrumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl, stir to blend, and set aside for 5 minutes. With your hands, squeeze and mash the breadcrumbs so that they make a smooth paste. Add the egg and whisk, then add the Parmigiano, ketchup and parsley, oregano, thyme, half the onion, half the garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to blend.

With your hands, break the beef into small chunks and add to the bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly; overmixing with make the meatballs tough and dry. When all the ingredients are evenly combined, shape the mixture into 6 balls and arrange on the baking sheet.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 165F at the center of a meatball, 40-45 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining half onion and 1 teaspoon salt and increase the heat to medium-high. Stirring frequently, cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining half garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook until reduced to a thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add a pinch or two of sugar if it seems too tangy, and season with more salt if necessary. Stir in the basil and keep warm until the meatballs come out of the oven.

Spoon the sauce generously over the meatballs and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Garnish with a sprinkling of Parmigiano. #EatGoodFood!



 
Jon Fancey

Cheese Trek Travelogue: Queseria El Gazul, Acala de los Gazules, Spain!

CheeseTrek9The ninth stop on the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek takes us to a small town in the province of Cadiz, Spain – only an hour drive from the very Southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. A region known for its many culinary traditions – cured hams, olive oil, cold soups and incredible sherry! Fresh and brined cheeses are the everyday fare in most regions this far south where cheese is not traditionally matured due to the warmer climates.  However, there are a few exceptions, of which Payoyo Curado is one.

CheeseTrek91Payoyo Curado is a small wheel of cheese crafted by master cheesemaker Jorge Puerto at Quesería El Gazul. He uses organic milk from the celebrated and rare Payoya goat.  Payoya are indigenous to this region and thrive in the rocky and shrubby landscape.  At one point they were almost extinct but have since been tended to, bred, and documented much like the famous Iberico pig.

Whilst visiting a Manchego producer in Spain, I had the opportunity to check out a wonderful new cheese shop in Madrid. Always on the hunt for cheeses that I’ve never tasted, this shop was a treat, with selections mainly from the northern regions of Spain.  I was offered a taste of Payoyo, the ‘rarest’ cheese in their selection from the far South.  The texture was dense and the flavors were gentle, yet assertive, like no other goat cheese I had tasted before.  It has taken a few months to arrange for us to offer Payoyo as part of our Cheese Trek, but we’re so excited to finally have these very unique wheels!

Enjoy it with a simple meal of our 25-09-2009. ALCALç DE LOS GAZULES. CçDIZ. QUSOS EL GAZUL./ ROMçN RêOS.house made gazpacho and crusty bread. It also pairs beautifully with slices of Jamon Iberico and a drizzle of fine olive oil.  It’s one of the few aged goat cheeses that I would pair with red wine; an easy drinking Rioja would be best.  A glass of sherry would also be lovely if enjoying Payoyo after a meal.

The next stop on the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek takes us to a chalet on the border of Germany and Austria for a one of a kind alpine treat. As a reminder, this will be the tenth cheese on our Trek and the first opportunity to claim the Cheese Trek tote bag with a fully punched passport.  If you don’t have your passport, ask a Bi-Rite monger for one and join our journey as we #cheeseyourownadventure.



 
Simon

Digging Deeper – The Story of the Bi-Rite Farm

For the past 13 years the produce section at Bi-Rite has been a dynamic portrayal of the incredible seasonal fruits and vegetables that are being harvested throughout Northern California. Today, we are so lucky to grow our own produce on a three-acre plot in Sonoma and a gorgeous one-acre orchard in Placerville.  In so many ways, starting the Bi-Rite farm was a natural continuation of our investment in food, agriculture, and the community we are feeding and being fed by.

cultivating-more-than-produce-1Building relationships with all the farmers we work with is at the heart of everything we do. However, the missing link has always been our own connection to the soil. Until we began the farm, we had experienced just about every part of the Good Food movement except actually getting our hands dirty. In 2009, we finally broke ground on a small third of an acre in Sonoma. That first summer we set up all of our drip irrigation on timers, planted crops that needed minimal attention, and just crossed our fingers! We had an incredible first summer of tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, and eventually added a chicken coup and bee hives to the mix!

That same year, Sam’s folks purchased a small piece of land in the foothills of the Sierras. This one acre orchard supplies both the Market and Creamery with blueberries, apples, peaches, figs, and much more all through the summer and fall!

cultivating-more-than-produce-5In 2011, we partnered with 18 Reason to offer “Farm School,” a 10 class program that gives folks in our community the opportunity to learn how to grow their own food. In its fifth year now, we love seeing students transplant baby tomato plants into the ground in May and then harvest beautiful, vine-ripe fruit in August.  As we grow, we’re excited to deepen our education programs to get more kids in the dirt, stay tuned!

In 2013, we hired Layla, who beyond giving the farm the attention and care it needs and deserves, has been dialing in the crops that grow best, and the crops that our chefs love to work with in the Market kitchens, improving the systems for planting, irrigating, and harvesting in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We soon realized it had become increasingly difficult to properly rotate the crops and give areas of the farm the rest they needed on one single acre. So in the 2016 farm season we expanded our production into the entire three-acre parcel.  We’ve since begun planting perennial crops like hops, raspberries, and flowers, and upped our production of high-demand produce for the Markets in a big way!  Layla has built up her farm crew and with the hiring of Anna, Anton, and Michael the farm is now being run by a fantastic group of next-generation farmers.

Throughout the month of September into October we’ll be celebrating the wonderful fruits and veggies from both of our Farms. Look for veggie crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and fruit crops like apples, figs, and melons.  The produce will be highlighted in the produce section at both Markets with Bi-Rite Farm signage and the Market kitchens will be preparing and serving the veggies in their Deli dishes.  Our farmer will also be taking a break from their daily farm work, coming down to meet our guests, and tell them more about the farm. Come “Meet Your Farmers” at 18th on Mon 9/12 and Tues 10/4 at 18th and at Divis on Mon 9/19 and Tues 10/11, always from 4-7pm!

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Jon Fancey

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese!

We’re celebrating two of our favorite local cheeses for August and September – Fresh Mozzarella and Toma from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese! Most Bay Area folks are familiar with their award winning blue cheeses – but Point Reyes also crafts great cow’s milk cheeses that are perfect to enjoy every day.

The Giacomini Family has been operating a dairy farm just outside of Point Reyes Station for generations now and their 500 Holstein cows graze on the rolling green hills that overlook Tomales Bay.  Delicious, high quality milk from these cows is the not-so-secret ingredient of Point Reyes Farmstead cheeses – whether it’s a ball of milky fresh mozzarella or a wedge of buttery Toma. 

We’ve got plenty of suggestions of how to enjoy and pair these two cheeses for any occasion! Be sure to stop by the Markets and ask a Monger for a taste!

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Simon

Put A Fig On It!

DSC_0630It’s that perfect point of summer where fig season is really taking off and we’re finding every which way to #PutAFigOnIt!

At Bi-Rite we realize that the best tasting figs are the ones that sit on the tree longer to fully develop their sugars, and are harvested just when the jelly-like flesh of the figs is about to explode out of the skin with sugary goodness. This means never biting into under-ripe, extra-firm, underwhelming figs. Only tree-ripe, mouth-full-of-goodness fruit will do!

The fresh fig selection at the Markets changes every day depending on which varieties our favorite farms are harvesting and delivering to the Markets.

Black Mission Figs are the most common grocery store fig since their thick skin makes them good for shipping long distances. However, if grown to the perfect level of ripeness as they are at Cloverleaf Farm, their dark purple flesh makes them one of the very sweetest varieties. It’s strawberry-colored flesh makes it perfect tossed in an arugula salad or atop pizza where its flavors caramelize and intensify.

Brown Turkey Figs are similar to the Black Mission in appearance, but a little lighter in color with green skin next to the stem. They’re known to be the largest growing fig and have a beautiful rose-colored flesh.

The green fig varietiesAdriatic, Kadota, and Calimyrna bring a lot of excitement to Bi-Rite each season with their lime green skin and beautiful reddish pink flesh. These are usually the some sweetest varieties of the season and a perfect dessert fig.  They’re on the shelves now from Knoll Farm and when wrapped in smoky, salty prosciutto or even bacon, make a stunning appetizer.

Our final and most awaited varietal every year is the Candy Stripe Fig, with bright yellow skin and green stripes – it’s always a Fig_Sign_8ways_8_waysmain attraction in the produce department in late August! The flesh is crimson-colored and they taste like raspberry or strawberry jam. Let’s just say they’re always dressed to impress.

We’ve got handy #PutAFigOnIt signs throughout the markets right now to help you pair your figs with everything from Benton’s Hickory Smoked Bacon, to a rustic Canestrato di Moliterno cheese, to a rich whole milk Ricotta just begging to be slathered onto a crispy baguette.

Get figgy with it at the Markets through September or directly to your doorstep from our online store via Instacart.com!

And if you’re still on the fence about the venerable fig, we loved this wonderful ode to it in the New Yorker, on the history of the botanical world’s most under-appreciated yet essential little fruitLove the Fig.