Archive for the ‘18 Reasons’ Category
As 18 Reasons’ curator, my mission is to weave together the visual arts with the shopping, eating and cooking experienced in our Market, Creamery, and Farm. In that vein, I’m struck by the opportunity we have this month to begin shifting the visual culture of food shopping from the commercial to the behavioral—public health intervention through design.
In 1955 Berkeley, beat-poet Allen Ginsberg wrote his legendary poem, A Supermarket in California. In it, Ginsberg uses a fictional account of a visit to the supermarket as a metaphor for his dissatisfaction with issues such as economic materialism, domestic life, commodification, and sexual repression. Because I don’t have the space to properly divulge into such issues in this short post, I’d like to focus solely on the poem’s second line and bring its relevance into the present time.
Ginsberg writes, “In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket…”
What a tragic tone he casts—a society grown so estranged from its food sources that it is left to shop for images, simulations of food. But in 2012 a similar statement can be made regarding our grocery shopping habits. Shopping for images, for better or worse, has become the primary way in which many consumers hunt and gather their food today. Removed from the source and reliant on the package, labeling has become one of the main places where we meet the story of our food.
As we walk down the grocery aisles, visual identifiers such as slogans, logos, distinguishable colors, fonts, and buzz words jump off packages in an attempt to grab our attention and increase product sales. We seek Chester the Cheetos Cheetah because he is familiar. We seek words like “natural” and “fresh” because they have subconscious ecological, social, and health-based connotations. Although this detached relationship to our food is unfortunate, and largely caused by the predominantly industrialized food system, this vision-based form of harvesting remains a central part of our grocery shopping experience.
But here in California, in 2012, we have an opportunity to reimagine this visual relationship as more than just a marketing strategy, to reimagine our food packages as more than a place for a company to sell consumers its products. The label can become a site of intervention.
Prop 37, the initiative to mandate labeling of genetically modified foods, if passed, affords us this chance. By voting Yes on Prop 37, consumers get one step closer to having full, transparent disclosure regarding their food products. Voting Yes on Prop 37 does not mean you are casting a vote on whether or not GMOs are good or bad; voting yes simply declares that we as consumers have a right to know how our food is produced. Voting Yes declares that we as consumers crave conscious choice.
The importance of voting with our forks has been stressed, but many times before the food reaches our forks, we must vote with ours eyes at the supermarket. And in order to accurately vote with ours eyes, we must vote at the polls.
We recommend voting YES on Prop 37 November 6th. But this isn’t about politics (yes genetically modified organisms are bad vs. no they’re not). It’s about transparency.
Transparency has been the foundation of Bi-Rite since the beginning, and it hinges on our ability to answer questions from our guests. It’s why we source direct, and work independently with hundreds of producers—so that we know the people who make the food, and there’s no middle man that’s a barrier between us and the information. So if we don’t have an answer, we know who to go to to get it. We want our guests to feel confident and comfortable and trust that what they’re buying at Bi-Rite is what they want.
We’ve been doing all we can to spread awareness around the big vote on November 6th–we want Californians to know that this is our opportunity to make a change at a state level that could go on to affect national policy as other California initiatives have. So we’ve organized two events that will happen in these last three weeks before the vote, and want to make sure you join us if you want to learn more about the complicated issue of GMO’s (or if you just think a scoop of non-GMO Caramel Apple Ice Cream sounds tasty!).
GMO Primer Discussion
This Sunday, October 21 from 1-3PM, 18 Reasons is hosting Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now! and Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety, for a conversation about GMOs and their affects on our health, environment, culture, and crop-diversity. Oliveto Restaurant, 5655 College Avenue, Oakland (Right next to Rockridge Bart stop!); Register here: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/281022
Scoops for the Right to Know
We’ve partnered with Straus Family Creamery, true leaders in responsible dairy practices and champions of the campaign to require labeling of GMO foods, to spread the word about the vote on November 6th. Anne and Kris at the Creamery have come up with a special non-GMO ice cream flavor–Caramel Apple, so fall right now–which we’re scooping all the way through November 6th. The clincher is that the weekend before the vote, Saturday November 3rd and Sunday November 4th, we’re offering scoops of this flavor for just 37 cents!
The best thing about the upcoming vote is that it’s sparking conversation about what’s in our food, and our staff, guests and producers are all learning about the ins and outs of GMO’s together. Please share your thoughts in a comment!
In case you hadn’t noticed yet, fall is showing itself (if not by our hot days then by our early nights)! Time to break out the decorative gourds and chug pumpkin spice lattes by the gallon! We even had our first hints at San Francisco’s rainy season last week with KarlTheFog being unusually aggressive for October.
The transition to fall also means Rosé City in the wine section has been replaced with Gamay-ville! We’re not at all shy about showing our love for Gamay. We think it makes the perfect fall wine – either as a glass to sip on its own on a crisp fall night or to enjoy with a wide range of autumn food, even pumpkin.
Lastly, fall means Wine Blitz season! Mark your calendars for this year’s two Wine Blitzes, where you save 20% off 12 or more bottles (mix-and-match totally cool) with free delivery in San Francisco:
Wine Blitz #1: Thursday, November 8th – Sunday, November 11th
Wine Blitz #2: Thursday, December 6th – Sunday, December 9th
Domaine Clusel-Roch is located in the tiny AOC of Coteaux du Lyonnais, which as the name suggests, surrounds the town of Lyon just south of Beaujolais. One of France’s newer appellations, it sits above the northern Rhone with soil and climate very similar to the Rhone valley. The primary grape here is of course Gamay. Having more Rhone-like soil and climate qualities, including the schist and black mica that the nearby Côte-Rotie is known for, this wine has flavors somewhere between Gamay and Syrah. Fresh red berry and black currant aromas lead to soft fruit flavors with a hint of peppery and herbal depth and a long medium-bodied finish. It’s fun and serious all at once!
Perfect Pairing: Oven roasted root vegetables with Herbes de Provence
Brothers Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat are icons in the natural wine world, having pioneered many of the natural winemaking practices in the Loire Valley. Their family has been making wine here since the 1960’s using organic practices – they’ve never had to convert to organic since that’s all they’ve ever done! This bottling is a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from their small 5.5 hectare plantings. It has aromas of bright strawberry and cherry with similarly bright and lively fruit qualities on the palate. It’s light in body with a great mineral depth and light herbal quality. They produce very little so grab some while you can!
Perfect Pairing: Red Kuri squash and curry soup
2010 Jean-Paul Brun Terres Dorees Brouilly – $22.99; Blitz Pricing – $18.39
Jean-Paul Brun is one of the most well-regarded producers in Beaujolais. He has vines in a variety of the Crus of Beaujolais and all of his wines are known for their great purity and depth. The area of Brouilly is known for its steep slopes on Mont Brouilly covered in blue and green granite, a soil type particularly well-suited for producing Gamay. This bottling comes from 50 year old vines and has incredible complexity for the price. Lively red fruit aromas up front are followed by layers of dark berries, smokey minerals, and bright acidity. One of our favorites every year that is both drinkable now and age worthy!
Perfect Pairing: Seared duck breast with pomegranate reduction
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons!
Thursdays, Every week, 6-10PM, Drop-in 18th Hour Cafe
Friday, November 2, 6-8PM, Drop-In Thanksgiving Wine Blitz Preview Tasting
Friday, November 9, 6-8PM, RSVP and Drop-In Rioja Tasting with Bi-Rite and K&L Wine
Connor, Emma, Helena and Eli did themselves, their families and “Take My Word For It!” proud on Saturday night when they presented their writing at LitQuake, in honor of Kris and Anne’s Bi-Rite Creamery cookbook, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones. Reading in front of a rapt audience at 18 Reasons these four brave young writers joined the ranks of practiced authors who participated in San Francisco’s city-wide festival of the literary arts.
And Eli read us a story about a curmudgeon named Harold who decides he can’t deny his inner child and hunger for the sweet frozen stuff!
After the young authors were through, Anne and Kris read a passage from their book (did you know our White Chocolate and Raspberry swirl flavor led to a romance between one of our bakers and a guest?!)
Thanks to Sondra Hall for partnering with 18 Reasons to offer her “Take My Word for It” food writing curriculum to young writers in our community!
We’re proud to announce a very special evening in support of 18 Reasons youth programming. From teaching young moms about healthy eating, to creating culinary career opportunities for teens, to teaching SF public school teachers how to Cook the Common Core, we have developed robust initiatives to change the way kids eat, learn, and live. I would love to see you at this dinner, where you can learn more and enjoy a spectacular meal cooked by Sam and Craig.
Our newest 18 Reasons “18 + 2″ video takes a look at our hands-on cooking classes, with a focus on knife skills classes. We offer a whole systems approach to all of our classes, teaching about culture, nutrition, policy and technique. In our latest knife skills class we tackled fish filleting with a focus on using fish that’s affordable and caught sustainably. Check out our video and let us know what you think!
This fall we have some amazing opportunities to meet the ranchers we love working with at Bi-Rite.
The first on September 19th is a one-two knock-out series with Don Watson, our favorite sheep guy. Did you know he lends his wooly creatures to mow lawns across the Bay Area? At the first class, watch Bi-Rite Butcher Zane Clark break down a whole lamb into primal and sub-primal cuts, then explain the best way to cook each cut of meat. To inspire your palate we’ll be serve up a lamb snack and beer. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for the general public.
The following week on September 26th, meet Don in person over dinner and wine. Don and his wife will join us for a five course meal featuring his beautiful lamb prepared by Bi-Rite chef Wyatt Sandberg. For a delectable meal, wine and a talk with the rancher, tickets are $50 for members and $60 for the general public.
If you buy tickets to both you’ll get a discounted ticket price! If you can only come to one, that’s ok, too. Choose the class you prefer and sign up quick! Tickets for both Don Watson events are here.
Inspiration from our Farm Tour Series has led us to hit the road again on October 13th, this time heading north to BN Ranch to meet Bill & Nicolette Niman and Devil’s Gulch Ranch to meet Mark Pasternak and Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak. Mark will be whipping up lunch for us, cowboy style. Tickets for members are $40, for the general public $50. Tickets and more information about the ranch tour are here.
Bill Niman is a pretty famous name around here for his beef production. His latest project, under the BN Ranch name, has shifted his focus on maturing beef to enhance flavor and texture. They are a grass based ranch that raises pasture raised cattle, heritage turkeys, and (sometimes) goats. They never use pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers on their land, use no irrigation, ground water or municipal water, and never administer hormones or antibiotics on their animals.
Devil’s Gulch Ranch, a diversified family farm located in Nicasio, Marin County, produces rabbits, pigs, sheep, premium wine grapes and asparagus for retail customers and direct sales to high-quality restaurants. Sustainable, humane agricultural practices and organic farming are utilized whenever possible.
What are you waiting for? Put on your favorite jeans and boots and join us!
Announcing our 1st annual Edible Story Writing Contest, brought to us by “Take My Word For It!” and 18 Reasons!
You ready (and under age 12)? Here goes:
“Life is just a bowl of cherries”
Rewrite this idiom telling the story of what you think life is just a bowl of (500 word limit)
Please e-mail your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Sept. 8th!
Two lucky winners will have their piece published online and will each receive a 50% discount on this Fall’s after-school creative writing class, “Peanut Butter and the Pen”, beginning 9/12. All of the young writers in the class will have the opportunity to share their work at a reading for parents and friends at the end of the session. We also proudly post student writing on our blog. And as an extra perk this year, students will have a chance to read their writing at LitQuake with Anne and Kris from Bi-Rite Creamery! More info on this workshop is available here.
Since 2005, Take My Word for It has been teaching their innovative curriculum in after-school and community-based creative writing programs. Designed especially for young authors, our classes challenge and inspire our students to stretch their imaginations.