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Simon

A Winter Sir Prize

SirPrizeThe drought conditions in California make it more and more challenging to cultivate Hass Avocados, especially in Southern California where most of them come from. This year the organic California Hass season ended more quickly than it has in the past decade. Typically, we are bombarded with beautiful, organically-grown avocados for about 10 months out of the year but the quality of the Hass can drop dramatically during the winter months, so a lot of them are imported from Chile and Mexico to fill the gap. In recent years at the Market we’ve been focusing our attention on other seasonal avocados to fill the void before Hass season starts. These seasonal varieties may not have the same high-oil content and rich buttery texture, but they’re unique in their own ways and a pleasure to eat.

The one winter variety that has the produce lovers at Bi-Rite excited this time of year is the Sir Prize Avocado grown by Tenalu in Porterville, CA. The Sir Prize avocado was created during the Open Pollination Breeding Trial by the University of California, and it’s considered the “Grandchild of the Hass.” The Sir Prize is able to grow in colder climates and ripens 2 months before the Hass in California.

CitrusAvoFennelSaladThe Sir Prize is a thin-skinned, pear-shaped avocado that turns black and get very soft when it’s perfectly ripe. They also have the most flesh-to-seed/skin ratio of any commercial avocado. It has a nutty taste, and it’s high-oil so it’s great in guacamole or just sprinkled with a bit of salt and lemon. Avocados are most commonly thrown on a sandwich or whipped up into guacamole, but if you like to eat seasonally, they pair really well with another crop that’s in season– citrus! Try our Fennel, Blood Orange, Avocado Salad recipe from Eat Good Food, that highlights three of our favorite seasonal produce items and pairs them with Dungeness crab. We are staying optimistic for California’s Dungeness Crab Season this year, as crab really takes this salad over the top!  Even without the crab this salad demonstrates how fresh California winter can taste with clean raw fennel, sweet citrus, and wonderfully nutty avocado. Since Blood Orange season has yet to begin, try it with Navel Oranges or Satsuma Mandarins. If you love to eat with the seasons, don’t miss the Sir Prize Avocado! Come by one of the markets and ask for a taste today.


Simon

Getting Figgy With It

Fig trees are one of the most common fruit trees in backyards throughout the Bay Area. You would think IMG_5393this would lead to them being a super popular fruit in the area, but this isn’t the case!  Figs are one those pieces of fruit that usually taste better the uglier they get – but a lot of consumers buy figs that are under-ripe, are still extra-firm, and are not that sweet.  At Bi-Rite we realize that the best tasting figs are the ones that sit on the tree longer to 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.  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 fig you see at grocery stores.  They have a thicker skin than most other varieties, which makes them a good crop for shipping long distances.  If grown to the perfect level of ripeness, their dark purple flesh makes them one of the sweetest varieties. The Brown Turkey Fig is similar to the Black Mission in appearance, but a little lighter in color with green skin next to the stem. Brown Turkeys are known to be the largest growing fig and have beautiful rose-colored flesh.

IMG_3004The green fig varieties 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.  Adriatic, Kadota, and Calimyrna Figs will all hit the Bi-Rite shelves between now and the end of September. I can’t forget to mention the Candystripe Fig with its yellow skin and green stripes – it’s always a main attraction in the produce department in August! The flesh is crimson-colored and they taste like raspberry or strawberry jam.

Throughout the month of August we will be celebrating all of these amazing figs and the local farms that grow them! From Bi-Rite Farm in the foothills of the Sierra, to the legendary fig farmers at Knoll Farm in Brentwood, each fig variety will bring a different flavor to the table.  We are also highlighting the awesome Point Reyes Bay Blue Cheese and have adapted a killer recipe from our book, Eat Good Food, combining figs, blue cheese, and prosciutto that is going to blow your mind! Shop for the ingredients in our Markets or directly from our online store at Instacart.com and have them delivered to your door. And if you don’t remember what a big, juicy, ripe fig taste like please come by either Market and ask for a sample.

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Christine Mathias

Resolve to Eat Good Food This Year!

eat-good-food-coverAs the new year begins and we all decide how we want to improve ourselves or our lives, let’s consider the ritual of cooking. Food forms deep bonds, and making food for our family and friends with our own hands is a special kind of sharing; it’s a sharing of love, nourishment, and inspiration. Let’s all re-dedicate ourselves to the creation of simple, tasty, homemade food made with ingredients that are specialdelicious, local, and responsibly grown or made. Bi-Rite is here to help you make it happen! Following are six outstanding seasonal dishes from Eat Good Food, our go-to book written by Bi-Rite Family of Businesses Founder Sam Mogannam, that will motivate you to cook from the heart. Our Buyers each selected their favorite seasonal recipes, and to round out your meal, our Wine Buyer hand-picked a perfect wine to pair with each dish. Pick up copies of the recipes along with everything you need to create them at home. Happy New Year, happy cooking, and happy eating!

Our Meat Buyer, Chili, recommends:

  • Beef Stew with Peppers & Ale
    Wine pairing: Chateau Les Roches de Ferrand Fronsac Bordeaux, France 2007
  • Sumac-Roasted Chicken Du Monde
    Wine Pairing: Martincic Cvicek, Slovenia 2013    *give this wine a chill

Our Produce Buyer, Simon, recommends:

  • Fennel, Blood Orange & Avocado Salad
    Wine Pairing: Tatomer Gruner Veltliner Paragon, Santa Barbara 2013
  • Pan-Seared Broccolini 
    Wine Pairing: Farella Sauvignon Blanc Coombsville, Napa 2013

Our Grocery Buyer, Raph, recommends:

  • Bi-Rite Vinaigrette
  • Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers & Chile Flakes
    (Cheese Buyer Jon suggests topping it off with Fulvi Pecorino Romano!)
    Wine pairing: La Staffa Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Italy 2013

Our Cheese Buyer, Jon, recommends:

  • Grilled Manchego & Serrano Ham Sandwich with Membrillo
    Wine pairing: Luberri Orlegi Rioja, Spain 2013

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SumacChicken

FennelSalad

Broccolini

Spaghetti

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Young Food Writers Bring Litcrawl to 18 Reasons

Connor kicked off the show

Emma anchored the young author lineup

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.

Here’s Helena so eloquently delivering her story about the enjoyment of ice cream:

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!