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Archive for the ‘Eat Good Food’ Category


Enjoying the Peak of Tomato Season

IMG_5651One of the most exciting times of year in the Bay Area is when the local farms start harvesting tomatoes in early June. By the time September rolls around, the local tomato season has hit its peak. All the local farmers from the Pescadero Coast to the Sierra foothills have vine-ripened tomatoes that offer different flavors depending on the growing practices and climate. Throughout September in at both Bi-Rite Markets, we are celebrating the Tomato Triple Play, which highlights three different tomato crops— Heirloom, Cherry, and Dry-Farmed Early Girls. All of the tomatoes we sell during the season come straight off the field to our shelves, allowing our growers to let them stay on the plant a little longer and develop that perfect flavor before picking. Be sure to check out our recommended pairings to make the most of your tomatoes–just visit our store on Instacart.com for a shopping list, and  even order everything you need online for delivery in San Francisco in under an hour!

Heirloom Tomatoes are an open-pollinated variety that have been circulating among farmers and backyard gardeners for more than 50 years—and many of the varieties were introduced before 1940! Heirlooms are not only important because they offer us so many different shapes and sizes to cook with, but they allow us to maintain genetic diversity in the agricultural world. The Cherokee Purple Tomato is one of the most popular. With its thin skin and meaty texture, the juicy, acidic flesh offers a rich, old-fashioned sweet flavor. They take BLTs and Caprese salads to the next level of enjoyment.

Cherokee Purple Heirlooms

Cherokee Purple Heirlooms

We are currently getting Cherokee Purples from Bluehouse Farm in Pescadero and Mariquita Farm in Watsonville. Another popular heirloom is the Brandywine Tomato.  Farmers love them because they get huge on the plants and the meaty flesh doesn’t break down easily when ripe.  Don’t let the large size fool you! These are one of the sweetest tomatoes out there. The Green Zebra Tomato is a small variety that starts out green but turns yellow with green stripes when it’s ripe. The sweet/tart flavor works really well with salsas and salads.

Our guests really get excited about tomatoes when the Dry-farm Early Girls hit our shelves! About 10 years ago we started selling these tomatoes from Two Dog Farm in Davenport. They’re the first farm in Northern California to grow these Early Girls, and over the past 5 years more farms have made the effort. Dry-farming is a farming technique used in a lot of climates where there’s not much rain. The roots of the plants can tap into moisture in the soil and go through the entire growing season with no irrigation. Two Dog Farm grows on the coast, getting moisture from the fog and the high water table in the soil allowing them to never water. The resulting tomatoes are usually smaller and lower in yield, but they pack pleasantly intense flavor and a dense, firm texture. 


Dry-farm Early Girls

Unfortunately, Two Dog Farm lost a majority of its crop this season due to the heat wave that hit the Bay Area. Crops grown on the cool coast can’t handle the heat! But we’ll have plenty of the tasty Dry-farm Early Girls from Live Earth Farm, Bluehouse Farm, and Tomatero Farm for the rest of the season.

When Heirlooms and Dry-farm Tomatoes are in full swing the Cherry Tomato varieties just don’t get the same amount of love. Cherry Tomatoes might be one of the easiest plants to grow, but keeping up with the daily harvesting and their delicate nature can make them a challenging crop for farmers. Similar to Heirlooms, there are a ton of different varieties but only a handful of them make sense for the retail marketplace. The Sweet 100 Tomato is one of the most popular for farmers to grow because they are a classic red tomato, extra sweet, and keep producing large clusters of fruit for most of the season. The Sun Gold Cherry Tomato is the most popular non-red tomato out there, with their sweet-but-tart flavor that explodes in your mouth.

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

The Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato is a teardrop-shaped tomato with tangy flavor and low acidity. You can get them along with our Sweet 100 and Sun Golds combined in a mixed baskets. Cherry Tomatoes are not only a perfect snack for kids, but they can add a flare to pasta dishes and almost any salad. They’re especially wonderful in cucumber salads!

One of the best parts of having all these local tomatoes at the Bi-Rite is that we get use them throughout the Family of Businesses—from the world-famous Gazpacho in the Deli to the Mozzarella and Cherry Tomato Skewers on the Bi-Rite Catering Summer menu. We also have an endless number of grocery items that enhance the tomato experience like the Public Label Tuscan Style Olive oil, Pt. Reyes Mozzarella, and Josey Baker’s Breads.  Do you know which tomato variety is your favorite? If not, this is the perfect time to swing by one of the Markets and ask for some tomato samples so you’re better prepared for tomato season next year. Enjoy!


Stacks ‘o Racks on sale for Labor Day

Summer is coming to a close and we’ve got a fantastic price on BN Ranch‘s California-Raised, Grass-fed Racks of Lamb! For just one week – August 31 through September 6 – BN’s Racks will be on sale for $21.99/lb. (normally $29.99/lb.). These mild and tender chops are a great way to say goodbye to summer. So get your grill ripping hot, give these beauties a couple kisses on the hot flame and enjoy the ideal choice for a light summer meal.  Looking for the perfect Labor Day dish?  Try our Grilled Lamb Chop with Cucumber Raita recipe from the Markets or on our online store at Instacart.com!

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Celebrate Hogust at the Markets

LargeBlack-tag-04Over the last few months we have started to introduce more local pork producers committed to raising various heritage breeds.  I really feel that pork is one of the more complex proteins, and its flavor profile is greatly influenced by breed, feed, and terroir.  It is this thought that drove the idea of creating “Hogust,” our celebration of rare and heritage pork breeds throughout the month of August.

Since 2005, Bi-Rite and Heritage Foods USA have partnered to support small family farms that are committed to raising unique breeds of hogs with varied flavors and tastes.  Through the entire month of August we will be highlighting center-cut pork chops from breeds like the Tamworth, Old Spot, Duroc, Large Black, and my favorite, the Red Wattle.

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So raise a glass to “Hogust,” and take advantage of this opportunity to taste experience pork from the breed perspective.  Be sure to visit our butchers throughout the month to try our rotating selection of heritage pork. To quote our friends at Heritage Foods, in order to preserve this amazing breed diversity, “You have to eat ‘em to save ‘em!”  See our field guide for flavor profiles to find your favorite breed, and what better way to taste the difference than in our Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Figs recipe, adapted from Eat Good Food? Shop the recipe in both Markets or from our online store at Instacart.com. Enjoy!





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.


Jon Fancey

Better Summer Living Through Cheese

Cheese isn’t just for the holidays or special events.  Serving a selection of cheese is a great way to impress your guests at your next summertime gathering, too! Whether you’re hosting a casual backyard BBQ, a spontaneous picnic at the park, or an extravagant weekend brunch –- don’t forget the cheese. Here are some of the cheeses we love at Bi-Rite that I’ll be sharing with my friends this IMG_2967summer:

Alemar Cheese Company’s Good Thunder – Keith Alemar started crafting cheese from organic milk in 2008 – and now his small creamery in Mankato, Minnesota is providing us with some of our favorite soft-ripened cheeses.  Good Thunder has been a work in progress for the past couple of years, and it now tastes better than ever –- milky, meaty, and just slightly pungent.  This little brick of cheese that’s washed in Surly Brewing’s Bender Oatmeal Ale would be perfect with any Olympia Provisions charcuterie and is a great option for any summertime cheese board.

Uplands Cheese Company’s Pleasant Ridge Reserve – Andy Hatch is one of our favorite cheese makers, and his stunning pasture on Pleasant Ridge in southwest Wisconsin’s Driftless region is one of our favorite farms to visit.  Pleasant Ridge Reserve is an Alpine-style cheese made with the milk of one of America’s most beautiful herds.  The wheels we’re selling right now in the Markets have been matured for a year and have deep flavors of toasted nuts and brown butter.  This sturdy cheese is perfect for picnics and day trips –- a great one to take to Sonoma to enjoy with just about any bottle of red wine.

IMG_1819Jasper Hill Farm’s Bayley Hazen Blue – Jasper Hill Farm is nestled in the rolling green hills of Vermont’s Northeastern Kingdom, and is committed to nurturing the region’s dairy and cheese-making traditions.  Bayley Hazen is crafted with raw cow’s milk, and has a delicious fudgy texture with flavors of grass and nuts.  It’s delicious melted on a burger or crumbled on a steak -– it can also be an easy dessert when served with the season’s best stone fruit and local honey.

Marin French Cheese’s Petit Crème – The folks at Petaluma’s Marin French Cheese are celebrating their 150th Anniversary this summer and we’re proud to offer their little bloomy rind button.  Crafted with cow’s milk from neighboring farms – this baby brie is mild, milky, and perfect for any occasion.

Cheese is a crowd pleaser for all of your summer events — come to the 18th Street and Divisadero markets and chat with our Cheese team!

Christine Mathias

Big Spoon Roasters + Bi-Rite = LOVE

We are thrilled to include among our amazing producers the wonderful Big Spoon Roasters of Durham, North Carolina. Where our products come from, how they’re made, and the quality and transparent sourcing of their ingredients are of paramount importance to our team of Buyers at Bi-Rite. What’s fantastic about Big Spoon is that Founder Mark Overbay is right there with us, and his philosophy that IMG_2238“food matters”–to our health, happiness, and planet–is in alignment with out beliefs.

Big Spoon makes handcrafted nut butters. These include Peanut, of course, but also Almond, Cashew, Almond Ginger, Chai Spice, Mission Almond, Peanut Cashew, and many more. Only the best ingredients are used, like fresh Runner peanuts from the Carolinas, organic Pawnee pecans, and raw wildflower honeys. Just as important is what is not added: these butters contain no palm oil, and no preservatives. Each small batch is roasted, milled, and packaged while it’s still warm, and made to order. So, how does someone even get started making what Bon Appetit called,“Some of the Country’s Best Nut Butter?”

Mark tried handcrafted peanut butter when he was a Peace Corps Volunteer many moons ago. While in Zimbabwe, he witnessed small-scale farmers IMG_2266harvesting and roasting fresh peanuts, crushing them with a mortar and pestle, and folding in honey and salt. It was a transformative experience for someone who had loved peanut butter his entire life. This was his point of reference a decade later when, in 2010 at his North Carolina home, he had the brilliant idea to recreate that delicious and simple recipe using ingredients sourced in his local area.

And Big Spoon works very hard to make a difference;  Mark says he created Big Spoon Roasters, in part, “as a response to the over-industrialization of one of the world’s simplest pleasures and most prevalent pantry staples–peanut butter.” North Carolina is ranked sixth in the United States in peanut production, and Big Spoon is proud to be able to invest in farmers who share Big Spoon’s ideals of delicious, nutritious food that is good for everyone IMG_2554involved in its production. Transparency and trust are key components of their relationships with local and regional farmers. And Mark has said that realizing the food supply chain is really a “link of human lives” informs everything Big Spoon Roasters does.

We are carrying several flavors of Big Spoon Nut Butter at both the 18th Street and Divisadero Bi-Rite Markets. Look for the displays in both stores, and definitely make sure you have a taste! We are thrilled to be involved with such a great company, and look forward to sharing their story and their butters with you. Mark Overbay and Big Spoon Roasters are the embodiment of the Bi-Rite mission of Creating Community Through Food.


Fresh-Caught, Wild King Salmon Is Now Just $19.99! Through 6/9/15

You’ve waited for it all spring, now wait no more! At its peak of flavor, our fillets of fresh-caught, wild King Salmon are now just $19.99/lb until June 9, 2015. Bake it, broil it, grill it, or poach it, this is the best deal of the season!  Whether you’re cooking for two, four or just yourself, our chefs have you covered with some of our favorite salmon recipes.  Try the sumptuous Slow Baked, Herb-Crusted Salmon, or our Seared Salmon with Late Spring Succotash – the time is now to enjoy Wild King Salmon fillets, just $19.99 at both Divis and 18th Street.

Seared Salmon with Late Spring Succotash Slow Baked, Herb Crusted Salmon


The Joy of Masumoto Stone Fruit


Rose Diamond Nectarines

It’s usually three to four weeks into California stone fruit season before the flavor of peaches and nectarines really starts popping with that textbook balance of sweetness and acidity. Almost all the peaches and nectarines that hit the shelves at the Bi-Rite Markets are from farms that we’ve built mutually-beneficial relationships with over several years. A couple of seasons ago we were able to take our peach and nectarine selection to new heights with a new farm-direct relationship with Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey, CA. This beautiful 80-acre orchard is located just 15 minutes south of Fresno, and was purchased by the Masumoto family in 1948. Author and third-generation farmer, David “Mas” Masumoto, has mastered the art of building soil to support the growth of their beautiful trees, and they always harvest their fruit at the perfect level of ripeness.

Before I jump into all the stone fruit varieties that Masumoto grows, you’ll notice one thing they all have in common: beautiful yellow flesh. The Masumoto family is in love with the tang of the yellow flesh fruit and their sugar/acid balance that screams WOW!  This season Masumoto is trying some new farming techniques on a handful of selected trees in their orchard. They are watering less and not pruning as heavily, which produces “petite” stone fruit. These small little sugar bombs pack enjoyment for all!


Spring Lady Peaches

And for the uninitiated, peaches and nectarines are categorized in two ways: freestone and clingstone.  When the meat (flesh) of the fruit is attached to the pit, this is clingstone variety; they are sometimes the best eating but hard to work with in the kitchen. The flesh of the freestone varieties are completely detached from the pit, which makes them easier to work with for canning, freezing, and cooking.

Just last week, Masumoto sent us their first yellow peach variety of the season! They were harvested earlier in the year than ever before because of the warm winter and drought.  The clingstone Spring Lady Peach is a very juicy piece of fruit with a medium acidity level, and is just the thing to get the taste buds ready for what’s to come.

After the subtle flavor of the Spring Lady, the next stone fruit variety the Masumotos are harvesting is the clingstone Rose Diamond Yellow Nectarine.  Mas Masumoto’s daughter and fellow farmer, Nikiko, refers to the Rose Diamond as a “mini fire cracker.” The Rose Diamond is usually a large, richly-flavored nectarine with beautiful red skin, but this year the drought means smaller fruit that’s packing an extra sweet punch.

As for the rest of the season, in early June we should be seeing the semi-freestone Gold Dust Yellow Peach. Some folks consider this the best early-season variety of peach, with its firm texture and rich, sweet flavor. It’s the textbook peach for grilling! The Gold Dust will be shortly followed by one of the most popular varieties in California, the freestone Flavor Crest Yellow Peach. This variety is popular for conventional growers, who like a firm piece of fruit that can travel but also has good levels of sugar.  Next up is everyone’s favorite, the freestone Sun CrestIMG_2573 Yellow Peach, which is a large peach with a red-blushed skin and juicy texture. This is the peach that put the Masumoto Family Farm on the map! And the last variety of stone fruit we will see from Masumoto is the clingstone Le Grand Yellow Nectarine. The Le Grand is a large piece of fruit with a rich, sweet flavor and firm flesh, which makes it awesome for making nectarine ice cream.

Tree-ripened peaches and nectarines 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 the market and make it happen! Just ask us, we’re always happy to share a taste.

Here are a couple of recipes, created by Stephany from our Produce Team at 18th Street, to help you celebrate stone fruit season. Enjoy!






Jon Fancey

Fresh Cheese Makes All the Difference

Burrata, Chevre, Fromage Blanc, Queso Fresco, Mozzarella–these are just a handful of the fresh cheeses available here at Bi-Rite Market. Fresh cheeses are the best expression of the milk that’s used to make them, and they are easy to enjoy every day! May and June bring a bounty of stone fruit, berries, and tomatoes so it’s the perfect time of the year to pair them up with these fresh cheeses crafted in California. Here are a few you can look out for when you’re shopping at Bi-Rite!


Andante Dairy Fresh Goat Cheese

Andante Dairy Fresh Goat Cheese – Soyoung Scanlan is a true renaissance woman: musician, biochemist, dairy scientist, and cheese maker. We sell a small selection of her cheeses at both Bi-Rite Markets, and her fresh rounds of goat’s cheese are the favorite of staff and guests.  Made one day a week in Sonoma County and delivered to the markets the following day, it’s always the freshest cheese in our case. Perfect with peaches and berries or a glass of rose.

Pennyroyal Farm Laychee – Boontling is a jargon spoken in one specific part of Northern California. Laychee means “milk” in Boontling and is an appropriate name for this fresh cheese from Boonville. It’s crafted from the milk of a small herd of goats that graze this Mendocino farm, neighboring the famed Navarro Vineyards.  It’s one of our favorite brunch cheeses — sweet, creamy, and spreadable – and pairs well with sparkling wines.


Burrata from DiStefano Cheese Company

Di Stefano Cheese Company Burrata – Mimmo Bruno started working in an Italian cheese factory at the age of 11, earning $1 a week. In 1993 the Bruno family opened the Di Stefano Cheese Company in Southern California and introduced Americans to Burrata!  These cream bombs of stracciatella wrapped in a delicate mozzarella shell are a much-loved specialty of Puglia, the region Bruno and his family call home. Serve it as an appetizer with crusty bread and charcuterie, as a side dish with grilled vegetables, or as a dessert with roasted strawberries and a glass of Moscato d’Asti.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Fresh Mozzarella – The Giaconmini Family has been operating their dairy from the rolling green hills overlooking Tomales Bay for more than 55 years. Their beautiful land and herd of cows produce amazing milk that’s easily tasted in this fresh mozzarella. A favorite of guests at both Bi-Rite Markets: this is the cheese to use with this season’s best tomatoes!

Please come by and ask our knowledgable and friendly Cheese Team about our incredible fresh cheeses. They can help with pairings, wine suggestions, and are a great bunch of folks who love to share tastes and knowledge. Looking forward to seeing you!

Jason Rose

New Catering Menu: Celebrating Spring’s Bounty

IMG_1605The birds are chirping, the grass is greener and the flowers are blooming; this means one thing. Spring is in the air and it’s time to celebrate! At Bi-Rite Catering we like to celebrate these moments with delicious food and great company, and we have some exciting announcements to make.

First, our new seasonal menu is here and truly mouthwatering. Fresh peak of season ingredients such as asparagus are used to create our delicious Savory Tartlets with Potato, Asparagus, Goat Cheese & Chive, and our Mini Baguette Sandwiches with Grilled Asparagus, Fromage Blanc, Roasted Mushrooms & Lemon Herb Pesto.  See our full new peak of season menu, which is available now, here.



table_hopper_wineblitz_135x100We are also excited to announce that Bi-Rite Catering is joining Bi-Rite Market’s Spring Wine Blitz, and offering a 20% discount on cases of wine with your catering order from Monday April 27th to May 3rd.  This is the perfect opportunity to stock up for your upcoming graduation parties, wedding celebrations, or your next cocktail party.

Here are some of our favorite wines to pair with our new seasonal menu.

  • Try Ultraviolet Cabernet Sauvignon with our Sumac & Smoked Paprika Lamb Skewers.
  • Rustichella Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Asparagus, English Peas, Artichokes, Spring Garlic Confit & Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette pairs perfectly with Teira Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Enjoy our Hodo Soy Grilled Tofu & Black Rice Salad with Pea Sprouts, Bi-Rite Farm Pickled Spicy Peppers, Edamame and Ginger-Rice Wine Vinaigrette with the Tierra Divina “REDS” Zinfandel blend.


To place a Catering order, or to consult with us about your event, contact us at www.biritecatering.com

Phone:  (415) 321-8070 x1  Email: catering@biritemarket.com

At Bi-Rite Catering, we combine the delicious locally-sourced, fresh, organic ingredients we sell at Bi-Rite Market with sweets from Bi-Rite Creamery, and produce from Bi-Rite Farms to create our menus. For all your parties, large to small, corporate or private, at a rented venue or in your home, we pride ourselves on serving really delicious food, simply presented, that will nourish your guests while supporting our local community.