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Archive for the ‘Eat Good Food’ Category


Good Food Awards: Accepting Entries through August 31st!

Calling all beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, spirits and new this year, confections crafters! The Good Food Awards has launched its third annual call for entries to American food producers–I’m looking at you!

Taking my last year's cheese judging duties seriously!

A blind tasting with Alice Waters, Nell Newman and 130 other judges (including myself and Anthea, our cheese buyer) will determine who is recognized as the Good Food Award winners of 2013.  The catch: everything must be produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The short online entry form and sustainability criteria are available here. The entry fee is $50, which goes to cover the sorting, storing and transporting of an anticipated 1,000 entries.

Annette Moldvaer of Square Mile Coffee - she flew in from London to judge, and is one of the world's top cuppers

All winners are honored at a gala awards ceremony with Alice Waters on January 18th, invited to sell their wares at the 15,000 person Good Food Awards Marketplace on January 19th, and can proudly display the Good Food Awards Seal all year long. Many of last year’s 99 winners also received special placements in Whole Foods Market, Williams Sonoma stores nationwide and independent grocers like ourselves (we’ve carried Emmy’s Pickles and Jams’ Turmeric Cauliflower, Chez Pim’s berry jams, and many more)! Many of the winners were covered in the San Francisco Chronicle, Atlantic Monthly, Washington Post and New York Times. Last year’s winners reported an increase in annual sales that is a strong signal of support for smaller scale food businesses across the country; together they bought about an estimated $800,000 worth of ingredients from sustainable farms, proof of the effect of their combined purchasing power.

Pickles judging

This year I’m extra excited about a new trade association that’s being formed alongside the awards: the Good Food Merchants Guild. Led by the values of transparency, innovation and responsible production, the Merchants Guild is at the frontier of America’s food movement. We’ve signed on as a Founders Circle member of the Guild, because we think it’s so important to find ways to unite, distinguish and connect Good Food businesses across the country. I’ve served as an adviser for the Guild in its start-up phase, and I think the influence of this organization could be huge.

The deadline for submission for a good food award is August 31: enter online at www.goodfoodawards.org today!

Susan, Michael, Linh and Morgan--our chefs put together some killer pork sliders with Good Food Award winning condiments for last year's reception!


 


Mark your calendars: Saturday, September 29th is Party on Block 18!

Every other year, we partner with the other 18th Street food businesses to thank our neighbors for supporting us, and raise money for six local nonprofits.

As with our 2008 and 2010 block parties, 18th Street will be closed off between Dolores and Guerrero to make room for tasty street food (short rib tacos, kati rolls or salted caramel ice cream, anyone?) and a wine and beer garden. Music performances will happen throughout the day, along with a pie baking contest (this year, the judging will take place inside 18 Reasons)! We’re excited to be joined by newcomers to our neighborhood this year, including namu gaji, Izakaya Yuzuki, and Pot and Pantry.

As in the past, all proceeds from the event (including money raised through tickets sales, sponsorship and the pie baking contest) will go directly to a handful of neighborhood non-profits selected by the organizers. This year, the beneficiaries will be 826 Valencia, 18 Reasons, Nextcourse, Buen Dia Family School, Holy Family Day Home and The Women’s Building.

The pie baking contest is for non-professional bakers. Pies will be judged based on flavor and appearance in the following categories: fruit, chocolate, nut and other. Entrants will be chosen on a first come, first served basis, notified via email by September 15th; click here to enter the contest.

Advance food and beverage tickets will be for sale in the weeks before the block party here, at Delfina, Dolores Park Café, Fayes, and Tartine Bakery. A book of 10 costs $20. Click here to buy your tickets online.

Join our Party on Block 18 Facebook page to get updates on menu items and other announcements leading up to the big day.

If you’d like to volunteer that day, or have any questions for the organizers, please drop us a line.

We’re so grateful to the neighborhood that supports all of our businesses day in and day out, and hope that Party on Block 18 is a chance for everyone to come out and celebrate together the relationships that have been formed in our community. The first two block parties were great and we expect this one to be even better, hoping to raise even more money than ever before for the six amazing organizations in our neighborhood that will greatly benefit from
everyone’s help.

See you there!


18+2: Introducing the Bi-Rite Family Farm

In the second episode of “18+2″, 18 Reasons’ new video series, we share the Bi-Rite Family Farm, 18 Reasons’ annual Farm School, and our thoughts on working with Heritage breeds and Heirloom varietals (as well as what those words mean!).

In addition to Farm School, 18 Reasons hosts a year-round Urban Gardening School with Garden for the Environment , monthly Farm to Table Dinner Conversations, and hands-on cooking classes  so you know what to do with all the veggies you learn to grow! We also collaborate with the farms who deliver produce to the Market for seasonal farm & ranch tours.

Our next farm to table dinner will be with Bi-Rite Family Farms in September; get your tickets here to meet Simon and Riley in person! Finally, in September we’re hosting a dinner with Hayes Valley Farm and author Robin Shulman about food production in urban environments; tickets are available here.


Shakirah

Jamming My Way Through the Food World

Three years ago this month, I ventured into the crazy world of food start-ups in San Francisco. My goal? To claim world domination through delicious, jewel-colored jars filled with fresh fruit, sugar, lemon and a whole lotta love. With a hint towards my production methods and a not-so-subtle nod to my favorite music genre, Slow Jams was born. With the help of La Cocina, I garnered a fair amount of attention, grew my business, and even made it to national TV. Not bad for a Harlem-raised girl who didn’t taste a fresh apricot until her first visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.

And then my life completely changed.

Along with being quite the foodie, I’m also a really big nerd. It turns out that the US State Department recognized said fact and I was awarded a prestigious 1-year Fulbright fellowship to attend the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. Selected to earn my Master’s degree in Food Culture and Communications, I tried to ready myself for copious wine tasting, olive oil sniffing and the consumption of ungodly amounts of cured pork products.

Alas, I had to say goodbye to Slow Jams and the momentum I had gained. But last year was incredible, from learning about traditional cheese-making in a hut atop the Dolomite mountains, to getting schooled by nonnas in the art of making tortelli pasta, to having thoughtful conversations about food sustainability with professors from around the world. Not to mention making my way through daily life in our tiny town with my Tarzan Italian (“Me want the cappuccino there now please!”).

However, in my heart, canning and preserving never went away. As I immersed myself in Italian food culture and traditions, I began to see parallels with our food culture here in the Bay Area. Throughout my travels, I sought ‘kindred canners’ and bonded across language barriers. I discussed sugar content and troublesome label-makers with a small-jam producer in Emilia. I learned secrets of mostarda in Reggio and discovered a native pumpkin only used for its pectin. I also taught “the American way” of canning for bemused audience of old and young Italians.

Earlier this year, I returned to the Bay a certified gastronome trying to find her place again in the food world. I knew canning and preserving would be a part of my life, as would my deep commitment to food systems work. So I asked my favorite dreamer-entrepreneur-foodie Sam if there was a place for me at Bi-Rite. As a new member of the Bi-Rite family, I now wear a number of hats. I’m working as our Community Coordinator, continuing our support of so many San Francisco organizations that need our help, and forging new programs that aim to increase access to healthy food across our city’s neighborhoods. I’m hosting our Sunday cooking classes at 18 Reasons (tickets are available for my blackberry-palooza on August 5th!) And as our in-house canner, I now work with our farmers, grocery and produce teams to make small-batch, seasonal preserves out of our Bi-Rite kitchens right here on 18th Street.

Macerating the peaches for my Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label jam

It would only make sense that pairing my jam expertise with the best of directly-sourced fruit from our farmers would yield some delicious new additions to the Bi-Rite shelves. Combining my trademark New York obsession with top quality, my commitment to preserving our Bay Area produce bounty, and a new hint of Italian flair, I’ve come up with several tasty preserves that we’ll offer in our new Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label line. Leave no cream scone untopped by my Summer Berry Jam; it’s clean, bold and fruit forward, bursting with fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. And be on the lookout for the Santa Rosa Plum Preserve I’ve made from the tart and sweet plums we harvested from our Sonoma Farm.

We’ll be sharing tastes of our new PUBLIC Label releases throughout the summer; swing by and say hi, I’m looking forward to seeing some new and old faces! I have lots more up my sleeve and am pumped to have my Bi-Rite fam on my side.

Jam on!


Announcing our new product line: Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label

Wow, do we ever have a creative, engaged and VOCAL community! When we reached out to ask for your input on a name for our new line of private label products, we had no idea we’d get hundreds of responses from our guests and staff. It was too much fun going through all of your ideas (we actually found good minds thinking alike with several of the names, usually the ones involving “Rite”!). Without further ado, we’ve chosen a name for our new line of private label products…

Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label

Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label redefines what a store line can be by sharing WHERE your food is from, WHO produced it and HOW it was made…and letting you taste before you buy, so you know it’s GOOD!

We want to turn the “private” in “private label” upside down. Our line is all about transparency: we’re sourcing the ingredients from farmers we have direct relationships with, partnering with kitchens in the Bay Area that have the capacity to can and jar larger quantities than we can, and providing the recipes ourselves. And we want to share the whole process with you. It’s part of our constant challenge to dig deeper and learn more about how food is made, minimize food waste, and make tasty foods the old fashioned way.

We’d love to hear what you think of the new name. Meanwhile Kristine, our store artist, is busy coming up with new graphics and labels for our shelves!

Join us Sunday in front of the Market from 2-5 to taste three of the first items in our Bi-Rite PUBLIC Label line:

Shakirah’s Mixed Berry Jam: Made by Shakirah Simley, Bi-Rite’s Community Coordinator and the founder of Slow Jams. Bursting with blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, and lower in sugar than most berry jams, it’s great paired with cream scones and Devonshire cream, or mixed with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, mint and sparkling water for a minty berry summer lemonade.

Our zingy Kohlrabi Kraut--you know what they say about colorful eating!

Kohlrabi Kraut: Made from Mariquita Farm’s Kohlrabi cabbage and Catalan Farm’s red cabbage, this bright, chunky kraut has notes of citrus and a kick from ginger and chili pepper. Kohlrabi is a stout cultivar of cabbage that will grow almost anywhere; it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants, with a unique magenta coloring.  The thick pieces of Kohlrabi in our Kraut are delicious on sandwiches, burgers, tuna salads, egg salads, or out of the jar. Available in a very limited quantity!

Strawberry Balsamic Sauce: Inspired by our Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream, Shakirah’s Strawberry Balsamic Sauce will bring the sweetness of Mariquita Farms berries into your pantry year round. With bright berry flavor and an exotic hint of brown sugar, black pepper and lime, we love this on top of vanilla ice cream, French Toast, or Bellwether Farms Ricotta.


Can You Come Up with the Name for Our New Private Label Products?

We thank our lucky stars often that we’re located in San Francisco, where the bounty and diversity of tasty Cali produce is so accessible to us. One of our city’s other advantages is the wealth of creative thinkers here, which is why we’re turning to all of you for our latest conundrum:

What should we name our new line of Bi-Rite private label products??

What should we name our private label line?

This line will include tasty items like:

  • The beef and pork from livestock we’re raising on our farm
  • Pickled veggies we’re making with the help of farmers and preservers in our Gleaning Project 
  • Honey we harvest from our rooftop and Sonoma hives
  • Tomato sauce we make and jar with the late summer harvest so you can taste the sweetness of local growers into the winter

What ties all of these together is that we’re doing them the old fashioned way. Unlike most private label lines, which are almost a case study in outsourcing, our goal is to learn through the process of making each of these foods, and to have an intimacy with all steps and people involved. We want to constantly dig deeper for greater transparency and less waste…and share what we’re learning!

Send us an email by Sunday, July 1st to give us your best shot at a name for this line–the winner will get a sampler box of pickles, preserves and sauces from our Gleaning Project (and see their suggested name printed on Bi-Rite jars for years to come)!


Simon

Diggin’ Deeper: Pigs and Garlic (but not together!) on our Farm

Only in the Bay Area does summer start with cold fog and drizzle.  Luckily the weather has been perfect since May and most of the crops on our farm in Sonoma have taken advantage.  The tomato plants are already 2 ½ feet tall, and the summer squash is starting to produce a lot of fruit.  As the farm grows, we continue to diversify the operation to improve the quality of the land and offer a more complete learning experience for our staff and community members who are involved.

As an extension of our Food Waste Challenge, and furthering our goal of learning what goes into making the food we sell, we’re raising pigs on our farm for the first time! 

Every morning, our produce staff collects a 50 gallon bag of veggie scraps from the Market.  We also have a slop bucket to collect dairy products and bread at expiration–all ingredients for  the perfect pig slop.  Every time anyone drives up to Sonoma, they bring a few buckets of these scraps that would otherwise go into the compost. We’re excited to limit the amount of waste at the store and in turn raise beautiful and healthy animals. The pigs are tended to on a daily basis, and love when Farmer Riley sprays them down with the hose and assists them in building their mud baths.  Since this is our first time raising pigs, we’re not quite sure when they’ll hit that perfect weight to harvest them, but our eight little piggies are growing fast–feeding the pigs is the new favorite activity at the farm!

A picture of patience: our garlic heads drying

Garlic is a crop that takes a lot of help from Bi-Rite staff to harvest and process, but is worth it so we can have something growing in the fields in the middle of the winter when most crops struggle.  It’s usually planted in late Fall and not harvested until 8-9 months later.  In order to plant a garlic crop, all of the bulbs have to be broken into individual cloves and planted 4-6 inches into the ground.  The crop usually needs weeding at least a couple times throughout the season.  When it comes time to harvest, we carefully dig up each bulb and hang them in large bunches to dry out.  When the moisture’s almost gone, the greens and roots are cut off, and the dirty outer layer peeled off each head.

This year I decided to grow our biggest crop of garlic yet, yielding plenty to share with our guests!  We planted the garlic cloves in mid-October and harvested them the 2nd week of June.  Unfortunately, the soil that we planted the garlic in was lacking in nutrients and didn’t produce large heads of garlic, but these lil suckers have large, easy-to-peel cloves, and are extra flavorful!  This was a learning experience for Riley and I, and continues to shine the light on the importance of crop rotation and adding amendments to the soil, whether through cover crops or compost.    We’re cleaning up the garlic right now and it should be in the produce department by July 1st.

One thing we’ve learned is that pigs don’t like eating garlic (or onions, or citrus)…simpler flavors for these guys!

Riley keeping the dirt happy

 


Kiko’s Food News, 4.20.12

I’ll be trolling the food-scape of Korea and Japan for the next few Fridays, so I hope this longer-than-usual digest will sustain you on food news until my return…

Is it a sign that the challenges of our food system have hit a breaking point when academics deem their study worthy of a degree? (full story, NY Times)

An economist applies his strategic approach to eking out the best of what restaurants have to offer; his tips include “beware the beautiful, laughing women “, “order what sounds least appetizing on the menu” and “prefer Pakistani to Indian and prefer Thai to Vietnamese”: (full story, The Atlantic)

Two new studies challenge our beliefs about food deserts, finding that such neighborhoods actually have more grocery stores and restaurants than others (did they look at the quality of fresh food available in these stores?); they also found no relationship between the type of food sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children: (full story, NY Times)

At least New York City’s authorities believe certain areas are in desperate need of fresh produce; since 2008 they’ve authorized 1,000 new permits for street vendors who sell only raw fruits and veggies as part of their Green Cart initiative: (full story, NY Times)

A growing “domestic fair trade” movement formally recognizes and rewards farms working to address social justice, and is pushing forward a new “Food Justice Certified” label for farms (such as Swanton Berry Farm in Santa Cruz, whose Chandler Strawberries are so tasty right now!): (full story, Civil Eats)

On the heels of the decision last month by the FDA to allow continued use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging, here’s a look at how exposure to BPA and other chemicals through food-contact plastics impacts our health: (full story, Washington Post)

Demand for chicken legs and thigh cuts is climbing as diners tire of white meat, TV cooking shows tout dark meat’s richer flavor, growing exports to foreign markets favor chicken on the bone, and rising US immigrant populations have a preference for dark meat: (full story, Wall Steet Journal)

I’m keeping my eyes on four new SF food businesses by the Flour + Water team–Central Kitchen (which will have a weatherproof back patio with hydroponic heating), Salumeria, Parlour bakery/café and Trick Dog bar–and found this diagram of how the block will be laid out helpful: (full story, Mission Local)

As a sucker for a dinner party, I have yet to try one of the online dinner party planning sites; the newest one acts as an organizer for a gathering–a place to list the menu, invite guests, and offset costs by adding a “chip-in” price: (full story, Tasting Table)

 


Inspiration, Sweetness & Harvest: 18 Reasons’ Summer Farm Tour Series

Yeehaw: 18 Reasons is hitting the road this summer! Rosie and I are excited to introduce our Farm Tour Series. Once a month in June, July and August will we get the chance to meet some of the inspiring farmers we work with at Bi-Rite.

In the first tour with our trusty tour guide Simon Richard (Bi-Rite’s head farmer & produce buyer), we’ll visit two incredibly inspirational farms, Mariquita Farm and Catalan Farm, who each grow and sell an endless variety of gorgeous veggies and fruits throughout the year.  In the second tour we’ll visit Yerena and Tomatero Farms, lip-smacking berry farms that send the message home that organic and local tastes so much better! In the last, but certainly not least August tour we’ll head north to Sonoma and visit Bi-Rite Family Farm and Oak Hill Farm. Lunch is provided by Bi-Rite Market and is included in the ticket price for each tour. We will facilitate carpooling to each farm and will reimburse drivers for the gas that they use.

Ticket price includes lunch, reimbursement for gas for those who drive and the opportunity to meet the amazing farmers that are changing our world.

The Farm Series: Early Summer Inspiration
Saturday, June 30, 9AM-5PM, Ticketed
$40 member price/ $50 general admission
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/236886

The Farm Series: Mid-Summer Sweetness
Saturday, July 21, 9AM-5PM, Ticketed
$40 member price/ $50 general admission
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/236889

The Farm Series: Late Summer Harvest
Saturday, August 25, 9AM-5PM, Ticketed
$40 member price/ $50 general admission
Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/236890


Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup: SF Mom takes on Eat Good Food Recipe

San Francisco local Heather Knape moderates our 18 Reasons Food Lit Book Club and writes a blog called Eating Dirt about growing, cooking and eating food with her family. We invited her to try a recipe from Eat Good Food to see how cooking it would fit into her lifestyle as a busy mom and how it went over with the kids! She shared her experience with us:

Spring has sprung, sort of. The snap peas my kids and I planted last year are flowering on the deck, early asparagus is in the market and citrus is reaching its peak for the year. But the time for a dinner celebrating the commencement of bountiful growth hasn’t quite arrived – lamb is good, yet the price of asparagus is still high and there is no rhubarb in sight. About the only harbinger of Spring I can reliably find in good supply is green garlic- though that in itself is a much awaited treat.

Sam’s Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup is an especially good recipe for this anticipatory time of year. It straddles the seasons deliciously, relying on winter holdovers of potato and parsnip as a base, with the brightness of celery root and green garlic to highlight the season. In addition to providing a great opportunity to talk to kids about how garlic matures from a stalk to a bulb, it gives those of us living where greens grow year round a gustatory glimpse into the warming of local soil, like crocus pushing up through the snow in colder climates.

Served with salad this soup makes a great dinner. To entice younger eaters in my house I float tiny meatballs on top; they eat it up. A thermosful also makes a great take-away lunch, both for parents and first graders. Good with homemade croutons, carrot sticks, an apple and a spoon packed alongside.

Potato, Parsnip and Celery Root Soup (adapted from Eat Good Food, p122):
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced
salt
2 large waxy potatoes, peeled and diced (yukon gold are good)
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced (or rutabagas or turnips)
1 medium celery root, peeled and diced
2 stalks green garlic, chopped
1 t ground mustard
4 large sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine (leave this out if you want to send it to school)
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (homemade or storemade)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cream
1 T lemon juice
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat.

2. Add the leeks, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 6-8 minutes. The leeks will become translucent, be careful not to let them brown or burn. Add the potatoes, parsnip, celery root and garlic. Cover the pot and let it cook gently for 10 minutes or so, then add the mustard, thyme and bay leaf for a couple more minutes.

3. Add the wine now if you are using it, then cook until it has evaporated.

4. Add the broth, cover the pot partially and increase the heat to medium high. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to keep it simmering gently. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until the vegetables are starting to break down.

5. To finish, remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf. Then puree the soup, either with an immersion blender, or by letting it cool and then blending it in small batches. Stir in the cream and lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve with chives and homemade croutons on top. To make the croutons, cut bread into cubes, then sauté in butter and sprinkle with salt.