Home Archive by category 'Producers Whose Food We Celebrate' (Page 2)

Archive for the ‘Producers Whose Food We Celebrate’ Category


Raph

New Nana Joe’s Chef’s Blend–Featuring Sam Mogannam!

Local granola producer Michelle Pusateri of Nana Joe’s is a great friends of ours, and she makes wonderful products that we really love and are huge favorites of our guests.  Based here in San Francisco, Michelle exemplifies the small, hands-on, community-oriented approach that we admire when producing her outstanding granola. We’ve been stocking Nana Joe’s since they first opened their doors, so we’re very excited to have collaborated with Michelle in a new way to produce a great new granola.

Nana Joe's michelle

Michelle of Nana Joe’s

Each month, Michelle collaborates with a San Francisco chef to create a special Chef’s Blend Granola. She’s already worked with some of the best chefs in San Francisco, and now we can add our very own Sam Mogannam to that list. Sam is not just the founder of Bi-Rite Market, he’s also my brother! He’s also a fixture in and passionate supporter of the local food community, and a mentor for budding food entrepreneurs. Before founding Bi-Rite, Sam was a chef at his own restaurant, and co-author of Eat Good Food, the grocery buyer’s guide that is available on the shelves at our Markets.

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Sam Mogannam

We’re honored to have Sam join the distinguished ranks of San Francisco chefs who have created granola recipes for Nana Joe’s Chef’s Blends. We’re thankful to count Michelle and the crew at Nana Joe’s as friends and grateful that we get to stock their granola on our shelves. Says Sam, “I wanted to work with Nana Joe’s because I know the quality and integrity of the final product is guaranteed to be GOOD. The ingredients I chose are an inspiration from my Mother and a blend of my favorite Mediterranean flavors. Enjoy!”

Nana Joe's shelf

Sam’s granola recipe includes certified gluten-free oats, along with the following organic ingredients: toasted almonds, Grade B maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, dried apricots, Medjool dates, toasted sesame seeds, crystalized ginger, fennel pollen and Maldon Sea Salt.

Sam’s Chef’s Blend will only be available temporarily, so make sure to get some soon. You can pick it up at either of our Markets. It’s not to be missed!


Not All Parmigiano-Reggiano is Created Equal

Did you know that Parmigiano-Reggiano is our best-selling cheese here at Bi-Rite Market?  There’s a lot of Parmigiano-Reggiano out in the world, but here at Bi-Rite we’re on a mission to celebrate our Parmigiano-Reggiano in particular–and remind ourselves that not all Parmigiano-Reggiano is created equal.

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Daniele’s house and workspace

For one thing, we know our cheesemaker’s name! Most of the wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano that we sell come from one farm and are made by Daniele Caldera. Daniele runs the farm, raises the cows, and also makes cheeses. The room where he makes cheese is right downstairs from the one in which he lives. It houses just three copper kettles and Daniele never makes more than six wheels of cheese a day. And (how fun is this?) ­–each day, Daniele bevels the wheels of cheese made the night before and mixes the cheese scraps with eggs for his breakfast. What a way to start the morning! Our wheels are aged for a minimum of twenty-four months, though usually they are closer to twenty-eight months. With a big wheel of this kind, a longer aging process allows for the development of deeper, more complex flavor.

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Click this image to watch a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano get cracked open right before your eyes!

Parmigiano-Reggiano’s status as our best-selling cheese allows us to buy it in whole wheels–these large beauties are 80 pounds!–and break them down at each store using the traditional Italian knives. Every week we look forward to Wednesday, when we crack new wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s a magical moment as the cheese splits and is revealed, exposing it to air for the first time in twenty-four to twenty-eight months. When you’re buying whole wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano, the cheese ages as long as it’s kept whole, and the quality of flavor from a freshly cut wheel is one of the most exciting things to a cheese-lover. In Daniele’s cheese this flavor is brothy and bright with notes of fruity pineapple, and the finish is long and deep.

Parmigiano-Reggiano is a wonderful grating cheese and perfect with the arrival of spring’s first asparagus, but it’s a cheese too beautiful to be relegated solely to the role of an ingredient. Add a wedge to your next cheese plate and drizzle it with a little bit of aged balsamic for a decadent, hearty treat!


Simon

Asparagus is Here!

asparagus At Bi-Rite we love to celebrate local, organic crops, and one of the most exciting vegetable crops of the late winter and early spring is asparagus. Around this time of year asparagus gets highlighted in lush bunches and fanciful dishes at markets and restaurants throughout the Bay Area, and the shelves at both Bi-Rite Markets are no exception.

Asparagus is a flowering perennial that can be a tricky crop to grow – once it starts producing, it needs to be harvested every day so that the stalks don’t get too long. One producer who gets it just right is Full Belly Farm of Yolo County, California. Because we work with Full Belly, we are able to offer our guests extra-fresh asparagus from the end of February through May, which makes this the ideal time to stop by and pick some up.

Why is extra-fresh asparagus so exciting to us? Asparagus is high in dietary fiber and is a good source of Vitamin B, K and C.  It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities which make it a great cancer-fighter.  And in addition to being one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, asparagus can be prepared in many different ways. Try pairing it with other spring veggies like spring onion, peas and tarragon to make an amazing omelet. On its own, it’s perfect dressed with olive, grilled and topped with shaved Pecorino Romano.

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Beautiful asparagus and fresh Burrata proudly stand shoulder to shoulder at our Markets

But for a real treat for the palate, try pairing this excellent asparagus with the fresh Burrata available in our Cheese Department. This Italian cheese is a study in contrast in itself, combining the texture of solid mozzarella with a decadent, pleasing filling of cheesy cream. But when paired with asparagus, the combinations of flavor and texture are enthralling, and since the asparagus we have in right now has superior flavor and texture, the combo is all the better. You can find asparagus and Burrata placed conveniently side-by-side in the produce sections of both of our Market locations. Come by and let us show you how healthy, fun and gratifying this pairing can be!


Chili

Heritage Foods USA: Providers of Our Rare and Heritage Breed Pork

I’m proud of all of the beautiful, truly special and delicious, sustainably-raised meat in our Butcher cases at Bi-Rite 18th Street and Bi-Rite Divisadero. The cases themselves, and our amazing Deli and Butcher staff who stand behind them, are the hearts of our stores.

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a Heritage Red Wattle piglet and a friend

Our cases feature meat from suppliers we know and trust, and one of my favorites is the great folks at Heritage Foods USA. Heritage is a meat distributor that provides us with center-cut pork chops, Porterhouse pork chops, boneless pork chops (great pan-seared with roasted fingerling potatoes for the perfect cold-weather dinner), St. Louis-style pork ribs, smoked hamhocks (an essential component for making the perfect split-pea soup) and slab bacon. These products are exceptional because of the thought and care that Heritage puts into their operation from top to bottom.

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a Heritage Duroc pig

Heritage understands the value of preserving rare and heritage breeds. Factory farming places a dangerous emphasis on cheaper breed uniformity, and the hands-on care that family farms take in raising rare and heritage breeds results in animals that live healthier, happier lives and produce really flavorful cuts of meat. I love that these are not commodity animals; they’re no longer part of our regular food system because they’re neither easy nor efficient to raise. They’re nothing like what you would buy from a chain grocery store. This ultimately produces a safer food supply, since breed diversity helps buttress the supply chain against novel pathogens that can sometimes wipe out whole breeds and lead to food shortages.

I also like that I have a truly personal relationship with Heritage. None of the animals we sell are butchered until I place an order. And I can be sure that the animals are being cared for and slaughtered humanely, because I’ve personally visited four family farms with whom Heritage works, as well as the processing facility that handles the animals. Since I’m the last step in the chain before the meat gets onto your table, I like to know exactly what takes place at every step behind me, and Heritage have always been supportive in showing me how their operation runs. The farms they work with are small, run by families across generations: hard-working individuals committed to producing pork that’s miles above the supermarket options that get marketed as “the other white meat.”

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Heritage animals feed and mate naturally at their own pace

Heritage believes firmly in the value of allowing their animals to feed and mate naturally. They support family farms that don’t use artificial growth hormones or antibiotics. Heritage does the kind of business we love at Bi-Rite–the kind that supports communities, nurtures a stable and bountiful food supply chain and produces great-tasting food.

You can use Heritage pork to make this great recipe from the book by Bi-Rite Founder Sam Mogannam, Eat Good Food. Come by either of our Market locations to get everything you need for this recipe!

Pan-Fried Pork Cutlets with Bing Cherries (serves 2)

¾ cup Bing Cherries (about 18 cherries)

6 center-cut, ½-inch-thick boneless pork chops (aka cutlets, about 14 ounces total)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 cup salt-free chicken stock or salt-free broth (see Note)

Pit the cherries and cut half of them in half. Set aside.

Season the pork with ¾ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and let come to room temperature.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add as many pork chops as will fit in a roomy single layer and let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. When the first side is golden brown, flip and cook until just firm and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the pork to a plate, cover loosely with foil, and repeat with any remaining chops.

Lower the heat to medium and add the shallot and half the butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots start to soften, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, Dijon, sage and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft and the pan is almost dry. Add the stock along with any juices that have accumulated under the cutlets. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the cherries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to one-fourth of its original volume, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat, season with more salt if desired, and swirl in the remaining half of the butter. Pour the sauce over the chops and serve immediately.


Raph

Unforgettable Valentine’s Day Sweets for your Sweetie

Valentine’s Day approaches! I really enjoy sourcing our chocolate selection here at Bi-Rite, with a goal of providing a range of sweets for every taste, and helping our guests to find something special to share with loved ones. Chocolate is a sure way to put a smile on someone’s face and make their day truly special.

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Valentine’s display at our 18th Street store

Chocolat Moderne is a producer I love to work with for special holidays, and they never disappoint. Their “Baby, you’re the one!” assortment has dark, white, and milk chocolate hearts with pink and red swirls that look like the unfolding petals of a rose. The flavors include passion fruit cardamom caramel, raspberry rendez-vous dark ganache, sea salted caramel, and a dark ganache laced with Tuthilltown Spirits Baby Bourbon. A truly stunning and unique collection!

You can always find chocolates on our shelves from renowned local chocolatier Neo Cocoa, named by Dessert Professional as one of the “Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America.” This February we’re excited about their Neo Cocoa Dark Raspberry Truffles, which combine bold, red raspberry with rich, dark chocolate for a classic pairing of Valentine’s flavors. Neo Cocoa are known for their luxuriously melt-in-your-mouth chocolate experience.

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Individually hand-made truffles from gâté comme des filles chocolatier Alexandra Whisnant

For a lovingly hand-crafted option that makes a truly special Valentine’s gift, we’re thrilled about one of the newest additions to our chocolate selections, gâté comme des filles. These exquisite truffles are made to order in small batches each week by master chocolatier Alexandra Whisnant, who trained for her patisserie degree in France before working for Berkeley’s world-renowned restaurant Chez Panisse. Each ganache is hand-whisked to create a filling both fluffy and rich, with flavors that peak within the first few days after production. This month our shelves will be graced with some surprise special Valentine’s flavors created by Alexandra for the holiday, so come by either of our Market locations to pick some up. These truly exceptional and special treats are meant to be savored.

We’ve got lots of other great chocolates on our shelves from exceptional producers such as our long-time friend Michael Mischer, Vosges, François Pralus, Fran’s, Michael Rechiutti, Poco Dolce, Kika’s Treats, Robert Lambert Everything you need to round out your Valentine’s Day celebration!


Raph

Touchdown! Superbowl Noms!

Superbowl XLVIII is on Sunday! With all of the 49ers fans on our staff, we at Bi-Rite are still licking our wounds from the playoff loss to Seattle. But the game must go on and we want you to enjoy it, even if only for the company, good food, and the commercials. You bring your friends, the couch and the television. We got you covered for noms and beer.

Don’t miss these awesome shareable party foods from our pre-pack case:

  • 7-Layer Dip – $13.99
  • Organic Black Bean Chipotle Dip – $4.99/8oz
  • Spicy Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip – $9.99
  • Willie’s Chili Con Carne – $9.99/32oz

IPASuperbowl

In honor of the Denver Broncos, we recommend washing this great food down with the excellent IPA from Avery Brewing of Colorado. You can get six-packs of this hoppy, acidic ale from our cooler, right before you stop by the deli counter for sandwiches, or to try great meals prepared by our kitchen. These offerings include:

 

  • Fried Chicken, $10.99/lbSuperbowlGrub2a
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings, $9.99/lb
  • Poached Wild Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail Sauce, $24.99/lb
  • Heritage Pork Ribs with House-Made Chipotle BBQ Sauce, $14.99/lb
  • Deviled Eggs with Pimento, Celery and Caviar, $2.00 each
  • Macaroni and Cheese, $12.99/lb
  • Potato Skins, $3.99 each
  • Pasta Salad, $9.99/lb
  • Chili, $5.99/pint

To fill your snack bowl, stop by one of our in-store displays to get some Primavera Tortilla Chips and local favorite Papalote Salsa.

bothFor dessert, Bi-Rite Creamery has created two brand new Superbowl SundAES. Seahawks fans will want to grab the “Every Day I’m Russelling,” featuring Coffee Toffee and Salted Caramel ice creams, fudge, roasted almonds, and whipped cream. For Broncos fans, we ask “What Is the Manning of This?” with seasonal Orange Cardamom and Earl Grey ice creams, caramel sauce, house-made graham cracker crumble, and whipped cream. We assure you these aren’t any given sundaes, but tasting is believing, so come load up before kickoff.

 


Celebrating SF Made – Part II!

booze displayyyyyyyyyyyyyWith the Fancy Food Show in town, Raph took some time to tell you about some of the fantastic local, artisanal food products that he’s highlighting at our Markets. To accompany them, we’ve also got a wide selection of great spirits and beer that are proudly crafted right here in San Francisco. Here are a few that I’m particularly excited about this season.

 

Sutton Cellars Vermouth – A thicker-bodied, grapey vermouth that tastes beautiful all on its own over ice. Crafted from a base of Sonoma white wine and infused with botanicals, including rosemary from the bush near the winery.

No. 209 is a San Francisco gin distillery owned by the Rudd family (owners of Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and Dean & DeLuca). They pride No. 209 on being a “handcrafted, unique and intriguing spirit that is truly artisanal in quality”.

Junipero Gin, which was given the “Best Gin in Show” award at the 2012 NY World Wine and Spirits show, is made by hand  in a small distillery in the Potrero Hill section of San Francisco. Anchor Distilling Company, which produces Junipero Gin, also produces Anchor 18th Century Spirit Whiskey, hand-crafting from a mash of 100% rye malt.

Legendary San Francisco brewer Anchor Brewing, an affiliate of Anchor Distilling Company, produces Anchor Bock Beer, a fine seasonal offering that’s dark, strong, refreshing and perfect for the onset of spring in San Francisco.

Junipero

Speakeasy Betrayal is a seasonal release from this San Francisco brewer. It’s an Imperial Red Ale with flavors of caramel and malt and hints of tropical fruits. With its rich mouthfeel and full body, it pairs well with stew steak.

Almanac Biere de Chocolat is a collaboration between nomadic farm-to-barrel San Francisco brewers Almanac and our friends at the phenomenal San Francisco chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate. The result is this rich, decadent, dark and smoky beer.

You can find all of these local products in our Made in SF display at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero, and just ask for them at 18th Street and we’ll be happy to help you out. We hope you enjoy these products from our friends and neighbors as much as we do!


Raph

Celebrating SF Made!

 

Display 1It’s that time of year! The Fancy Food Show is back in our beloved city by the Bay. As food-lovers, we consider ourselves fortunate that this premier event for specialty food makers comes to San Francisco every year. And as the Grocery Buyer for Bi-Rite, it’s always a thrill to try new products from outstanding food artisans, and to welcome them to our stores to meet our staff and peruse our shelves.

Those shelves are stocked full of delicious foods from great local producers, and to celebrate all the visitors from near and far to the Fancy Food Show, we are highlighting some of our local favorites this month. Visit the displays marked “SF Made” and you’ll see why!

Boozely'sBoozely’s Pickles are made by Brad Boozely, one of our neighbors on 18th Street. Brad comes from a long line of picklers and his love for the art shows in the crisp, tasty crunch of his pickles. He supports local farmers with his selection of produce.

We Love Jam is a two-person operation where literally everything, from recipe development to cooking to graphic and web design, is done in-house. The owners have forty years of combined experience experimenting in the kitchen, and work directly with local family farms to source the best fruit possible for their amazing jams.

Hey Boo 1

Hey Boo Coconut Jam, one of our most popular “SF Made” products! Coconut jam, also known as Srikaya in Indonesia, has been consumed for hundreds of years in Southeast Asia. Hey Boo’s San Francisco version is slow-cooked in in small batches using high-quality natural ingredients. It has a silky smooth texture with a golden color and a rich creaminess that is achieved by cooking the ingredients according to traditional Srikaya-making techniques.

Dandelion Chocolate are neighbors and great friends to Bi-Rite Market, and are a favorite among our guests and staff. From their location in the Mission District, they operate a bean-to-bar chocolate factory where temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. They have close relationships with their cacao growers and have prioritized sustainability since opening in 2010. Stop by for a visit while you’re in the neighborhood!

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Kika’s Treats, another neighbor, was founded in 2006 by Cristina Arantes, who produces pure chocolate-covered confections using a variety of alternative sweeteners and is committed to using the finest locally-sourced ingredients to make her delicious treats. She also gives back to the community through in-kind donations to local non-profits by donating 5% of net profits to La Cocina, a non-profit food incubator in San Francisco that helps low-income entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

All of these products will be highlighted at both of our Market locations, so stop by for a look, chat and taste. We look forward to sharing these products from our friends and neighbors with you!


Raph

Great Last-Minute Gifts: Holiday Sweets and Seasonal Treats!

Every year around holiday time, I get to pick out some excellent cakes and sweets for our shelves. There are some perennial favorites that are eagerly anticipated every winter, but I’m always on the lookout for interesting new finds. We have a few of each this Christmas, and they’re great for warming your hearth and home this holiday season.

ChristinaToteBag

Although we sell wonderful locally made panforte by Napa Cakes (more on that below), we thought it would be fun to include more panforte from its birthplace in Tuscany, so we introduced Pasticceria Sinatti Panforte Margherita. Panforte is a specialty of the southern Tuscan city of Siena, where Italians have been making it since the 13th Century. It is a flat, dense, round cake made with honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied citron, citrus peel, cocoa, and spices. It contains a very small amount of flour, just enough to hold the cake together. After baking, panforte becomes firm and chewy. Sinatti’s panforte is sold in slices in Sienese bakeries and coffee houses. The Panforte Margherita is a traditional panforte made with nuts and candied fruit.

While the Panforte Margherita is fantastic, there’s a reason that we’re still stocking the Panforte by Napa Cakes. This local spin on the classic is an artisanal panforte that is handmade to order by Marge Caldwell in Napa Valley. It’s densely rich and chewy, made with organic raisins, almonds and hazelnuts from California. It’s excellent when paired with dessert wines and perfect on a cheese plate.

LambertWhiteFruitcakeRobert Lambert is a local producer whose products we stock year round, but he also provides us with excellent cakes especially for the holiday season. He’ll tell you that his Robert Lambert Dark Fruit Cake & White Fruit Cake are the best of their kind, and while he might be a little biased, we happen to agree with him. Robert’s White Fruit Cake, a slight improvement over his grandmother’s recipe, is a lovely blend of fine Brazil nuts, local pecans and whole blanched toasted almonds. Deeply ripe oranges from DeSantis Farms are squeezed for juice just before being added. Robert uses his own candied young ginger along with candied bergamot, Rangpur lime, Meyer lemon and blood orange peels. Each cake is soaked in the finest French cognac, topped with a California bay leaf and candied white grapefruit peel star. His Dark Fruit Cake includes a blend of holiday spices, 10-year-old Ficklin port, local nuts, oranges from DeSantis Farms, dried fruits, black figs soaked in Pear William eau de vie, and Kadrawi dates from Flying Disc Ranch. Robert also includes his rare candied Texas lemon and Buddha’s hand citron, bergamot, blood orange and white grapefruit peels, and candied young ginger. Each cake is soaked in Jack Daniels bourbon whiskey, topped with California bay leaf and candied blood orange peel star.

Another great option for holiday sweets are the Lebkuchen by Lecker Lee. Sandy Lecker Lee makes traditional German rich spiced treats that are a cross between a cookie and a cake. Lebkucken is a traditional German gingerbread that dates back to the Middle Ages. The cookie is made of 40% almonds and hazelnuts, with Sandy adding honey, candied citron and orange peel. These classic tins contain cookies lightly brushed with powdered sugar glaze; packaged in beautiful, highly decorative tins, they make excellent gifts.

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For a more modestly apportioned treat, we’re very fond of Claire Keane’s San Francisco-made Claire Squares. Her Christmas offerings on our shelves include Brandy Butter, a wonderful Irish dessert topping traditionally eaten with bread pudding or fruit cake (like the Lambert cakes mentioned above. It’s made with just cognac, butter, sugar and salt. We’re also selling Claire’s Plum Pudding, a traditional Christmas treat made up of a medley of dried fruits soaked in Irish whiskey with spices, butter, and molasses and then aged for three months.

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And finally, for one last holiday treat, we’re stocking a traditional winter delicacy, Marrons Glaces. Chestnuts are candied in hot vanilla-flavored sugar syrup and then glazed. The ones on our shelves are from Corsiglia, the premier Marrons Glaces manufacturer in France.

Our shelves are packed full of these beautiful holiday treats, so please come by our Markets to take a look. You can also order lots of these and other exceptional gift items online for pickup. They’re a feast for the eyes and a treat for the palate, well worth a look and a taste. Wrap it all up in a reusable Bi-Rite tote bag, made from repurposed organic cotton.


Simon

Si’s April Produce Outlook

Springtime is always exciting around Bi-Rite Market, but this spring is particularly exciting because for the first time I can say, “springtime is exciting around both Bi-Rites.” With the one-month anniversary of the new Bi-Rite Divis just days away, we are busy building up our local seasonal produce displays in both stores.  After a winter full of amazing citrus, apples and greens, the tastes of spring have arrived.  All of our local growers continue to fine tune their farming skills, and every year the spring crops come earlier.

Veggie Madness

The early spring vegetable selection is my favorite! Winter crops like chicories and brassicas really kick in as the days get longer and the air stays cool.  Spring alliums, green garlic and artichokes start sizing up and add wonderful flavors to our produce section.

Full Belly Farm (Yolo County, CA) takes advantage of the early spring and is one of our featured farms this time of year:

  •  Full Belly’s asparagus is so fresh when it arrives at Bi-Rite that you don’t have to cook it to enjoy its tender, sweet and grassy flavor.  We’ll have the local grass until the end of May.spring asparagus
  • Their spring cippolini onions and green garlic are always extra flavorful and taste great paired with spring veggies.
  • The red leaf and romaine lettuce is super tender with a nice, crispy heart. Early spring can be a challenging time to source head lettuce.  Most of the larger organic lettuce growers are switching from Southern CA plots to land in Central Valley, so the market price is high. Local growers like Fully Belly have a limited supply but offer fresher lettuce at a better price.Keep an eye out for specialty bunched greens like arugula, mizuna and spinach that come and go all summer long.
  • I can’t forget to mention Full Belly’s amazing organic flowers. The Ranunculus bunches have a million colors, the Tulips are bright, and the Anemones are reminiscent of snorkeling along a coral reef.  Look out for beautiful, seasonal bouquets!
  • There are plenty of other small farms harvesting delicious veggies:
  • Tomatero Farm (Watsonville, CA) has big and beautiful bunches of Lacinato, Green and Red Russian Kale.  These tender leaves are great raw in a salad, sautéed or added to a super juice.
  • Our good friend and local farmer Martin supplies both stores with his SF famous arugula.  Even with the arugula and lettuce ‘capital of the world’ just south in Salinas, Martin always bring us the freshest product we can find.
  • Willey’s Farm’s (Madera, CA) super successful crop of baby artichokes is going strong until May.
  • Catalan Farm (Hollister, CA) continues to be the “Brassica King” with their tender sweet broccoli, big heads of cauliflower and crisp cabbage.
  • Happy Boy Farms (Watsonville, CA) harvests plump and juicy Little Gem lettuce and delicate greens like rapini greens and watercress.  Only a handful of growers consistently pull off high-quality greens like these – Happy Boy nails it!
  • The sugar snap peas from John Givens Farm (Santa Barbara, CA) are perfect and will be in until May. The English peas just started up down south; they’re surprisingly big, sweet and starch-free.  Most of the local growers will get going later this month.

DSC_2897During spring, all of the wild-foraged crops sprout up throughout the country.  Two veggies that we love to bring in for our creative cooks are ramps and fiddlehead ferns fronds.

Ramps are wild, pungent baby leeks with a tender, edible green.  Due to their strong flavor, you only need a few to spice up a dish.

Fiddlehead fern fronds
are the baby shoots of a fern tree; they have a crisp texture and nutty flavor.

The first organic rhubarb of the season usually comes from Washington in the first weeks of April.  Just in time for the start of local strawberry season!

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Fruit For Thought

  • Swanton, Tomatero and Yerena Berry Farm (Watsonville, CA) are our main berry growers this season.  These farmers grow varieties that work well in their climate, such as the “Albion” and the “Chandler”.  Our farmers always harvest a perfectly ripe berry that stays fresh for our guests.  Come try the first “melt in your mouth strawberries” today!
  • California citrus is still juicy and delicious; both Markets have over 15 different varieties. 
  • The Pixie tangerines from Jim Churchill in mountains of Ojai, CA, are sweet like candy and a nice treat for the little ones — enjoy them until the beginning of May.
  • Many varieties of specialty citrus are winding down.  If you want to enjoy the Moro blood oranges, Cocktail grapefruit, Murcott mandarins and the Cara Cara pink navels stop in soon!

Matt R.

2012 Unti Rosé Pre-Release Sale!

It’s the most wonderful tiiiime of the the year! 

Ain’t no kids jingle belling, 

but we’re loudly yelling, “Rosé season’s here”!!!

unti 2012 roseWe’re so excited to kick off what we consider the official start of ‘rosé season’ with the release of the 2012 Unti Rosé – one of our favorites every year.

This year, we’re again pleased to be the first to offer this refreshing and beautifully blush wine with special pre-order pricing. Today until April 3rd, if you pre-order 6 or more bottles of the 2012 Unti Rosé you will get a 15% discount. Normally $21.99, the pre-release sale will put each bottle at $18.69! Our special pricing will only be available on pre-orders taken up to April 3rd. This is a great chance to stock up on some fantastic, local, and bio-dynamically farmed rosé for the coming spring and summer months!

To pre-order, you can:

1. Reply to this email with your name, phone number, amount of wine desired, and desired pickup location (Bi-Rite Market 18th St. or Bi-Rite Divis).

2. Call either of our Markets and ask to speak with a member of the wine team (pickup at 18th Street: 415.241.9760; pickup at Divis: 415.551.7900).

3. Come visit us in-person at either Market and pre-order with a wine specialist.

All orders will be available for pick-up starting Wednesday, April 9th.

Unti Vineyard’s 2012 Rosé is made of mostly Grenache from their Benchland Vineyard, blended with Mourvedre. Located in Dry Creek Valley, Unti specializes in Rhone and Italian varietals, and we can’t believe after tasting this year’s rosé that it’s again better than last year’s! It’s light in color with plenty of mouth-watering acidity. A floral and fruity nose leads to a lush, yet crisp and dry rosé that reminds us of fresh Provençal-style rosés. Pair this rosé with anything from grilled whole fish and spring vegetables to simply a park blanket and sunshine!!

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe: Thursday, March 28, 6-10PM

Beer Lab – Homebrew and Beyond: Tuesday, April 23rd, 30th and May 14th, 7-9PM, Ticketed


Raph

Blooming in Time for Valentine’s Day: Dandelion Chocolate Joins our Neighborhood

Are you as excited as we are about Dandelion Chocolate opening a factory right around the corner from our Market?? We asked Alice from Dandelion to tell us more about their craft and luscious final product…just in time for Valentine’s Day! Here’s what she had to say:

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Molly DeCoudreaux Photography

My name is Alice, and I help run the community and cultural pieces of Dandelion Chocolate. I began working here a little more than two years ago, in a garage, learning how to make chocolate.

At Dandelion, we make chocolate bars from the bean. We roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. Our whole process is about the bean — we work hard to source great beans from around the world, and then we get out of the way. We want the flavor in our bars to be bold, distinct with each new bean, and unadulterated. We don’t add any additional flavorings or ingredients to our bars, just cocoa beans and cane sugar.

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Molly DeCoudreaux Photography

We recently moved into our factory + cafe space at 740 Valencia Street. It’s been such an exciting move, and a long time in the making. Dandelion’s two co-founders, Todd and Cam, found the space almost three years ago. Permits and construction took quite a while, but we’re finally into our space, and the reward is huge! It’s been so exciting to open our doors. Guests can come in, order a hot chocolate, mocha, or a pastry, and watch our production team in action. Soon, we’ll have tastings, classes, and tours as well. A lot like Bi-Rite and 18 Reasons, we want our customers to be able to learn about what they’re eating. Seeing chocolate-making in action is pretty rare and we hope that it’s a treat for guests.

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Molly DeCoudreaux Photography

Our next big holiday is Valentine’s Day, and we hope it’s a chocolatey one! We’re starting the celebration early, on February 7th, by selling our bars at the Mission Community Market. Then, we hope to have a few special offerings in our cafe on February 14th. We’ll also have Pam of Shotwell Paper Mill outside our cafe from 12 PM – 5 PM making letterpress cards for guests to take home to their loved ones.

Then, in the next few months, I’ll be focusing on settling us into the neighborhood. I hope our space becomes a place where people love to spend a day lingering and learning. I’ll be working on all sorts of programs that connect the cafe and factory. Overall, we hope to inspire curiosity in our guests and to give them plenty of answers about how to make chocolate. It’s an exciting time and we have big goals!