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Archive for the ‘Producers Whose Food We Celebrate’ Category


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.

Corsiglia-Marrons-glaces-francais-1000-2606_1_1353493932

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.

dandelion2

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.

dandelion3

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!

 


Matt R.

Domaine Dupasquier: Savoie Terroir

savoie1Visiting the picturesque town of Aimavigne, France is like taking a trip to a land found only in a storybook. The sweeping hills leading up to the Alps are dotted with steep vineyards and cut by winding roads leading to pristine lakes. The town name comes from a French phrase, “Aimer le vigne,” which translates to, “Love the vine.” So it’s no surprise that Noël Dupasquier and his son David, now fifth generation winemakers in Aimevigne, are working so hard to preserve the Savoie’s native grape varietals like Monduese, Altesse, and Jacquere.

We’re always excited by the arrival of Domaine Dupasquier’s wines to our shelves! They are one of the few producers left in the area really trying to showcase what the native grapes of the Savoie can do rather than ripping up old vines and replanting more ‘fashionable’ grapes. Here’s what we currently have from them:

savoie22010 Domaine Dupasquier Jacquère  –  $15.99

Jacquère is often referred to as the Muscadet of the east (of France). Native to the Savoie, it’s a grape known for producing light, crisp, and briney whites suitable for everyday drinking. Noël and David hold all of their wines back an extra year for aging – atypical compared to the other producers in the area. So the sometimes overly racy acidity in Jacquère is a little more mellow and rounded out in their wine. It has bright lemon, lime, and grassy aromas followed by flavors of lemon, apricot,  and a crisp, tart, finish. It’s perfect alongside a variety of dishes from briney seafood to spicy curries.

Perfect Pairing: Ginger and soy stir-fried winter veggies

 

savoie32009 Domaine Dupasquier Gamay  –  $19.99

Noël and David really do make the most of their small plantings of Gamay. Having been aged in used foudre (extra large barrels), this Gamay is bright and expressive. It rivals some of our favorite Cru Beaujolais bottlings and at a very affordable price! Bright fruit aromas, are followed by flavors of tart cherry, minerals, and earth. Great acidity makes this a bottle suitable for drinking now or one you could lay down for a few years. Grab some while you can – all of these wines are very limited!

Perfect Pairing: Sharfe Maxx Extra (pictured below!)


savoie42009 Domaine Dupasquier Pinot Noir  –  $21.99

The Dupasquier Pinot is another great value, rivaling some beautiful Burgundies! Again having been aged over a year in used foudre, this cool climate Pinot has had time to mellow out. Bright cherry aromas are followed closely by earthy and herbal qualities like pepper and fennel. Like any cool climate Pinot, it has a bright and clean acidity and flavors of cranberry, earth, and stony minerals. It’s one of our all-time favorite Pinots and pairs well with a variety of dishes.

Perfect Pairing: Seared scallops with caramelized fennel

 

savoie5Cheese of the Week: Sharfe Maxx Extra

As we continue to celebrate great Alpine cheeses, we’re excited to welcome Sharfe Maxx Extra! Made at the Studer family dairy in Thurgau, Switzerland, this is the extra aged version of their regular Sharfe Maxx. While the original Sharfe Maxx is aged for 6 months, Maxx Extra is aged for a year before release. A wholly unique Swiss cheese, the recipe is similar to an Appenzeller, but uses whole milk and added cream for a rich, creamy texture. The wheels are washed repeatedly, resulting in a pungent and sweet aroma. The extra aging also results in those wonderful little protein crystals dotting the paste. Come ask us for a taste!

 

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

Thursdays, Every week, 6-10PM, Drop-in: 18th Hour Cafe

Saturday, January 26, 7-9PM, Ticketed: Producer Dinner: Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars


Interview with Tipu’s Chai Founder Bipin Patel

Tipus 1

Bipin with his popular brew

We asked Bipin Patel, the founder of Tipu’s Chai, a few questions to learn more about his story and the process behind his amazing Chai tea blends.

Tipu’s Chai is a new product for us at Bi-Rite Market. Where does your chai recipe come from and what makes it so unique?

I was born and raised in a large Indian family in Uganda. I grew up drinking my grandmother’s masala chai. She brought it with her from her native Gujarat in northwestern India. Our chai recipe uses several ground spices like ginger and cardamom, which we specially blend with a strong organic black tea, such as Assam, to create a rich, spicy and robust flavor.

Can you tell us about your newest Chai products?

We offer a variety of quick-brew chai products for chai lovers on the go or for relaxing at home. All the products are made using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives. They are also certified kosher and most are organic.

  • All You Need is Water is our quick-brew chai tea latte made with black tea, organic spices, organic non-GMO soy milk powder, organic evaporated cane juice and ginger. This product is also vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, certified kosher and includes four grams of protein per serving. Chai fans simply add hot (or cold) water for a chai tea latte on the go.
  • The Simple Life uses soluble microground Black Chai tea without sweeteners or milk products. It is pure black tea, organic spices and ginger.

tipus2What prompted you to start your own chai company?

In many ways, it came naturally. I opened a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Missoula, Montana called Tipu’s Tiger (named after Tipu Sultan) in 1998, using mostly family recipes, one of which was my grandmother’s chai recipe. We used to make between 10-15 gallons of chai every day. Before long, local cafes and restaurants wanted to serve it to their patrons, so we developed various chai products to serve their needs. Tipu’s Chai was born! A few years ago, I sold the restaurant to focus on the chai business.

So, Indian chai vs. coffee?

Well, chai definitely has more healthy ingredients, and the tea offers more anti-oxidants. Chai is also easier on the digestive system and has lower levels of caffeine. All the spices we use in chai have a health value. For example, ginger helps with digestion; cinnamon increases circulation; and cardamom is known to benefit the lungs and heart.

What are some new trends you are seeing in this category?

I believe strongly that people will continue to want authentic and natural/organic products. As people travel the world more and taste authentic chai in India they will search for companies locally that are creating this same experience. Also, today’s consumers are looking for food and beverages made without artificial ingredients or preservatives, and we definitely do this!

Visit us for a taste of Tipu’s authentic Indian chai this Saturday, January 19th from 10am-1pm: meet Mark Lannen from Tipu’s Chai and learn more about this exciting new company from Montana!


Matt R.

Meet the Producer: Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars

- November Wine Blitz   ✓

- Thanksgiving                ✓

- December Wine Blitz  __

- Hanukkah                    __

- Christmas                    __

- New Years                   __

Man, the Holidays are moving by quickly! We hope everyone has recovered from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday . . . did I miss any?? But thank goodness it’s Wine Newsletter Wednesday!

Just to remind you, the last of our three annual Wine Blitzes officially kicks off next Thursday, December 6th and runs through Sunday, December 9th, at which point we’ll take 20% off 12 or more bottles of wine mix-and-match with free delivery in San Francisco. If you anticipate going through at least 12 bottles of wine between now and May 2013 for holiday parties, New Years, gifts,and general consumption, this is your last chance to stock up with such a steep discount for a while!

And don’t miss our Wine Blitz Preview Tasting is this Friday, November 30th from 6PM – 8PM at 18 Reasons. We’ll be pouring plenty of new wines that we’re excited about for this final Wine Blitz. We’re also pleased to welcome Berkeley-based winemaker Chris Brockway to this Friday’s tasting event where he’ll be pouring five of his wines. Chris was named the SF Chronicle’s Winemaker to Watch in 2012, and this tasting is a great opportunity to stop by, meet Chris, chat about his wines, as well as explore many other exciting new wines for our December Wine Blitz!

2011 Broc Cellars Valdiguié  –  $19.99; Blitz Pricing  –  $15.99

Chris discovered a vineyard plot in Solano county growing a grape that is today known at Valdiguié. For a while, growers in Napa thought this grape was Gamay, the ubiquitous grape of the Beaujolais region. However, the clever researchers at UC Davis have since determined that this grape is unique and in fact a little known varietal native to the Languedoc, France. But, it’s understandable that growers in California confused this grape with Gamay for so long since it produces wines dark in color but low in alcohol, with very similar flavor profiles. Chris has even made this wine using carbonic maceration, an old, traditional Beaujolais winemaking technique that brings out brighter fruit qualities. This bottling is light on its feet with bright strawberry and cherry aromas. Light in body (and alcohol) this wine is too quaffable and makes a perfect bottle to sip by a cozy winter fire.

Perfect Pairing: Roasted butternut squash stuffed with wild mushrooms

 

2011 Broc Cellars Carbonic Carignan  –  $22.99; Blitz Pricing  –  $18.39

The grapes for this wine come from a very special vineyard site. Chris is proud to say that he saved this vineyard from “Cabernetification” by preventing the now 120 year old Carignan vines on the site from being ripped up. These are vines that are planted on their original root stock – a true rarity as the great majority of vines in the world today have been grafted. Carignan itself is an outsider in California these days, with very few plantings of this fun Spanish grape remaining. As the name, Carbonic Carignan suggests, Chris also makes this wine using carbonic maceration – allowing the whole fruit to ferment from the inside out before crushing them. The result is a light and fresh wine with bright red fruit aromas followed by a bit of spice and scents of wild herbs from those old vines.

Perfect Pairing: Smoked salmon and grilled chicory salad

 

2010 Broc Cellars Vine Starr Zinfandel  –  $24.99; Blitz Pricing  –  $19.99
This wine is named after Chris’s great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle born in 1801 in Norway – yes his name was Vine Starr Brockway. This is one of Chris’s original bottlings and is meant to be a lighter style version of the typically bold and spicy Sonoma Zinfandels. The blend varies slightly every vintage and this vintage is mostly Zinfandel, blended with a very small percentage of Syrah. It makes a great everyday red, with a medium body and plenty of dark fruit and spice qualities like black pepper, huckleberry, and cardamom.

Perfect Pairing: Spice rubbed spare ribs

  

Cheese of the Week: Cowgirl Creamery’s Devil’s Gulch

The latest seasonal release from Cowgirl Creamery is here! Their winter cheese is Devil’s Gulch, a creamy, bloomy rinded cheese made of Jersey cow’s milk from John Taverna’s dairy. Essentially the same cheese inside as their other seasonal cheeses (St. Pat, Chimney Rock, and Pierce Point), the dusting of toppings rotates seasonally. Devil’s Gulch is topped with blend of dried sweet and gently spicy peppers from All Star Organics Farm in Nicasio. The peppers are not at all overwhelmingly spicy and just add a pleasant sweet and mild kick to the rind. These mini wheels are just arriving in the store today, so swing by and ask us for a taste!

 


Field Trip to Full Belly Farm Hoes Down

Communities come in all shapes and forms. We like to talk about how the relationships we build through buying and selling food strengthen our Bi-Rite community–our staff, guests, and food producers. But it’s times like last weekend that remind me how broad our community really is.

For the first time I got my act together to venture northeast of SF to Yolo County, the home of Full Belly Farm, for their annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. We celebrate Full Belly throughout the year in the form of the amazing melons, squashes, potatoes and more they send us to sell in our produce section. Sam, Anne, Simon and the rest of our staff who make this an annual getaway had raved about how good the air feels up there, but I couldn’t have imagined quite how special this coming together of farmers, cooks, eaters, kids, animals, and every other happy being there could be.

Highlights of the day included:

  • The parking lot volunteers! These were the first people I interacted with upon arriving, and the grins on these guys’ faces said it all. Talk about pride–from all of the volunteers to the Full Belly staff to the hundreds of visitors, we all knew how fortunate we were to be celebrating this amazing family’s work and land.
  • The farm tour given by Hallie (the daughter of Dru and Paul, Full Belly’s owners, who grew up on the farm and now coordinates the Hoes Down) and farmer Andrew. As we stood in a grove of walnut trees, Andrew talked about the wonder that is soil: how alive it is, how many billions of organisms it contains. When we’re standing on a farm, we may be blown away by fruit trees over our heads or veggie vines at our ankles, but what’s really amazing at Full Belly is the health of the soil underneath our feet. It was on this tour that Simon turned to me and said “This is the part where I start to cry!”
  • The food! Man can the farm crowd cook–I started with an avocado lime popsicle, then moved on to tackle a plate of the most succulent grilled lamb and falafel (around the campfire we plotted a new dish for Bi-Rite–a lamb falafel ball–we’ll see if that comes to pass!)
  • The camping groves: take your pick between pitching your tent under almond trees, walnut trees, and more.
  • Square dancing–they made it look so easy!

And I couldn’t believe that we were swimming on an October day! Wading around in the beautiful, calm river that borders the farm, I felt like one of a herd of human elephants.

The Full Belly crew literally had to push people off the farm come Monday morning; the support of all of us who drove hours to the farm is testament to the relationships they’ve built over the years, and the secret to their success!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ian

Register Recipe: Benton’s Old Fashioned

Despite the recent string of San Francisco Indian Summer days, fall is definitely here. The nights are cool and clear and the light is changing. In the Market stone fruit has been replaced by an array of apples and pears in every color, texture and flavor. Brussels sprouts, chicories and winter squash are coming in as well, and in every department we’re helping our guests with fall recipes. With all this in mind I thought I’d offer a seasonally appropriate cocktail, something a little stronger and with all the right flavors of harvest to compliment an early fall night…

This recipe is borrowed and modified from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, one of the year’s best reference books from Meehan’s New York bar. Mixologist Don Lee created the beverage to bring together one of his favorite pork products with one of his favorite spirits.

Allan Benton is a famous producer of traditional hickory-smoked hams from Monroe County, Tennessee. His bacon is prized for its rich, smoky character and has earned such accolades as “World’s Best Bacon” from Esquire Magazine. In the cocktail, the hickory smoke complements the spice of the bourbon and the rich sweetness of maple syrup; it’s a terrific play on the original elements of an Old-Fashioned.

Lee uses Four Roses Bourbon, but I’ve substituted the more economical Bulleit Bourbon which I’ve found to be a fine stand-in. Preparing the bourbon is simple and well worth the modest effort, and once prepared it’s shelf-stable!

The next time you wake up to a chill in the air and the desire to cook I hope you’ll enjoy this world-class bacon for breakfast and this perfect fall cocktail by the time the sun goes down (which is earlier, after all…)

 

Benton’s Old Fashioned

2 oz. Benton’s Bacon Fat-Infused Bulleit Bourbon (recipe below)

.25 oz. Mead & Meads Grade B Maple Syrup

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass with one large cube. Garnish with an orange twist

 

Benton’s Bacon Fat-Infused Bulleit Bourbon

1.5 oz. Benton’s Bacon Fat

1 750-ml bottle Bulleit Bourbon

On low heat, warm the bacon fat in a small saucepan until it melts, about 5 min. Combine liquid fat and bourbon in a large, non-reactive container and stir. Infuse for 4 hours, then place container in freezer for 2 hours. Remove solid fat, fine-strain bourbon through a cheesecloth, and bottle.

 

 

 


Three Ranchers We Love

Don Watson

This fall we have some amazing opportunities to meet the ranchers we love working with at Bi-Rite.

The first on September 19th is a one-two knock-out series with Don Watson, our favorite sheep guy. Did you know he lends his wooly creatures to mow lawns across the Bay Area?  At the first class, watch Bi-Rite Butcher Zane Clark break down a whole lamb into primal and sub-primal cuts, then explain the best way to cook each cut of meat. To inspire your palate we’ll be serve up a lamb snack and beer. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for the general public.

The following week on September 26th, meet Don in person over dinner and wine. Don and his wife will join us for a five course meal featuring his beautiful lamb prepared by Bi-Rite chef Wyatt Sandberg. For a delectable meal, wine and a talk with the rancher,  tickets are $50 for members and $60 for the general public.

Bill Niman

If you buy tickets to both you’ll get a discounted ticket price! If you can only come to one, that’s ok, too. Choose the class you prefer and sign up quick! Tickets for both Don Watson events are here.

Inspiration from our Farm Tour Series has led us to hit the road again on October 13th, this time heading north to BN Ranch to meet Bill & Nicolette Niman and Devil’s Gulch Ranch to meet Mark Pasternak and Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak. Mark will be whipping up lunch for us, cowboy style. Tickets for members are $40, for the general public $50. Tickets and more information about the ranch tour are here.

Mark Pasternak

Bill Niman is a pretty famous name around here for his beef production. His latest project, under the BN Ranch name, has shifted his focus on maturing beef to enhance flavor and texture. They are a grass based ranch that raises pasture raised cattle, heritage turkeys, and (sometimes) goats. They never use pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers on their land, use no irrigation, ground water or municipal water, and never administer hormones or antibiotics on their animals.

Devil’s Gulch Ranch, a diversified family farm located in Nicasio, Marin County, produces rabbits, pigs, sheep, premium wine grapes and asparagus for retail customers and direct sales to high-quality restaurants. Sustainable, humane agricultural practices and organic farming are utilized whenever possible.
What are you waiting for? Put on your favorite jeans and boots and join us!