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Archive for the ‘Producers Whose Food We Celebrate’ Category


Waverley

Christmas Dinner Was Never So Easy!

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Your Christmas dinner was never so delicious or stress-free!  From our showstopping Prime Rib Decadence Dinner Kit with everything you need to serve a stunning meal, to our chef-cooked, house-made dinner menu with seasonal sides and holiday favorites, all available for easy, online pre-order (for in-store pick-up). Visit our Markets or online Holiday Market for your one-stop holiday meal shop!  Don’t forget our dazzling array of Bi-Rite Creamery house-made desserts, like our stunning Bûche de Noël and world-renowned, seasonal ice creams.  Online pre-order deadline is Wednesday, December 23 at 4pm.

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LpnN6vm-x7Fwfb4zImeppG0X7-s4Kc_zgju_IGSfMj4,tOdfBvhyTJ2yn43xC_iWa5iBA_rJTsn9jM8Y0FjM5tUOur house-made Christmas Menu features savory, seasonal sides like our Sweet Potato Gratin with Caramelized Onions, Thyme, & Nutmeg or Roasted Delicata Squash & Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots that pair perfectly with your holiday centerpiece of choice, like a perfectly-marbled Five Dot Ranch Beef Prime Rib.  And don’t forget holiday classics like our Bourbon Sweet Potato Mash with Candied Pecans Bi-Rite and our Wild Mushroom, Celery & Herb Bread Stuffing.

View our complete Christmas menu here!  Christmas menu items will also be available in Bi-Rite Market stores for purchase, and for pre-order from our online Holiday Market from Friday, December 18, through Thursday, December 31.

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Strapped for time, space, or simply looking for a tasty alternative to cooking? Our dinner kits feature complete, chef-cooked meals for a stress-free Christmas dinner, whether your hosting an intimate party or the whole family. Whether you celebrate with Prime Rib or Turkey, our dinner kits make your holiday meal simple, convenient, and festive.  Each kit features a centerpiece, delicious sides, and of course, desserts from Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop. They’re the perfect way to shower you guests with love and a home-cooked meal, without stressing over the stove all day.Try our Prime Rib Decadence Dinner Kit, featuring:

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  • 5 Dot Prime Rib Roast (3 Ribs, frenched & tied, average 6 lbs., ready to roast)
  • Dungeness Crab & Fennel Bisque (3 pt)
  • Sweet Potato Gratin with Caramelized Onions, Thyme & Nutmeg (2 qt)
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Bacon & Maple Syrup (4 pt)
  • Glace de Viande (½ pt)
  • House-Made Truffle Butter (1 – 4oz jar)
  • Bi-Rite Creamery Chocolate Pots de Crème (6 each)

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No holiday meal would be complete without house-made desserts from Bi-Rite Creamery! How about the Bi-Rite Creamery Bûche de Noëla showstopping Tcho chocolate roulade with milk chocolate buttercream and chocolate glaze, decorated with adorable meringue mushrooms, pistachios, and sparkling candied rosemary.  It’s the perfect Christmas treat!  You can also choose from our selection of baked goods including our holiday cookie box, traditional pies, and world-renowned ice cream flavors.  Be sure to try the seasonal Candy Cane and Eggnog ice creams before they’re gone!

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  • Create a free Instacart account at https://www.instacart.com/b-rite-holiday. Or, log into an existing Instacart account, and select the Bi-Rite Holiday Market to begin your Holiday shopping.
  • All orders from Bi-Rite’s Instacart Holiday Market are for in-store pick-up only, at either Bi-Rite Market location. (If ordering from outside San Francisco, please use Bi-Rite’s 94110 zip code to create an account.)
  • Need help? No problem! A Bi-Rite Holiday Hotline is available at(415) 241-9760; select option 3 for Holiday menu-planning and ordering assistance. Menus can also be ordered in person with Bi-Rite Market staff at either market location, or by phone.

 


Simon

A Winter Sir Prize

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

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

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


Waverley

Our Favorite Recipes for Your Holiday Table

It’s time to gather ’round the table!

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We are proud to offer Five Dot Ranch grass-fed, beautifully marbled Beef Brisket and Beef Prime Ribfor your holiday celebrations, NOW PrimeRibAVAILABLE for Online Pre-Orderfrom our Instacart Holiday Market for easy pick-up at either Bi-Rite Market location.Order yours today!

 

Planning your Prime Rib dinner? For ONE DAY ONLY save $3 per pound on our Five Dot Ranch Beef Prime Rib! Pre-Order your Prime Rib this Friday, December 11, from our Instacart Holiday Market for this special pricing of $15.99/lb (regularly $18.99/lb), for easy, in-store pick-up.

 

 

Tips for Brisket, Prime Rib, and our Favorite Holiday Recipes

Get our favorite seasonal recipes for Holiday side dishes and desserts, plus tips from our Chefs for cooking the perfect Prime Rib or Brisket.

Download recipes, shop them online for delivery,
or ask for a recipe card when you visit Bi-Rite Market!

 

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 Easy Steps for Holiday Pre-Orders

  • All orders from Bi-Rite’s Instacart Holiday Market are for in-store pick-up only, at either Bi-Rite Market location. (If ordering from outside San Francisco, please use Bi-Rite’s 94110 zip code to create an account.)
  • Need help? No problem! A Bi-Rite Holiday Hotline is available at(415) 241-9760; select option 3 for Holiday menu-planning and ordering assistance. Menus can also be ordered in person with Bi-Rite Market staff at either market location, or by phone.

Chili

American Wagyu: A Bi-Rite Exclusive

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It’s amazing when you get the opportunity to taste something that so completely exceeds your expectations. Last June, Clydene Bultman, owner of Thompson River Ranch, reached out to see if she could arrange to taste me through her American Wagyu program. What I tried was some of the most amazing beef I have ever tasted, I almost felt like it was a disservice calling it beef.  Each cut of Clydene’s Wagyu has an unparalleled level of tenderness that creates a truly sensational flavor experience. After that first meeting, I knew that I had to find a way to bring her American Wagyu beef into Bi-Rite.

shortribsSo what is Wagyu beef? It is the same breed of cattle that creates Japan’s famed Kobe beef, prized all over the world for its amazing marbling, tenderness, and flavor. Clydene has been raising her herd of “High Percentage, Long Fed American Wagyu” for the last ten years; by slowly allowing her animals to gain weight and aiming for a 75%-100% Wagyu genetics, her beef is far superior to most Wagyu available for retail. Thompson River Ranch is a heritage, working cattle ranch set on a 120-year-old homestead in Montana’s picturesque Thompson Valley, where the cattle graze on forest land, forage in the mountains, and are finished on barley. Bi-Rite has chosen to partner up with Thompson River Ranch for this exclusive offer to our guests of the most luxurious and sought-after beef around, from a rancher who is fully committed to raising cattle the responsible way you’ve come to know and expect when you purchase your meat from Bi-Rite.

WagyuPlateThis holiday season we will be accepting weekly pre-orders for a Thompson River Ranch American Wagyu Beef Box (orders must be received by 5pm Sunday for in-store pick-up the following Friday). This is an exciting opportunity to purchase over five pounds of fresh, Wagyu beef, cut-to-order and butchered locally, for an extremely reasonable price of $175. Each box contains a generous, 16-ounce portion of ribeye, a 16-ounce New York strip steak, two, 8-ounce sirloin steaks, 1.5 pounds ground beef and a zabuton (Japanese-style boneless short rib). This box is a fantastic gift for any beef lover, and is also the perfect way to introduce yourself to the wonderful world of American Wagyu. Stop by the meat counter at either Market and place your order today, or email chili@biritemarket.com for more information!

Jessie Rogers

Festive Finishing Touches for Thanksgiving

6BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Creamery-Thanksgiving-33-2When Thanksgiving Turkey and Menu plans are wrapped up, it’s time to focus on the little flourishes that make the day even more special. Deck your table with gorgeous flowers, treat guests to an elegant cheese platter, and end your meal with a sweet treat from Bi-Rite Creamery. And if you’re a guest, show your host your gratitude with a truly special gift. It’s all available for pre-order until Tuesday, November 24 at 5pm from our Holiday Market on Instacart for quick, convenient pick-up from either Bi-Rite Market location.

(There’s still time to pre-order Turkeys, complete Dinner Kits, our house-made side dishes and more for pick-up! Just visit our Holiday Market on Instacart!)

Holiday Cheese Plate

Essex1pateGreet your guests with a selection of cheeses to prime their palates. Kick off with Cabot Creamery Artisan Reserve 3-Year Aged Cheddar, a classic crowd-pleaser. We also love the best-in-class Essex Street Cheese Marcel Petit Fort Saint Antoine Comte and L’Amuse Signature Gouda. Pair them with Bi-Rite Market’s House-Made Pate de Campagne and Duck Rillettes, and be sure to include La Maison du Piment Sweet Cherry Confit and Peccati Di Ciacco Truffle Honey on the side for balance.

Farm-Direct Thanksgiving Floral

FullBellyFlowers2We have an incredible Floral Team at the ready to provide you with seasonal and responsibly-grown plants and flowers. You can pre-order a Bi-Rite Market Mixed Bouquet to take along with you to your event. We also carry Dried Kitchen Bouquets from Oak Hill Farm that maintain beautiful color. Best of all are the Custom Thanksgiving Floral Centerpieces that our teams can create for you. Come to either Market and talk to the Florists about your specific needs!

Sweet Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery

Bi-Rite Creamery6BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Creamery-Thanksgiving-18 makes incredible pies all year ’round, but their Holiday specialties are not to be missed. We have the classics: Pumpkin Pie, smooth and rich. Apple Pie, with crumb topping and plump apples from Hidden Star Orchards. And Pecan Pie, with the perfect layer of sweet pecan crunch on top. For something a little different, don’t miss the Pumpkin Bundt Cake, made with organic pumpkin and topped with Salted Caramel Glaze and Vincent Family Dried Cranberries. It’s moist, dense, and delicious, and only available for Thanksgiving. And whether it’s pie or cake, a serving of Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream is a must!

Giving Thanks to your Host

Bourbon2pan3Don’t show up empty handed! Show your gratitude with a bottle of Signatory Imperial Scotch. This extremely limited 15-year-old Scotch, one of only two bottlings every created in a historic distillery in Speyside, Scotland is exclusive to Bi-Rite. Or bring along our special single barrel bottling of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, hand-selected by our Spirits Buyer; it complements the fresh, hand-made Ship to Shore Hot Buttered Rum Balls (a Bi-Rite staff favorite!) to create a festive and warming drink. Beautifully-wrapped and delicious, Rustichella d’ Abruzzo Panettone in Classic, Cherry and Chocolate, and Fig and Chocolate options is a traditional Italian artisan bread they’ll love; perfect with coffee the morning after Thanksgiving.

We’re here to help you plan your entire Thanksgiving meal, including all the little extras to make your day spectacular. The deadline to pre-order through our Instacart Holiday Market for pickup at the Markets  is 5pm on Tuesday, November 24th. And of course, just call or visit if you need recommendations or advice. Our Thanksgiving Hotline is available at (415) 241-9760; select option 3!

New to Instacart?

Create a new account and save $5 on your first order of $35 or more when you pre-order Thanksgiving Turkey and Menus from the Bi-Rite Holiday Market!
Enter the code BIRITETHANKSGIVING
when you check out, after selecting a pick-up date!


Christine Mathias

Scrumptious Thanksgiving Side Dishes & Dinner Kits

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Thanksgiving is just weeks away! Our entire range of wonderful Thanksgiving turkeys, menu items, Bi-Rite Creamery desserts, and more is now available for pre-order through our trusted partner, Instacart. Visit our special Instacart Holiday Market for exceptional Thanksgiving centerpieces like BN Ranch’s Heritage and Broad Breasted Turkeys. You’ll also find our Complete Thanksgiving Dinner Kits–the perfect solution to offer your guests a home-cooked meal without all the work. And our House-Made Thanksgiving Menu offers all the delectable side dishes, gravy, stuffing, and special extras you need for an unforgettable meal.

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Our Thanksgiving dinner kits offer a convenient solution for serving a home-cooked meal without all the work. Each kit comes with complete reheating and serving instructions. Thanksgiving Dinner Kits are available for convenient online pre-order and in-store pick-up from our Holiday Market on Instacart. Quantities are limited, so order early to insure availability. Choose from three convenient options:

Intimate Turkey Dinner Kit – $175 (Serves 4-6 Guest)

House-Roasted Diestel Ranch Turkey Breast, 2 lbs
Slow-Cooked BN Ranch Dark Turkey Meat, 1 lb
Wild Mushroom, Celery & Herb Bread Stuffing (V), 2 qts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Bacon & Maple Syrup, 3 pts
Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Scallions (Veg), 2 qts
Wild Mushroom & Zinfandel Gravy (GF), 1 pt
Cranberry-Tangerine & Honey Relish, ½ pt
Bi-Rite Creamery Pumpkin Pie, 9”

Classic Turkey Dinner Kit – $250 (Serves 8-10)

Oven-Roasted Whole Organic Diestel Ranch Turkey, 10-12 lbs
Wild Mushroom, Celery & Herb Bread Stuffing (V), 3 qts
Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Fresh Sage (V), 3 qts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Bacon & Maple Syrup, 3 pts
Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Scallions (Veg), 2 qts
Wild Mushroom & Zinfandel Gravy (GF), 2 pts
Cranberry-Tangerine & Honey Relish, 1 pt
Bi-Rite Creamery Pumpkin Pie, 9”

Company’s Coming for Dinner Kit – $350 (Serves 12-14)

Oven-Roasted Whole Organic Diestel Ranch Turkey, 10- 12 lbs
Sonoma County Meat Co. Smoked Hamlette, 3½ – 4 lbs
Wild Mushroom, Celery & Herb Bread Stuffing (V), 3 qts
Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Fresh Sage (V), 3 qts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Bacon & Maple Syrup, 4 pts
Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Scallions (Veg), 3 qts
Wild Mushroom & Zinfandel Gravy (GF), 3 pts
Cranberry-Tangerine & Honey Relish, 1 pt
Bi-Rite Creamery Pumpkin Pie, 9”
Bi-Rite Creamery Organic Apple Pie, 9”

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Cornbread Stuffing (L) and Wild Mushroom Stuffing (R)

For your vegetarian friends and family, side dishes are what make Thanksgiving great! Bi-Rite makes it easy to be sure there are dishes for everyone on the table, all available for online pre-order and easy pick-up at either market. Select favorites like Green Bean & Wild Mushroom Casserole with Caramelized Onions, Chestnuts, and Breadcrumbs or Bourbon Sweet Potato Mash with Candied Pecans. We even have a vegan Porcini Mushroom & Marsala Gravy to accompany the Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Scallions. For vegans, try Mama’s Roasted Carrots with Tahini, Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley or Wild Mushroom, Celery, & Herb Bread Stuffing and Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with Fresh Sage.

Dungeness Crab Bisque

Dungeness Crab Bisque

View our entire House-Made Thanksgiving Menu for a complete list of savory sides. Our Dungeness Crab & Fennel Bisque is a seasonal delight. And don’t miss the Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Carrots with Bacon and Maple Syrup and our outstanding Jalapeño Cornbread & House-Made Chorizo Sausage Stuffing that is a delicious spin on the traditional dish.

So head on over to the Instacart Holiday Market and get your orders in for Thanksgiving! The pre-order deadline is 5pm on Tuesday, November 24th. Our turkeys tend to go quickly, so don’t procrastinate. We are so happy to be able to share our love of food with you, our guests, and can’t wait to be a part of your holiday!

There’s still time to save on all your wine for Thanksgiving. Visit us this week for Wine Blitz and SAVE 20% on mix-and-match cases of wine! Available at both Markets through Sunday, November 8th. Plus, we’ll provide free delivery of your wine in San Francisco.

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Simon

Pomegranates + Persimmons = Flavors of NorCal Fall Fruit

IMG_6400Lately, autumn in the Bay Area means beautiful warm weather. In the Bi-Rite Market Produce Department it’s all about the transition from juicy and mouthwatering summer fruit to fall fruit that offers a much different eating experience. Local apples and pears are always an exciting crop in the fall, but there are a couple other crops that don’t get the recognition they deserve.  Persimmons and pomegranates not only represent the colors of autumn, they add unique flavors and texture to seasonal dishes.

Fuyu Persimmon

Fuyu Persimmon

Growing up on the East Coast, I had never even heard of a persimmon! In Northern California they are growing in back yards throughout the Bay. The squat-shaped Fuyu Persimmon is the most common variety— they are similar to an apple in the sense that you can eat it out of your hand when it’s firm in texture and ripe.  A Fuyu is ripe when the skin is bright orange, but depending on the exact variety or the growing region it can be pale in color.  Fuyus have a nice crunchy texture and the flavor that is mildly sweet with hints of cinnamon.  They are a great piece of fruit to chop up and add to savory salads and salsa since they add perfect texture and sweetness. Fuyus are very high in potassium and lycopene (a cancer-fighting antioxidant.)

Hachiya Persimmons

Hachiya Persimmons

The elongated, oval-shaped Hachiya Persimmon is a whole different ball game than the Fuyu. First off, a Hachiya can’t be eaten when it is firm like a Fuyu, due to its astringent qualities. The fruit needs to ripen up to a “pudding-like” texture, and the piece of fruit should feel like a balloon in your hand.  Once the Hachiya is ripe, the easiest way to eat it would be to peel of the top layer of skin and to spoon out the sweet, silky, and smooth pulp. The Produce Crew at Bi-Rite spends a lot of time ripening the Hachiya Persimmons, so that we have them ready to eat when we put them on the shelf. Many other retailers sell them in a rock-hard state and it may take 4-7 days to ripen on the kitchen counter before they are at their desired ripeness. Hachiyas are very versatile in the kitchen, from spreading the ripe pulp on toast like jam to making persimmon pudding and cakes.

For the past 10 years, from fall through the holidays, we’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful IMG_6391“Wonderful” Pomegranates straight from Balakian Family Farm in Reedley, California. Like most fruit, the longer the fruit gets to hang on the tree and ripen, the better the flavor will be. If a pomegranate is harvested too early the juice and arils (seeds) will be tart in flavor. The flavor of the Balakian Pomegranates is perfectly balanced between sweet/tart and the arils are plump and juicy. It can be challenging to pick out a ripe pomegranate, but we are fortunate enough to work with a farm that harvests them when they are truly ready, taking the hard work out of choosing the perfect fruit. Pomegranate arils are a great addition to chicory salad and also pair nicely with the flavor of persimmons.

Come in to either Bi-Rite Market today and have a taste of our incredible fall fruits!


Jessie Rogers

Thanksgiving Pre-Orders Are Here: Get Your Turkeys & Holiday Menu Today!

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The Flavors of Fall are here! NOW AVAILABLE for Online Pre-Order from our trusted online ordering partner, Instacart, for quick and convenient holiday pick-up at both Bi-Rite Market locations. From our special Instacart Holiday Market you can shop our entire selection of Thanksgiving favorites, including:

  • BN Ranch Heritage Turkeys
  • Savory House-Made Side Dishes
  • Desserts from Bi-Rite Creamery
  • Everything you need for a perfect Thanksgiving!

The pre-order deadline for Thanksgiving is Tuesday, November 24 at 5pm. Thanksgiving Menu items will also be available in Bi-Rite Market stores for purchase, and for pre-order pick-up, from Friday, November 20 through Saturday, November 28. ORDER YOUR TURKEY EARLY TO INSURE AVAILABILITY!

Enjoy the finest Turkeys from our favorite farm: BN Ranch

turkey_niman_marinsuns-300x257BN Ranch HeritageTurkeys – $8.00 / lb
Long a favorite of our guests, these exceptional turkeys are a trademark of Thanksgiving at Bi-Rite. Each turkey is raised in Bolinas and Turlock, CA by the BN Ranch Team on the ranch of Bill and Nicolette Niman. Raised in a humane and environmentally-responsible manner, these birds are direct descendants of Standard Bronze, Narragansett, and Spanish Black breeds. The flock roams freely on grassy pastures most of the year, grazing and foraging to supplement their GMO-free, vegetarian diet. Intensely flavorful on their own, they require hardly any flavorings or additions to taste incredibly delicious.

BN Ranch Broad-Breasted Turkeys – $5.00 / lb
Raised in the same responsible manner as BN Ranch Heritage Turkeys, these traditional turkeys provide a larger ratio of white meat and are a delicious, free-range alternative to factory farm-raised turkeys.

Visit our Instacart Holiday Market for our complete Turkey selection, available size ranges, and serving information.

Bi-Rite’s House-Made Thanksgiving Menu

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While you’re browsing for turkeys, be sure to check out our entire House-Made Thanksgiving Menu, wines, gifts, Bi-Rite Creamery desserts, and more! All of these delectable dishes are also available now for pre-order. Plus, you can try our Thanksgiving Menu at these preview tastings in the Markets:

Preview Tasting Schedule

  • Saturday, November 7, 3-6pm at both Bi-Rite Market locations
  • Sunday, November 8, 3-6pm at both Bi-Rite Market locations
  • Sunday, November 15, 3-6pm at both Bi-Rite Market locations
  • Monday, November 16, 4-7pm at both Bi-Rite Market locations

Just follow these easy steps for Thanksgiving Pre-Orders:

  • Create a free Instacart account at https://www.instacart.com/bi-rite-holiday. Or, log into an existing Instacart account, and select the Bi-Rite Holiday Market to begin your Thanksgiving shopping.
  • All orders from Bi-Rite’s Instacart Holiday Market are for in-store pick-up only, at either Bi-Rite Market location. (If ordering from outside San Francisco, please use Bi-Rite’s 94110 zip code to create an account.)
  • Need help? No problem! A Bi-Rite Thanksgiving Hotline is available at (415) 241-9760; select option 3 for Thanksgiving menu-planning and ordering assistance. Menus can also be ordered in person with Bi-Rite Market staff at either market location, or by phone.

Don’t forget the wine: Stock up and save during our Fall Wine Blitz sale!

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Simon

Enjoying the Peak of Tomato Season

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

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

Cherokee Purple Heirlooms

Cherokee Purple Heirlooms

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

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

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Dry-farm Early Girls

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

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

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes

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

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


John Herbstritt

Cocktails with St. George

St. George Spirits became famous for their Hangar 1 brand of vodkas, but when they sold the name to Proximo Spirits they had to cool their vodka jets for a while. Now master distiller Lance Winters is back with his own line and they are better than ever!  Although spirits like whiskey are all about demonstrating the depth of flavor that comes from long ageing, highlighting the different grains used, good vodka is all about mastery of the distillation process. Since the spirit comes out of the still at 190 proof or above, only the most skilled distillers using the best raw materials can make great vodka on the first run.

st george bottlesA little about the history of St. George Spirits: it was founded by Jörg Rupf in 1982. Inspired by the high quality fruit grown in California, he emigrated from Germany in order to start making eau-de-vie. These fruit-based spirits are distilled from a mash of thehighest quality fermented fresh fruitand only made seasonally. Jörg’s family had been distillers for generations in the Black Forest of Western Germany. He started on a single, 65-gallon Holstein pot still and the distillates he made were outstanding. At that time there was no craft distilling movement in the United States to speak of, nor was anybody drinking eaux-de-vie, but these still remain central to what St. George Spirits is all about. You might even make the claim that this foundation on eau-de-vie informs everything that St. George does.

Although the vodkas are not eaux-de-vie, the composition and balance of flavors and aroma is decidedly on the same plane. The base spirit itself is luscious and fresh with zero harshness. It has a softness to it that makes you want to sip it like whiskey. It almost feels like heresy to mix it with anything! For the Citrus and Green Chile flavors the distillation team uses a special, smaller still with basket attachment to make a highly aromatic distillate which they blend into the base spirit. The final products are balanced and beautifully aromatic.

We will be offering 10% off all three of the St. George Vodkas Tuesday through Thursday now through September 24 ($27, regualarly $29.99).Come on down and check them out for yourself, or shop the selection on our online store at Instacart.com.
The secret ingredient in the All-Purpose Vodka is actually pears! St. George distills the same delicious Bartlett pears that they use for their pear brandies to 95.1% in order to obtain a spirit with a luscious texture but no overt pear flavor. They then blend it with a GMO-free base spirit. Great for any vodka application: Dry Martini, Moscow Mule, it’s even great sipped on its own – or you can make like James Bond and whip up a Vesper!

The California Citrus Vodka is scented with Bergamot plus Valencia and Seville oranges all sourced locally. First, the distilling team infuses the citrus peels separately in their GMO-free base spirit. They then distill each infusion and blend them together, looking for harmony of flavor and texture. I like a Martini made from the Cali Citrus and Dolin Dry Vermouth, though you can also throwback to the ’90s with this Shameless Cosmo recipe. Ladies night!

This inspired beverage is made with a combination of infusion and distillation techniques as well. Although jalapeño is the main flavor, they also use a combination of other sweet and hot chiles. Be careful not to get to close to the still when it’s processing all those peppers! The end result is a spirit that is subtly spicy and redolent of mouth-watering peppery aromas. The emphasis is not on the spiciness itself, but the complex flavors that these lovely veggies lend to whatever they touch. Bloody Marys, duh!

St. George VESPER CARDSt. George COSMO CARD  St. George BLOODY MARY CARD