Home Archive by category 'Producers Whose Food We Celebrate' (Page 3)

Archive for the ‘Producers Whose Food We Celebrate’ Category

Christine Mathias

Big Spoon Roasters + Bi-Rite = LOVE

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Rose

Bi-Rite House-Made Sushi Is Here!

Bi-Rite House-Made SushiOur kitchen has long been at the heart of Bi-Rite, and as we constantly push ourselves to dig deeper into the product we sell. We are thrilled to announce the launch of our House-Made Sushi. In line with the same quality and integrity as our prepared foods, our sushi showcases the same responsibly-harvested seafood you will find in our fish case alongside local and organic, seasonal produce from our produce department. All of our rolls are made with California Organic Sushi Rice from Lundberg Family Farms and served with 100% organic, gluten-free Tamari sauce.

  • Avocado, Cucumber & Pickled Carrot Roll with House-Pickled Carrot ($7.99)
  • Asparagus, Shiitake Mushroom & Pickled Daikon Roll with House-Pickled Daikon ($9.99
  • Ahi Tuna Roll with Avocado ($12.99)
  • Spicy Ahi Tuna Roll with Sriracha & Avocado ($12.99)
  • Wild Coho Salmon Roll with Avocado ($11.99)
  • Spicy Wild Coho Salmon Roll with Sriracha & Avocado ($11.99)
  • California Roll with Dungeness Crab with Avocado, Cucumber & Tobiko Caviar ($13.99)
  • Wild Shrimp Roll with Ginger & Ponzu with Ginger Ponzu Sauce, Basil & Avocado ($11.99)

Our sushi is responsible from start to finish–don’t forget to compost the tray and recycle the lid once you’re finished enjoying our new rolls. Bi-Rite House-Made Sushi is at both Markets starting today!

Asparagus, Shiitake Mushroom & Pickled Daikon Roll

Asparagus, Shiitake Mushroom & Pickled Daikon Roll

Wild Shrimp with Ginger & Ponzu

Wild Shrimp with Ginger & Ponzu

Spicy Ahi Tuna Roll

Spicy Ahi Tuna Roll











Local, Locale & the Evolution Of BN Beef

As climate issues have made it more difficult to produce great grass-fed beef locally, even seasonally, Bill Niman and BN Ranch have modified their approach to grass-fed beef.  Bill has chosen to reach out to his network of like-minded ranchers to seek out the best pastures in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.  Bill has long preached about locale being as important as local – raising the plants and animals best suited to a given locality – and with cattle production being severely challenged by our global climate issues (particularly in drought-stricken California), the need to find quality pasture has become key to offering great grass fed-beef year round.

BN Ranch Bolinas

The herd at BN Ranch in Bolinas

We’ve gotten off to a great start with this year’s BN Ranch grass-fed beef program, and the beef coming from New Zealand has been spectacular.  Raised on grasses similar to those here in Northern California and in a comparable climate, the beef has had terrific flavor and exceptional marbling.  Beginning in July, we will start seeing the transition into BN’s North American beef.  Some strategic changes have been made to this year’s program in order to maintain more consistent marbling throughout the season.  Last year Bill’s team learned that although the lush pastures of the Sacramento Delta provided bountiful grasses to graze on, the intense summer heat greatly reduced the amount of grass consumed by the steer, resulting in less marbled beef during August and September.  In the same way Bill extended his network into New Zealand to provide us with great grass-fed beef during our winter months, he has also reached out to his peers in Alberta, Canada to secure cattle that will be grazing on equally lush pastures but in a much more temperate climate.

Bill Niman explaining his grass-fed beef program

Bill Niman explaining his grass-fed beef program

In preparation for the launch of this year’s North American beef, we spent a few hours last week with Bill Niman on his ranch in Bolinas.  We toured his pasture, met the cows, and got the low down on what makes his grass-fed beef so special. We also checked in on his heritage turkey flock, which will be laying the eggs for all our heritage turkeys.

While we walked out to the pasture where the herd of Black Angus was grazing, Bill gave us a quick primer on the grasses that make up the diet of the herd (including rye and clover).  He spoke at length about how he rotates pastures to optimize the nutrition from the grass, allowing the cattle to efficiently put on mass.  When we were about 150 yards away from the herd, Bill gave them a yell and a whistle and about 45 calves and their mothers ambled over to gather around us.  It was striking how calm and curious his animals were; in all my other experiences cattle rarely let a stranger invade their space, let alone a dozen strangers eager to befriend them.

Bill takes a Zen approach to raising his beef – he believes that keeping animals calm and living harmoniously with their environment greatly improves the quality of their meat.  If the flavor, marbling, and that ocean view are any indication, we have a lot to look forward to this summer.

BN Ranch Bolinas

Chef Guy making new friends


The Joy of Masumoto Stone Fruit


Rose Diamond Nectarines

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

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


Spring Lady Peaches

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

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

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

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

Tree-ripened peaches and nectarines are some of the most exciting treats of the summer.  If you haven’t had the chance to sink your teeth into Masumoto fruit you have the next couple months to swing by the market and make it happen! Just ask us, we’re always happy to share a taste.

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






Jon Fancey

Fresh Cheese Makes All the Difference

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


Andante Dairy Fresh Goat Cheese

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

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


Burrata from DiStefano Cheese Company

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

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

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


California King Salmon Season Is Here!


Long live the king!  Wild California King Salmon season is back, beginning in spring before the action really gets going during the summer months.   King Salmon season has always been a special time for me – as summers meant no school and ample free time, my grandfather had the task of keeping my sister and me occupied.  Luckily, he was never at a loss for things to do – some of my favorite memories were our adventures down the coast to find fishermen selling their salmon catch right off the boats.

During king salmon season, we work closely with our fishmongers (All Seas, TwoXSea and Monterey Fish Company) to secure incredible quality California King Salmon at a very competitive price.  As we enter the height of salmon season in the summer, we usually see the price dropping several dollars.  This year the season will run through September 31, with monitored quotas for California’s fishery to ensure sustainability.

The Smithsonian has called King Salmon the “soul food of the North Pacific,” and we’re thrilled to celebrate it in all its delicious forms.  Kick off king salmon season for yourself with our Slow Baked, Herb-Crusted King Salmon with Full Belly Farm’s New Potatoes recipe.  Baking the salmon slowly allows the butter, herbs and mustard to gently flavor the fish, while the breadcrumbs brown to give it a nice crunch.  Pair it with Idlewild’s 2014 The Flower, Flora, & Fauna Rosé ($22.99), whose blend of Piedmontese varietals (Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto) are bursting with citrus and minerals, with aromas of pine needles and wildflowers – a perfect complement for your salmon dinner for two!

Herb-Crusted Salmon Recipe


Cherish California Cherries!

In the world of fresh fruits and veggies, there are only a handful of crops that get everyone super-excited, and California Sweet Cherries is one of them! When the end of April rolls around in the Bay Area, it’s time for our local Northern California cherries. Just 5 years ago, Bi-Rite had relationships with several farmers that would harvest their cherries and deliver them to our door within 24 hours. From the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to the flatlands of Brentwood, each variety of cherry is unique, depending on how and where it was grown. Unfortunately, due to warm winters and drought conditions over the past few years, cherry growers throughout the state are struggling to produce healthy crops. One of the main reasons for the decrease in the California cherry crop is the insufficient chill hours from October through February that are necessary to regulate their growth. With the uncertain future of the Northern California cherry crop, we at Bi-Rite have decided to celebrate the farmers that are still providing wonderful cherries in spite of these difficulties, and to cherish this year’s cherries to the fullest.


Warmer weather in the spring months also leads to cherry crops being harvested a week or two earlier than in typical years. Bi-Rite’s cherry selection always starts with the sweet Red Garnet Cherry from Ed George’s Peach Farm in Winters, California. Last year Ed had a complete crop failure on this variety and this year he only has 50 % of his crop. The one benefit of the smaller crops is that the cherries have more room on the tree to grow nice and big. There aren’t many crop varieties that produce the best fruit early in the season, but the Red Garnet is an exception. They are firm with a rich sweet flavor but are only around for 7-10 days.  The two other local farmers that bring their cherries to Bi-Rite are Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood and Hidden Star Orchards in Linden.  Frog Hollow has almost had a complete crop failure the past couple years and only has enough fruit to bring to the Farmer’s Markets.  This leaves it up to Johann Smit at Hidden Star to be our main local cherry grower this season.  He usually starts us out with the Burlat Cherry, which is a softer variety with a very delicate sweet/tart flavor perfect to get the taste buds excited for cherry season.  The Burlat will be followed by some other sweet red varieties like the Bing, Brooks, Larian, and Red Lac Cherries. Johann also grows some beautiful yellow Rainier Cherries.


As the local cherry crop winds down in the beginning of June, we will continue to source cherries from other parts of California and finish the cherry season off with the amazing fruit from the Northwest. If you love to eat local produce and support Northern California cherry growers, May is your month to cherish the local cherries at Bi-Rite!


BN Ranch Rib Eye Bonanza

BN Ranch Rib Eye

Butcher David showing off beautiful BN Ranch Rib Eye

The Cadillac of beef at the price of a Chevy: for one week only we’re hosting a BN Ranch Rib Eye Bonanza, showcasing Bill “The Beef Guru” Niman’s 100% grass fed beef

  • BN Ranch Bone-in Rib Eye: $15.99/lb (Regularly $22.99/lb)
  • BN Ranch Boneless Rib Eye: $19.99/lb (Regularly $26.99/lb)

This is grass-fed beef at its best, raised on lush, open pastures and harvested at maturity. Packed with distinct flavor, these rib eyes have the perfect amount of intermuscular fat you typically get with a grain-finished steak, without the guilt. A fantastic steak to pan roast or to throw on the grill before San Francisco summer descends, these BN Ranch rib eyes are available now at both Bi-Rite Market locations while supplies last.

Jason Rose

Easter Feasts the Bi-Rite Way

Easter is so close — a time for reflection, family, miracles, and gathering around incredible food. We’ve created a full 10887258_10153601980768298_1444448213708037230_omenu of dishes to make your holiday gathering special. Whether you’re hosting three people or 15, our lamb, ham, vegetable sides, and Bi-Rite Creamery desserts will cover all your needs. And if you’re in need of unique and beautiful Easter Basket additions, we have lovely seasonal offerings from some of our favorite artisan chocolate producers. Come in to see the entire selection, or order from our partner Instacart for San Francisco delivery in as little as an hour.

Bi-Rite Easter Menu 2015

Grilled Local Asparagus Salad with Fennel, Chickpeas, Sugar Snap Peas,
Spring Onion, Harissa & Lemon Tahini Dressing  
$12.99 / lb

Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Orange,
Thyme & Crushed Pistachios  $10.99 / lb

Spring Frittata with Egg, Asparagus, Ricotta, Spring Onion,
Tarragon & Lemon  
$5.99 / slice

Grilled Coho Salmon with Lemony Spring Pea Hummus
& Shaved Bi-Rite Farms Heirloom Radish  
$10.99 / ea


Holiday Meats

Llano Seco Bone-In Half Ham
These succulent hams are lovingly produced in small batches by master craftsmen.
Fed on Certified Organic vegetarian diets in Chico, California.
Each 5 to 6 pound ham serves 8 to 10.
$10.49 / pound

Llano Seco Petite Ham
Single muscle ham. Each 2 to 3 pound ham serves 4 to 6.
$10.49 / pound

Niman Ranch Uncured Spiral-Cut Ham
Niman Ranch has an established tradition of creating exceptional hams from great pigs.
Never given antibiotics, hormones, or artificial growth promotants. Fed on all-vegetarian diets. Each half ham weighs approximately 8 to 10 pounds and serves 12 to 14.
$7.99 / lb

Don Watson’s Pasture-Raised, Milk-Fed Lamb
Limited Availability—call us or come by to pre-order!
Distinct tenderness and mildness of flavor.
Lambs are raised in the Napa Valley and harvested just after weaning.
Pair it with: Chante Perdrix St. Joseph “Empreinte” 2011, $24.99
Bone-In Leg of Lamb $12.99/lb
Boneless Leg of Lamb $15.99/LB

BN Ranch Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Lamb
A traditional, full-flavored lamb, rich in lamb flavor. Raised in the Sacramento Delta.
Pair it with: Donkey & Goat Syrah “Fenaughty Vineyard” 2012, $34.99
Bone-In Leg of lamb $9.99/lb
Boneless Leg of lamb $13.99/lb
Rack of Lamb $29.99/lb


Easter Desserts from Bi-Rite Creamery

Classic Banana Cream Pie
6”- $12.99 / 9”-$24.99

Hot Cross Buns
$6.99 / each

Pots de Creme in jars
$5.99 / each

We will also have organic and exquisite tulips and ranunculus from the Bi-Rite Floral Team. Look for artisan chocolates from premier chocolatiers Fran’sMichael Recchiuti, Poco Dolce, and gâté commes des filles. We even have All-Natural Egg Dye! Our staff are looking forward to helping you find everything you need for a wonderful Easter!



Spring Has Sprung, Time For Lamb!

Flowers blooming, bees hard at work, new life everywhere….it’s springtime! Easter and Passover are just around the corner, too, which means lamb season is in full swing. This year we have an amazing lamb program, featuring two exceptional California producers, designed to offer the finest selections for your table.

Sheep and Lambs at BN Ranch

Sheep and Lambs at BN Ranch

Don Watson‘s Milk-Fed, Pasture-Raised Lamb is very special–the animals are born in in the Napa Valley during the winter, fed for four months on mother’s milk, then harvested before weaning. The meat extremely tender, with a distinctly mild flavor. This lamb is very limited, so please visit the markets, or call us to pre-order for your Passover and Easter celebrations.

BN Ranch Grass-Fed Lamb is a traditional, rich, full-flavored lamb, born on farmland outside of Tracy, California. These lambs are raised by John Cubiburu, who comes from a family of Basque shepherds, and is committed to the BN Ranch philosophy of raising and harvesting animals. The lambs are grown and finished solely on grass, moving seasonally through open pastures. BN Ranch lamb is available now at both Markets, as well as from the Bi-Rite store on Instacart.com, our partner for grocery delivery in San Francisco.


Shepherd John Cubiburu with his flock at BN Ranch

We are always committed to offering you the best, most humanely-produced food possible. With Don Watson and BN Ranch lambs you will get exactly that. Come in to either Market to speak with our butchers about which option is best for your needs. Whether you need boneless lamb or an entire rack, we can help.