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Simon

Cherish California Cherries

California stone fruit season usually gets going in the beginning of May with the local cherry crop.  The lack of a robust cherry crop the past few years in the Bay Area due to warm winters and drought summers has really slowed down production of one of the best fruit crops know to humankind. With this being said, this year’s local cherry crop is off to an amazing start and we are so excited to celebrate these amazing farms and all different cherry varieties they grow.

BingCherries_HiddenStarOrchardsFrom now until July, Hidden Star Orchards in Linden brings us organic cherries straight from their orchard twice a week.  Johan at Hidden Star is like the “Cherry Whisperer,” he always harvests beautiful cherries right when they are peaking in flavor.  Hidden Star just started harvesting the Brooks cherry, a dark red cherry that is super juicy. This will be followed by the firm Bing cherry, which is considered one of the sweetest red cherries, but also with a little tang to the flavor.   The yellow and red-skinned Rainier cherry just hit our shelves and this large but delicate cherry has a sweet white flesh and is always a special treat.   Hidden Star will finish out the cherry season with lesser-known varieties like the Larian and Red Lac cherry.  Now is the time for cherry lovers to come by the Markets and sample this special crop.

CoralCherries_ChinchioloAt Bi-Rite we pride ourselves on building relationships with the farmers who grow our food, so whenever we have the opportunity for a new relationship we get very excited! This spring, we’re fortunate enough to start getting local cherries from the Chinchiolo Family Farms in the San Joaquin County.  This is a fourth-generation family farm that focuses on apples and cherries. Just this past week we received our first delivery of Red Coral sweet cherries and they did not disappoint!  The Chinchiolo family grows a firm cherry that has a sweet tangy flavor with plenty of juice.  This week they are harvesting the Bing cherry which will be at both Markets for the next week.

This is a really fun time of year at the Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop with all local stone fruit and berries to cook with.  One of the most labor intensive crops to work with in the kitchen is cherries! Team Cream organized a couple group cherry pitting days where 500 pounds of cherries were hand pitted and cooked down in less than a week.  All this hard work will be turned into the seasonal release of the Cherry Almond Ice Cream, available only at the Creamery and Scoop Shop within the next couple weeks – keep an eye out for this once-a-season treat!


Chili

Wild Pacific Salmon, Your Go-To Fish

SalmonPostThe California wild Pacific salmon run signifies that the magic of spring is in full swing.  Salmon has always been an important historic, social, cultural, and economic resource to the Native Coastal Tribes of the Pacific. Our salmon began to gain worldwide recognition when commercial salmon fishing began in earnest in the late 1800s.

The commercial season generally runs from May through August, and the seasons have been fairly consistent since the first ever cancellation of the season took place in 2008, a cancellation that was caused by a drastic drop in the number of salmon returning to spawn. There are a number of factors that have been attributed to the decline, including weather conditions impacting the availability of feed, dams and water diversion, pollution, and overfishing. Even stricter fishing regulations have been implemented to help improve the salmon stocks; currently the fishery is in a state of recovery and will require us to be much more responsible stewards if we hope to see the salmon population flourish again.

Salmon-Recipe-Wine-ClubSo why don’t we eat farmed salmon instead, since it’s cheaper and we don’t have to worry about putting so much work into managing the wild salmon population?  First off, farmed salmon just doesn’t taste as good. Wild Pacific salmon has clean, rich, buttery flavors while farmed salmon tends to be oily and bland.  Additionally, the farmed salmon industry has been associated with a tremendous amount environmental pollution,  raising fish in overcrowded pens requiring heavy antibiotic use, and requiring a disproportionate amount of feed in relation to the meat produced.

There are five main species of Pacific salmon: Kings, Cohos, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye.  Chums, Pinks, and Sockeye are most abundant of the species and are the salmon of choice for canning and smoking. Kings and Cohos are more limited in availability, and are highly-prized for their eating qualities. During the wild season the majority of the salmon we sell in the market will be Kings, and we will transition to Cohos when the Kings begin to spawn (Cohos tend to head upstream later in the year).

Behind shrimp, salmon is the second most consumed seafood in America. We crave it year round for its flavor and health benefits (high in omega-3s), and the salmon fisheries have adapted, creating methods to freeze salmon so that it is available even after the season has closed.  Some may balk at eating frozen fish, but when done properly the end result can be amazing.  Alaskan fisherman Bruce Gore was a pioneer in freezing salmon without negatively impacting its flavor or texture. At Bi-Rite Bruce Gore’s beautiful, frozen-at-sea salmon is what we use to supplement our fresh, wild Pacific salmon program.

article_seafood_traceability_inline2We are excited to welcome a new producer to the Bi-Rite Family: Norah Eddy and her line of Salty Girl Seafood.  Salty Girl Seafood offers an assortment of frozen, marinated, wild-caught seafood, including a lemon pepper and garlic marinated Coho salmon.  All of their offerings are sustainably-caught – by entering the product code from the box into their website you can trace your entrée back to its fishermen and vessel. The different offerings are perfect for keeping your freezer pantry stocked with well-sourced seafood options for those times when you just can’t make it to the market.

SalmonRillettesWhen you buy salmon from us you know exactly where it is coming from
. It’s amazing to think about all the different places where you’ll find salmon at Bi-Rite: as part of our sustainable sushi program, grilled daily in our chef’s case, as seasonal entrees in our packaged meals, smoked and ready for a bagel from our delis and Catering, and fresh in our seafood case.  We are proud to say that we have done all the work to let you feel good about making wild Pacific salmon your go to fish all year round.


Raph

Bi-Rite’s Best in Show: 2016 Good Food Award Winners

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We’re thrilled to be showcasing some of our favorite Good Food Award-winning products over the course of the next 7 weeks, giving our guests a chance to taste 24 winners that blew us away at this years Awards. In 2016, the Good Food Awards granted awards to outstanding American artisan producers in 13 categories ranging from pickles and preserves to coffee, spirits, and ciders. The Good Food Awards is an annual recognition program celebrating food that is “tasty, authentic, and responsibly-produced.” Bi-Rite has been a strong supporter since the beginning, as we share many of the same values and ingredient-sourcing criteria.

Now heading into its seventh year, Bi-Rite is proud to be the Good Food Awards’ premiere sponsor, joining the effort to nurture the next generation of Good Food producers, and foster a food system that is fair, just, and sustainable. Our staff lends their tasting expertise each year to the Good Food Awards’ annual Blind Tasting, where over 200 expert judges from around the country taste the nearly 2,000 products submitted each year. In addition, Bi-Rite is proud to be a member of the Good Food Retailers Collaborative, a group of like-minded, independent retailers from across the country with a shared vision for creating community through Good Food.

Be sure to visit the Markets early and often, as the featured winners will rotate throughout the 7 weeks, and you’ll want to enjoy tastes of truly exceptional products from makers who go above and beyond simple craft to excel in social and environmental responsibility across the country. Here’s a sneak peak of what to look out for:

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*Photo credit: Kassie Borreson, courtesy of the Good Food Awards


Trac

Live Vivaciously, Drink Herbaceously

GinHeaderIf you’ve been to any of the new hot spots in San Francisco, you’ll notice there’s a revival of sorts for gins and gin cocktails. Places like White Chapel and Aatxe are committed to gins as the centerpiece of their bar program, and we can’t get enough of it. We can understand gin’s rising popularity – today’s gins are better than ever, with a growing group of artisanal distillers putting their own spin on the classics. Each craft gin now has its own distinct flavor, with a fascinating story behind each gin as well. People are realizing that while there isn’t a great deal of variation in tastes between different types of vodka, with gin you get huge flavor distinctions and nuance.

With all the different types of gins being made now, we’re very spoiled with the fact that there are so many wonderful cocktails to accompany them. At Bi-Rite, we carry over five different brands of tonic water and syrups alone, that you can use to experiment with the diverse gins we’re featuring. Mix and match the tonics and gins to find out your favorites.

Check out these great new gins next time you come in – try out our pairing suggestions or concoct your own!

Rutte Dry Gin Celery Dordrechet, Netherlands | $32.99CoralGablesPhotowTagline

The celery gin was inspired by one of Rutte’s original recipes dating back to the 1800s for their highly regarded genever which uses celery as one of itsbotanicals. It’s great in a Bloody Mary.
Pro Tip: See Coral Gables Cocktail recipe

Far North Spirits ”Solveig” Hallock, Minnesota | $49.99
Far North is a farm-to-bottle spirit company. The Solvieg is made from AC Hazlet Winter Rye planted and harvest by the Swanson family, and every step of production is done by hand.
Pro Tip: Pair with Fentiman’s Tonic Water

Sipsmith London Dry London, England | $39.99
Produced in a workshop previously used by the late, great whiskey writer, Michael Jackson, this super small-batch gin is flavored with 10 botanicals carefully selected for a drier balance than a classic London Dry Gin.
Pro Tip: Pair with Bitter Milk No. 2 Tom Collins mix

Caledonia Spirits “Barr Hill” Reserve Tom Cat Barrel Aged Gin Hardwick, Vermont | $34.99 Aged in new, charred American white oak, Tom Cat is a completely unique gin with whiskey-like notes of oak, spice, juniper, and raw honey. This is a HarvestMoonPhotowTaglinemodern day adaption of 18th century England’s most revered spirit, Old Tom gin.
Pro Tip: Pair with Jack Rudy’s Tonic Syrup

Rutte “Old Simon” Genever Dordrecht, Netherlands | $44.99

Named after Simon Antonius Rutte, who founded the distillery where this genever is still made based upon his original recipe from 1872, which included 13 herbs and spices. This gin is popular with cola and a squeeze of lemon or lime in the Netherlands.
Pro Tip: See Harvest Moon Cocktail recipe


Jon Fancey

Introducing the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek!

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Welcome to the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek, a new way to taste cheese and explore the world. I’m your guide, Jon Fancey, the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses Cheese Buyer. I’m responsible for curating the cheese selection at our Markets; to do so, I spend some time every year traveling to discover new cheeses. I visit farms, meet cheese makers and exporters, attend cheese festivals, and explore the world’s finest cheese shops to find new offerings. By joining the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek, you’ll be able to join me on my travels and taste some of the best cheeses I’ve found. You can also engage with me and fellow Cheese Trekkers by exploring #cheeseyourownadventure on Instagram and Twitter, and following @biritesf. Stop by the Markets and talk to one of our mongers to join the Trek!

Bonde

Maker: Poitou-Chevre // La Mothe-Saint-Héray, France

The first stop on our cheese journey takes us to a small town in the Poitou-Charentes, a region in western France known for medieval towns and cognac. This region is south of Nantes and north of Bordeaux, with miles of Atlantic coastline. Agriculture is important to Poitou-Charentes – oyster farms, vineyards, and dairies are prevalent in the region. The first cheese on the Bi-Rite Cheese Trek is crafted by Poitou’s finest goat cheese maker.

Bonde d’Antan is a small round of goat cheese whose origins lie in the Middle Ages. When the Moors invaded the region in the 8th Century they brought livestock and food preservation techniques,

The goats of

The goats of Poitou

including goats and cheese making methods. Goats thrive on the green pastures of Poitou and small format goat cheeses are now a regional tradition. Poitou-Chevre was founded as a cooperative dairy in 1897 by goat farmers around the town of La Mothe-Saint-Héray. The cooperative produced classic, small-format goat cheeses for over 100 years before being turned over to the Rongeon Family. The Rongeons have been making cheese in Poitou for generations and are committed to sustaining the heritage of the cooperative by using the village’s goat milk to produce classic cheeses. The cheeses of Poitou-Chevre are the best cooperatively produced small format goat cheeses I’ve tasted on my travels.

The original sign

The original sign

‘Bonde’ translates to ‘stopper’ – the little cylinder of cheese is reminiscent of a wine barrel’s stopper. The cheese’s paste is dense and fudgey, and the flavors are slightly herbal, yet clean and lactic. I would enjoy Bonde d’Antan with a bottle of Rosé or crisp white wine from the Loire Valley – a neighboring region of Poitou-Charentes. This style of goat cheese also pairs very nicely with farmhouse ales from Belgium and Western France – we have several great examples available in the Markets.

The next stop on our journey will be a small village in Austria’s Bregenz Forest – the featured cheese from this village will debut in the Markets on May 19th, stay tuned and be sure to #cheeseyourownadventure!


Waverley

Treat Mama Right!

Though technically every day you show you care (right?!), treat mama right this Mama’s Day with some TLC in the form of Good Food! Brunch or dinner, a picnic in the park, we’re here to help you treat mama like the hero she is.

MamasBrunch_WebOur chefs have crafted a light, fresh, spring menu that is sure to wow, featuring our Shrimp Louie with Oregon bay shrimp, butter lettuce, avocado, and cherry tomatoes with creamy Old Bay thousand island dressing. Pair it with our new, house-made Wild Salmon Rillettes with lemon and aleppo pepper, and our seasonal Quiche Maman with asparagus, Marin French “Petite Breakfast” Cheese, spring onion, and fines herbes. View the complete Mama’s Day menu here, available in the Markets and online for delivery May 6 through May 8.

Our bakers have whipped up something truly special for the truly special mamas in your life, the Creamery’s new Tarte aux Fraises. Made with peak season, farm-direct strawberries and almond frangipane, studded with pistachios, it’s a decadent and unique treat.

To complement this colorful spread, our cheese team is featuring brunch-friendly cheeses, like Marin French Cheese’s Petites (on sale now for only $3.99), plus an assortment of favorites like Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and Fromagerie Onetik’s Tomme Brebis Chevre.

Gifts for mama? We’ve got some great Good Food ideas:

  • DIY Strawberry Shortcakes: Give mama a sweet treat, plus get the ingredients delivered to your door!
  • Gorgeous farm-direct flowers: Our florists will be creating custom bouquets in front of both Markets Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8, 9am to 5pm; or, order farm-direct flowers from Instacart for delivery within an hour.
  • Seasonal Craft Cocktails: Our friends The Bon Vivants have created two beautiful, seasonal gin cocktails perfect for brunch or a day in the sun.
  • Handcrafted Chocolates & Truffles: Our Grocery Team has brought a collection of beautiful, handmade confections, truffles, and more so you can wow with chocolate.  Highlights include Chocolate Moderne’s Champagne Chic (chocolate-covered bonbons with double chocolate ganache in a champagne truffle), and Recchiuti’s Classic Truffles (traditional French-style rolled truffles).

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Jason Rose

New Dips & Dressings for Sunnier Days

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new seasonal dips as well as three new, house-made salsas, and the debut of our house-made salad dressings. Our chefs have been tasting and testing to bring our guests peak season flavors and new classics, just in time for beautiful spring weather and al fresco dining.

LabnehPeaHummus (6)Our house-made Labneh is as rich as it is creamy, made with Straus whole-milk yogurt that is strained for 22 hours to drain away much of the whey. It’s then topped with extra-virgin olive oil and beautiful za’atar for flavor and texture. It’s the perfect dip for crudité and pita bread or chips, amazing with spring lamb, excellent with grilled salmon (chef’s tip: fold in some chopped dill), and lovely in the morning smeared on toast with honey and crushed hazelnuts. As versatile as it is delicious, it also serves as a savory sandwich spread or a creamy salad dressing (just add lemon juice and a touch of vinegar).

Our new Pea Hummus showcases the peak season flavors of spring peas, combining English peas and snap peas with garlic, tahini, mint, and lemon juice for a seasonal take on traditional chickpea hummus. We love it with grilled salmon.

Beyond dips, our house-made salad dressings are now available by the bottle including our classic Lemon Vinaigrette, our Miso-Ginger Vinaigrette, and our Caesar Dressing. Your salads won’t be the same!

HouseMadeSalsaTrioFinally, we’re introducing three new, house-made salsas to spice up your kitchen: a Roasted Tomato Salsa with tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, akin to a classic “salsa mexicana,” a Tomatillo Salsa made with tomatillos, avocado, cilantro, onion, and jalapenos, and finally, Irma’s Salsa, a mole-esque salsa with ancho and chipotle peppers and tomatoes named after Chef Eddy’s wife as it is her recipe (chef’s tip: brush Irma’s salsa on fish or chicken, or use it as a sauce for enchiladas). Whether you’re having a park picnic or planning a dinner party, our new dips, salsas, and salad dressings will make the perfect addition to impress your guests!


Trac

Spring Wine Blitz is Back – come taste it!

Our annual Spring Wine Blitz is just around the corner! To tempt the taste buds, we’re throwing a preview tasting at 18 Reasons starting at 6pm on April 21. We’ll be pouring over 25 of our favorite wines to give our guests a taste of our diverse selections. Wine Blitz starts on Monday, April 25th through Sunday, May 1st, and we offer 20% off when you buy 12 bottles or more.

Our expert wine team will be on hand at Thursday’s Preview Tasting to help customize a case (or two!) for you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to pick their brains about their favorites this season, and there are still a few tickets left for purchase!

Check out some of the wines we’ll be pouring Thursday night:

Grossot Chablis Burgundy, France 2012

A stellar Chardonnay from Chablis, this is an incredible value from a great vintage in the region. Oysters would be a tasty decadence with this wine. Reg: $24.99 Blitz Price: $19.99

Skylark “Pink Belly” Mendocino, CA 2015

A Bi-Rite favorite, this Rosé is made by local San Francisco sommeliers Robert Perkins and John Lancaster of Boulevard. It’s dry, crisp, and ready for a picnic. Reg: $19.99 Blitz Price: $15.99

Baker Lane Syrah Sonoma Coast, CA 2012

A beautiful Syrah sourced from Stephen Singer’s impeccable vineyards. Black fruits with a spicy savory finish, this is great with burgers and grilled meat. Reg: $24.99 Blitz Price: $19.99

Fredi Torres Priorat “Classic” Catalan, Spain 2014
Fredi Torres is a rising star in Catalan and this Priorat is the reason why. Elegant, complex, and food-friendly are three descriptors Priorat was not previously known for. Reg: $24.99 Blitz price: $19.99


Waverley

Happy Passover from Bi-Rite!

FINALSederPlatewGoblet The celebration of Passover is an ancient and rich tradition, and we are happy to offer wide range of grocery, produce, and butcher items to complete your seder preparations, as well as a complete, house-made Passover menu so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family.

Our produce department will be featuring fresh horseradish root and organic, curly parsley for seder plates, while our Grocery team has a collection of Passover essentials and guest favorites, like the extremely limited-production, handmade Vermatzah. Made by Julie Sperling and Doug Freilich in Middletown Springs, Vermont, who carry on a 5,000-year-old tradition of baking matzah on an open fire.

BrisketOur butchers are showcasing beautiful, 100% Grass-Fed BN Ranch Beef Brisket for your Passover table. If you’re cooking for Passover, try our Zinfandel-Braised Beef Brisket recipe and shop it conveniently from our online store to have the ingredients delivered to your door! If you prefer lamb for Passover, we have two wonderful lamb producers supplying us with the season’s finest, tastiest lamb.  Learn more about what makes our lamb program so special here.

BlueberryCheesecake_InstacartIf time is tight, our chefs have crafted a complete, house-made Passover menu for your dining convenience, including old favorites and new, seasonal specialties. It wouldn’t be a holiday meal without desserts from Bi-Rite Creamery, like our Flourless Cheesecake – creamy, luscious and topped with the season’s finest blueberries! Our house-made Passover menu will be available in the Markets and for order on Instacart April 18 through April 30, for delivery within an hour.

To round out your meal, our wine team has curated standout kosher wines that go above and beyond the traditional Manischewitz (though we have that, too!).  Try the Domaines Bunan Côtes de Provence Rouge 2012, a full-bodied Cabernet Suavignon with savory notes of black fruits and spice, or the Golan Heights “Yarden” Sauvignon Blanc 2014, a classic Bordeaux-style Sauvignon Blanc from a cool climate site in Israel with herbaceous character and complex fruit.

Short on time? Let Instacart shop for you – find everything you need for Passover from our online Passover aisle and have it all delivered to your door!


Jon Fancey

Perfectly Portable Petites for All!

BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Cheese-032Marin French Cheese was began to make cheese in 1865, started by a dairy farmer in West Marin who became well known for providing European-style cheeses to bustling San Francisco. Marin French Cheese is still making cheese over 150 years later – the longest continually operating cheese maker in the United States.  The Bi-Rite Cheese Department is celebrating the beginning of spring by offering three favorite Marin French cheeses for $2 off! Perfectly portable, these petite cheeses make for fantastic park picnics, party eats, or on-the-go snacks.

  • Petite Breakfast Cheese – Marin French’s original cheese from 1865. A little button of triple crème cow’s milk cheese that they refer to as a ‘fresh brie’.  It’s mild & buttery and perfect for any time of the day.
  • Petite Crème – A little round of brie that’s great for picnics or a cheese plate. It’s sweet and milky and pairs well with olives and charcuterie.
  • Petite Camembert – The Bay Area version of a French classic. It’s Marin French’s most robust cheese and fabulous with oysters from neighboring Tomales Bay.

Whether you try one or try them all, celebrate local cheese this spring by enjoying a Marin French Petite for only $3.99!