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Kiko’s Food News, 2.7.14

Responding to legal challenges over their use of the word “natural,” Pepsi has quietly replaced that word with “simply” in products like Frito-Lay chips and Quaker Granola; the ingredients remain the same: (Huffington Post)

Corn and bean farmers in the midwest are beginning to replace those crops with produce veggies to get in on the rising local food market; it’s exciting to hear that more money can be made that way due to rising demand: (New York Times)

Camel milk, which apparently has a “pleasantly surprising nutty, smoky, slightly Bratwursty flavour”, is being sold for the first time with coffee in the UK, although it’s been served for a while in the United Arab Emirates: (BBC)

Now that Food Studies is an increasingly popular offering at universities, the academic audience for food blogs and food writing is expanding; will academia have an impact on the way that food blogs are written? (Huffington Post)

Kiko’s Food News, 1.31.14

Or maybe I should call today’s issue “Farm Bill News”? 

On Wednesday the House approved a massive five-year farm bill, which includes nearly $1 billion in annual reductions to food stamps (SNAP) that will affect about 850,000 families across the country; the Senate is expected to pass the bill next week: (NPR)

Within the 900 pages of the bill is a nationwide program that will allow low-income families to double their food stamp benefits to buy fruits and veggies at farmers markets; the program provides up to $20 million annually in matching funds for five years: (Washington Post)

The bill also signals a win for animal welfare due to the removal of the dangerous King Amendment that would have threatened states’ powers to enact their own agricultural standards (such as California’s mandating larger cages for egg-laying chickens): (Sioux City News)


A group of “agrarian elders”, including some of the biggest rock stars of the sustainable food movement, met to document what they want to pass on to younger farmers; topics ranged from how they’ve structured C.S.A.’s to how they’ve marketed heirloom varietals to restaurant clients: (New York Times)

India’s growing taste for “exotic” veggies like broccoli, leeks and cabbage are making these more profitable for farmers there to cultivate: (BBC)

If you’re watching the Superbowl on Sunday, look out for this year’s Chipotle production: their new “Farmed and Dangerous” series will take a satirical look at industrial-scale farming to promote the company’s concerns about the humane treatment of meat animals: (New York Times)

Kiko’s Food News, 1.24.14

Does your family debate ideal quantities of protein intake as often as mine has recently? If so, this article offers guidelines on how much, and what kind, of protein we should be ingesting: (Washington Post)

I’m proud to see that my girlfriends who work as chefs are part of a broadening posse, as women are increasingly filling the kitchen jobs that will produce the next generation of leaders in America’s best restaurants: (New York Times)

This chart shows how Americans’ grocery spending habits are out of whack with USDA recommendations; for example, we spend four times the amount recommended on refined grains but about a fifth of the amount recommended on whole grains: (Mother Jones)

People in 13 states have been sickened by salmonella detected in “white slime” — think back to the pink stuff, but from poultry instead of beef — which is made by forcing chicken through a sieve to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue, and sold for institutional food service: (NBC)

Monsanto is rolling out new varieties of lettuce, peppers, broccoli and other “superveggies” at supermarkets across the US; what’s surprising is that they aren’t genetically modified, created instead by crossbreeding (which farmers have done for millennia): (Wired)

Kiko’s Food News, 1.17.14

Wondering if your favorite pickle, coffee, beer or chocolate is the best our country’s food makers have to offer? Our friends at the Good Food Awards just announced the 2014 winners of the blind judging! (Good Food Awards)

General Mills said it is no longer using genetically engineered ingredients to make Cheerios, after a nearly yearlong campaign by a consumer activist group: (Los Angeles Times)

But will other food marketers divert their energy from certifying their food as organic because it’s easier to become certified as GMO-free? (New York Times)

Google web traffic data has an uncanny way of reflecting when foods are running out–check out how dramatically web searches were affected by shortages in Velveeta, Sriracha and Twinkies: (CNBC)

Americans are consuming fewer calories and eating at home more often according to a new USDA study, but the improvements could be attributable to cash-strapped Americans eating at home out of necessity during the recession: (Wall Street Journal)

I had a ball learning about “sokkuri sweets,” Japanese confections that look like inedible objects — check out these celebrities caught on TV biting shoes and calendars they thought could be made of sugar! (Kotaku)

Kiko’s Food News, 1.10.14

A study found that poor people with diabetes are significantly more likely to go to the hospital for dangerously low blood sugar at the end of the month–when food budgets are tight–than at the beginning of the month: (New York Times)

Yes, young Americans are increasingly pursuing careers in agriculture, but do single farmers need to BYOB (“bring your own boyfriend”) if they want to live off the land? My friend Kristina made this video to pose the question: (Youtube)

McDonald’s announced its commitment to begin purchasing “verified sustainable beef” in 2016–but how will they do this if there isn’t even a universal definition of sustainable beef? (Huffington Post)

Anthony Bourdain has signed a deal to open a massive international food market in Manhattan, in hopes of “giving young chefs a showcase to strut their stuff” and bringing Asian and European hawker foods to New York: (Fox News)

Maybe he’ll offer artichoke or pepperoni gelato, like some shops in Italy that are offering savory flavors–often with a wine pairing–to compete with the glut of sweet gelato shops! (New York Times)

Kiko’s Food News, 1.3.14

Happy Fab ’14!

Kicking the year off on the right note, one of our most vocal fellow food waste fighters summed up 2013′s big scores in combatting the problem; my favorite is her #1, the realization that anecdotally, consumers like you and me seem inspired to waste less with each bite: (NRDC)

It’s been well documented in recent years that the cost of food as it compares to other expenditures for Americans is going down, but I was surprised to see how dramatically the amount of money we spend on food cooked at home is going down vs. food eaten in restaurants: (The Atlantic)

The story of hunger is evolving as the percentage of the world’s population with access to 2,500 or more calories a day has grown from 30% to 61%, but the countries that have a history of food insufficiency aren’t just growing more food–they’re increasing supply by importing it from abroad: (NPR)

Farmers in big agribusiness are fighting back against years of critical media coverage by connecting with consumers through social media and in-person outreach to try and show they don’t have anything to hide: (Newser)

From a Mexican tax on sugary drinks to legislation banning Happy Meal toys in Chile and Peru, Latin America is becoming a laboratory for public policies meant to steer consumers away from processed food: (Wall Street Journal)

Kiko’s Food News, 12.20.13

On the heels of last week’s FDA announcement on antibiotic overuse in livestock, Consumer Reports found that drug-resistant microbes lurked in about half of over 300 samples of raw chicken breasts they tested: (Huffington Post)

Whole Foods will stop selling Chobani Greek yogurt by early next year to make room for smaller brands that are organic or don’t contain genetically modified ingredients; this parallels the chain’s commitment that all food in its stores containing GMOs be labelled as such by 2018: (Wall Street Journal)

That healthy foods cost more may be conventional wisdom, but a new Harvard study calculated just how much more–about a dollar and a half: (Reuters)

More and more food companies are swapping out ingredients that consumers feel are unhealthy due to a shift from consumer “democratization to activism”; through sites like Change.org, consumers can post petitions online and get a lot of people to apply pressure quickly: (NBC News)

The UN released a report insisting that transformative changes are needed in our food, agriculture and trade systems in order to increase diversity on farms, reduce our use of fertilizer and other inputs, and support small-scale farmers: (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)


Tis’ The Season: Support Our 2nd Annual Toy Drive!

Kids with Santa at the Arriba Juntos Holiday Celebration

Kids with Santa at the Arriba Juntos Holiday Celebration

Help bring good tidings to families in need this December! Be a “local Santa” and support the our 2nd Annual Toy Drive, starting Friday, December 13thThis year, we’re expanding our reach and collecting toys for children and families living in the Mission and in the Western Addition. Donations from Bi-Rite Market Divisadero will go to the Western Addition Beacon Center (WABC), which inspires youth daily through arts and cultural programming, academic support, college prep and sports. All toys from Bi-Rite Market and Bi-Rite Creamery on 18th Street will go to Arriba Juntos, a Mission-based community organization that has been fostering self-sufficiency through occupational training and job opportunities for our neediest neighbors, for almost 50 years. Both organizations work incredibly hard to support local, disadvantaged families every day; we need your support to ensure that our neighbors have a great holiday.

We’re looking for new and unwrapped:

  • *Toys (for kids 12 and under)
    *Sports equipment (e.g. basketballs and soccer balls)
    *Art supplies

You can drop off these goodies in the toy barrels at the entrances of:

Bi-Rite Market Divisadero: December 13th to December 18th, 9AM to 9PM
Bi-Rite Market 18th: December 13th to December 20th, 9AM to 9PM
Bi-Rite Creamery: December 13th to December 20th, 11AM to 10PM

Last year was a great success and the neighborhood came out in full force – we collected everything from jewelry making kits, baseballs, stuffed animals, classic children’s books, board games, and remote control cars to walkie-talkies, crayons, markers, one awesome twisty skateboard, and a Mr. Potato Head. Tis’ the season and help us do it again!

Excited? Have questions? Email Shakirah!

Cool toys from our generous guests!

Cool toys from our generous guests!

Kiko’s Food News, 12.13.13

The FDA has finally approved a strong recommendation for livestock producers to stop using antibiotics that are medically important in humans as growth promoters: (Civil Eats)

Reports are revealing that milk from organic dairies contains far more of the fatty acids that contribute to a healthy heart than conventional milk; this is the most clear-cut instance of an organic food’s offering a nutritional advantage over its conventional counterpart: (New York Times)

Major food companies are gobbling each other up, as Sysco is merging with US Foods in a deal worth $8.2 billion, and Whitewave Foods will acquire Earthbound Farm: (Forbes)

Not all superfoods are sourced from faraway exotic lands and cost a pretty penny–here are eight inexpensive ones to fill our shopping baskets with: (Huffington Post)

A Russian supermarket chain has introduced interactive kiosks that will create grocery lists for customers based on past purchases, recommend items that are in stock (and their location in the store), and suggest relevant recipes: (Adweek)

Kiko’s Food News, 12.6.13

NASA announced plans to grow cress, turnips and basil on the moon, with a goal of assessing whether humans could one day live (and farm) there: (NPR)

A Mongolian BBQ restaurant is making a great statement on food waste by charging all-you-can-eat diners for any food left on their plates: (Los Angeles Times)

Researchers have decided that the fungi and bacteria that grow on the surface of wine grapes in a particular region are what make its unique terroir; they affect the health of grapes and are eventually incorporated into the must, contributing consistently to a wine’s distinctive taste of place: (New York Times)

Germany’s brewers are pushing to have their beer named to UNESCO’s “intangible cultural heritage” list, which recognizes practices requiring urgent measures to keep alive; their strict beer purity regulations allow only four ingredients–water, malt, hops and yeast–to be used in the brewing process: (NBC News)

Diet-related diseases may take root in early childhood–even in utero–as studies show that babies born to mothers who eat a varied diet while pregnant and breast-feeding are more open to a wide range of flavors throughout life; exposure to a maternal junk food diet is being linked to children with a matching preference for junk: (New York Times)

Kiko’s Food News, 11.29.13

For me, Black Friday usually equals too many Americans buying too many things we don’t need; this year though, today is an opportunity for those who suffer from capitalism’s extremes to speak up for their rights, as Walmart workers are staging the biggest day of protests in Walmart’s history, asking for higher wages, more full-time jobs and an end to employer retaliation: (The Hill)

This accompanies growing public acknowledgement for the inequalities faced by these workers, due in part to figures like Ashton Kutcher who attacked Walmart on Twitter this week over the heinous discrepancy between profits and wages: (Salon)

 A restaurant owner in an Arab village outside of Jerusalem is on a mission to save culinary culture by offering diners a 50% discount if they turn off their cellphones at the door; he’s clearly a trailblazer, as his restaurant also once won the Guinness World Record for the largest plate of hummus! (Huffington Post)

Scientists are working to build a “better” egg, one that’s stocked with fatty acids, vitamins, and calcium; they’re trying to increase the buttery taste of the yolk and to develop shells that are uniform and strong: (Wall Street Journal)

The Norwegian military is fighting climate change with a new Meatless Mondays rollout, estimating that it can cut its meat consumption by more than 330,000 pounds a year if the program extends to all units at home and abroad: (The Atlantic)


Going Hyperlocal: Supporting Mission High’s Urban Farm


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Rachel, Wyatt, Mission High student-farmers and Matt!

Meet our new favorite farm-direct relationship: Mission High School! We’re proud to feature student-grown and harvested produce from Mission High’s new urban farm in our Deli case and in our Produce department.

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Bi-Rite staff touring the Mission Youth (MY) Farm

The Mission Youth Farm (MY Farm) project is a 7,900-square-foot plot and outdoor education space situated on the northwest edge of the Mission High School campus, nestled next to the Mission Bears’ football field. The urban farm represents a tremendous collaboration between students, faculty, families, neighbors, business and community partners and city agencies to improve the food system within the Mission community and promote healthy eating within the school. Under the instruction of Mission High Food and Agriculture Coordinator Rachel Vigil, students in Mission’s new Urban Agriculture  CTE (Career Technical Education) Pathway Program receive horticulture, leadership, entrepreneurism and activism training in the areas of food justice, environmental stewardship and sustainability. “This is an exciting opportunity for Mission students to truly see how food gets from seed to many tables,” says Rachel. Through the farming, cooking, marketing and distribution of the produce grown on their land, students are primed to become young leaders in the good food movement.

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Learning how to sell great produce!

In just a few short months, the student farmers grew and harvested tender Red Russian Kale, spicy mizuna, fragrant dill and basil, vibrant rainbow chard and fresh herbs. Over the past several weeks, Bi-Rite staff toured the urban farm and youth kitchen, paying the same attention as we would with any new producer. Bi-Rite’s owner, Sam Mogannam, tasted through the fresh vegetables and declared that all of the produce “is in exceptional shape, [has] great flavor and would go head to head with any of our great farmers”.

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John shows students how to generate an invoice

This week, MY Farm students returned the favor and visited Bi-Rite as first-time vendors, bringing fresh greens and herbs for our produce buyer, Matt and market chef, Wyatt. After learning the proper ways to merchandise produce for a retail setting, they discussed upcoming Bi-Rite dinner items to make their offerings shine (mizuna salad with roasted Warren pears and walnuts, anyone?). Before heading out, students also met with our bookkeeper, John, and learned how to properly create and submit an invoice to get paid in a timely manner. The students will receive market rates for their incredible produce and are happy to join an illustrious group of producers. “The students were beaming about their first delivery; one student told me she felt legit, like a real professional,” says Rachel.

mission high school my farm salads

Find Mission High produce on our dinner menu and in our produce case!

You can help us go hyper-local in the ‘hood and support these amazing student farmers! Check out our daily dinner menu and produce case, exclusively at Bi-Rite 18th Street.  Look for the “Mission High School Farm” tag for produce harvested within hours, and fresh, seasonal dishes inspired by the students and created by our chefs. Your support helps MY Farm raise necessary funds to purchase garden equipment and seeds, and install a rain catchment and irrigation system.