We operate two of our own organic farm plots in Sonoma, Mogannam family orchards in Placerville, and apiaries in Sonoma and San Francisco. Operating a farm, even at our small scale, not only teaches us where our food comes from but also helps us understand the hard work that farmers and ranchers do to feed us. Like many of the growers we work with, we never use any chemical inputs, but prefer to farm organically and harvest at peak flavor. Additionally, many of our staff members help out on the farm and can share that experience with our guests. When in season, Bi-Rite’s shelves are stocked with our own apples, tomatoes, peppers, figs, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuces, honeys, jams and more. We serve our own meat and produce at many of our 18 Reasons dinners and our annual harvest staff meals. Look for the “We Grew This” sticker on our signs to find the products from our farms.
Spearheaded by our produce buyer and in house farmer Simon Richard, we farm two plots of land in Sonoma County – a half-acre and a one acre plot. We experiment with intensive farming techniques focusing on growing specialty, hard to find varietals such as tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, carrots, shelling beans, etc. You can find the fruits of our efforts in the produce department, but also in Sergio’s gazpacho and our heirloom tomato salad in the prepared foods case, and our Creamery’s concord grape popsicles. We raise chickens that lay delicious eggs, pigs who love scraps we bring up from our kitchen, and cows whose meat we sell at Bi-Rite Market and serve at 18 Reasons events. Edible San Francisco published an article about our farms in 2008.
Mogannam Family Ranch in Placerville
Located on Apple Hill near the historic town of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills at over 2000 feet elevation, our one-acre family ranch is a truly special place in the world. Lovingly tended by Sam’s parents, Ned and Mariette, there are over 200 fruit trees that include various heirloom apples such as Arkansas Black & Winesap, black mission & desert rose figs, Bartlett pears, and fuyu & chocolate persimmons. There are also over 100 blueberry bushes and a kiwi vine that stretches over 50 feet. The entire harvest is either sold fresh or handmade into preserves by Mariette “Mom” Mogannam and available exclusively at Bi-Rite.
We enlisted the help of local beekeepers to set up and harvest hives on our Sonoma Farm and on the very rooftop of the Market.
Our Sonoma Honey comes from four hives of bees that source nectar from the abundant flora of the Sonoma Valley. These bees have not only produced honey, but have also helped pollinate the trees and plants on Bi-Rite’s Sonoma farm. We’re collaborating with Spencer Marshall of Marshall’s Farm Honey. He assists through the harvest, blowing smoke into the hives to distract the bees, pulling out the dripping frames, and feeding them into the centrifuge to deliver their sweet and sticky prize. Tasting reveals bright citrus flavors and hints of caramel and smoke with well-balanced acidity; the noticeable herbal quality may be traced to the surrounding eucalyptus groves.
Our Rooftop Honey is harvested from two hives right on the roof of the market! Robert MacKimmie from City Bees is leading the charge, bringing the knowledge of what it means to raise honey smack dab amidst the cityscape of San Francisco, with its unique microclimate and changing seasonal blooms. Jasmine and citrus blossoms, abundant in the Mission, lend extraordinary flavor to the final harvest. This honey is the perfect example of our tendency toward locally sourced foods– you can’t get any more local than the roof!
Our hives are never treated with chemicals or pesticides and never extracted using heat. When available, the honey is for sale in jars at the market or used in Bi-Rite Creamery’s popular Honey Lavender ice cream.