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Category — Markets

Napa weekend with natural organic food and wine

Celebrating another big 30th birthday, my friend Laura rented a shuttle to Napa valley and checked out some of the wineries. Our first stop was Constantino, a family run winery. To be honest, I’m not really a wine person, more of a foodie, but I thought the atmosphere of the winery was very relaxed and intimate. It apparently is my friend Laura’s favorite winery in Napa and she bought a wine membership from them.

Our next stop was V. Sattui, another family run winery near St. Helena. Despite its beautfiul grounds with oak trees and picnic tables, the place was a mad house! We did arrive Saturday at noon, but once I walked inside the tasting room and deli, it felt like going into a squished Trader Joe’s during rush hour, with people running around everywhere. The picture above shows a very nice deli and cheese selection.
They also carried Frog Hollow Farms’ organic and locally made jams. Even better is their fresh produce (especially peaches) if you find them in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I don’t think I would go back to V. Sattui, it was way too crowded and ruined any notion of being in Napa.
I used to live in New York, walking distance to the Dean and Deluca shop in SOHO. I was delighted to see even a larger Dean and Deluca in Napa. Above is a picture of locally sourced organic fruits. They had a wide assortment of farms nearby.

Dean and Deluca wasn’t as packed as V. Sattui, and the food options were way better, with fresh pastries, exotic teas, spices and wines. The only thing I wish Dean and Deluca could do better is to put benches or tables outside their patio so people can actually eat their food properly.

June 15, 2007   1 Comment

Cool organic places in Hong Kong

I was in Hong Kong last week and many of my friends brought me to new places in Hong Kong that carried organic and healthy foods. One of them was a market, called ThreeSixty, that was a smaller version of Whole Foods in a major mall in downtown Central called the Landmark. The selection was very impressive for a place in Hong Kong, but prices were very high.
ThreeSixty even had a nice food court on their second level, with over seven local restaurants and food stands to choose from in a nice, shiny environment. They had everything from wheatgrass juice to Italian food to pan Asian food to an actual sushi boat restaurant in the back.My friends brought me to Life for dinner, an organic, vegetarian restaurant in the streets of Hong Kong’s SOHO district. Tucked in an ally near a major escalator, the restaurant was cozy and reminded me of something you would find in the Bay Area.
Inside, the place was very crowded, with a warm color scheme.

I ordered an Asian stirfly vegetable and tofu dish on top of quinoa. The taste was very strong, but perfectly complemented the plain tasting quinoa. We also tried a lentil burger (which I highly recommend), a pumpkin soup, and a masala chai tea. After the meal, we went for a quick massage at a place called “Happy Feet”– a perfect ending to the day in Hong Kong.

June 13, 2007   3 Comments

The Pasta Shop in Berkeley

With the original Pasta Shop market in Rockridge for over 25 years, I recently checked out its second trendy Fourth Street Berkeley location. The Pasta Shop is squeezed in between other great food places, like Dona Tomas’ taqueria outpost, a tea shop, a wine shop, a meat market, and more.
Of particular interest is one of the best cheese selection that I have seen (see above) at the Pasta Shop. They also have a fresh pasta section and a nice take out deli section with salads, and entrees to choose from, similar to Whole Foods. However, don’t expect too much from their produce selection. Definitely check out this place if you are in the Berkeley or Rockridge area. A lot of their products are natural, organic and locally sourced. Pasta Shop is located on 1786 Fourth Street in Berkeley or 5655 College Avenue in Oakland.

June 10, 2007   No Comments

Checking out the organic scene in Hong Kong and Taiwan

While spending a family trip in Taiwan and a quick stop in Hong Kong, I noticed a lot more healthier and organic places to eat and shop. In Taiwan there are small stores that import American USDA organic certified products and in Hong Kong, there is a big new grocery store, similar to Whole Foods, called 360, which has tons of organic and natural foods in the Central district. For dinner in Hong Kong, we went to a place called Life, which was a vegetarian, organic oriented restaurant. Pictures to be posted soon!

June 7, 2007   No Comments

Organic Express, home delievery of organic produce from San Francisco to Los Angeles

Yesterday, I received a flyer in the mail by Organic Express, a local organic food delivery service. I haven’t yet tried them, but I noticed some striking differences between them and a normal CSA like Capay Farms or Eatwell Farms. For one, I think Organic Express covers a much larger region, the whole San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles area, unlike the other CSAs I mentioned. This can be good and bad. There is much more selection in their fruits and vegetables than a standard CSA. All of Organic Express’ produce is organic and grown in California. If you are a stickler for local foods, unfortunately they do not tell you where exactly the produce comes from. But I thought pricing was reasonable at $29/box or $39/box per week and you can actually choose what you want in the box, unlike the other CSAs. I think it’s worth a try.

May 11, 2007   No Comments

Farmers’ Markets now open with local, organic food in the Bay Area

May is the time of the year in which many of the smaller seasonal farmers’ markets open in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a list from the www.cafarmersmarkets.com. Enjoy fresh local organic produce in your neighborhood!

East Bay

  • Fremont/Centerville, Fremont Boulevard and Bonde Way. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Fremont/Irvington, Fremont Boulevard and Bay Street. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Fremont/Kaiser Hospital, 39400 Paseo Padre Parkway. Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Fremont/NUMMI, 45500 Fremont Blvd. Fridays, 2-6 p.m., June 1-November.
  • Hayward, Main and B streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Hayward/Kaiser Hospital, 27400 Hesperian Blvd., Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Livermore, Carnegie Park, J and Third streets. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., May 17-Oct. 18.
  • Pleasanton, Main and West Angela streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Union City, Cesar Chavez Park, Smith and Watkins streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Union City/Kaiser Hospital, 3553 Whipple Ave. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.

San Francisco

  • Alemany, 100 Alemany Blvd. (near the intersection of Interstate 280 and Highway 101). Saturdays, 6 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round.
  • Bayview-Hunters Point, Third Street and Oakdale. Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., May 16-Oct. 31.
  • Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St. at Montgomery. Thursdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., year-round.
  • Ferry Plaza, Ferry Building, the Embarcadero and Market Street. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round; Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Fillmore, Fillmore and O’Farrell streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., April 28-Nov. 17.
  • Heart of the City, Market Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. Wednesdays, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sundays, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., year-round.
  • Kaiser Hospital, Geary Boulevard and St. Josephs Avenue, at the hospital entrance. Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Marina, location to be determined. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., June- October.
  • Noe Valley, 24th and Sanchez streets. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Parkmerced, the Meadows, Arballo and Serrano drives, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., June-October.


  • Belmont, Caltrain parking lot, El Camino Real and O’Neill Avenue. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 6-Nov. 18.
  • Burlingame, Park Road at Burlingame Avenue. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 6-Nov. 18.
  • Daly City, Serramonte Shopping Center in the parking lot behind Target. Thursdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Half Moon Bay, Shoreline Station, Kelly Avenue at Highway 1. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 5-December.
  • Menlo Park, between Chestnut and Crane streets downtown. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Millbrae, 200 block of Broadway between Victoria and La Cruz avenues. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Pacifica, 400 block of Old County Road, near Rockaway Beach Avenue and Highway 1. Wednesdays, 2:30-6:30 p.m., May 16-November.
  • Redwood City, Winslow Street at Hamilton. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, April 7-Nov. 24.
  • Redwood City/Kaiser Hospital, 1150 Veterans Blvd. at Maple. Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • San Carlos, Laurel between Cherry and Olive. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., May 3-Sept. 13.
  • San Mateo/College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd. Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • San Mateo/25th Avenue, First Presbyterian Church, 194 W. 25th Ave. Tuesdays, 4-8 p.m., May 15-Oct. 23.
  • South San Francisco, Orange Memorial Park, Orange Avenue at Tennis Drive. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 12 to Nov. 17.
    South San Francisco/Kaiser, 1200 El Camino Real. Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.

South Bay

  • Campbell, Campbell Avenue between First Street and Central Avenue. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Cupertino, Vallco Fashion Park, Wolfe Road at Interstate 280. Fridays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Los Altos, State Street between Second and Fourth streets. Thursdays, 4-8 p.m., May 3-Sept. 27.
  • Los Gatos, Montebello Way and Broadway Extension, downtown Los Gatos. Sundays, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., year-round.
  • Morgan Hill, downtown train station at Third and Depot streets. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 12-Nov. 17.
  • Mountain View, Hope Street and Evelyn Avenue, across from the Caltrain station. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Palo Alto/California Avenue, California Avenue, near El Camino Real. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Starts June 3, will be year-round.
  • Palo Alto/Downtown, Gilman Street behind the post office, downtown. Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon, May 12-December.
  • San Jose/The Alameda, The Alameda and Hanchett. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., May 26-Sept. 29.
  • San Jose/Alum Rock Village, 57 N. White Road. Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Blossom Hill, Princeton Plaza Mall, Kooser Road and Meridian Avenue. Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Cambrian Park, Camden and Union avenues, Wednesdays, 4-8 p.m., May 2-Oct. 31.
  • San Jose/Downtown, San Pedro Square between Santa Clara and St. John streets. Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., May 4-Dec. 14.
  • San Jose/Evergreen, Evergreen branch library, 2635 Aborn Road, Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Opens May 20, end date not set.
  • San Jose/Japantown, Jackson Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. Sundays, 8:30 a.m.-noon, year-round.
  • San Jose/Kaiser-Santa Teresa, Cottle Road and Highway 85. Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa Boulevard and Camino Verde. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., June 2-October.
  • San Jose/Santana Row, Stevens Creek and Winchester boulevards. Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., year-round.
  • San Jose/Willow Glen, Lincoln Avenue and Willow Street, behind the Garden Theatre. Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., April-November.
  • Santa Clara, Jackson Street, between Benton and Homestead. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Santa Clara/Kaiser, 710 Lawrence Expressway, Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., year-round.
  • Saratoga, West Valley College, Fruitvale and Allendale avenues. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round.
  • Sunnyvale, South Murphy Avenue between Washington and Evelyn avenues. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., year-round. Wednesdays, 5-8:30 p.m., June 20-Aug. 22.

May 9, 2007   No Comments

Emerald Market in Redwood City/Emerald Hills area, a convenient store for fresh, organic local foods

I found a small family run market in Emerald Hills, an area hidden away in the hills of western Redwood City bordering Woodside. Emerald Market opened about a year ago, and inside its doors is an upscale, immaculately clean market full of organic produce, a high end butcher, and even a takeout deli, soup and salad bar. Its location is a bit tucked away, but for the residents in the area, it’s a convenient place off of 280. They also had a nice seating area outside, and in the plaza is a famous burrito place called Sancho’s. I couldn’t find Emerald Market’s website, but here are some reviews from Yelp. I hope this place can survive in its very hidden location!

May 4, 2007   No Comments

Making an organic Indian dinner

The other day, I hosted an organic Indian dinner for my team that I volunteered with me in Uganda with on a microfinance project. I went shopping at Rainbow Grocery, which had a wonderful array of local organic vegetables and food. I bought local cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes and onions for an aloo gobi dish; local fresh paneer (I was really surprised to find this in Rainbow Grocery!), Straus plain nonfat yogurt, organic frozen peas and organic cumin seeds and coriander for a matter paneer dish. I served this over organic basmati local rice (also from Rainbow’s bulk section) and ended the dinner with Tom’s Cookies, a local San Francisco company which sells frozen natural cookie dough. Yummy!

May 3, 2007   No Comments

Hodo Soy, an organic, local soy company in the Bay Area

One of my friends from high school started a great food company, Hodo Soy Beanery. It’s an all organic, fresh, locally produced soy product company–from tofu, to soy milk, and special textures of soy that you typically can’t find at a market. They sell at farmers markets such as the Ferry Building in San Francisco, the Berkeley Farmers market, the Marin Farmers market and recently in Oakland and San Mateo. I’ve tried their tofu, soy milk and other products and it all tastes very fresh and light.

May 1, 2007   2 Comments

Free chef and farm demonstrations at Ferry Building

I just got back from Africa, and am recovering from travel sickness. But am feeling almost back to normal enough to post these events! Check out free cooking demonstrations and information straight from farmers at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, sponsored by CUESA. All events take place in the Dacor teaching kitchen in the arcade north of the Ferry Building’s clock tower.

  • Saturday, March 17 ~ Market to Table events
    10:30 am – Meet the farmer Maria Catalan of Catalan Farms
    11:00 am – Cooking demonstration & book signing Ann Cooper, Renegade Lunch Lady and author of Lunch Lessons* Books for sale courtesy of Book Passage
  • Saturday, March 24 ~ Market to Table events
    10:30 am – Meet the farmer Roscoe Zuckerman of Zuckerman’s Farm
    11:00 am – Cooking demonstration & book signing Charles Vollmar of Epicurean Exchange

March 17, 2007   1 Comment

Michael Pollan and John McKay debate in Berkeley!

Get your tickets to this event before it sells out on Feburary 1. This is going to be an amazing event: the CEO of Whole Foods and Michael Pollan (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma) having a discussion about organic, local agriculture and the role Whole Foods plays in these markets.
The event is in Berkeley on Tues Feb 27th at 7pm and tickets go on sale for $5 Feb 1st (get them fast!).

If you can’t make it to Berkeley, they will be airing the discussion live online as well:

For a little more background on the relationship b/w these two, check out this blog:

UPDATE: Here is the videocast of the debate, download here.

January 25, 2007   No Comments

Milk Pail in Mountain View

I dropped by Milk Pail Market on my way home today. I hadn’t been there in awhile, and it’s changed for the better. Originally known for dairy products and cheese (tons of cheese, on par with The Cheese Board in Berkeley or Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco), this place is worth stopping by. They expanded the produce section to an outdoor market; produce prices are inexpensive and very fresh. I was literally taking vegetables and fruits out of the boxes that they were shipped in. My only complaints are that the organic selection is very minimal, and the produce isn’t labelled well. Still, I was impressed by this small corner market, as are others given how packed and crowded it was.
Milk Pail Market is located on 2585 California Street, Mountain View Open daily 8:30 am – 8 pm (Sat 7 pm / Sun 6 pm)

January 25, 2007   No Comments

Eatwell Farms

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I was at a book club last week discussion on Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. One of the book club members was saying great things about Eatwell Farms CSA program after using them for a year, and especially their eggs. Apparently there is already a waitlist for their eggs for CSA members! I wanted to check them out, but they have pick up locations in the East Bay, San Francisco and Marin, but not yet in the Peninsula or South Bay. They also sell at the Ferry Market Farmer’s Market every Saturday. Give Eatwell Farms a try!

January 23, 2007   No Comments

How do you know if your produce is organic?

Have you ever looked at your fruit or vegetable and noticed a sticker with a number code on it? That’s a PLU number, a way to categorize the produce. If you see a “9″ in the beginning of a five digit code, it’s organic. If you see a “8″ in the beginning of a five digits, then it’s actually genetically modified. If there are only 4 digits in the PLU number, then it’s conventional, meaning that it’s not organic.
This video does a good job explaining what organic really means by interviewing Capay Farms in the Ferry Building, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/public/page/8_0004.html

January 17, 2007   3 Comments

The oldest farmer’s market in the Bay Area

Considered the oldest farmer’s market in the Bay Area, Alemany Farmer’s Market is located in Bernal Heights area of San Francisco. Though this market is not as upscale as the Ferry Building, it has a local flair with ethnic food and much more affordable prices that the Ferry Building including certified organic produce.

The Alemany Farmer’s Market is open on Satursdays only from 6am on. Located at 100 Alemany Boulevard, San Francisco at the junction of 101 and 280.

September 22, 2006   No Comments