Tag Archives: fair trade

Green cuisine in Emeryville, CA

Urban Emeryville, CA became our new neighborhood a few weeks ago and I immediately set out to look for local places that serve organic and/or vegetarian-friendly food. There were only a few restaurants listed in the SF bay green business directory. I did some investigating, and was surprised to discover quite a few places tucked into a land dominated by warehouses, businesses, and former factory spaces converted into dwellings.

Organic and vegetarian offerings
Arizmendi bakery +  — A workers cooperative associated with the famous Cheeseboard pizza collective. Offers coffee, food and ingredients made with fair trade and sustainable practices. The rich chocolate cookie made with chocolate chips and a hint of mint was divine. (It happens to be vegan.) The bread made with cherries and dark Guittard chocolate is also recommended for chocolate lovers.
Cafe Biere — In addition to an extensive beer menu, Biere offers organic greens and food from local sources.
Manzanita macrobiotic restaurant — The food here was fresh, nourishing, and thoughtfully prepared mostly vegan fare.

Vegetarian-friendly places
(recommended by friends)
Wally’s Cafe — A tiny, hidden place serving Mediterranean food near the Bank Cafe. Yelp reviewers reported that a poster for the film “Wall-E” by Pixar hung on a wall, and that its employees frequented the place. (The company is a few blocks away.)
Hong Kong East Ocean — Mainly a special occasion banquet and Dim Sum place with a nice view of the bay.
Pamir Afghan cuisine — It’s in the Emeryville Public Market+
I’ve only eaten at Manzanita and Arizmendi so far. I look forward to trying the rest of the places on the list!

Caterers
Back to Earth +
Paulding +
Amiee Alan

Grow your own

Photo: J. Hanson, via flickr.com

Photo: J. Hanson, via flickr.com

Emeryville Organic Community Garden
I was told by a community member that she’s been on the wait list for years! I plan to sign up for a plot and wait patiently.

Beyond Emeryville: Recent finds in the East Bay
Berkeley:
Chickopeas
— Best freshest organic falafel I have ever had. Tasty salads too. The menu says: Chickopeas uses over 90% compostable utensils. Organic ingredients when possible. The menus are printed on recycled paper.
Thai Thai — Best Thai food I’ve tasted in the East Bay. Wild brown rice available. Fresh and organic. Take-out only. It is located in the Epicurious Garden building.
Berkeley Bowl West (BBW) market — “About one-quarter of the produce section is organic, with much of it coming from family farms.” Natural and organically raised meat too. Source:“Berkeley Bowl West Opens,” sfgate.com
Tofu Yu vegetarian and organic cafe — Located one block from BBW.
Note: Also see post reviewing Ajanta+ & Zatar+ restaurants in Berkeley.

Oakland:
Burma Superstar, Temescal — Most dishes can be made vegetarian upon request. When I visited, the food was lighter (less oily) and more delicious than the SF branch.

Kaiser Oakland Farmers’ market — I usually shop at the all organic farmers’ market in Berkeley, which was closer to my former home. I found the webpage for Kaiser Oakland organic farmers market, which is closer to Emeryville.

Bon appétit!

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+ Denotes places listed in the SF Bay Area Green Business Program directory. These “local businesses comply with all environmental regulations and take actions to conserve resources, prevent pollution, and minimize waste.”

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Vegetable clothes

Reusable bags i use at the Farmer's market

My reusable produce bags

New fashion for your greens

Yesterday, I was shopping at the weekly Berkeley organic farmers’ market.  As I was picking up some beautiful shitake mushrooms at the Solano mushroom stand,  a shopper next to me mentioned that he liked my cotton produce bags, especially the mesh ones.  (I have reusable mesh and solid ones.)  He asked me where I bought them. I was happy to spread the environmentally-friendly info and said they are available locally at the Berkeley Natural Grocery. Later in the conversation, I found out that he sits on the board of the farmer’s market and very soon plastic bags will no longer be available at the market. Also, there is a move toward using compostable plastics at the market.

Most of the shoppers at the Farmers’ Market carry reusable shopping bags.  Surprisingly, I’ve only seen two or three other people use reusable produce bags in the environmentally-conscious Berkeley area, at the farmer’s markets and stores.  Most people are still entrenched in the usual shopper’s habit of ripping the plastic bag off a hanging roll and bagging each type of fruit or veggie.

The next step in the reusable bag movement is using reusable produce bags for fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Why should I care?

“All of these “free” bags ultimately cost both consumers and the environment plenty:

  • Each year billions of bags end up as ugly litter.
  • Eventually they break down into tiny toxic bits polluting our soil, river, lakes and oceans
  • Production requires vast amounts of oil.
  • Countless animals needlessly die each year.”

Source: Reusablebags.com

“Americans use 50 billion to 80 billion plastic bags a year.”
Source: Whole Foods Chain to Stop Use of Plastic Bags, NY Times, January 23, 2008

My husband and I have been using reusable shopping bags for many years. However, I became conscious of our small produce bag waste after I realized that we were using about 200 plastic produce bags per year for fruits and veggies!

The reusable produce bags I like are organic cotton and are washable. The mesh bags are good for veggies and fruits, and the solid ones for smaller items like nuts and seeds. I hope to see these bags made with renewable, low-impact hemp in the future.

Flaco's vegan Mexican food in my reusable, recyclable meal container.

Flaco's vegan Mexican food, from the farmer's market, in my reusable meal container.

Where to buy reusable produce bags

Reusablebags.com
Note: Sells organic Cotton Mesh Produce Bags and organic Cotton Net Produce Sacks.  Made with Fair Labor/Fair Wage. Machine washable. The vendor also sells cool Reisenthel shopping bags.

East Bay area (California):
Natural Grocery
Note: They sell organic Ecosac’s GardenSac mesh and net see-through produce bags. They are located on a stand behind a register near the book shelves, and near the produce aisle.

Related articles

Plastic Bags: Switching to Reusable Cloth Bags by Kay Bushnell, SierraClub.com, Accessed November 7, 2008.

SF supes vote to ban plastic bags in stores, San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2007

An Inconvenient Bag, Wall Street Journal, September 26, 2008

40 percent of Laysan albatross chicks die each year from plastic, montereybayaquarium.org, Accessed November 7, 2008.

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