Tag Archives: farmer’s markets

Delicious olive oils

Yesterday, we walked to Alegio chocolate for a Moveon.org chocolate and wine inaugural party. In the garden, a band played beautiful spanish guitar music to a crowd and the warm air felt like spring. The whole block was buzzing with inaugural celebrations.

We walked by our local celebrated restaurant Chez Panisse. “Congratulations President Obama” was printed on top of the menu displayed outside.  I’ve had the good fortune of dining there for special occasions. Not only does the restaurant have a “commitment to good food, community, and sustainability,” the food is also the bomb. Over the past year I have been buying and cooking the delicious produce from some of their food providers at the all organic farmers’ market located on the same street as the restaurant, on Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA.

Inspired by the delicious, simple style of cooking vegetables with olive oil, and the video of chef Alice Waters in the NY Times making a simple meal from fresh farmers’ market items, I finally got the nerve to call Chez Panisse and ask for the name of the olive oil used in their meals. (Waters reportedly travels with her own olive oil.) One of the chefs  informed me that the primary oil they use is the Italian Oleificio Chianti. I plan to try the Buonsapore extra virgin olive oil for seasoning.  The chefs have also used local organic olive oil from the Stonehouse California Olive Oil Company. She says that Oleificio Chianti is available locally at stores like Monterey Market, Berkeley, CA. It can also be ordered online through local olive oil importers.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-educated author and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona, recommends quality organic extra virgin olive oil for its health benefits in his article on olive oil. He uses organic Lucini Limited Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Dr. Weil says, this “oil exceeds all of my expectations for both taste and healthful properties.”

Bon Appétit!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized