Tag Archives: Berkeley farmers market

Jam maker turns hobby into thriving local business

Dafna Kory at Local 123 Cafe./Photo: Sarah Henry
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Dafna Kory discovered the delights of jalapeňo jam during pre-dinner nibbles at a Thanksgiving gathering. She went out to buy a jar, couldn’t find the mighty spicy condiment anywhere, so she began experimenting with making her own. It became an instant hit among her posse.

At first, the self-taught preserver thought her D.I.Y. hobby would just make nice gifts for friends and family. The she moved from San Francisco to South Berkeley, saw the abundance of plums, apples, and lemons growing in her new backyard, and a jamming business was born.

Kory foraged fruit in a hyper-local fashion. She made batches of jam in her home kitchen. She personally delivered by bike. Demand for her jams grew by word-of-mouth.

Friends who had friends who owned stores began encouraging her to branch out beyond her inner circle. So she started shopping INNA jam (the name is, indeed, a playful pun) to places like Local 123, Summer Kitchen, Rick and Ann’s Restaurant and The Gardener.

About a year ago, with orders coming in a steady stream, it became clear that Kory, now 28, needed to either gear up and focus on turning her after-hours pastime into a fully fledged business or scale back and remain a hobbyist. She decided to take the plunge.

A freelance commercial video editor, Kory hasn’t looked back. She began working in a commercial kitchen in North Berkeley, selling her pickles and preserves at events like ForageSF’s Underground Market and the Eat Real Festival, and offering workshops for other D.I.Y.ers.

The UC Berkeley graduate now spends nine months of the year working full-time on her budding food business, and supplements her income in the winter months with editing gigs.

In a year, she hopes to devote 100% of her work day to INNA jam. Kory also pickles though that product line is on hiatus while she ratchets up production to meet demand for her increasingly popular jams. She delivers locally by bike, ships interstate, and offers an annual, seasonal subscription (a 10-ounce jar retails for $12). … Continue reading »

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June Taylor’s way with fruit: esoteric, steeped in history

Meyer lemons destined for a June Taylor marmalade./Photo: Sarah Henry
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June Taylor crafts the kind of conserves and fruit confections that make food writers swoon.

Case in point: Amanda Hesser’s description of Taylor’s preserves. “They are unlike any commercial preserves, not simply because she uses esoteric — virtually all organic — fruits like bergamots, kadota figs, and Santa Rosa plums, but also because she cooks them in such a way that underlines their essence,” wrote Hesser in a New York Times Magazine piece. “Sugar is used not as a crutch but a tool. Her silver-lime-and-ginger marmalade has a sting to it; her grapefruit-and-Meyer-lemon marmalade is bright, concentrated and vigorously bitter.”

Don’t just take a food scribe’s word for it. My son is partial to Taylor’s candied peels — Rangpur Lime, Oro Blanco grapefruit, and Citron — popped into porridge (oatmeal), granola, or directly in the mouth for a bittersweet treat. … Continue reading »

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John Scharffenberger: From chocolate and wine to tofu

John Scharffenberger/Photo: Anne Hamersky
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Long known for the success of his premium wine and chocolate companies, John Scharffenberger is making a name for himself these days as a tofu hawker.

In June, Scharffenberger, 59, who divides his time between a home in North Berkeley and a place in the country, signed on as the CEO of the Hodo Soy Beanery in Oakland, an artisan food factory that makes products from organic, non-GMO soybeans.

The company, whose founder Minh Tsai was previously profiled here, makes fresh tofu, yuba (tofu skins), and soymilk, as well as prepared dishes such as spicy braised tofu salad, poached yuba loaf, and soy omelette. … Continue reading »

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Doctor’s orders: Eat your greens says Preston Maring

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Here’s a notion that hardly seems radical: longtime Berkeley resident Dr. Preston Maring thinks physicians should prescribe healthy eating along with dispensing drugs to their patients.

Maring, Associate Physician-in-Chief at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, believes doctors should also walk the walk about the preventive health benefits of sound nutrition.

He’s so committed to the good food cause he’s willing to show other medical professionals how to mince garlic and whip up vinaigrette from scratch for … Continue reading »

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Nosh

Cheating Farmers’ Market vendors in the spotlight

Farmers' Market produce should be in season and not have stickers
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The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is holding a “Farmers Market Listening Session” this evening, 5.30-7.30pm in Berkeley, after an exposé by NBC LA found vendors at Southern California farmers’ markets re-selling produce that they had not grown themselves.

This is one of several listening sessions being held across the state and is not the result of any similar findings at the Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, said Martin Bourque, Executive Director of the Ecology Center which operates three … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Aaron Betesh, Blue Heron Farms

Cooking up kale.
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For 10 years, Blue Heron Farms vendor Aaron Betesh has been selling organic vegetables to customers at all three Berkeley Farmers’ Markets.

Betesh is part of the Blue Heron crew which, for much of the year, hawks salad greens, Asian greens, herbs and flower — along with carrots, kale, and broccoli.

The produce comes from a small family farm in Corralitos, near Watsonville, run by Lori Perry and Dennis Tamura.

Farmers’ Market customers don’t always realize that not … Continue reading »

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Events

Beer Olympics, the organic way

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I don’t usually associate farmers’ markets and beer contests, but that unlikely pairing will be featured at Civic Center Park tomorrow afternoon.

The Green Beer Olympics will be held during the Saturday Berkeley Farmers’ Market. The contest consists of three events: keg toss, hop sack race, and arm wrestling (by weight class). Entry is $10 and there are separate men’s and women’s competitions.

According to Daniel Del Grande, owner and brewer of Bison Brewing, tomorrow’s event is the fourth … Continue reading »

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The kitchen chez Alice

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Vanity Fair, which concentrates more on Southern California stars than the more home-spun denizens of Northern California, features Berkeley’s Alice Waters’ kitchen in its October issue.

With a trip to the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, or to Berkeley Bowl, most Berkeleyans could duplicate what Waters has on her table.

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Berkeley Bites: Kara Hammond, Elmwood Café

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A decade ago, and fresh out of North Carolina, Kara Hammond landed a gig at Café Fanny, a tiny slip of a place in North Berkeley opened 25 years ago by, oh, a certain famous local chef.

Hammond, who had run a homespun bakery in Greensboro, wanted to get some kitchen experience in the Bay Area. Someone she knew knew someone who had a contact at Café Fanny; she called up and scored a job, just like that. Hammond … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley fields many winners in Best of Bay awards

Freight & Salvage
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Several Berkeley businesses won top honors in SFGate’s Best of the Bay Awards, which this year attracted more than 71,000 votes from readers.

The Awards are divided into 29 categories, each of which has many sub-categories, so apologies in advance if we missed some Berkeley winners — we trust you’ll inform us of any omissions.

Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse placed first in two categories: Performing Arts Center and Nightlife. Berkeley Farmers Market won Best Farmers Market. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley, Cultured Pickle Shop

Pickle
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Sour foods really appealed to Alex Hozven as she battled brutal pregnancy-induced nausea with her first son.

Nothing unusual there, right? Millions of women crave pickles to combat morning (or all-day) sickness. But Hozven’s obsession with fermented foods didn’t end once her baby was born.

Instead, she set out to master making naturally fermented foods (no vinegar, water, or heat) like sauerkraut, kim chee, and kombucha with a locavore sensibility and seasonal twist –  and built a thriving business that … Continue reading »

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Market Report: Bleinheim apricots

Bleinheim apricots
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By Romney Steele

Near come and gone by now, I have to give a shout-out to my favorite apricot, the Blenheim (sometimes referred to as Royal Blenheim, or simply Royal), before it’s too late. This petite but sublime variety with its speckled, blush appearance has a short season, usually peaking by end of June but, due to delayed harvest, they can still be found now.

Prized for their flavor and intense honeysuckle aroma, they have … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Bites: Samin Nosrat, ex-Eccolo and co-creator of the Pop-Up General Store

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Samin Nosrat is a veritable poster girl for the current trend (some would say necessity) of workplace reinvention.

Since the shuttering last summer of Eccolo, an acclaimed Italian eatery on 4th Street, that restaurant’s one-time sous chef now juggles an impressive number of part-time jobs in the culinary world.

Nosrat is the co-creator (along with former boss, Chris Lee, currently cooking in London) of the much buzzed about Pop-Up General Store, a fleeting food market … Continue reading »

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