Tag Archives: Cultured Pickle Shop

Nosh on the town: ‘A taste of West Berkeley’ tour

Eduardo Morell slices bread at his bakery in West Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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It’s really hard to not fill up on bread when it’s this good. There’s hearty, earthy 100% rye topped with a generous smear of salted Clover butter. And a classic country loaf jazzed up with whole-wheat flour sliced thick, so it’s easier to appreciate its tender, chewy crumb.

We’re at Morell’s Bread, the first stop on Berkeley’s newest food tour, A Taste of West Berkeley. Baker Eduardo Morell is talking to us about his sourdough starter and gluten development. I sneak a few more bites of the rye and butter while I watch Morell’s wife and business partner, Tamsen Flynn, shape country loaves on the large bakery counter behind us. … Continue reading »

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4 East Bay names finalists in Good Food Awards

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Four East Bay food producers are finalists in the national 2013 Good Food Awards.

West Berkeley salumi company, Fra’ Mani, run by former Oliveto chef Paul Bertolli, is a finalist in the Charcuterie category for its Salame Toscano. The Cultured Pickle Shop, owned by Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley and also in west Berkeley, made it to the finals in the Pickles category for its Japanese Cucumber and Arame Kimchee and its Kasu-Zuke Jalapeños. INNA Jam, which owner Dafna Kory recently moved from Berkeley to Emeryville, is a finalist in the Preserves category for its Pretty Spicy Fresno Chili Jam. And Alameda-based St. George Spirits, reached the final stretch in the Spirits category for its Agua Libre California Agricole Rum and its Aqua Perfecta Poire Eau de Vie.

A total of 114 winners, representing 132 products, are set to be announced tonight at a ceremony held at San Francisco’s Ferry Building presided over by Berkeley restaurateur and sustainable food champion Alice Waters. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley acupuncturist finds bliss in seasonal food

Simple sauerkraut: A popular fermented food. Photo: Nishanga Bliss
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“We Americans are eating ourselves to death” sounds like a total Debbie Downer way to begin a book, doesn’t it? But the recently released cookbook Real Food All Year, by Berkeley’s Nishanga Bliss, offers an opportunity to explore seasonal eating in tandem with the principles of Chinese medicine and holistic nutrition in a manner that isn’t overly negative or earnest.

Bliss, a professor of Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC) in downtown Berkeley, where she works as an acupuncturist, nutritionist and herbalist, peppers her book, published by local press New Harbinger, with her professional expertise. She focuses on the healing potential of seasonal eating and cooking to support the health of key organs and overall energy.

So readers will find cheery chapters such as “Feeling Spring,” which encourages eaters to embrace the appearance of fresh, new greens at the market, cleanse, detoxify the liver, and cook for shorter times, with less oil, and lower temperatures than in winter.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Tuesday farmers’ market moving to Lorin District

Berkeley's Tuesday farmers' market in its current Derby Street location. Photos: Courtesy Ecology Center
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Some say change is as good as a holiday. Others counter that most resist change. But here’s what everyone can agree on: change comes, regardless.

And so it is that the Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays is set to move to a new location. The first formalized farmers’ market in the city, which has called Derby Street at MLK Way in South Berkeley home for 25 years, is slated to relocate come July 10 to the parking bay at Adeline and 63rd Streets in the Lorin District. The market will run, as it does now, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 6:30 p.m. (It’s a half hour earlier, to accommodate a church service on the site.)

The Ecology Center views the switch to a new spot in South Berkeley as part of an overall plan to increase access to farm-fresh food to areas that lack a major grocery store, though the shift also comes because the Berkeley Unified School District will be converting the adjacent playing field at the markets’ current location into a regulation-size baseball field. … Continue reading »

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Startup Berkeley: does the past guide a city’s future?

Can Berkeley be part of the business innovation party? Photo: Tracey Taylor
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For several decades, Berkeley — and the East Bay more generally — has looked longingly at the vibrant enterprise and job creation on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. Why can’t Silicon Valley spread its secret sauce across the Bay?

After all, Berkeley has two great research institutions — UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab — churning out innovations and the young scientists and technologists that spawn them. All too often, however, those ideas and people go elsewhere to commercialize their activities. Part of the discussion on March 5, at the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum on “Startup Berkeley” will examine whether that dynamic can change.

A recent comment by “Vbkly” on Berkeleyside provided a case in point: “Ah yes how do we overcome the Great Wall of Berkeley? You know the Wall that has stopped Sun, Linux, Medical Radioisotopes, the Manhattan Project, Andy Grove and most of the key people in Silicon Valley, Genentech, Intel, Apple, Inktomi, Google and not to mention RAVE (which overcame a major barrier to Moore’s Law).  All of these companies started in Berkeley or were founded/run by Berkeley people.” … Continue reading »

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Baker’s dozen: To Berkeley from a brick oven in Marin

Eduardo Morell mans the oven at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin. Photos: Eric Smith
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As commutes go, Eduardo Morell knows he’s onto a good thing. The south-west Berkeley dweller spends 35 minutes behind the wheel before he reaches the bucolic setting that is home to the Headlands Center for the Arts near Sausalito, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He’s greeted by fresh air, windswept hills, blue (or fog-filled) skies, the sound and smell of the ocean, and the seasons on display.

It is, without doubt, a special spot. That Morell gets to call it his workplace only makes it more magical.

The baker behind Morell’s Bread spends two 14- to 16-hour days at this artists’ enclave in a collection of former army barracks in the Marin Headlands, where he bakes naturally leavened bread in a wood-burning brick oven designed by master-builder Alan Scott. His loaves are served up to the artists-in-residence and sold at the Thursday and Saturday farmers’ markets in Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Beer, tongue and pickles: Food makers win awards

Cultured pickles
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Three Berkeley artisan food producers emerged victorious at the inaugural Good Food Awards which were presented at San Francisco’s Ferry Building on January 14. The awards celebrate food purveyors who marry great flavor with responsible food production and are divided into seven categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves.

In the pickles section, Berkeley’s Cultured on Bancroft won for its spicy oregano purple carrots for which owner Alex Hozven sources ingredients from River Dog Farm in Yolo County. Cultured uses a natural fermentation process which slowly creates a sour flavor and a deeper, more complex final flavor. The product is also alive and therefore good for digestion. Read the story of how Cultured came to be by Berkeleyside food writer Sarah Henry in her July 2010 profile.

Bison Brewing, a 22-year old brewery run by Daniel Del Grande and George Allen, was a winner in the beer category for its organic gingerbread ale which contains hops from Clearlake, malted barley from Vancouver, WA, and spices from Sonoma.

Bison has robust environmental credentials: it has conducted a carbon footprint analysis of its operations, practices on-site wastewater treatment, and has a standard operations cycle for his cleaning procedures. It is also very involved in its local community. Four years ago, the company moved its operations to Fifth Street from an architect-designed brewery on Telegraph Avenue after the city of Berkeley revoked its manufacturing permit there. … 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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Berkeley Bites: Minh Tsai, Hodo Soy Beanery

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Minh Tsai is on a mission to make tofu the next hip artisanal food. He knows he has a ways to go to get many Americans to even taste tofu, but if anyone can make it cool to eat bean curd, this enthusiastic self-described tofu master is the man for the job.

Tsai grew up eating fresh tofu from street vendors in his native Vietnam. He arrived in the U.S. via Malaysia, part of the so-called boat people exodus. Both … Continue reading »

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

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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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