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Spotlight: Shakirah Simley of Bi-Rite Market

Shakirah Simley is the Community Coordinator at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and a preservation expert. She took a few minutes out of her very, very busy schedule to talk about the path from her first fresh apricot through launching a food craft business, and on to one of San Francisco’s most esteemed community businesses. Thanks to her jammy and community work at Bi-Rite, she was just named one of Zagat’s 30 under 30. Read more

California Considers a Cottage Food Law

Since the homemade food renaissance has taken root in California, there’s been no shortage of home picklers, jammers, and bakers. But under current state laws, it’s a misdemeanor for those home artisans to sell their goodies in the open marketplace. Case in point: Last June, Department of Public Health officials shut down ForageSF’s popular Underground Market, which featured mostly home producers, because its sellers were not compliant with local and state regulations.

But due to a campaign launched by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), the laws might change this year. The Oakland-based SELC recently teamed up with Los Angeles Assemblymember Mike Gatto to introduce the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616), a “cottage food” bill that would legalize the sale of certain foods produced in home kitchens. Read more

Jam for Now

Last year we built a fortress, created to deter deer, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and wild pigs from our own little slice of edible possibility. Today we are in the middle of planting our spring garden in this enclosure, now just a blank, dark dirt slate of bumpy rows and discarded piles of weeds. Shaping the earth is like frosting a chocolate cake, at least to this baker’s mind, and has inspired my next birthday party creation. Right now, though, it is time to focus on what plants will grow.  Read more

Preserving the Harvest: Apple Butter

Nothing could be simpler (or more affordable) than making apple butter for friends and family this holiday season.  I had thirty apples of varying sizes and types on hand from my CSA, and needed to make space in my crisper for Thanksgiving vegetables.  This led me to thinking about what I wanted to do with all of that fruit.  Indeed, making use of so much fruit for preserves means a lot of preserves, and a lot of preserves means having a great personalized gift. Many people are surprised when they taste homemade goods, and give the cook a lot of credit for her labors (little do they know, its not that hard!). Read more