In Search Of Good Food

A stop at Alemany Farm, where they grow really local produce

Last weekend was full of food opportunity—there was a fabulous food festival and a fungus festival, but there was also something going on that was a little bit off the radar and Sweetie and I decided that we should forgo our love of mushrooms and check it out.

This would be the In Search of Good Food bike ride, a tour of some of the city’s most virtuous food things, including youth-program-cum-pastry shop Mission Pie, and OG organics distributor Veritable Vegetable. The five-hour Sunday ride covered a lot of the Mission and points south and east.

Of the eight stops on the tour, Sweetie and I agreed that the highlight (aside from eating pie at Mission) was visiting Veritable’s food distribution center and getting a honest look at what it means to distribute “local” food to restaurants and markets and how it really is a great deal more complicated than most sustainable advocates would like.

It’s expected at this point that certain restaurants always have certain dishes on the menu, right? But it’s often the case that the ingredients for that dish are not in season year-round in the Bay Area, meaning the restaurant will need to get their tomatoes or asparagus or squash from a region that is growing what they want when they need it.

Of course, there are also restaurants, such as Bar Jules in Hayes Valley and Universal Cafe in the Mission, that have made the often hard commitment to a seasonal rotating menu and to make sure that their produce and foodstuffs fall within a 100 mile radius when it comes to distribution.

Veritable serves both types of restaurants and everything in between and gives heavy preference to local food when they can to which we extend am exuberant high five.

This will not be the last In Search of Good Food Bike Ride (this was its second run) and you can visit the website or get in touch with program director Antonio Roman-Alcalá to see when he plans to host the next one. There’s also information about Roman-Alcalá’s documentary of the same title on the site.

One comment we do have about the experience is we found some of the more abstract, hippyish stops and speakers harder to align with and wish there were more speakers/stops like the Veritable Vegetable folks and Karen Heisler at Mission Pie. But it’s not a dealbreaker so we recommend checking out the next ride if you can.

In Search Of Good Food [Official Site]
Mission Pie [Official Site]
Veritable Vegetable [Official Site]
Bar Jules [MenuPages]
Bar Jules [Official Site]
Universal Cafe [MenuPages]
Universal Cafe [Official Site]

[Photo: Via Alexis Wright]

In Search Of Good Food