The Latest

Nov 8, 2013

Cocotella. ‘Nuff Said.

New on our shelves here at the Food Collective? Another product that’s as local as it’s delicious: Ostara Stone Ground Cocotella! We love that it’s vegan, raw and organic and, as they describe it, ​​a rich, chocolatey experience with a creamy, sweet taste. In case that’s not enough, the possibilities for how to eat cocotella are endless. A few ideas we’ve heard are to spread it on apples, stir a bit into your morning (or afternoon, or evening) coffee. Or, you know, go at it straight out of the jar. We don’t judge. We’ve all been there.

As I mentioned before, all of Ostara’s products are hyper-local: made right here in Berkeley and cocotella is a perfect way to fend off the November blues.

Ostara Stone Ground Cocotella is available for $10.30 at our store, 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Nov 1, 2013 / 2 notes

Post-Halloween Secret Weapon!

Everything we sell here at the Food Collective is locally produced — but the product we’re spotlighting today takes local to a whole new level. Hensley’s Organic kombucha is made right on Allston Avenue, here in Berkeley. We’ve just started carrying it recently and we couldn’t be more excited.

This kombucha is made in tiny batches and fermented in glass. It’s bottled by hand and completely raw and live, not to mention naturally effervescent. The only ingredients are filtered water, cane juice, Fair Trade green tea and Hensely’s organic scoby, which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

If you’re looking for something to ease the post-Halloween hangover, kombucha might be a good bet. While the evidence is inconclusive, the word on the street is that kombucha is the secret hangover weapon we’ve been waiting for. And it’s on the shelves right about now at the Food Collective, calling your name.

And before we leave, a heads-up! Our Instagram is hopping, so be sure to follow us there too for hilarious and delectable photos, plus the scoop on the special stuff we’re selling on any given day.

Happy November, foodies!

Hensley’s Organic kombucha is available for $4.75 at our store, 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Oct 25, 2013

Butterflies, Cupcakes & More

When our wonderful Operations Manager, Gwen, gave me a heads-up about the Polar Bear Cupcakes, made by Mariposa Bakery, that we’ve just started selling in our baked goods section, she called them “vanilla creme-filled yumminess.” And that doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Mariposa Bakery was founded by Patti Furey Crane and got their start in West Berkeley. Since then, they’ve expanded to a bigger, totally gluten-free kitchen in Oakland, where they bake up a storm of products that taste as good as the ingredients list sounds. Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish and they chose the name as a metaphor for the transformation that occurs when you take control of your health and diet, whether through a gluten-free diet or another means. Cupcakes are just the beginning: they also make pizza crusts, bagels, brownies and more.

Their fabulous Polar Bear Cupcakes are not only gluten-free, but they’re also dairy-free (not vegan). We could say so much more about these, but really, they have to be tasted to be believed. If you needed an excuse to stop by the Food Collective, it’s now your one-stop shop for cupcakes in addition to everything else. But you didn’t need an excuse, did you?

Polar Bear Cupcakes are available for $2 each or $7.50 for a box of four at our store, 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Oct 18, 2013

Fair Trade Friday (Also, Chocolate)

It might just be me, but I think Berkeley was a little darker and sadder (good weather, though, can’t lie) while Equal Exchange chocolate bars were off the Food Collective’s shelves. But they’re back now, and better than ever!

Equal Exchange is one of the leading purveyors of fair trade chocolate. What is fair trade and why is it important? Fair trade is a holistic approach to the supply chain, which in the case of chocolate, begins on cocoa farms. The majority of the commercial chocolate sold in the United States originates in west Africa and there’s an epidemic of slave labor on these farms, often children who are forced to work in inhumane conditions.

There are several reliable fair trade certifications and when you see one, it means that the brand has made a commitment to responsible and ethical business practices, including things like fair wages and working conditions for everyone in the supply chain, shortening that chain to cut out unnecessary middlemen and last, but certainly not least, a commitment to environmental responsibility.

All fair trade products are not certified organic, but the good news is, Equal Exchange is both!

Did we mention how good it tastes? Because it tastes really good. Absolute win-win.

Equal Exchange chocolate bars are available for $3.80 in our store at 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Oct 11, 2013

So What Is a Dosa Chip?

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“So what is a Dosa Chip?” is the very question you’ll see if you head over to Table Foods’ website. It’s Friday and here at the Collective we begin to say “what is that?” about pretty much everything by the time it hits the end of the week, so we’ll break it down for you.

Based across the Bay from us in Larkspur, California, Dosa Chips are pretty much a wonder food. We just recently started carrying these and are already crazy about them. They’re gluten free, contain just four ingredients and are totally handmade. As the website explains, they’re cooked in antioxidant-rich rice bran oil. A little bird even tells us that the original chip will be joined by three new flavors soon: curry, cinnamon sugar and chocolate.

If you’re craving a salty fix, these are the perfect solution: crunchy and healthy and absolutely sure to hit the spot. (Did we mention they’re good for Fridays?)

We love to pair them with our very own BSFC hummus that we make fresh in the shop, or you can get creative and pair them with pretty much anything already in your kitchen. They’re unique and delectable and we’re more than a little bit happy to be carrying ‘em. What are you waiting for?

Dosa Chips are available for $4.00 in our store at 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Return of Not-So-Tuesdays Real Food Tuesdays/100 Days of Real Food Mini Pledges/A College Student’s Real Food Journey! Sorry to keep you waiting!
WEEK 4: HELLO 2 NEW REAL FOOD!

The Rules (derived from the original post):
Try at least 2 new whole foods that you have never had before.
(Recommended: Seasonal produce!)

I tried Rye Porridge (from the image) and large bok choy. I have never seen wheat in its original form before, so this is an entirely new, slow-food experience. Although the instructions says to boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, I feel like the water kept evaporating, so I kept adding water!
Large bok choy was playing it safe, but the leaves do taste earthier and it has a larger branch/stem than baby bok choy.
I got introduced to a lot of new whole foods when I came to Berkeley and joined BSFC, including butternut squash, hummus, kale… the list goes on! Berkeley is truly a wonderful place to discover new foods! (The original post also includes a list of (exotic) things-to-try!)

Reflections for Weeks 2 & 3 below!
Week 2: Meatless Reflections
getting creative with Tuna “Curry” Soup!
can’t taste my (powdered) coffee anymore!

Do you know when your parents tell you not to do something, but it just makes you want to do it more? This is also one of these things! I’m not a HUGE meat-eater, but restricting meat made me notice it more. Fortunately, I forgot about it as the week went on. (Two midterms in one week can do that to you).
I accidentally make Tuna “Curry” because I added too much cumin (and a bit of tumeric) when I was cooking my tuna-celery stir fry… Great foods are often found by accident! (Though I don’t think others would approve of my curry…)
I think not drinking sugar beverages (sugar-ed/cream-ed coffee) made me more alert. Maybe it was the lack of food (sugar/carb) coma.

Week 3: Slow, Non-Frying Reflections
I do like to eat fried stuff occasionally, but it’s easy to avoid it when you don’t eat out. I feel that cafés run a fine line between “fast” and slow foods… However, it helps if you know the owners or know that it is a local establishment.
Until next time!
Oct 10, 2013

Return of Not-So-Tuesdays Real Food Tuesdays/100 Days of Real Food Mini Pledges/A College Student’s Real Food Journey! Sorry to keep you waiting!

WEEK 4: HELLO 2 NEW REAL FOOD!

The Rules (derived from the original post):

  • Try at least 2 new whole foods that you have never had before.
  • (Recommended: Seasonal produce!)

I tried Rye Porridge (from the image) and large bok choy. I have never seen wheat in its original form before, so this is an entirely new, slow-food experience. Although the instructions says to boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, I feel like the water kept evaporating, so I kept adding water!

Large bok choy was playing it safe, but the leaves do taste earthier and it has a larger branch/stem than baby bok choy.

I got introduced to a lot of new whole foods when I came to Berkeley and joined BSFC, including butternut squash, hummus, kale… the list goes on! Berkeley is truly a wonderful place to discover new foods! (The original post also includes a list of (exotic) things-to-try!)

Reflections for Weeks 2 & 3 below!

Week 2: Meatless Reflections

  • getting creative with Tuna “Curry” Soup!
  • can’t taste my (powdered) coffee anymore!

Do you know when your parents tell you not to do something, but it just makes you want to do it more? This is also one of these things! I’m not a HUGE meat-eater, but restricting meat made me notice it more. Fortunately, I forgot about it as the week went on. (Two midterms in one week can do that to you).

I accidentally make Tuna “Curry” because I added too much cumin (and a bit of tumeric) when I was cooking my tuna-celery stir fry… Great foods are often found by accident! (Though I don’t think others would approve of my curry…)

I think not drinking sugar beverages (sugar-ed/cream-ed coffee) made me more alert. Maybe it was the lack of food (sugar/carb) coma.

Week 3: Slow, Non-Frying Reflections

I do like to eat fried stuff occasionally, but it’s easy to avoid it when you don’t eat out. I feel that cafés run a fine line between “fast” and slow foods… However, it helps if you know the owners or know that it is a local establishment.

Until next time!

Oct 4, 2013

The Scoop on Dandelion Chocolate

Happy Friday! I’m going to pass along the news about one of our newest products here at the Food Collective today, but don’t tell anyone I told you, okay? Because if the word spreads, we might have a bit of a chocolatepocalypse. It’s that good.

I’m talking, of course, about Dandelion Chocolate. Founded by Cameron Ring and Todd Masonis and based out of 740 Valencia Street in San Francisco, these lovely chocolate bars contain only two ingredients. If you’re thinking “great” and “better than great”, you’re not far off the mark. The two ingredients are cocao beans and cane sugar. That’s right, just those two.

The way it works is that they use a process that was popular before chocolate making was industrialized, about 100 years ago. They take the slow road: sorting the beans by hand and then roasting them long and carefully. They use a mixture of vintage and modern machinery, including a 1950s, fire-engine red machine for wrapping the bars in custom paper from India. (Pictures or it didn’t happen? Voila.)

The result is like no chocolate you’ve ever tasted before — and it’s pretty beautiful, to boot.

Dandelion Chocolate is available for $6.59 in our store at 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00pm-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Sep 27, 2013 / 4 notes

Vegan Nacho Cheese: Is It Too Good to Be True?

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When we first heard about an all-vegan nacho cheese dip, we thought it was too good to be true. But it’s on our shelves here at the Food Collective, proving that dreams do come true. (Okay, some dreams. Summer mornings in Berkeley without fog are still a pipe dream, but we’re working on it.) Whether or not you’re a vegan, Nacheez is a delicious alternative to plain old nacho cheese. It’s dairy, gluten and soy free. So what’s the secret ingredient, you ask?

One word: cashews.

The rest of the ingredient list is short, topped off with water and red bell peppers. You can grab the mild, medium or spicy variety off our shelves and you’re ready to go.

Like all of our products, it’s local! It was created by Ilsa Hess from Sacramento, who was wondering if she’d have to give up Mexican food when she became a vegan. Which is kind of a blessing for the rest of us, but I digress.

A few of our favorite ways to eat Nacheez are in a salad, spread on bread and toasted and on tacos — need we really say more?

Nacheez is available for $7.19 in our store at 2440 Bancroft here in Berkeley. We’re open Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday: 12:00-6:00pm. Our store is open to everyone, including non-members and non-students. Come visit!

Sep 24, 2013

A College Student’s Real Food Journey - Meatless Week 2 & Sneak Peak to Week 3

Today is actually the start of Week 3, so to catch up, I will post the Week 2 & 3’s missions first, and give my reflections around Sunday!

WEEK 2: LOCAL MEAT + “REAL” BEVERAGES

The Rules (derived from the original posts):

  • must be meat raised within the 100-mile radius (even stricter than our 250-mile radius!)
  • reduced meat consumption to 3-4 servings this week, and will served as a side or just to flavor the dish
  • no restriction on seafood or other animal products (eggs/cheese)
  • beverages restricted to water,  tea, coffee and milk, and may only be sweetened with honey or 100% maple syrup. (I wonder if they will approve of agave)
  • 100% fruit juice also restricted to 1 cup this week
  • (wine in moderation—1 cup per day, but this doesn’t (or shouldn’t) apply to most of us, plus students are on a budget!)

Game Plan:

  1. Buy local, organic eggs, just to go with the spirit

  2. Visit The Local Butcher Shop at Cedar & Shattuck, which I have never visited before, to see any possibilities with local meat this week. They source sustainable meat within the 150-mile radius of their shop.

  3. Go vegetarian/vegan! I still have some succotash left!

  4. Get Fair Trade, Organic Coffee at BSFC!

  5. Finally use some of my BSFC raw honey if I want sweetened latte or tea!

     

WEEK 3: NO FAST FOOD OR DEEP-FRIED FOOD

The Rules (derived from the original post):

  • No fast food, including food from the obvious ones, convenience stores, “food court” setting restaurants, or places where you can watch your food being assembled.

  • No school lunches or airplane meals. (Gladly. They aren’t horrible, but just don’t taste that fresh)

  • No deep-fried foods (including fried taco shells!)


Game Plan:

  1. Avoid eating out, or at least places where you know that they easily assemble/fry your food.
  2. Beware of crispy things!
  3. Choose baked instead of fried!


Until the end of the week!

Sep 22, 2013

A College Student’s Real Food Journey - Week 1’s Veggie Regretful Reflections

So, Real Beverages is actually a Week 2 from the original 100 Days of Mini Pledges… HOWEVER, I found that the instant coffee mix I drank had sugar in it! Even though I thought it the Real Beverages Week would not affect me much, being a non-soda/beverage drinker and all, apparently this project cannot be underestimated. Thus, that will be combined to next week, just to shorten the project time into this Fall semester.

WEEK 1 (Two vegetables/fruits each meal) REFLECTIONS

(Unexpected) Outcomes:

  • It is very hard to do this, especially for my morning meals.

  • Extra salad for an event became my main source of vegetables!

  • If you are on-campus, buying a sandwich is much more convenient since they usually have tomatoes and lettuce (or other greens). If you are on a budget, bringing the succotash in a small container is also a great way!

  • Had instant coffee that had sugar and milk powder in it… Real Beverages combined to next week’s local meat!


The Veggie Regretful Experience

I thought this would be a fairly easy challenge, but apparently not. I honestly should’ve thought more about it, especially when I have to rush in the mornings and don’t feel like stuffing two fruits, my bread and daily coffee all in one go. I think I also “cheated” a bit with counting the processed/dried fruits in my peanut-butter-and-jelly or trail mix as “fruits”…. I think breakfast was the only main problem though!


Ideal, Sample Breakfast (when you have time)

Banana + this:

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(Local, organic eggs from BSFC with Spinach on Toast!)


What do you do when you don’t have time? A piece of fruit and peanut butter & (organic) jam sandwich then I guess…

Stayed tuned to the still on-going Week 2 (Meat)!