Cooking Eating Dining Sharing

Thursday, July 8, 2010


CSA's, POP-UPS and More....Oh MY!
What is a pop-up store?  A pop-up store is just what it sounds like.  It is a moveable feast of sorts that may have an ever-changing location.  It appears, maybe once a month, or so where chefs and foodies present their wares to customers, notifying them by twitter, email or through a blog or facebook reminder.   If you go to one, double check the location to make sure it is where you think it is.  It is a fun and exciting event because you don’t know what you will find there(always something good) and it draws crowds of people from different backgrounds.
The pop-up General store that I went to in Oakland near Children’s Hospital is housed in an urban brick warehouse. It is hard to find parking, but if you follow the shoppers with their  bags to their car, you can snag their space. 
What are they selling?  Lots! Take home pizza dough to-go, caramels, meringues, macaroons, fresh pasta, sausages, vinegars and olive oils, Asian dumplings and more.  I swooned over everything, but kept to the basics; fresh pasta and pizza dough.   The dough was very good and makes a nice size pizza with thin crust.  It is one of my favorite things to make.  Pasta, ditto on that.   If you go, bring your own bags and prepay ahead for certain items that they may run out of.
Several Thursday night’s ago, Katz & Co offered up  a delicious tasting extravaganza at their commercial kitchen in Napa. You could purchase their beautiful jams and honey’s, olive oils, wine vinegars and also their Free-range chickens.  A friend of theirs had beautifully pre-pared CSA boxes that we took home.  Quite a mix, but somehow it worked.  For more of their products or to get on their list, check them out at

 Recently, I went to hear three women speak about “Women Changing the Way We Eat” a talk at the SF Ferry Building hosted by CUESA (Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture).   Guest speakers were Temra Costa, author of Farmer Jane, Sarajane Snyder from Green Gulch Farm, and Il Cane Rosso’s Chef Lauren Kiino.   This event was a lively discussion about women making a difference in what and how we eat.  It established that we were not leaving men out, but rather that men had already received accolades for their work and it was time women were given more attention in this area.  Women also make up a large portion of non-profit organizations.

Women advocates who farm is growing and what might be the reason?  Women see products or services that are needed and it leads them into the business, according to Costa.  Women value support, caring and community . They also see that children across the country are lacking fresh healthy foods for their meals and they want to make a difference in how all of our children eat.   Moderated by Slow Food president, Dava Guthmiller, all three women were asked where they saw the food movement growing into the next five years?  Their answers varied but most talked about accessibility of organic foods for everyone and especially for all income levels.  Some farmer’s markets are pricier than others.   I just found out that the San Francisco Ferry building farmer’s market is starting to take vouchers for fresh produce.  It allows low income families to eat fresh and healthy too. 
Some food for thought from the CUESA* Spring Breakfast at the SF Ferry Building:
Answers appear at the end.
  1. Can you rate the following foods according to their carbon footprint?
Chicken, Beef, Cheese, Pork

  1. What is the average distance traveled by the farmer’s in the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market?  What is the National average?
  1. What is the average age of a farmer in the US, and in CA?
  1. How much does a farmer earn from each dollar you spend on food?
  1. How does CUESA (Center for urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) define Sustainable Agriculture?
~Highest to lowest carbon footprint: Beef, Cheese, Pork, and Chicken
~Travel distance : 109 miles from farm to market at the SF Ferry Plaza and 1500 miles average, nationwide, according to a 03’ Leopold Center study.
~56 years of age,  Nationwide/ 58.4 in CA
~.56 cents of each dollar you spend.  Farmer’s who sell to grocery stores make .30 cents on the dollar you spend.
~CUESA* means Sustainable agriculture using practices that are environmentally sound, humane, socially just, and economically viable. 
*CUESA is a non-profit arm of the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.  The questions above were given to each of us at our table settings during a recent breakfast.  They are always educating the public….Go CUESA!


Jana said...

Hi Tricia,
Great article,I'm really excited to check out the pop-up store!
Your pictures are terrific (as usual!)

Jen Cheung said...

looks like you had a lot of fun @ the pop up store :)

have a great weekend!!


Tricia O'Brien said...

The Pop-up was a blast! Since going, I am hearing about more and more. There is a big one in the city, and one more in the Oakland, also another is starting in the North Bay.
It sounds like a trend to me! Good food, nice packaging, cut out the middle person.
Have fun looking for your pop-up stores in your area or start one on your own. t