If you ask most people what the Bay Area is known for they will answer Silicon Valley, the gay community, hippies, and world class food and produce. If you ask an Orthodox Jew, they will also include that they had the hardest time finding kosher food in San Francisco. We pride ourselves on the ability to pretty much eat and cook with almost all local produce. Most of the worlds lettuce, tomatoes, and garlic come from Salinas, 80 miles away. The Central Valley, which isn’t much further, is 450 miles long and the richest agricultural region in the world. It’s also safe to say that there are multiple farmers markets going on at any given time, in our neck of the woods they aren’t just on the weekends.
This allows us to fight back whenever one of our East Coast friends takes a jab at the lack of kosher food in the Bay Area. We have no kosher pizza, Chinese, or Indian, but we have the freshest, most interesting produce in the country, and most of the time the cheapest. It’s not every day that one can venture to a kosher restaurant in New York and know that the tomatoes or leafy greens on their plate were picked that morning.
In fact, Epic Bites’ Sous Chef even maintains the company herb garden in his backyard. In a space of 300 sq feet, he grows 10 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, 6 different lettuces, wild arugula, meyer lemons, and over a dozen hard to find herbs. So when we need Shiso, Lovage, Borage, Chervil, or blue and gold colored tomatoes, we can literally pick them ourselves and feel one with the food.
Sure, I wish my Saturday nights included waiting online at the local pizza shop, but sometimes I comfort myself with a really good peach and some roasted chanterelles that weren’t $30 a pound.