What's the newest neighborhood to find your local food artisans and innovators setting up shop? Sure, there's action across the bridge in Oakland and Richmond, but in San Francisco, the action has moved south as rents have climbed, and now, Bayview is supporting a fresh crop of small-scale, community-minded entrepreneurs dedicated to deliciousness.
A great way to sample what's cooking on the southeast side of the city is to head to the new Pop-Up Community Market @Market on Third, now open every Thursday from 5-7:30pm. Bay Area Bites dropped in on a recent Thursday when there was an extra-lively crowd on hand, thanks to the monthly music and arts 3rd on Third event happening at the same time. 3rd on Third, presented by the San Francisco Arts Commission with support from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the Bayview Merchants Association, and the Bayview Opera House, is a monthly music and arts festival that takes place on Third Street around Oakdale and Palou Streets on the third Thursday of the month. The next one is scheduled for Oct 17.
Every Thursday, half a dozen small food artisans set up shop in this bright blue-fronted shop with its sleek aluminum-lettered MARKET sign, sampling and selling everything from homemade soup and bread to chicken salad and Ethiopian injera wraps. According to Pop-Up Community Market organizer Jamila Newton, who works for Andrea Baker Consulting, permits for the food artisans at the Market are in place for the next 12 weeks.
"We really want to engage the community, with an emphasis on businesses and musicians that are members of the Bayview community."
And while Newton is proud of the project's new website, Bayview Underground Food Scene, she's also looking to reach out beyond social media, into local churches and other gathering places to reach residents who don't have email addresses or home computers.
Xan DeVoss's Fox and Lion Bread Co. is a one-woman bread baking operation. Rather than selling wholesale or opening her own bakery, she's taking a page from the city's popular veggie-box drop-offs and offering her own community-supported bread subscription. Since January, she's been making 80 to 100 loaves every Wednesday in a kitchen in Hayes Valley, then dropping the loaves off for pickup by customers in locations around the Lower Haight, Bernal Heights, Mission, mid-Market and Inner Richmond neighborhoods the following day. A self-taught baker, she makes her loaves using a natural levain starter and works with Grass Valley Grains owner Reed Hamilton to source freshly milled, California-grown wheat, rye, and other grains. For DeVoss, bread is where the farmer, miller, baker, and consumer can all come together in one chewy, tasty bite. On occasion, there's also delicious Earl's Bread, made right in the neighborhood.
Once you've got your bread, step over to Comfort Foods National, where Angelique Tompkins and her son, John Tompkins, are selling their yogurt-dressed chicken salad in three styles: citrus-apricot-almond, curry cranberry pecan, and mesquite-smoked with cocoa, chiles, and corn. Or try some Ethiopian injera rolls from Eji's Ethiopian, run by Eji Atlaw. Atlaw, a graduate of La Cocina's entrepreneurship program,now has her own space in the 331 Cortland Marketplace in Bernal Heights. "Part of my vision is to go to underserved communities," said Atlaw.
Cynthia Toliver of Toliverworks got her start as an entrepreneur through WISE, where she was named graduate of the year. A longtime chef and caterer, she now sells her soups to Zero Cater as well as to other businesses in the area. Look for her hearty corn chowder, chicken soup, and "cauliflower in Japan" soup, made with cauliflower, Japanese yam, ghee, and spices.
When the Market gets its beer and wine license, Barbara Gratta plans to start pouring her Bayview-made Gratta Wines. Gratta sources her grapes predominantly from vineyards in Sonoma's Dry Creek Valley, then crushes, ferments, and bottles her wines in a 300-foot space in the neighborhood. A true garagiste, with the purple-stained fingers to prove it, Gratta turns out about 100 cases a year, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a "Garage Blend"--the 2012 is a mix of Sangiovese (70%), Cabernet (20%), and Petit Syrah (10%). As part of 3rd on Third festivities, she was pouring red wine in the courtyard outside the Bayview Opera House, as a live band played and neighbors dug into hearty plates of barbecued chicken, greens, cornbread, red beans and rice from local catering company A Taste of Black Cuisine.