If you love produce as much as I do you know that living in the East Bay is better than living in San Francisco. I realize I could start a riot here, but I've lived in 3 out of four directions of the peninsula, in various neighborhoods and cities, and no matter where I was, no matter if I was in possession of a drivers license or not, I made it to Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market, and/ or the Berkeley Farmers' Markets, because there was more to see, smell, taste, touch and procure in these markets.
And until I moved to North Berkeley myself, I was a tried and true Berkeley Bowl Trooper, from the old school-- back when it started in the old bowling alley. I still love to get there when I have my list in Excel spreadsheet form and the time is early enough before rush hour clogs the insane parking lot and creates lines worse than LA traffic.
But now I have been seduced by Monterey Market. I used to laugh at its size, comparable to Rainbow Grocery but tiny compared to Berkeley Bowl. But then. But then I found its buried treasure. One day two summers ago I stopped by for a few things and bought an entire flat of the best boysenberries I have ever seen, smelled or tasted! I went home and ate about four baskets, made pie with a few more and froze the rest. Returning just a day or two later I found that I had bought something which would not be back again until the following year... Sad...but also something to look forward to.
You can go to the same place day after day, year after year, and find everything ok, get what you need for the price you like and shrug shoulders at the prospect of change.
Until. Until one day you pick the best looking toad you can find for toad soup and when you get through checkout you realize your bag is exploding with a Prince and your car has been moved closer to the horizon, where a pretty sunset awaits you.