We love Bi-Rite Grocery!

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) had a wonderful visit to Bi-Rite Grocery on 18th Street. This is our second visit to Bi-Rite for the BEETS, who went last year with a different cohort (see blog post from that event here).
It was a new group of teens and everything was very eye-opening and tasty. Shakirah Simley, the Bi-Rite communication/outreach coordinator, who happens to be on CommunityGrows Advisory Board, led the tour of the site. She introduced the BEETS to all the team leaders who have specialties in the market.
They met Matt one of the buyers from the Produce Department and learned about the local, farm-direct seasonal bounty from many of California’s best farmers. We got to taste some of the summer fruits that were on display-umm umm delicous! The BEETS also met Chili Montes, head of the Sustainable Meat, Poultry and Seafood Department. Chili talked about the meats and seafood that Bi-Rite buys. He said Bi-Rite offers a bountiful assortment of meat from pasture raised, grass fed, and humanely treated animals. Bi-Rite adheres to strict guidelines when choosing which meat, poultry and fish to sell, and they make sure that it comes into the store fresh and flavorful.
The BEETS also met Naomi Berghoef who works in the grocery section. She talked about how she and her co-workers taste much of the items that are put in the store for quality and integrity. We tasted coconut chips that were delicious as well as freshly made Gazpacho soup from the deli. A Cheesemonger named Teesa talked about the array of cheeses from California and beyond, and offered us samples of Buffalo mozzarella cheese, made from the milk of the domestic Italian water buffalo.
One of the many highlights of the day was heading across the street to the Bi-Rite creamery and meeting Ann who heads up the Creamery and Oliver who works with the bakery. One bakery employee, Frances Bradley, who also is a volunteer with our CommunityGrows cooking program, made delicious peach pie for everyone in our BEETS entourage. We also had a rare glimpse into the ice-cream making process, and got to try two flavors, a delicious raspberry lemon sorbet and a decadent fluffy white ice cream that had the amazing hint of basil. What a treat!
After our tour, we reassembled at 18 Reasons, Bi-Rite’s community education center, next door to the Creamery. Shakirah talked with the teens about their tour and asked them questions. The teens competed for gift cards by naming three stone fruits, explaining what product placement was, describing the difference between fresh and aged cheese and naming three products that are sold at the creamery. 
Everyone joined the lucky winners to purchase sandwiches and lunch items from the deli. A delicious and memorable day. Thank you Shakirah and Bi-Rite family! For more photos from the day, check out our CommunityGrows Flickr Photostream here.