Fruits and veggies are a great snack between classes and are essential for a healthy diet. Whether you’re new to Berkeley or a seasoned pro, finding fresh locally-sourced produce can be difficult, especially if your experience thus far involves microwavable or dining hall foods.
For those who want to support local businesses, are concerned about food miles, or are looking for affordable options, local and seasonal produce is the way to go. Here are some of the best markets and grocery stores around Berkeley.
Berkeley Bowl is the ultimate haven for locally-sourced produce (and my personal favorite). It has the largest conventional and organic produce section of any store in Berkeley sourced from local farmers and wholesale markets in San Francisco and Oakland. With two locations, it's easy to stock up no matter where you live in Berkeley.
#SpoonTip: For the best deals, check out the reduced section, where bruised and aging—but still edible—produce is sold for $0.99 per bag.
Similar to Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Market prides itself on its dedication to locally sourced produce. Most products are organic and the variety of fruits and vegetables is almost overwhelming. It even has an aisle dedicated to mushrooms, which impressed NY Times food writer Mark Bittman.
If you’re willing to splurge, Whole Foods offers tons of produce grown in California. Most of their signs have the original location of the product so those conscious of their food’s origins can easily keep track.
The Berkeley Student Food Collective is a student-run grocery store that has been open for over 15 years. All produce is organic and grown within 250 miles of the store. Its proximity to campus makes the BSFC the perfect stop for a quick bite in between classes or a small grocery run.
Saturday farmers' market
The Saturday morning market is located near the Downtown Berkeley BART station and runs from 10 am to 3 pm. Expect to find vendors from the Central Valley, Monterey, and even as close as Oakland. It is very popular, especially during summer and fall, when tables are overflowing with plump berries, stones fruits, and more.
#SpoonTip: Come near the end of the market for even better deals from farmers who want to get rid of some produce.
Thursday farmers' market
For those who live closer to Northside, there’s a smaller market in Gourmet Ghetto on Thursdays from 3 pm to 7 pm. Shopping at the farmers' market allows you to talk directly to the farmer so you know exactly what you’re getting. Plus, it is always nice to thank them in person for their delicious produce.
Though technically in Rockridge, Yasai Market on College Ave. is a longtime neighborhood favorite for its fresh, local produce. The owner picks up most of the produce daily from the Jack London wholesale market in Oakland. Expect to find bins stacked high with asparagus, bell peppers, avocados, melons, and more.
With tons of markets and stores around Berkeley, eating local is never a chore. Now get to the market and enjoy your favorites while they are still in season.