After walking through the parking lot of the local Sports Basement, where Bizerkeley was held, I was enthralled by the bustling atmosphere of passionate small business owners and community members. Bizerkeley, Berkeley’s first and only vegan food festival, is the brainchild of Erika Hazel. Since 2016, Erika has developed relationships with restaurateurs and traveled around the country as a vegan food critic and blogger. She actually planned Bizerkeley before the pandemic and was able to turn the festival into a socially-distanced way to support vegan restaurants through the use of Bingo cards in 2020. This year, she again handpicked every vendor and efficiently organized a food haven that both vegans and non-vegans could enjoy. Look out for the following four businesses and more that were present at Bizerkeley.

1. Kubé Nice Cream

Alex Kaplan

Fresh, natural ingredients are deeply flavorful and inspiring. Kubé founders Kai and Nee-Nueh Nortey have harnessed these qualities from key lime, passion fruit, chocolate, and more in their cold-pressed coconut cream-based nice cream.

In addition to providing bold, creamy, accessible treats, Kubé is dedicated to giving life, health, joy, dignity, and equity back to people, animals, and the soil. With a triple bottom line of restoring economics, equity, and ecology, the Norteys developed a replicable model of integrity as the next generation of ice cream and food justice. Check out the Kubé website for more information on their environmental sustainability and community impact.

#SpoonTip: Pre-order and pick up Kubé through their website or hire them to cater your next event.

2. Nature's Fynd

Alex Kaplan

Once a microbe in Yellowstone National Park, Fy (Fusarium strain flavolapis) is the newest nutritional fungi. It was discovered by Dr. Mark Kozubal and developed into tasty dairy-free cream cheese and meatless patties by Nature’s Fynd.

The team created a unique liquid-air interface method in which Fy ferments simple sugars while growing dense mycelium fibers that can be processed into food. Fy is a complete protein source with a balanced ratio of amino acids that are needed to stay healthy. It is efficient and sustainable, with a development period of three days and the potential to grow in areas with limited resources (even space).

#SpoonTip: Fynd Nature’s Fynd at Berkeley Bowl and keep an eye on their website for future updates.

3. Ube Mami

Alex Kaplan

When Desirae Devis craved her favorite Filipinx baked goods after becoming vegan, she was disappointed by the lack of options. So, she created Ube Mami from the classic pan de sal and then expanded to crinkle cookies and Filipinx-inspired mini bundt cakes. Try the trio with Ube Pan de Sal, Pan de Coco, and Buko Pandan Pan de Ube.

#SpoonTip: Check order and pick-up locations through Ube Mami’s Instagram.

4. Dr. Hops Hard Kombucha

Alex Kaplan

As an avid kombucha brewer, I always appreciate learning from the masters, like Joshua and Gary of Dr. Hops’ core team. With a unique blend of organic and fair trade teas, varying ratios of dry hops, and fermenting descendants of a four-year-old mother SCOBY, Dr. Hops brings a new meaning to hard kombucha. The ginger-lime ‘mule,’ strawberry lemon ‘mimosa,’ ‘rose,’ and hoppy ‘IPA’ flavors all have great tastes and 8% - 11% ABV.

#SpoonTip: Find Dr. Hops at a store near you or ship to your location in California or Oregon.

Erika Hazel set out to create a vegan food festival that was great for both customers and chefs while doing something good for the community. The forward-thinking vegan options at Bizerkeley were truly a culmination of her efforts and involved student volunteers from Oakland Technical High School and donations for Berkeley's Animal Shelter.

We look forward to attending again in May 2022!