We have become quite disconnected from the process of growing and harvesting food. A good local market should help us reconnect to the land and the importance of being connected to our food sources. This being said, it is possible to buy locally and organically for a reasonable price. Check out some of my favorite Markets by neighborhood:
Market Hall is in the heart of Rockridge, directly next to the Rockridge BART station. It is a traditional market hall composed of seven different shops to meet all your food shopping needs, (produce, meat, fish, flower, wine, baking and a coffee shop). All of the little shops sell high quality goods, which vary in price. The produce shop is reasonably priced. I can buy reliable, seasonal and delicious organic produce for farmer’s market prices.
By far, this is my favorite place to shop in the East Bay. Shopping at Berkeley Bowl is a bit of an ordeal because it is enormous, but the options are endless. Plus, it provides a nice environment for shopping. You should also note, do not shop during prime grocery shopping times, Sunday and Monday evenings. It’s popular for a reason!
True to it’s name, this shop is an adorable market on the corner of 63rd and Telegraph. It’s not a good place for a full on grocery shop but it offers some seasonal produce as well as staples like hot sauce, bread, cheese, butter etc. The owner makes a few prepared items as well and she hand selects some local prepared meals and items too. She is a local chef and food connoisseur and cares about the quality of her inventory.
They have a much, much larger selection of produce as well as many gluten free grains, healthful snacks and food. The produce is good and they have all the basics. Plus, it’s really the only decent grocery store in the neighborhood.
Piedmont Grocery has been up and running for over 100 hundred years, which is incredible! Although they are bigger than most of the local markets previously described, they are still an independent grocery store. They provide mostly sustainable produce, raised on farms nearby, and you can feasibly do your weekly grocery shopping here. They sell beer, wine and liquor as well. For people in this area, it is a staple.
There is also a second location further east which is a great option for folks in East Oakland. Farmer Joes is big on community advocacy and the importance of community involvement. They donate a lot of food to local shelters. Farmer Joes is also the store where Oscar Grant mostly recently worked before he was shot and killed unlawfully at the Fruitvale Bart station.
It is a bike-up farm stand in the East Oakland area. I’m unsure if it’s a pop-up market or not because the hours aren’t set. The owner sells local produce, honey and more.
is another local organic market in the area and it is easily accessible from Lake Merritt and East Oakland. They have a wonderful bulk section and they are one of the original health food stores in Oakland. Furthermore, they offer a wealth of knowledge on vitamins and supplements.
West Oakland does not have many options for local markets. This seems to be changing a bit and some great venues have moved in. West Oakland has actually been labeled as a food desert because there are so few places to buy food. This being said, West Oakland is home to one of the coolest local markets, Mandela Food Cooperative. A group of badass women started this food cooperative in 2009 as a way of demanding fresh and affordable produce in West Oakland. These ladies endorse nutritional education for all and equal access to locally grown food, you go girls!