San Francisco’s Historic Old Mint Showcases Food Exhibit

San Francisco’s grand Classical Greek Revival-style Old Mint once held one-third of the nation’s gold reserves.

This month, those hallowed halls, where more than $50 million in coins were once produced annually, will showcase valuables of a different sort — an exhibit and presentations of the Bay Area’s storied food history.

The Old Mint, steps from the InterContinental hotel in downtown San Francisco, is now in the process of being converted into a museum by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society.

For three weekends this month, the Mint will open its doors to the public, noon to 5 p.m. May 15-16, May 21-22, and May 28-31. Visitors will get to view the exhibit, “From Earth to 5-Star,” which will highlight culinary innovations and regional products such as cheese, bread, chocolate and wine. A second gallery will spotlight insights into the future of Bay Area food by experts such as Chef Charles Phan of the Slanted Door; Bill Niman, former founder of Niman Ranch and now a local goat rancher; and Chef Judy Rogers of Zuni Cafe.

Additionally, a series of panels with culinary experts will explore the history and significance of food in the Bay Area:

* May 21 at 1 p.m., Dave Stockdale and Dexter Carmichael of CUESA, the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture, will discuss “Building a Sustainable Food System through the Farmers Market Movement.”

* May 22 at 2 p.m., Tom Stubbs of Stubbs Vineyard will talk about “The Organic Winery.

* May 23 at 3 p.m., Lorenzo Scarponi, founder of Slow Food Society USA, and Dava Guthmiller, local director, will explain the “Evolution of the Slow Food Society.”

* May 28 at 3 p.m., David Cody and Kevin Bayuk will teach about “Urban Gardens with San Francisco Permaculture.”

* May 28 at 1 p.m., Arno Holschuh will talk about the “Blue Bottle Coffee Phenomenon.”

Tickets for the exhibit are $10 each for general admission; $5 each for San Francisco Museum and Historical Society members.

On each day of the exhibit, visitors also can enjoy a guided tour of the building at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. or 3:45 p.m.

For more information, call (415) 537-1105 x100.

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