Category Archives: Health/Nutrition

Oakland’s Renewal Mill Takes Reuse To Another Level

Renewal Mill's brownie mix does both a body and a planet good.
Renewal Mill’s brownie mix does both a body and a planet good.

See those deep dark, fudgy brownies above that are just calling your name?

Not only are they gluten-free and vegan, but they have a couple of very unexpected and intriguing ingredients in them:

Namely, spent vanilla beans leftover from making vanilla extract, and spent non-GMO, organic okara, the byproduct of soymilk production from premier tofu-maker Hodo Foods of Oakland, no less.

Renewal Mill, based in Oakland and helmed by an all-woman team, is on the noble mission to take food waste from large food manufacturers and convert it into new, delicious, and nutritious uses. Recently, I had a chance to try samples of a few of its products.

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Sigona’s Launches Home Delivery Produce Boxes

The mango and nectarine in my Sigona's Home Delivery produce box inspired me to make this.
The mango and nectarine in my Sigona’s Home Delivery produce box inspired me to make this.

Everyone’s favorite family-owned fresh produce market on the Peninsula has started offering home delivery of its stellar fruits and veggies.

It’s a new service by Sigona, spurred by the decline of its office delivery program due to shelter-in-place.

Sigona’s Farmers Market has brick-and-mortar locations in Redwood City and the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, which offer more extensive offerings through curbside pick-up or Instacart delivery.

But the separate Sigona’s Home Deliveries sure is convenient if you happen to live within its delivery zone. That encompasses: Millbrae, Hillsborough, Burlingame, San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood Shores, Emerald Hills, Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino.

The home delivery boxes range in size, suited to feeding anywhere from 1 to 4 people. Choose boxes that highlight fruits only, veggies only, berries only, dried fruits and nuts, or a combination of fruits and veggies. You can even add on a seasonal berry pie ($17.99) from Pietisserie, Upper Crust Bakery or Gizdich Ranch.

Test driving the new Sigona Home Delivery Fruit & Veggie Box.
Test driving the new Sigona Home Delivery Fruit & Veggie Box.
The contents of last week's box.
The contents of last week’s box.

Delivery is free for orders over $75; for orders under $75, there is a delivery fee of $3. Deliveries are made on Wednesdays and Fridays, and orders must be finalized three days ahead of time.

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Good Things Come In — Farm Box

Some of the impeccable produce from small farms in this past Saturday's Farm Box.
Some of the impeccable produce from small farms in this past Saturday’s Farm Box.

Andreas Winsberg is used to growing things. The son of a farmer — David Winsberg of East Palo Alto’s Happy Quail Farms that started the craze for pimientos de Padron in California — he’s been helping his dad plant those prized Spanish peppers and sell them at the San Francisco Ferry Building farmers market since he can remember.

Now, it’s this 25-year-old’s turn to germinate something special of his own.

In late-March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit full bore in the Bay Area and shelter-in-place restrictions took hold, he created Farm Box, a weekly curated farmers market box that customers can get delivered to their door or pick up at the Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays or the Menlo Park farmers market on Sundays.

Farm Box was developed by 409 + Co, a design agency that Andreas founded with fellow 20-something alums of Pennsylvania’s Haverford College, Stephen Davis and Jessie Lamworth.

They didn’t set out to do this. But realizing just how complicated buying groceries and food was about to become for people, they rose to the challenge to build out a new web-delivery business to help small-scale, local farmers, whose goods are so perishable, reach more customers.

Contactless delivery to my porch.
Contactless delivery to my porch.
The reveal of what's inside.
The reveal of what’s inside.

“Seeing what my dad was going through, and fearing that the farmers market might shut down, was the impetus,’’ Andreas says. “We’re not in it to get rich, but to help farmers and others who need the boost now.’’

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Bright Bar — A Different Kind of Energy Bar

Not your typical energy bar. Bright Bars taste like real food.
Not your typical energy bar. Bright Bars taste like real food.

I’ve had my share of energy bars, but I’ve never had one quite like Bright Bar.

Unlike so many others, it’s not rubbery, nor cookie- or candy-like. Instead, it’s like shredded fruits and veggies packed and held together in bar form. The bars are a whole lot less sweet tasting than others, and actually taste like real food.

The Los Angeles company was founded by Brenden Schaefer, an avid cyclist and yogi, who was looking for a good-tasting, good-for-you snack bar. When he couldn’t find one to his liking, he decided to create his own, made with organic produce.

He likens the products, which are also vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, to cold-pressed juice, but in bar form.

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A New Snack From Leftover Beer-Making

ReGrained Smoked Sea Salt and Pepper Puffs.
ReGrained Smoked Sea Salt and Pepper Puffs.

Berkeley’s ReGrained is all about re-purposing.

Particularly when it comes to spent mash left over from beer making, that is.

UCLA fraternity brothers Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz were avid home-brewers who got the idea a few years ago to take that oatmeal-like mash with a nutty, malty flavor and turn it into nutritious energy bars.

After their ReGrained bars became a hit, they tinkered with more products that would highlight the mash, high in fiber and protein, that normally would be discarded or composted by breweries.

The result is their new ReGrained Puffs, a crunchy puffed chip snack that has the airy crispiness of shrimp chips.

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