November is somehow here, and holiday pie season is kicking into full gear! We’ve been selling at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market each Saturday, which has been a lot of fun. Last week, we had the great honor of being named to Food&Wine Magazine’s list of America’s Best Apple Pies. Many of you have written in or come up to us at the farmer’s market to ask about apple selection, so we thought we’d talk a little bit on apples. One question we get a lot is what the “best” apple for baking pies is. Honestly, there’s no right answer – the “best” apple for pies is the one that is in season and delicious when you are making your pie! (Generally speaking, tart is better than sweet for apple pies. We never use Much of the year we use Pink Lady apples, but we also love Mutsus, Jonathans, Granny Smiths, Pippins, Pink Pearls, Gravensteins and Rome Beauty Apples (all apples with shorter seasons), and will often use a mixture of two or more of these varieties for our apple pies. We recommend talking to your farmer about what is best and in season right now. It is very important to buy organic apples, as the average conventionally grown apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vegetable. Here in the Bay Area, we are lucky to have access to exceptional fruit almost all year round, and our favorite apple farms right now are Devoto, Hidden Star, and Nana Mae’s. This week, we also got an infusion of back yard/foraged Gravenstein apples from our friend Dana Frasz, who is the creator of Oakland-based FoodShift. We admire Dana for her boundless energy and her commitment to building a more sustainable food system. She agreed to write a guest post for our blog, which is included below. Thanks Dana!
Imagine going to the grocery store and buying 10 bags full of food. Now imagine throwing four of those bags in the trash. Seems crazy, right? But on a much larger scale, this is what’s happening every day in homes, businesses, and institutions throughout the United States. Forty percent of the food produced in the US is wasted every year all while 50 million Americans don’t have enough to eat. Food Shift is developing financially sustainable food recovery models that generate revenue so vulnerable populations can be trained and employed in the process of reducing food waste and hunger. 35 years ago there were 400 food assistance organizations; now there are more than 40,000. Yet hunger and food waste are more heightened than ever before. Meanwhile, in Oakland unemployment rates are close to 20%. Given the increasing realities of climate change, the high cost of wasting food and the realities of hunger and poverty, it is critical that we create jobs and use food for it’s highest and best use: feeding people.
Food Shift is focusing on creating green jobs in the recovery and redistribution of surplus food as an extension of our current waste management system and as a way to provide opportunity in the process of tackling food system inefficiency. We work with schools, businesses and governments and we’re currently looking to partner with restaurants in the Bay Area who are interested in piloting a program to give the option of smaller portion sizes to customers. Contact us if you know of any restaurants that might be interested in working with us to reduce waste, feed the hungry, and engage their customers in a way that benefits community and the environment. We all have a role to play! Go to www.foodshift.net to learn how you can reduce your waste and be part of the solution!
-Dana Frasz, Founder and Director of Food Shift