Food

Tech startup poses threat to Oakland’s century-old Produce Market

Between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., a swarm of clerks, bosses, and jobbers crowd the intersection of Third and Franklin streets in Oakland. They stack boxes of food for pickup — ginger from China and lettuce from Texas. From the dim light emerge chefs and grocers who greet the sellers, squeeze a few avocados, and load their trucks.  This ritual has occurred at the Oakland Produce Market six days a week for a hundred years. It is a spot of…

Mushroom foraging becomes ‘a spiritual journey with nature’

Tony Alvarez pulled his SUV into the deserted parking lot before sunrise on a chilly January morning and unloaded two grocery bags, a jar and a backpack from his trunk as he waited for others to arrive.  It was 6:30 a.m. and he was expecting 15 people to join him for mushroom foraging in Tilden Park, an excursion people pay $100 to experience with Shroomy Walkabouts, a business  he started four years ago in the Bay Area. Participants arrived slowly,…

Two Star Market to host community meal: ‘Thanksgiving is kind of a day you have to give back’

Two Star Market will host its 19th annual Thanksgiving dinner for the community, a free meal that 1,000 or more people are expected to enjoy in the Dimond District on Thursday. Financed by co-owner Farouq Alawdi, the meal brings together local business owners and volunteers to serve a traditional Thanksgiving menu of smoked turkey, collard greens, and yams, along with Mexican, and Middle Eastern dishes.  “This market and being in this community is a part of us,” Alawdi said. “Thanksgiving…

As Black farmers dwindle, grower at Temescal market wants public to know ‘we are here.’

Every Saturday morning, Will Scott Jr. wakes at 4 a.m. and drives from Fresno to Oakland to sell his fruits and vegetables at the Freedom Farmers Market in Temescal. Among the Black small business owners at the market this day, he is the only farmer.  At 81, Scott is part of a diminishing group — one of just 429 Black farmers in California. He said he travels 175 miles each week to make a point. As president of African American…

Six at-home restaurants open in Oakland, dozens more planned.

When Akshay Prabhu’s plans for a steamed-bun cart were thwarted in 2014 by stringent restaurant standards that he couldn’t meet, frustration pushed him to change the system and the laws.  Prabhu lobbied for the Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation bill, which passed statewide in 2018 and was adopted in Alameda County in May. Now Oakland residents can prepare and sell food directly from their homes, or offer sit-down dining. “With prices soaring to actually get a brick and mortar, home restaurants…

First Fridays finally returns with food, music, fun in KONO

At his family-owned halal market Thursday morning, Temur Khwaja cut and marinated chicken and lamb for kebab at Marwa Market & Grill. “We need to prepare for First Friday tomorrow,” said Khwaja, anticipation in his voice, sweat on his brow. Local businesses and restaurants in the Koreatown Northgate (KONO) neighborhood are preparing for the relaunching of the Oakland First Fridays festival tonight. First Fridays is a monthly street festival held by KONO Community Benefit District. Eighteen months after the pandemic…

Hundreds march for right of animals to live with ‘decency and kindness’

Hundreds of animal rights protesters marched in San Francisco Saturday afternoon to demand the end of factory farming, chanting, “Humane slaughter is a lie! Animals do not want to die!” “We believe in a world where every animal, every human being is treated with decency and kindness,” Wayne Hsiung, founder of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, told a crowd in Dolores Park. The protest aimed to raise awareness for animal rights, recruit more people to join the effort, and…

Group honors the “Muffin Man” for delivering food to people in Oakland who need it

Out of the back of a green Dodge pickup, the Muffin Man has been feeding underserved communities in Oakland for almost two decades. His truck is loaded with crates of canned food, baked goods, pet food; jars of spices, fruits, vegetables, dairy products; various meats, sweets, bread, and even flowers. Jack Dice distributes the bounty in Oakland neighborhoods, where he is known as the “Muffin Man” because he leads a group of volunteers called The Muffin People. They collect food…

Soul On a Roll food truck serves second chance for new business partners

With a baby boy on her hip, GaQuayla Lagrone arrived in Oakland in 2014 looking for a fresh start. She had served a year and a half in federal prison in San Diego for a nonviolent crime.  “I came up here not knowing my left from my right,” she said.   Today, Lagrone, 37, is one of four people with similar stories who were chosen as future co-owners of the food truck business Soul On A Roll, which opened Friday with…