Safeway has more than 1,400 stores in the country and is proud to consider themselves a neighborhood grocery store. Their selection includes produce delivered fresh from their farmers, as well as fine meats, seafood, and ready-to-go meals from the deli. Their aisles are lined with thousands of low prices everyday and each week they out-do themselves with Club Card specials.
In 1946, John Kinder opened his first meat market in the Bay Area town of San Pablo. More than 65 years later, Kinder continues to oversee daily operations at more than 15 neighborhood locations. He owes his continued success, in part, to the second- and third-generation family members who have leant their own tireless dedication to the company.
This dedication has certainly paid off. The Kinder family’s barbecue sauces, marinades, and rubs consistently take first-place ribbons from judges across the country and have earned the market a loyal following of cowboys and outlaws alike. In a 2008 article on what to order at Major League ballparks, the New York Times hailed the ball-tip steak sandwich and its "mess of Kinder's smoky-sweet sauce" as a much-welcome relief from the fried menu items at McAfee Coliseum. :m]]
At first glance, Danville International Market looks like a typical American corner store. There’s a small produce section in the corner with fresh fruit, loaves of bread on the shelves, and a station for tea and coffee. However, a closer look reveals the International side of its inventory. In addition to racks that hoist rice and spices from around the globe, the deli counter serves up Mediterranean favorites such as split pea stew, baba ghannouj, and kabobs. They also offer international pastries, including baklava and Persian cookies.
Kettlepop's commitment to quality ingredients and old-fashioned preparation make its product highly distinctive. Each Kettlepop kernel gets equal treatment in a patented, fire-burning kettle of their own design, and small batches ensure that every bag is fresh and evenly cooked. Sample a classic with a large bag of kettle corn ($8.95), their most popular concoction. Medium-sized appetites meet their matches with medium bags of cheese ($6.95) and caramel ($8.95) flavors. A small bag of chocolate drizzles ($6.95), kettle corn covered in dark and white chocolate, combines sweet and salty in a union as unexpected yet satisfying as popping bubble wrap in the bathtub. Tins of this versatile treat also make great gifts: a 3.5 gallon gift tin with a three-flavor combo shows popcorn-loving friends and enemies with braces exactly how you feel.
Al Courchesne, affectionately known as "Farmer Al," planted his first peach orchard in 1976. In the years that followed, he learned the best ways to grow all sorts of other foods too, including apples, plums, and most anything else that can sprout in Californian soil. Eventually, Al started Frog Hollow Farm, producing steady harvests for more than 20 years as a certified organic farmer with a focus on sustainable practices.
Frog Hollow's success likely lies in Al's fine-tuned growing process. As harvest nears, Al and his staff purposely underwater the trees. They also leave every piece of fruit on the branch until it's completely ripened. The process results in a heavily concentrated flavor, which has garnered much attention from national publications, including the New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, O Magazine, and Cooking Light Magazine.
Farmer Al keeps all 133 acres of his farm in constant operation. Therefore, the farm is generally closed off to the public except for occasional special events. Locals, however, have plenty of opportunities to taste the seasonal harvests without secretly stowing away inside incoming shipments of fertilizer. They can buy the fruit at Frog Hollow Farm Market inside of the Ferry Building or get it shipped directly to their home via the farm’s delivery program. Otherwise, they can head to the farm kitchen, where chef Becky Courchesne uses it in turnovers, cookies, and other goods. The farm also sends blemished, but useable produce to their Community Supported Agriculture Program.
The Smiths don't have a family tree. Instead, their legacy stretches back through a long vine, all the way to the heirloom tomato farmers of Spain. In the 1970s, Janice, Ken, Bill, and Shirley Smith opened Smith Family Farm to carry on that legacy. Their staff has since grown to include cousins, other relatives, and family friends, all of whom lend a hand in growing the farm's seasonal produce. The literal fruits of their labor arrive at The Smith Family Farm Fruit Stand, which showcases a rotating selection of fresh basil, strawberries, peppers (both hot and sweet), and various other fruits and veggies.
The farm itself also welcomes visitors. Throughout the growing season, its gardens invite families to pick their own fresh fruits and vegetables, including plums, apricots, and squash. The farmers themselves double as educators, and their spring tours for elementary and preschool-aged children lift the curtain on farm life?which, of course, includes opportunities to dance along to bluegrass music.