Marisa and Chad North both know the struggles of controlling gluten intolerance. Marisa began showing the symptoms of the condition at 18 months of age. Her mother, also diagnosed as gluten intolerant, knew how to modify her diet, but it often left Marisa feeling alienated from her friends. Chad wasn't aware of his gluten intolerance until he was 14, when a collapse from exhaustion turned out to validate the diagnosis that eight doctors had once ignored. Their shared histories and efforts in healthy eating inspired the two to create Sans GlutenFree Grocery, a store that that stocks only gluten-free edibles that are tasty, nutritious, and safe, removing would-be imposters with a series of trapdoors.
Stocked to bursting with handcrafted sandwiches, savory sides, and organic fair-trade coffee, this unassuming deli sates the appetites of on-the-go customers. A chalkboard menu presents the vegan breakfast sandwich with a colorful flourish of penmanship, along with the avocado hero, with the green fruit acting as "meat" amid ample veggies and cheese. Eco-friendly java from Olympia Coffee Roasting Company gives customers a welcome jolt to their morning in case they forget to kiss their toaster, and freshly squeezed juices and gluten-free pastries accommodate health-conscious breakfasts.
Roy Strassman has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to helping people live fulfilling, pain-free lives. Although Roy can use a lighter massage technique to ease his clients' suffering, his chosen treatment modality is Hellerwork—a bodywork system that uses deep-tissue pressure to promote proper alignment among the muscles and joints. This pressure can do more than just relieve the tension caused by stress-laden muscles. It can also help increase flexibility, improve posture, and reenergize clients while contributing to a balanced sense of holistic well-being for the mind as well as the body.
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
For Books Inc., it's been a long road, and if you trace the lines back to its origins, it's California's oldest bookstore. After striking gold—literally—back in 1851, Anton Roman set up shop as a bookseller. Although the shop moved, was sold, burned down, changed hands again, and was rebuilt, the spirit remained intact, and today, multiple locations of the indie bookstore have sprouted up across The Golden State. Staff members keep the shelves lined with classic and contemporary tomes in all genres, and a myriad of book clubs help keep the love of literature alive. They also run a vibrant event program featuring author events and readings where patrons can enjoy an experience they can't download.
One of the nicest things about Jump Start Coffee & Whole Foods is the way that the smallish shop interacts with its earlybird customers. Locals freshly roused from their homes in the hills, commuters greeting the newness of the day on their walk to the 24th Street BART station; all are welcome inside for a simple sunrise pick-me-up. A notch above the standard first-thing-in-the-morning café – and more full-service than corner stores that sell liquor, cigarettes and sad produce -- Noe Valley's Jump Start is a simple neighborhood classic. It's a deli that caters to the local work-from-home crowd and a coffee shop where ordering an extra shot of espresso won't get you the evil eye from the purist barista. Any day that starts with a bagel and a schmear from this happy-go-lucky spot is going to be just fine.