Canales & Fujimoto Walk The Market

Yesterday’s solstice officially marked the beginning of summer, but already the markets are bursting with incredible produce. New things keep showing up every week; out of this world strawberries, followed by cherries and the rest of the stone fruits, summer squashes, pole beans, and right around the corner the first of the figs.

Last Tuesday, Chef Paul Canales and Bill Fujimoto met up at the Derby Street Farmers’ Market in Berkeley to get a taste of what’s great right now, and also to show us what to look for as the summer progresses.

video shot and edited by Ben Schwartz

Bill Fujimoto: After Monterey Market

Here is a brief update/comment from Bill on what’s going on for him after leaving Monterey Market. It’s an enormously complicated and difficult situation for him, and obviously, there are things he cannot say. We see farmers everyday who are affected by Bill not being at Monterey Market, some who have stopped deliveries in support of Bill, and some who continue to deliver (diminished orders), but feel bad about it. To some farmers, Bill’s departure is devastating. Most of our food comes directly from farmer’s deliveries to the restaurant and farmers’ markets, so it is only our pastry chef, Jenny Raven, who is scrambling for alternatives. Jenny gets exceptional berries and figs, and ripe, full-flavored citrus, from Bill.

The email link for support of Bill is: friendsofmarket@gmail.com. And we will also try to keep up with developments. This situation doesn’t seem to make any sense, and we remain hopeful that the family board will find a way to return Bill to full control of Monterey Market.

2017-09-12T15:49:04+00:00June 13th, 2009|Monterey Market, Suppliers|0 Comments

Menu for Oliveto Oceanic Dinners 2009

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Wednesday through Saturday, June 10 through 13

Appetizers and Salads

Plates Expressing the Best Catch of the Day (Raw, Salted, Marinated, and Smoked)*

Various Salted, Marinated, and Smoked Fish

Platter of Oceanic terrines and preserves

Carpaccio of local swordfish with red miso maionese, Espelette pepper, and black mustard

Salade Niçoise: classic Provençal salad of fish, vegetables, olives, egg, and herbs

Seaweed salads (red and green tosaka)

Chilled octopus soppressata with Castelvetrano olives, celery heart, and Monte Iblei olive oil

Shaved Oliveto tuna bresaola with chilled spinach, roasted beets, and pine nuts

Green sea urchin flan with old aceto balsamico

Charcoal-grilled Chatham haddock wrapped in grape leaves

Fritto misto: soft shell crab, monkfish liver, steamer clam and wild fennel fritelle, and surf fish with Cecil Brunner rose vinegar sauce

Soup and Pasta

Maine lobster bisque

Hangtown fry omelet crêpe: classic San Francisco gold rush omelet with oysters and bacon

Porcini gnocchi with little Tomales Bay mussels

Cannelloni neri with cuttlefish, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese

Pasticcio di lasagne of Dungeness crab, fish ragù, and Porcini mushrooms

Spaghetti with whole-roasted Ronde de Nice squash stuffed with tuna confit alla puttanesca

Corzetti with fish sugo and Castelvetrano olives

Mostaccioli rossi with shaved tuna “bloodline” and zucchini crema

Wild nettle tagliolini with geoduck clams and Nocellino olive oil

Whole wheat bucatini and wild sturgeon polpettini with Sicilian wild oregano and wild fennel

Grilled, Roasted, Sautéed, and Braised Fish

Cioppino: classic San Francisco fisherman’s stew of local rockfish, Manila clams, and Dungeness crab with garlic crostone

Maine sea scallops, Georgia white shrimp, and Monterey Bay squid poached in Regina olive oil with flageolet beans, fresh Ceci beans, and wild nettles

Grilled trap-caught green eel with panelle and salsa mora

Gratinata of sand dabs, new potatoes, and artichokes, salsa vasca

Triglia wrapped in pancetta with Bianca di Spagna beans, spinach, and amaranth al diavolo

Roast black cod in vin santo brodo with shaved tuna bottarga

Cornmeal-crusted deep-fried whole golden sea bream with spicy Calabrian pepper sauce and wild arugula

Wood-oven-roasted petrale sole with artichoke sauce

Charcoal-grilled Sierra mackerel with cherry tomatoes, Picholine olives, honey vinegar, and pine puts

Spit-roasted black bass stuffed with dried Italian sausage

Vegetable Side Dishes

Puglian Fava Beans

Gratin of new potatoes, leeks, and herbs

Garden lettuces

_________________

*This is a new section for our Oceanic Menu. It is inspired by my recent trip to Japan where I was exposed to many new ways of thinking about and preparing fish. It is no accident that after Japanese cuisine, Italian cuisine is most favored in Japan. The best Italian cooking shares many aesthetic values with the best Japanese. The most important of these are:

  1. Clarity in conception, composition, and presentation.
  2. Ingredients that express the best of what is happening in the moment.
  3. Long traditions with raw fish and shellfish.
  4. Impeccable execution.

That experience has proved to be a great inspiration for this year’s Oceanic menu, and to represent this, we will set up a station in the dining room where we will produce dishes from the very best fish and shellfish Tom Worthington (of Monterey Fish Co.) has to offer each day. In addition, each item will be paired with a sauce or garnish based on what is coming in each day from our local farms.

Call 510-547-5356

or reserve online

Bill and Judy Fujimoto Leave Monterey Market

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Many people looked here to find information about what was happening with Monterey Market and Bill Fujimoto. We remain very concerned and will try to post updates as we have them. Yesterday, Bill and Judy Fujimoto were no longer employed by Monterey Market. Although it had been reported that Bill will be retiring, this is not the case. Bill needs to work. But, after making Monterey Market his whole life for the past thirty years, he’ll take some time to figure out what he wants to do next. Many, including us, remain hopeful that the family board will come to their senses. We’ll also be talking to local farmers as they figure out how Bill’s leaving will be affecting them. Lisa Brenneis sent us the following report of the scene at Monterey Market on Wednesday.

From: Lisa Brenneis
Date: June 4, 2009 11:21:45 AM PDT
To: friendsofmarket@gmail.com
Subject: Monterey Market bids farewell to Bill and Judy-short report and pics

For those friends who missed Bill and Judy’s last day as employees of the Monterey Market:

Here’s an eyewitness account of the scene as they departed:

“Yesterday afternoon’s gathering at Monterey Market was very fine, and emotional. A crowd of about 200 people filled the street adjacent to the parking lot (the cross street of Hopkins) and when Bill and Judy came out everyone started clapping and continued with enthusiastic applause for a really long time. Tears and cheers.

Bill made a short statement, along with a few interjections from Judy, that was all about how much he loves what he does and that the strength of it all comes from the farmers, staff, and community of shoppers. Someone supplied a box of delicious cherries for the crowd, Bill and Judy were decked with Leis, and everyone stood about talking, sharing thoughts and memories. It was really came across as a heartfelt demonstration of support, thanks, and appreciation for the tremendous contributions Bill and Judy have made to so many communities these past many years.”

Here’s the link to a small web slideshow of yesterday’s event — pictures by Travis Fretter and Jon Brenneis (my dad!): http://picasaweb.google.com/friendsofmarket

If you have decided to take action, either by contacting the new management to express your support for Bill and Judy and/or temporarily boycotting the store, please send an email to friendsofmarket@gmail.com to let support coordinators know — so they have a rough count and a place to go to contact supporters with occasional updates.

*****

Community support continues to build, and a number of events are being planned. We will post updates on such events when we hear about them.

A celebration to honor Bill and Judy Fujimoto will occur on Sunday, June 28 from 2-5pm at MLK Jr Park (between the track and the pool on Hopkins St.) This event is open to everyone in the community.

2017-09-12T15:49:05+00:00June 5th, 2009|Monterey Market, Suppliers|0 Comments

Monterey Market

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The news of discord at Monterey Market is terribly serious and important. If this is new information for you, the short version is that Bill Fujimoto, the head of Monterey Market in Berkeley (and for many, the heart of Northern California’s extraordinary small farm food revolution over the past 30 years), has been at odds with family members about the way the business is run, and he and his wife Judy have resigned effective June 3, 2009.

In hopes of reversing this outcome, many people have suggested notifying the Fujimoto family Board members of their intention to no longer shop at Monterey Market after June 3. We completely support Bill and Judy, but have waited to write something, hoping that the family could find an agreement, and not wanting to inflame a sensitive situation. But it seems to have reached inferno status, with email campaigns flying all over the Bay Area.

Yesterday, a friend emailed:
Do we want to threaten boycotts on businesses when a partner or employee is pushed out (legally, of course)?
Do we know that Monterey Market will go down the tubes if Bill is gone?

So, speaking for myself, a couple of points:

  1. All organic/sustainable food is far from equal. There is constant pressure on our food system to cut corners, cheapen, misrepresent and deceive. Trust is probably the only worthwhile and true “certification” possible. Bill’s family may do a fine job with the store, but this situation bodes ill, and we don’t know them. We trust Bill.
  2. To say that Bill is central to much of the wonderful food, innovation, community, ideas, jobs, and values that developed from the small farm movement that started here in Northern California in the 1970’s, then spread to other parts of the country, and back to Europe, would suggest that he deserves our loyalty. But beyond that, our local culture isn’t a thing of the past. It remains vital, and Bill remains in the middle of it. He is needed and he deserves our loyalty.

We sincerely hope that the Board of Monterey Market will find a way to go forward with Bill at the head, free to run the business in his truly remarkable way. Losing Bill at Monterey Market is too great a blow to a food community that is struggling already.

Below, is a note from Bill and a statement from our good friend and tangerine grower Lisa Brenneis, that creates a clear picture of what is so unique and important about Monterey Market and includes information on how you may respond.

From: Bill Fujimoto
Date: Tue, 12 May 2009 23:28:05 -0700

Dear Friends & Family:

Judy and I have been touched by all of the outpouring of support, encouragement and hope that you have showered upon on us during these last few months. It’s been truly emotional and overwhelming, and we are so lucky to have you in our lives.

To address some of your collective comments directly, recent actions and involvement from the Board of Monterey Market has forced me to examine very seriously whether my vision of Monterey Market, a vision that I shared with my late brother Ken Fujimoto, is in line with the remaining Board’s vision. Monterey Market’s Board now includes my brother Robert Fujimoto, and his wife Nancy Fujimoto, his son Scott Fujimoto and his son Steven Fujimoto, and my sister Gloria Fujimoto. Regardless of disagreements in vision, I am and will continue to be compliant and productive as a Shareholder, Board Member, and Chief Operating Officer.

For me, Monterey Market has been a true labor of love and a member of my family for the last 30 years. Since leaving my job as a Silicon Valley mechanical engineer to become a green grocer in Berkeley in 1978, the Market has inextricably changed my life and that of my family’s. It’s provided Judy, Annie, Amy, and me exposure to so many wonderful experiences, including the opportunity to connect with talented, passionate people in the most amazing community in the world.

My parents, Tom and Mary, believed that the Berkeley community was the only place to foster such a nurturing, open-minded, and all-embracing attitude where shoppers would be open to trying a funky little place called Monterey Market. However, it’s because of supporters like you that I’ve loved every second — from the 2AM rising for the wholesale market to the last shopper on Christmas Eve. It’s because of supporters like you that the Market has never been running more smoothly in the last 10 years. It’s because of supporters like you that even in a tempestuous economy, business has never been better.

Regardless of where this current path takes us, Judy and I are so thankful for your continued support, collective voice, and vigilance.

Bill

And from Lisa Brenneis:

Thoughts on the Monterey Market

I love the Monterey Market. It’s a living example of what a grocery store can do for people, and what people can do for a grocery store.

Monterey Market is packed with food, packed with people, packed with ideas, sometimes it’s just packed solid.

Most of what I love about the Market comes from Bill Fujimoto. The Market evolved as an extension of Bill’s interests, attitudes and passions — a legacy he inherited from his folks, market founders Tom and Mary Fujimoto. Bill listens to customers. He’s endlessly knowledgable about where to find quality and value in produce and tireless in seeking it out. He works side-by-side with his great staff; most guys on the floor at Monterey Market know more about good produce than a chain store buyer.

We’ve been selling pixie tangerines and other eccentric citrus to Bill for almost 20 years. We’re not the only growers who consult Bill on national market conditions, inquire about our competition, ask his advice on pricing, or bring him our latest discoveries.

He picked us up when we were just starting out and taught us how to market direct to retail, buying our fruit and making a market for a new tangerine variety. Farmers up and down California can tell you the same story, “Bill was my first customer.”

Many growers you buy from direct can afford to sell you 2 pounds of dry-farmed tomatoes at the local farmers market because they dropped off 650 pounds at Monterey Market on their way into town. Ask them.

Bill buys for flavor and rewards quality. Buying and selling ripe fruit is a highwire act that very few grocers even attempt, and you can’t do it at all unless your growers and your customers trust you enough to shoulder part of the risk. Bill earns the trust of his customers, repeatedly rewarding risk-takers by delivering that rarest thing–a ripe piece of fruit in full flavor. Hot, responsive customers & Bill team up to coax growers into holding that fruit until the perfect moment. Handling ripe fruit is an art, not a science and everybody loses a little fruit to the compost bin. Small price.

The dominant model in food retailing has become a zero-sum game. Grocery chain operators order and plan months ahead of time. If July rolls around and it’s the best peach crop in 20 years, chain buyers react by grinding their suppliers down on price. They won’t drop the price their customers pay; they keep the markup. And incredibly, they don’t order and sell more peaches when there’s plenty available. According to the chain playbook selling more peaches means you’re going to sell less of something else. Zero-sum. So in a great peach year, peach growers are despondent and near ruin, customers pay the same high prices and, because the peaches were picked green so they taste like cardboard, they don’t buy more.

At the Monterey Market, if it’s the best peach crop in 20 years, you’re going to get good peaches at a great price, and unbelieveable peaches at the best price out there, and you’ll get the first peaches, and the last peaches. Growers will sell a lot of peaches, and customers will buy more peaches than they ever dreamed possible and get peach stains on all their t-shirts and have a great summer.

Bill’s in the middle, cheering for the growers when they bring the crop in, winning the customers by talking up the fruit. Talking to everybody, connecting everybody. Trusting everybody.

Independent grocers with the skills to do what Bill does are vanishingly rare. If the Monterey Market turns into a dull-normal “gourmet” corner store with expensive prices and the same produce you see elsewhere, Berkeley will be a darker and colder place.

That’s why Jim and I feel we need to suspend sales to the Monterey Market as of Bill and Judy’s last day — June 3rd.

While not supplying Monterey Market will hurt, and not having it there to shop at will also hurt, it’s meant to be a temporary thing. It’s meant to help Bill & Judy get the control of the Monterey Market that will allow them to run it as they have in the past.

We’re hoping that a demonstration of our support for Bill and Judy might cause his family members to reconsider their actions. It may not work, but Bill and Judy have been too important to our lives and businesses to allow their departure to go unnoticed.

Customers and suppliers who want to indicate their support for Bill and Judy can to write to:

Monterey Market
Attn: Board of Directors
1550 Hopkins St.
Berkeley, CA 94707

Let them know how you feel. If you’re a good customer, tell them. If you’re going to stop spending money there until the situation is resolved, tell them. If you can drop the letter off in person, better.

One more thing: Because these appeals get forwarded there’s an email address being used as a way to collect names and post updates.

If you decide to take action, either by contacting the new management to express your displeasure and/or boycotting the store, please send an email to friendsofmarket@gmail.com to let support coordinators know — so they have a rough count and a place to go to contact supporters.

Don’t give up. Thanks.

Lisa Brenneis

Churchill-Brenneis Orchard

 

“Eat at Bill’s – Life in the Monterey Market”

2017-09-12T15:49:05+00:00May 31st, 2009|Monterey Market, Suppliers|0 Comments

Oceanic Dinners 2009

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June 10 marks the beginning of our eighth annual Oceanic Dinner event, which our trusted co-conspirator Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Company says is looking very good for all our fishery sources (except local salmon). Our Oceanic Dinners are the most spectacular of our special events. We will serve some sixty species of sea beings and plants, all absolutely fresh, harvested sustainably, and prepared deliciously, skillfully, imaginatively, and respectfully.

[We’ve been taping footage about fisheries and fishermen, the dinners, and the fish themselves for years, and, with our new website, finally have a venue for showing that compelling material. Watch video of Tom Worthington and Chef Canales discussing the menu with Oliveto staff in preparation for the 2005 dinners and see a partial menu for this year’s dinners.]

edited by Dallas Mark

Of special note: Chef Paul Canales just returned from a trip to Japan, where he traveled with Japanese chefs. He got to experience Japan’s two great fish markets and participate in discussions on Japanese principles and concepts of cookery. “The similarities between Italian and Japanese cooking are remarkable,” he says. The foods are “right of this moment, without scores of ingredients.” It is no surprise that after Japanese food, Italian is the favorite in Japan.

Some dishes at this year’s Oceanic Dinners will incorporate those values (and Japanese fish butchery techniques), making them Italianate–like black cod poached in, instead of miso broth, vinsanto sauce. “Not fusion, but inspiration.”

Menu (partial)

Some new ideas for 2009: bresaola of big eye tuna with celery heart, capers, lemon zest, and Gerbino olive oil; carpaccio of local swordfish with red miso maionese, black mustard seeds, scallions, and Espelette peppers; mostaccioli with shaved tuna “bloodline” and zucchini crema; and Maine scallop, Georgia white shrimp, and Monterey Bay squid confit in Regina olive oil with Flageolet beans and green vegetables.

Favorites from past dinners will include: chilled octopus soppressata with Castelvetrano olives, celery heart, and Monte Iblei olive oil; wild nettle tagliolini with geoduck clams; pasticcio di lasagne of Dungeness crab, ragù di pesce, and Porcini mushrooms; wood-oven-roasted petrale sole with artichoke sauce, to name a few.

More than any of our other events, this paean to the oceans is a celebration of nature, of wild creatures and plants not tampered with or hybridized by Man, and living in an entirely different medium from mankind.

June 10th – June 13th

MAKE A RESERVATION

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We’ve Found Our Yolk


After performing a thorough battery of tests, Chef Canales thinks he’s found just the right eggs to create the lush, deep yellow pasta often only found in Italy. The secret is pasture-raised hens. Hens allowed to pasture ingest a much wider range of nutrients producing egg yolks that offer a particular richness and superior flavor. We get to see some of the pasture raised hens at Riverdog Farm in action and hear about the downside of producing such wonderful eggs: EGG RAGE.

Hangar One Distilled

hangar_oneIn the most basic etymological terms, the word crazy derives from ‘to shatter’ or ‘to crack’. This fracturing relates customarily to the mental state, but in the instance of Hangar One it seems applicable in terms of distrupting boundaries, expectations, and limitations, or rather cracking from the mold. Watch video.

At heart, Jorg Rupf and Lance Winters – the duo behind Hangar One are renegades, driven by something way beyond passion that compels them to do, well, crazy things in the pursuit of creating extraordinary spirits.

Bob visited them last week at their hangar in the old navel base air station on the island of Alameda. He was there to record Dave Smith’s distillation of Hangar One’s Mandarin Blossom vodka, but also captured a fine yarn on the making of their small-batch tequila. We should be getting a few bottles of that at the restaurant some time soon.

2017-09-12T15:49:07+00:00May 8th, 2009|Hangar One, Suppliers|0 Comments

Mr. Espresso

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We’ve updated our profile of Mr. Espresso to include a short video of the roasting process as it happens at their warehouse in Oakland.

Mr. Espresso has been in business for over thirty years & they still manage to produce exceptional coffee on a daily basis. We’re big fans of Mr. Espresso coffee and we’re even bigger fans of the Di Ruocco family, who bring personality and warmth into the restaurant every day. Watch the Mr. Espresso video

2017-09-12T15:49:07+00:00April 24th, 2009|Mr. Espresso, Suppliers|0 Comments