Grease Trap: You Need Deep Pockets to Label Yourself “Organic”

Oakland Tribune staff writer Jolene Thym profiles food entrepreneur Kim Cole, an Oakland mom who started a home-based business making frozen organic pizza dough. You can pick up Mom’s Pizza Dough at Berkeley Bowl, but don’t be surprised if, some day soon, you don’t see the certified organic label on the bag. Apparently, USDA organic certification rules are closing in as Cole’s business expands. “If she sells more than $5,000 in dough,” Thym writes, “she will have to pay an additional fee if she wants to state on her label that her dough is made from organic ingredients.” Cole says she’s not worried about turning a profit right now. “My goal is to make this a business that reflects my values and helps people,” Thym quotes her. Sad, when local entrepreneurs get bilked for trying to do the right thing. Could we see a grassroots organic black market develop soon?

Times Cover Promises to Look Sweet Curling Up on the Fridge

Barbara Kobsar’s month-by-month look ahead at East Bay farmers’ markets best produce is a great tape-to-the-fridge cover feature. “Giving 2007 A Fresh Look” teems with handsome photos (in print only — the online version has a jacked-up layout) and practical tips about finding stalls with the most seasonally evocative produce. Kobsar, who also writes for the Contra Costa Certified Farmers’ Markets, is so steeped in the culture of CoCo County markets she’s the perfect guide. The author’s personal asides, like this one for the month of December, are cute: “Pavlova wouldn’t be the same this time of year without a few slices of kiwifruit.” Kinda makes us want to live in Kobsar’s world, where December just isn’t December without kiwi Pavlova.

But Can You Order a Tab with That?

CoCo Times food news columnist Chrissa Ventrelle surveys joints whose menus date from an earlier era. Launched in 1968, Francesco’s on Hegenberger near the Oakland Airport still does 40-year-old classics, like these: “Women of the day likely ordered the ‘Lo Cal Plate,’ which still exists and includes a choice of meats, fruited Jell-O, sliced tomatoes, cottage cheese, and a hard-boiled egg.” An culinary artifact with the vintage charm of a wad of 1968 Juicy Fruit stuck to the underside of a table.

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