BiRite, if you can ~

Walking around SF mission district after work one eve, I came upon a happenin’ joint : Bi-Rite.

It’s a wonderful little place; reminded me of Zabar’s, and Jefferson Market in their earlier days, pre 1980s.

Two narrow aisles with a column of international goodies between and well-packed corner spaces present a wonderful array : veggies, shrooms, herbs, cheeses, oils, olives, meats, fish, wines, breads, sweets, jams, pastas, household and grooming products, and more…

The Shiny New, presenting as Nostalgic.  Intriguing, Inviting, and, one could say – as Bi-Rite believes – Socially Conscious.

Then I checked a few prices, and realized : this place is NOT for most working class “blue collar” folks, not for folks on incomes, say, near mine; these are high end goods.

Images of other local, nearby places swim through my mind: bodegas, meat markets, fish markets.

I look around.

There must be 60plus people in here, and one, maybe two are not white, and this includes the staff.  All bright shiny happy happy white people.  I feel like I’m in New Hampshire.

In the midst of the Mission District.

Because I grew up in NYC, in an international neighborhood, I am always glad to have a nice place to get quality food. I’m a food snob, always have been; and I will do what I have to, including eat less, to eat well; so I shop at any number of these places, especially when I have a flourishing income, which is only sometimes.

But it is hard to walk into this happy white place that has every right to be here, yet seems so separate from the neighborhood it is inhabiting, the neighborhood it is slowly overtaking, with no indication that it cares about anyone but itself – like a steamroller over dandelions.

And what for the population being priced out, once again, to make way for this Shiny New?

GMOs and RBGH?

Pesticides and Bromates?

Toxic chickens from China?

Or can places like this work on us like Starbucks did (remember those bleak days when good coffee could only be found in Little Italy?), and slowly raise the consciousness across the country so that something like decent food will be coming to us all soon?


3 thoughts on “BiRite, if you can ~

  1. [Of course I’m in a Starbucks as I write… ]
    Until we’re ready to pay for the real costs of decent food, “food manufacturers” will continue to hold their costs down no matter whatever the impact on long-term objectives.
    A friend was shocked, recently, to hear that I am paying $7/doz for eggs from a nearby farm. I figure $7 is prolly what we should all be paying for eggs so that they could be farmed, not manufactured, in humane sustainable conditions. Que non?
    Thanks for seeing and reflecting on the world as you go about in it.
    ps.. Audrey Larkin was a great friend of mine;I knew you all in LA. I can hear her , like hearing a sympathetic string on a guitar, in your writing and point of view .


    • Dale, as in [across the street] when I was about 8? Near that park with the Yellow Submarine painted on the wall? I think I can almost remember what you looked like! Wow. Isn’t the internet amazing???
      As for $7 eggs: I do agree that real costs are necessary – for all the ‘things’ we buy/make/do; my main concern is that salaries are so unreal and unbalanced that many cannot afford to eat well and are forced to buy scary stuff. And these days the juxtapositions around many cities are so out of control…
      I will send you an email soon; how wonderful to connect here ~


      • I, too, am marveling to find you here. I have ‘searched’ occasionally, and saw that you were at Evergreen but you had just left … and here am I living near Bellingham.


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