These are places that I like for really fresh eco-friendly and healthful ingredients. By “local” I mean within 500 miles (seafood, luxury items) plus or minus.
Note: Since the “troubles” at Monterrey Market, I have found it difficult to locate a good, reasonably priced, alternative produce market in the East Bay. The new owners have not been “good neighbors”: undercutting the profits by stocking identical items at cut-rate pricing while also raising produce rices, stocking fewer locally grown items, organics and leaving produce “on the shelf” for longer periods of time. Be Aware.
Monterrey Fish Market: 1582 Hopkins Berkeley, CA 94707
Tel 510.525.5600 (article: A Responsible Approach to Sustainability) This may be the only place left in the East Bay that carries local Pacific wild shrimp.
Country Cheese & Coffee Mart: 1578 Hopkins St (between California St & Monterey Ave) Berkeley, CA 94707
(2nd location on San Pablo at University.) A terrific selection of local, vegetable enzyme, organic, (and, also imported) cheeses, chocolates and other “goodies”. (A hang out of “foodies” of all stripes!) Great tea and coffee selection and the herbs are fresh!
The Pasta Shop 510-250-6005 In “Market Hall” on College Av. near BART. (Parking is dear, but there is a lot.) This shop carries all kinds of specialty ingredients for Italian and Mediterranean cooking. Their pricing and marketing is aimed toward the upper-income, “posh” shopper and the gourmet. Many imported items as well as local products. Read the labels. I do not find the other shops in this complex to be a “bargain” in pricing or quality. The Market Hall Produce is, in particular, pricy and there isn’t much selection. The workers in the Fish shop (in particular) don’t know bass from Pacific codfish from snapper from black cod from a hole in the wall … (’nuff said) and carry far too many fish that are farmed or imported from the East Coast, the Gulf, or So. America. Shop carefully and mindfully.
Lhasa Karnak Herbs. Two locations, 2482 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley – (510) 548-0380 1938 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley – (510) 548-0372. One either loves or hates this shop. Prices are usually good, they are careful about re-stocking their herbs. Sometimes the workers will give you a blank look or will launch into a personal health philosophy rather than be truly helpful. In addition, they are notoriously slow and will ignore customers in order to discus health plans and nutritional philosophies with a single customer for – occasionally – hours. Specializing in pharmacopeia, one ounce minimum.