Lots of food choices, even when school’s out

BERKELEY, Calif. — From spicy ethnic fare to sweets, this university town boasts an eclectic mix of restaurants. “Lots of students come here; it’s very diverse, for sure,” Valencia Towner, a worker at The Melt, said. The Melt is a 5-year-old restaurant specializing in grilled-cheese options, a popular stop for students at the University of…

Family takes its fruit from the field to Berkeley

BERKELEY, Calif. —  “No spray, no pesticides, no chemicals,” Lisa Kashiwase proudly proclaims. Wearing a sun hat with a low brim, she deftly cuts peaches for samples — 13 varieties. Their peach farm, in Merced County, has been a family business for three generations. As she talked to us, her niece and son greeted the…

Woodleaf farm still at market despite wildfire damage

BERKELEY, Calif. —  Evacuations in Oroville, California, have left townspeople uprooted and disoriented for the past six months because of the widespread Butte County Wall Wildfire. At Woodleaf Farm, also known as Peach Jamboree, the fire took all but the crop itself. Owner Danny Lazzarini bought the farm in the Sierra Mountains in 2016.  She and…

Alan Lipton brings fantasy and music to market

BERKELEY, Calif. — Tents stretch for two blocks, covering nearly every inch of Center Street at the weekly Downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market. The smell of fresh produce and the sounds of street performers fill the air. Sitting between two vendors with a black acoustic guitar in his hand and a jar for collections in front…

‘Ugly’ can be beautiful (& healthy)

BERKELEY, Calif. ― Imperfect Produce set up shop at the Berkeley Kite Festival over the weekend to show how “ugly” crops — bought directly from farms and delivered to customers in personal boxes for a cheaper price than many grocery stores — can be a great find. Many of these “ugly” crops don’t meet grocery…

Community forms bonds within farmers’ market

BERKELEY Calif. — The downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market is an ongoing tradition within the small community. All around the neighborhood, people look forward to coming to see the vibrant colors, diverse group of people, different produce, street performers and most important, the relationships and friends they have made over the years. Anthony King, a spirited…

Coffee shop helps refugees settle in California

BERKELEY, Calif. — The 1951 Coffee Company is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping refugees settle in California. It is named after the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which first introduced guidelines to protect refugees. When refugees arrive in California, they often have no resumes and little work experience. The 1951 Coffee Company, founded in…

Barresi soars to new levels in kite flying

BERKELEY, Calif. — The audience was in awe as the thin red-and- white kite transformed into a human-like creature, taking on actions like walking and waving. The triangular shaped kite was a stand-out crowd pleaser of the annual Berkeley Kite Festival on Sunday and standing behind the magic was 42-year-old professional kite flyer John Barresi.…