Bay Area Bites - Kristen Rasmussen Creates Smørrebrød Sandwiches with a West Coast Spin by Anna Mindess
August’s pop-up lunches could not have taken place in a more striking setting: on a Berkeley rooftop with a killer view, amidst Top Leaf Farms’ 16 lush garden plots, which practically erupt in edible vegetation. Rasmussen, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, has taught food science at UC Berkeley and the Culinary Institute of America and worked in restaurants. She consults on menu design, recipe development and sustainable sourcing. Since she is totally behind the hyper-local, bio-intensive growing techniques of Top Leaf Farms and often includes their micro-greens, herbs and roots in her menus, she decided to have her smørrebrød pop-ups a stone’s throw from the beds where many of her ingredients are grown.
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CCLR BLOG By: Johanna Roth, Program Assistant
The sky’s the limit when it comes to urban farming, as RAD Urban and Top Leaf Farms have proven with their project at 2201 Dwight Street, in Berkeley, CA. The CCLR team visited the property to speak to Benjamin Fahrer, co-owner, principal designer and farm manager at Top Leaf, and Jason Laub, RAD Urban’s VP and Director of Operations, to learn more about the ultimate creative use of an oft-ignored space: rooftop farming!
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Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, California is exactly how Preeti Mistry intended it be: fiercely local cuisine through a modern Indian lens. It is this wholly original vision—executed with bright colors and deep roots, that has set Mistry apart in a community that thrives on pushing the boundaries of flavor. Inspired by the new line of Crocs designed for the workplace, we spend a day with a culinary vanguard of new world cuisine. Sponsored
Benjamin Fahrer at work at the Top Leaf Farms location on the roof of 2201 Dwight Way in Berkeley. Photo: Alix Wall
One hundred miles, give or take, from farm to table, is the ideal maximum distance for produce to be considered local. But there are some companies that are greatly improving on that goal — instead of triple-digit mileage, they’re offering produce that’s grown within just a few miles. Even better, when there’s a short distance involved, delivery happens by bicycle or on foot, eliminating any reliance on fossil fuels.
Traditionally, this type of urban farming takes place in abandoned lots, backyards or parks. But two new East Bay companies are changing up that paradigm.
Read more about Berkeley’s Garden Village building.
The larger of the two operations is Top Leaf Farms, a rooftop garden at 2201 Dwight Way in Berkeley. The building, which was built by the Oakland-based Nautilus Group, Inc., is called Garden Village and functions as student housing for UC Berkeley. It was completed in January 2016 and Top Leaf began installing its garden in August 2016. By October it was up and running, growing produce in 10,000 of its 12,000 square feet of space.
Top Leaf Farms is in contract for another rooftop garden at Telegraph and 51st Street in Oakland, where the garden will be grown across 30,000 square feet of roof space. The mixed-use building will include apartments, as well as a Whole Foods’ 365 store. In fact Top Leaf is already gardening in the vacant lot on which the building will be constructed; that garden will be dug up once construction begins. While Top Leaf Farms is in discussion to sell produce to the new 365 store headed to the building, nothing has been confirmed yet.
San Francisco Chronicle By John King