East Bay Grain Lover's Tour

Sunday, February 14, 2016, 9:45 am - 3:15 pm

Looking for a fellow gluten-lover to call your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? Join CUESA for a behind-the-scenes view of some fantastic East Bay grain-based businesses, including Acme Bread, Baia Pasta, and The Pasta Shop. 

Tickets include an early lunch at Steel Rail Cafe featuring Baia Pasta, as well as round-trip transportation from the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus. Tickets are nonrefundable but transferable.

In the late 1970s, Steve Sullivan began baking bread in his dorm room at UC Berkeley. He was working as a busboy in the then-fledgling Chez Panisse restaurant when chef Alice Waters tasted and enjoyed his well-crafted bread and gave him a job as a baker. Steve left Chez Panisse a few years later and opened Acme Bread Company with his wife in 1983. At their commercial bakery in Berkeley, Acme’s bakers use modern German-made deck ovens as well as a 1930s Spanish brick oven in three production shifts, baking their hand-formed loaves and pastries throughout the day and night.

 Both Renato and Dario of Baia Pasta hail from the northern Italian region of Piemonte, where eating quality, seasonal food is a way of life. In a combined retail and production space in Oakland, they make around 300 pounds of pasta per day, using traditional Italian techniques to transform high-quality American grains, such as durum wheat and spelt, into a variety of short cuts of pasta. Dario and Renato are intimately involved in every step of the pasta-making process, from the creation of each batch of dough to the maintenance of the Italian machine that extrudes each pasta shape. The dough is kept cool when mixed then passed through brass dies, which help create a rough surface that is perfect for holding sauce, and it is dried slowly at low temperatures to preserve protein and gluten content and flavor. The Pasta Shop has been an established business since 1983. In 1978, siblings Sara, Tony, and Peter Wilson bought it and moved it to the Rockridge Market Hall in Oakland. All pasta, fillings, and sauces are prepared daily. The Pasta Shop uses Italian-made pasta machines. The sheet pasta is hand-rolled, and bronze dies are used for the pasta shapes, ensuring a rustic texture that is perfect for holding sauce. 

Where to meet: Meet in front of the Ferry Building on the south side. Please arrive by 9:45 am; we leave at 10:00 am. Please be prompt! We cannot wait for stragglers.

Things to know: The weather will be unpredictable. Please dress in layers and wear waterproof shoes and bring umbrellas or rain jackets.

The tour is geared toward adults and is not suitable for young children. Older children who are likely to appreciate an adult-level tour are welcome to come with their guardians. Please call if you have questions.

Bring: A water bottle, layers. Optional: snacks, a camera, a book or other entertainment for the bus, and cash for purchases.

We will do our best to return by 3:15 pm, but traffic conditions can be unpredictable and we can’t guarantee punctual arrival.

This tour is organized by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), as part of our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. CUESA organizes six tours each year to Ferry Plaza Farmers Market farms and artisan food businesses in order to give eaters a first-hand look at where their food comes from and how it is produced. For more information or to sign up for our weekly email newsletter, visit www.cuesa.org.

We sincerely thank our farm tour sponsor,  First National Bank of Northern California, for underwriting tour costs and  Coach 21 for providing a discount on the bus charter fee.

* A note about price: CUESA is committed to providing accessible food system education to all. If you are interested in a scholarship for one of our farm tours, please email Carrie Sullivan (carrie@cuesa.org) for a scholarship application.