Flourishing in Fruitvale: Behind the Scenes at Two Groundbreaking Food Businesses

Saturday, February 3, 2018, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

It may not seem revolutionary to offer your workers a living wage or proudly claim your cultural heritage, but for many in the food industry, it still is. Two new dynamic and delicious Bay Area businesses, Reem’s and Red Bay Coffee, are pushing the envelope by doing just that and more, operating on values of social justice, sustainability, and community.

Join us for a visit to Oakland’s vibrant Fruitvale neighborhood, where we’ll enjoy Arab hospitality at a woman-owned bakery, and coffee at a roastery-café emphasizing ethical sourcing and inclusion. We’ll get to see how mana’eesh are made and enjoy some snacks at Reem’s, and at Red Bay we’ll try our hands at roasting, bagging, and cupping. Wonder what all that means? Join us and find out!

There is no transportation provided on this tour. You are responsible for getting there on your own. We will meet at Reem’s (directly across from the fare gates at the Fruitvale BART station), and later we’ll walk to Red Bay Coffee roastery (about 2 blocks away).

You must pre-register for the tour. Registration closes on January 29th. Space is limited, and we will not be able to accommodate walk-in guests.

Reem’s offers the warmth of Arab hospitality through the discovery of flavors, aromas, and techniques of the modern Arab street corner bakery. They create the experience of home through fresh baked bread, using traditional Arab flavors and local ingredients, all prepared with California love. Their mission is to lift up their community through providing community benefits, living wage jobs with career paths, and supporting local businesses and farms.

Reem Assil founded Reem’s with a passion for the flavors of Arab street-corner bakeries and the vibrant communities where they’re located. Growing up in a Palestinian-Syrian household, Reem was surrounded by the aromas and tastes of food from the homeland and the connections they evoked of her heritage, family, and community. Before dedicating herself to a culinary career, Reem worked for a decade as a community and labor organizer, and brings the warmth of community to all her events. She has worked with the Bay Area’s esteemed cooperative bakery Arizmendi Bakery & Pizzeria, Grace Street Catering, Local Flavors, and several local chefs. In 2014 she was accepted to the competitive food business incubator program, La Cocina.

Red Bay Coffee was founded in 2014 by Keba Konte, a renowned local artist and successful food entrepreneur with 10 years experience in the specialty coffee and hospitality industry. Red Bay Coffee is building a global community through their commitment to sourcing, developing, roasting and delivering the best and most beautiful coffee to the people. Every day they strive to develop beautiful coffees, fair relations, and delicious approaches to living. They focus on creating opportunities within the community at large while fostering single origin, fair trade, direct trade, organic and sustainable coffees. They believe in the creation of a value chain emphasizing ethics and diversity, not just a supply and demand chain. They envision a world in which coffee is a vehicle for inclusion, social and economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation, and environmental sustainability.

Please note that transportation is not provided for this tour.

Where to meet: Meet at Reem’s in the Fruitvale Village, across from the fare gates at the Fruitvale BART station.

Things to know: Public transit can be unpredictable. Please plan accordingly to be on time. Shoes must be appropriate for a behind-the-scenes tour, with closed toes and non-slip soles.

The tour is geared toward adults and will probably not be enjoyable for young children. 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 and an open mind. Optional: a camera and cash for purchases. We will finish by 5:00 pm at Red Bay Coffee roastery, about 2 blocks from Reem’s and the Fruitvale BART station.

Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable but are transferable to another guest for this tour.

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.

Reem’s Photo: Luke Beard Photography