I just returned from a whirlwind weekend in the Bay Area attending an array of vegan related events. After the fun was over I decided it was time to check out the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace on Oregon Street in Berkeley, California, better known as “The Bowl”. One of my favorite things, horses aside of course, is to explore new health food stores while traveling. I had heard about this market for years, in fact, I used to assume that because of its name, it was an event center of some sort. I was quite surprised when I walked in to find THE most obscene amount of produce that I think I have ever seen in one place at one time. Seriously. The Berkeley Bowl = where Costco meets produce! No joke.
The store is fairly large (it used to be a Safeway) and if I had to guess, I’d say that nearly a quarter of the store is delegated to produce alone. After doing a little bit of research, I found out that the store, which is a full service independent market, has been around since 1977 specializing in produce. Wah-lah! Bing! Perfect for us plant-eating types. And, they have not one, but two locations in Berkeley; the other is located on Ashby Street and is even bigger than this location.
Not only are there bushels and bushels of produce available, but the Berkeley Bowl also has an extensive variety of produce. If you are searching for a particularly obscure fruit or vegetable, The Bowl is sure to have it. And, to top it all off, they have a discounted produce section too (perfect for smoothie making or those on a budget!).
Believe it or not, I did leave the produce section to visit the other aisles and I wasn’t as impressed simply because there were a lot of non-health food type items. You can buy Wonder bread there for instance. On the flip side. they do have a deli which features vegan items though they are mostly pre-packaged. Their beauty products aisle was fairly impressive because there was so much to chose from. And, if you like soy, please note that hey have the largest array of soy products than I’ve ever seen. Holy soy!
All in all, the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace is worth checking out the next time you’re in the Bay Area especially if you are in need of a rare or unusual fruit or vegetable that may be grown in another part of the world. I suggest heading straight to the produce because after all that’s where nature’s party is, right?
Yeehaw, Kayle xo