I am stunned that many people live in the Bay area and have no clue about what Berkeley Bowl is.
I am a little surprised that no one ever mentions Berkeley Bowl. It seems that San Franciscans stay local and do not drive to Berkeley for grocery shopping maybe they think they have it all in San Francisco. I can drive hours to get what I want. Even though the city has many great places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, nothing is comparable to Berkeley Bowl besides it contributes to sustainable produces and local farming.
I have to admit that even in France I have never seen such a wonderful place to buy this large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes open markets in France are amazing but do not have exotic produces like Berkeley Bowl has such as fresh turmeric. You can check any food blogs and newspapers articles and nothing on Berkeley Bowl, so I thought to give a little Homage to my favorite store of all times…and still privately owned.
Trying to Find parking at Berkeley Bowl is more like trying to find a seat in the Parisian Metro during rush hours so you get a real good glimpse of the outside building since you have to go around a few times before you find a parking spot. The store is a square cement warehouse (actually an old Safeway location), is all grey, square and gloomy, needless to say the first time you get there you have no idea of what is waiting for you inside.
As soon as you get inside, from the main entrance, you arrive right in the middle of the fruit and vegetable section which is amazingly huge. You are overwhelmed by the festival of colors, I think you get all the shades from an art wheel of colors. It goes from pale yellow, to dark reds, deep oranges, forest green. It’s overwhelming to see, you don’t know where to start looking, in a couple of seconds your eyes-brain connections are going crazy and you arrive straight to heaven with no stop in purgatory.