One of the most commonly cited benefits of living in the Bay Area is the food. Few other parts of the country have so devoutly embraced the concept and benefits of eating fresh, local, organic, sustainable and healthy foods. Not only is the Bay Area home to a bevy of farmer’s markets, the region has also played a major role in the food truck revolution. Gone is the stigma of greasy roach coaches; Bay Area denizens now frequent food trucks to gorge on innovative fusion dishes and inexpensive gourmet cuisines.
While weekly Off the Grid markets are a great way to sample local food truck fare, there’s really only one place to indulge in the best and broadest selection of Bay Area street eats: Oakland’s Eat Real Festival .
From September 21-23, more than 60 food vendors will gather in Jack London Square for the fourth annual Eat Real Festival. The massive three-day extravaganza will unite cooks, farmers and food connoisseurs in a celebration of all things fresh, tasty and handmade. Vendors will offer a wide assortment of international flavors, but all of the delicious urban dishes will incorporate regionally-sourced and sustainably-produced ingredients. Entry is free to the public and all food items will be priced at $5 or less (a plus because you’ll want to try everything).
“At Eat Real, we want to throw the food makers and farmers of the Bay Area a great party and give local residents a chance to taste something different,” said Eat Real Festival founder Anya Fernald.
Founded in 2008, Eat Real is a social business and affiliated non-profit dedicated to helping revitalize regional food systems; promoting and teaching quality food craft; increasing accessibility to healthy, sustainable food; and encouraging the growth and success of American food entrepreneurs. The Eat Real Festival was created to celebrate and showcase great food and connect a large audience of food lovers with local farmers, chefs and producers who are creating accessible, affordable culinary masterpieces. In 2010, the event brought in more than $750,000 of revenue for participating businesses.
“We were inspired to start an event that focused on real food,” said Eat Real director Susan Coss. “To really highlight who’s making your food, how it’s being grown, where it’s coming from, and to celebrate the amazing flavor that happens when you’re eating food that’s so fresh.”
- In addition to the dozens of enticing trucks and and broad array of handcrafted local beers, the Eat Real Festival will feature chef demonstrations, butchery competitions, backyard farming installations and handy food skill demos on fish-filleting, kombucha brewing, barbecue sauce making and more, not to mention “BaconMania!,” a demonstration on how to cure, roast, cook and enjoy the popular savory treat. Dance performances and live music from Bay Area bands and DJs will also keep you entertained as you chow down.
Whether you’re interested in exploring a DIY lifestyle, want to learn some new cooking methods, or just want to partake of the Bay Area’s best local bites and libations, you’ll love the Eat Real Festival. Just make sure to bring plenty of friends, water and sunscreen – this year’s Eat Real Festival is expected to draw more than 150,000 visitors, and those lines can get awfully long.
WHEN: September 21 – 23, 2012
Friday: 1-9 p.m.
Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Jack London Square
Broadway and Water Streets, Oakland