Food & Drink: Basket of goodness

Local products for your summer picnics

By Flora Tsapovsky

A picnic is always a timely affair—good weather is almost a given in these parts, so a chic Pendleton throw and a delicious picnic basket are all you need to worry about. What you pack for a picnic should be easy, too—nothing leaky, wobbly or fussy. Instead, a picnic is a good opportunity to go back to basics: Top-notch carbs, good cheeses, fruit, charcuterie and other treats will make the perfect movable feast. The ideal picnic basket contains all of the above, and is, of course, all about local products, preferably organic and sustainably grown. Marin’s blossoming produce and food scene could fill more than a few baskets, from the dreamiest bread to the best-smelling hand sanitizer to wipe all of the goodness off.

Let’s start with the bread. Soft and fluffy brioche from Beth’s Community Kitchen in Mill Valley is the perfect candidate for jam and butter, while the La Schiacciatta with rosemary and olive oil is sturdy enough to hold heavier spreads and charcuterie. Gluten-free options are taken care of too, courtesy of San Anselmo’s Flour Craft Bakery. Their oatmeal multigrain soda bread is soft and crunchy all at the same time, and the seeded baguette is the real deal. With the bread, comes cheese. The shiny star of Point Reyes, Cowgirl Creamery, has great picnic-appropriate cheese like the aged Mt. Tam—made with organic milk, or the Inverness—pungent and quite unforgettable.

Compliment the cheese with peaches and plums from Betty’s Organics, a San Rafael-based fruit and veggie delivery from local farms. Another great picnic staple is pickles and marinated foods. Marin Brand artichoke hearts are packed in environmentally friendly, recyclable glass jars and are packed with antioxidants. Originally made in San Rafael and now produced in Byron, they are a good addition to the basket from across the bay.

When it comes to drinks, a picnic calls for an easygoing, casual drink—how about Marin Brewing Company’s Stinson Beach Peach or Blueberry Ale, made of all natural ingredients? With 5 percent alcohol by volume per bottle, they’re totally doable mid-day.

Love the picnic idea but don’t love getting your hands dirty? EO Products’ Lavender Botanical Hands Sanitizer Gel comes in a recycled bottle, is based on pure essential oil and manufactured right here in Marin County. It’s organic and non-GMO, so sanitize in abandon.

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