Food & Drink: Keeping it fresh

Local Spicery mills the finest

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Local Spicery, on Tiburon’s Ark Row, offers hundreds of freshly milled spices. Photo courtesy of Local Spicery.

by Tanya Henry

At first glance, the Victorian-themed Local Spicery on Tiburon’s tree-lined Ark Row appears to be much like the rest of the quaint neighboring boutique retailers who appeal to traveling tourists and well-heeled locals. However, dig a little deeper, and you will find that the 3-year-old spicery is much more than a well-appointed boutique in a toney neighborhood.

Husband-and-wife team Nicholas Davoren and Evelyn Wood began sourcing and selling their specialty spices at northern California farmers’ markets, including the one at San Rafael’s Marin Civic Center, in 2012. Over the last three years, the business has expanded to include a spice mill in Bel Marin Keys, an online mail-order business and a shiny new storefront in Tiburon.

“Stinson Rub is our biggest seller and most popular,” says Wood of their ancho, cumin, coriander and thyme mixture that they recommend as a perfect complement on a top cut of beef. With more than 70 different blends that include chile combinations, spicy jerk rubs and traditional herb mixtures, along with a “brown bag” of necessities for brining birds, the company packs a lot of flavor into a small space.

Chefs from Farmshop and San Francisco’s Namu Gaji have sought out Local Spicery for hand-selected spices that have not been irradiated or treated with ethylene oxide. By milling in small batches, the couple is able to maintain a high level of quality. They are also keen on educating folks on how to care for their spices to maintain freshness. “We recommend that customers not buy more than what they would use in a year,” Davoren says.

“It’s really important to have airtight lids on our tins to ensure optimum freshness,” explains Wood, who goes on to cite that along with oxygen, heat and light are major factors that contribute to spices losing their freshness and flavor.

It’s a good bet that Local Spicery’s offerings—blends like apple pie, poultry seasoning and mulling spices, along with more than 200 individual herbs and single spices—will make it onto many a table this holiday season.

Local Spicery, 80 Main St., Ark Row, Tiburon; 415/382-6455; localspicery.com.

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