After suffering through 109 degrees on Saturday, when it was a mere 98 on Sunday, I was ready to go! I had vague plans to get up early enough to beat the heat and go to the Campbell farmers market, buy a bunch of produce, and maybe do some canning if I could tolerate the heat enough, but then I decided I didn’t feel like driving all the way to Campbell, so I tried to think of somewhere closer to get some good produce. One thing that LA does better than the Bay Area – and overall, I much prefer the Bay Area – is produce stores. There are all these stores in LA that specialize in produce, most of it farm fresh. There’s not enough of that here. Berkeley Bowl is totally amazing for produce, but I just wasn’t up for dealing with the 580/80 interchange on Labor Day weekend (it’s a traffic nightmare on a regular day). Ranch 99 and the other Asian grocery stores have a large selection of produce, but it’s not usually local. Whole Foods has some local produce, but it’s expensive and their selection is nowhere NEAR Berkeley Bowl levels. There are farm stands along Highway 1 on the peninsula and out in Brentwood and other very, very hot locations in east Contra Costa county, but none closer to home. Your best bet is going to a farmers market, and the farmers markets here are generally outstanding, but there isn’t always a market happening exactly when you want to buy produce. So I did some Googling and found a produce store in Alameda, which isn’t right down the street, but isn’t terribly far either, so I decided to check it out. Plus Alameda is totally adorable and I love looking at the houses there.

Alameda is a small island just off the coast of Oakland. When we first moved here, Mark and I looked at a rental home in Alameda that I loved; it was a beautiful Victorian. We didn’t get it, but I said at the time that even if we didn’t, that if we ever decided to buy a house here, we should look in Alameda. That’s before I realized it costs a million dollars to buy a house there. Literally. Of course, it costs a million dollars to buy a house anywhere around here; I don’t know that Alameda is even particularly expensive relative to a lot of other neighborhoods, though I think it’s up there.

Anyway, it’s very picturesque. I love this tree-lined street:

The problem with Alameda is I become a very bad driver there because I’m so busy looking at all the houses. They are all so cute! I WANT THIS ONE!

The other problem with Alameda is I’m not the only person that loves it and parking can be a real problem. The produce store didn’t have a parking lot as much as a tiny bit of unmarked asphalt you can haphazardly pull onto. I pulled into a spot with no problem when I arrived but by the time I left it was looking a little chaotic.

The produce store was okay, but it was no Berkeley Bowl and it wasn’t as big as the places I’ve been in LA. I did buy plenty of produce, which I took home and immediately processed in my new food processor. I’m an avid cook but somehow I’ve managed to live without a food processor for a number of years. I broke down and bought one during the heatwave when I couldn’t think of anything to make or eat except gazpacho. How the hell was I living without one for so long?? I also immediately made peanut butter and hummus, the former which I haven’t made in years, and the latter which I’ve only made very inferior versions of. So basically I’ve been food processing the heck out of things today.

And hopefully by the time this post publishes, I will have been able to get out and take real pictures!

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