First Impression: Local Mission Market

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Cheese counter, pickles and fresh pasta shelves with view of kitchen. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Local Mission Market cheese counter, pickles and fresh pasta shelves with view of kitchen.
Photo: Naomi Fiss

All Photos by Naomi Fiss

The to-do list of the prep chefs at Local Mission Market is a long one. Literally: stand in front of the swath of butcher paper listing the day’s output, and you’ll see a list of items that extends from eye-level to somewhere near your knees. And each station–bread, meat and fish, pasta, preserving–has its own equally long list, to make all the elements that come together to stock this newly opened market that prides itself on making almost everything in-house from locally sourced ingredients.

Yaron Milgrom examines the prep list for the day. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Yaron Milgrom examines the prep list for the day. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Opened on Tuesday November 5 by Yaron Milgrom and executive chef Jake Des Voignes, the market joins the business partners’ two Local restaurants nearby, Local Mission Eatery and Local’s Corner. As a retail business open daily from 9am to 9pm, it’s already employing more than 30 people, including chef de cuisine Leslie Gratiano, sous chefs Nick Noren and T.J. Richards, and head baker Sandy Guevara.

Yaron Milgrom and executive chef Jake Des Voignes. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Yaron Milgrom and executive chef Jake Des Voignes. Photo: Naomi Fiss

The stripped-down, rectangular space is still being filled, and not all the layout makes sense. Ready-to-eat and prepared foods, like salads and soups, are tucked away in a refrigerated case in a side alcove next to the coffee and tea, too easy for the casual shopper to miss. But the store is still brand-new and just being its learning curve of what the neighborhood wants; presumably, over the next few weeks, if no one can find the soup, the soup will move.

Interior of Local Mission Market. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Interior of Local Mission Market. Photo: Naomi Fiss

This is a market for both chefs and eaters. Everything is either a single ingredient–glass bottles of Straus milk, boxes of Red Hill eggs, a small but inviting display of Northern and Central California cheeses, plus persimmons and chanterelles in the produce boxes and dozens of whole grains, beans, nuts, and dried fruits giving Rainbow a run of its money in sleek, wood-trimmed bulk bins–or a creation of something more sumptuous and ready-to-eat from the busy mezzanine kitchen above. Creme fraiche, mascarpone, yogurt, and goat’s milk ricotta are all made in-house.

Local Mission Market produce and dairy area. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Local Mission Market produce and dairy area. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Dozens of pickles, jams, marmalades, and preserves line the shop’s wooden shelves; near the meat counter are jars of house-made ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, Italian-style peach mostarda, even three kinds of hot sauce. The style is straightforward with a twist: tarragon in the apricot jam, rosemary in the plum preserves and pear butter, lemon verbena in the strawberry jam. The key is the commercial combi oven, a self-contained steam-injection unit that can process close to 200 jars at a time, thanks to adjustable temperature and humidity levels.

And it’s a good thing there’s plenty of cheese, butter, and jam in the house, because word is already out about baker Sandy Guevera’s delicious bread. For all San Francisco’s frenzy for all things gluten-free, it seems that plenty of us still can’t pass up a fantastic fresh loaf when it’s coming out the oven right down the block. An alum of Acme Bread, Arizmendi, A16, Mayfield Bakery in Palo Alto, and the San Francisco Baking Institute, Guevara is excited about the “amazing, heirloom grains and flours” that the kitchen is sourcing from Front Porch Farm near the Russian River and Full Belly Farm in the Capay Valley, which she blends with a live starter culture to make country-style pan loaves as well as crusty boules and batards. What keeps it fun and interesting for Guevara is getting to shop for the kitchen and “mix and match” out of what’s coming in daily to the store. She also feels seeing the same ingredients in the store that she’s using in the kitchen will help demystify the process, and encourage shoppers to try baking their own similar breads at home. And while the bulk of her breads are slow-risen with her own sourdough-style starter, she’s also making baguettes with fresh yeast, which means faster proofing, rising, and baking, in order to keep up with the demand.

"Zero Waste" sign. Everything in your cart is either compostable or recyclable. Photo: Naomi Fiss

“Zero Waste” sign. Everything in your cart is either compostable or recyclable. Photo: Naomi Fiss

In the kitchen, as in the shop itself, the emphasis is on zero waste. Squeezed lemon halves leftover from lemonade-making are dehydrated and added to citrus salt or herb-tea blends; tomato skins are dried and pulverized into tomato powder for tomato salt and seasoning mixtures. Bones from animal butchery go into stock, then get roasted for use as dog bones. Having two other food businesses also helps Milgrom and his team buy in greater bulk and have a place to use produce and other perishable items before they can go to waste. And while no one would confuse this place with Foods 4 Less, or any of the many lower-priced neighborhood markets along 24th and Mission Streets, Milgrom hopes to pass along good prices on abundant items whenever possible. The chanterelle crop is fantastic this year, for example, and so fresh chanterelles are $10/lb here, rather than the $20+ found at other similar shops. The heavy wildfire season of 2013 should have a small upside of encouraging great morel mushroom supplies next year; Milgrom hopes his customers will be able to “eat morels like they’re button mushrooms” come spring. In the bulk bins, there are TCHO chocolate buttons for baking, at $5/lb, less expensive, by several dollars a pound than the raisins next to them, and worthwhile stocking up on for holiday baking.

Signage for Fish and Meat revealing local sources. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Signage for Fish and Meat revealing local sources. Photo: Naomi Fiss

The shop’s dedication to staying local is most obvious in the fish case. Late fall, before crab season opens, is a slow time for the Pacific coast fishery. What the shop can source sustainably right now:
black cod, rock cod, whole or filleted, oysters, octopus, trout, and fat slabs of sturgeon, plus rosy-orange chunks of salmon, hot-smoked back when it was still available from local waters.

The fish case at the Local Mission Market. Photo: Naomi Fiss

The fish case at the Local Mission Market. Photo: Naomi Fiss

In the meat case, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and rabbit, with plans for turkey closer to Thanksgiving. A lone pig trotter hangs by a string in the cold room behind the case–somewhat of a Local signature, since a similar foot has pride of place in the glass-walled walk-in at Local Mission Eatery, too. It’s a visceral reminder that the shop and restaurants pride themselves on doing their butchery and using the whole animal, treating the ears and feet with as much respect as the higher-dollar chops and roasts.

Meats curing at Local Mission Market. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Meats curing at Local Mission Market. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Local Mission Market
Address: [map]
2670 Harrison St (between 22nd and 23rd Sts)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Ph: (415) 795-3355
Hours:
Mon-Sun, 9am-9pm
Facebook: LocalMissionMarket
Twitter: @localmarketsf

Exterior of Local Mission Market on Harrison Street. Photo: Naomi Fiss

Exterior of Local Mission Market on Harrison Street. Photo: Naomi Fiss

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Category: bay area, Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, farmers and farms, local food businesses, reviews, san francisco

About the Author ()

Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen is a longtime local food writer, author, and cook. Her books include The Art of Vintage Cocktails (Egg & Dart Press), World of Doughnuts (Egg & Dart Press); Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food (Williams Sonoma); Honey from Flower to Table (Chronicle Books) and The Astrology Cookbook: A Cosmic Guide to Feasts of Love (Manic D Press). She has studied organic farming at UCSC and holds a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. She does frequent cooking demonstrations at local farmers’ markets and has taught food writing at Media Alliance in San Francisco and the Continuing Education program at Stanford University. She has been the lead restaurant critic for the San Francisco Bay Guardian as well as for San Francisco magazine. She has been an assistant chef at the Headlands Center for the Arts, an artists' residency program located in the Marin Headlands, and a production cook at the Marin Sun Farms Cafe in Pt Reyes Station. After some 20 years in San Francisco interspersed with stints in Oakland, Santa Cruz, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, she recently moved to Sonoma county but still writes in San Francisco several days a week.