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Eat Real Fest 2011: Fewer Trucks, More Pickles 

Wednesday, Aug 31 2011

Last year, the annual Eat Real Fest swelled in size, and the crowds swelled to match. This year, for its third anniversary, the festival isn't getting bigger — it's getting smarter.

For one, the date: This year's festival will take place Sept. 23-25 in Oakland's Jack London Square, one month after the SF Street Food Festival instead of just a week or two. According to director Susan Coss, the organizers are cutting the number of food vendors from 90 to 60 — hopefully preventing the logjam that occurred at last year's event — and introducing a Craft Food Market showcasing 30 picklers, jammers, pasta-makers, and coffee-roasters, some of whom are Underground Market vendors recently gone legit.

"Our tagline this year is 'eat it, make it, grow it,'" Coss says. "We want people to come in to the festival at any point where they're comfortable, whether they just want to eat great food or learn how to make it."

A few of the things that will be the same: craft food demonstrations, 30 craft beers on tap, food competitions (pickles, jams, and salumi), live music, the popular butchery competition, and a Friday night Lit Fest hosted by San Francisco magazine food editor Jan Newberry. Like last year, all the food vendors are required to incorporate what Coss calls "clean meats" — which the festival helps them source — and at least two local products.

This year, Eat Real is adding kegged wines ("It's great to not have to deal with all those bottles," Coss says), a community bread oven and baking demonstrations, and a demonstration garden with experienced volunteers on hand to answer questions from prospective backyard gardeners and chicken owners companions.

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman


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