Grown in California: Berkeley Best Bets, Springtime


This is not the way our blueberries are sold in Austin grocery stores.

When we found our way to the Monterey Market in Berkeley, California, we knew we weren’t in Texas anymore. I LOVE blueberries, and not only were these berries abundant (a 4-ft x4-ft bin full), they were perfect … just the right balance of sweet and tart.


In fact, I might have eaten a few too many. I was a little afraid I was going to turn into Violet Beauregarde. Thank goodness I did not have to be juiced.

The reason we were visiting Berkeley is that one of our Heck family designers (and a co-writer of this blog) moved there several years ago (here’s one of our first Berkeley posts), but Ellen and family will soon be moving her studio to the other side of the country, so we knew we had better enjoy one more springtime visit and report our favorite finds from a local. We couldn’t have chosen a better time. Berkeley was in full bloom. (Below are photos of flowers along our neighborhood walk.)


After we picked up our farm fresh produce, we sauntered across the street to the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery. S-l-o-w-l-y, we walked around this amazingly tidy floral maze to study all the gorgeous and unfamiliar-to-us foliage that had been surrounding us as we had been strolling through the Berkeley hills. Below are two you might want to try if you live nearby. The one on the right is named Mrs. Cholmondeley. I think she could be a storybook character.



After we finally forced ourselves to leave the orchid house, we headed to one of our favorite places in the Gourmet Ghetto, the Cheeseboard Collective. If you have a chance to go, you will want to enjoy their daily pizza selection. We were there for sourdough baguettes to take on our hike in Tilden Park.

This regional park is amazing. It’s hard to believe that it is so close to downtown Berkeley. At the top of our hike, we could see to the Golden Gate bridge and beyond. We had planned to have our picnic there with our fruits, cheese and two baguettes, but when we almost stepped on this fella, I suggested that we take our picnic to a different locale. (Even though I once was a brave girl scout, I don’t really love snakes.)


When we arrived at the Berkeley Rose Garden for our picnic, it was one of those days when the sun is hot, the breeze is cool, and in this particular place, the air smelled of roses.

There were roses of every color and variety … and on the way home, we even spied a rose that wasn’t a rose.



And home for us, this time, was just across the street from the Rose Garden. For the first time, we tried an Airbnb, and we can officially report that it was excellent. We were much closer to our peeps and the room was clean and comfortable. We felt as though we were locals.


So, if you find yourself in Berkeley in the springtime, we hope you will enjoy some of our favorite finds … especially munching on blueberries and baguettes in a rose garden.

1 Comment

  1. Ellen May 2, 2015

    It’s so much fun to relive those happy memories. What a great weekend! I’m so glad you guys came.

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