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Monday, August 22, 2011

Eat Real Fest 2011 Preview: Fewer Trucks, More Pickles

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

click to enlarge Pickle stand at the 2010 Eat Real Fest. - JOSEPH SCHELL/SF WEEKLY
  • Joseph Schell/SF Weekly
  • Pickle stand at the 2010 Eat Real Fest.

Last year, the second annual Eat Real Fest swelled in size, and the crowds swelled to match. This year, the festival isn't getting bigger -- it's getting smarter.

For one, the date: This year's festival will take place September 23-25 in Oakland's Jack London Square, one month after the SF Street Food Festival instead of a week or two. And according to director Susan Coss, whom SFoodie spoke to a few days ago, the organizers are cutting the number of street food vendors from 90 to 60 -- hopefully preventing the logjam that occurred at last year's festival -- 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."

click to enlarge ERF_2011_Logo.jpg

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. As with 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.

The full lineup of vendors and performers will be posted on the Eat Real Fest website in September, and SFoodie will track new announcements as they come out.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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