As a mixture of barbecue and sugary sweets wafted through the Oakland air in Jack London Square, Bay Area locals perused tons of food venders, Do-It-Yourself workshops and educational conventions at the Eat Real Festival.
After five successful years, the three-day festival began Friday, Sept. 19, and took a different spin on things. The event was divided into seven sections, with activities covering: fermentation, grains and milling, sweets, meats and butchery, preserves and sauces, beverages and urban farming.
Aside from the Festival’s reorganization, there were many entirely new elements to the event such as a kimchi-making workshop, an oyster shuck-off and a bunch of boozy tastings. One thing was certain: no one was seen walking around without an Eat Real Fest-stamped beer glass.
“This is my first year going to Eat Real and it is awesome,” said Brianna Rojo, SF State alumna and a university administrative support employee. “I even got to make my own kimchi from scratch. I don’t know where else I’d be exposed to do that.”
One of the most popular attractions of the festival was the plethora of food trucks and diverse cuisines, exposing sustainable living and local Bay Area food sourcing. The Festival instills the values of supporting local growers and distributors among society.
“Well, I think it exposes the community to the knowledge that there is a lot of great food in our area,” said Grace Persico, Oakland resident and Eat Real attendee for the past three years.
“It makes me want to explore which restaurants in the area use locally grown produce, too.”
Among the many local vendors and food trucks participating in the Festival that served their tasty creations was Frozen Kuhsterd, established by SF State alumnus Jason Angeles.
With a line running down the block, Frozen Kuhsterd had an obviously established presence and following among the festival-goers. Angeles first launched his truck at Eat Real in 2011, and has since returned to the business’s stomping grounds annually.
“I have always had a love for food, especially desserts, and wanted to join the food movement in 2009,” Angeles said. “I love ice cream and found my niche to trail blaze through the West Coast with Frozen Kuhsterd.”
Every year, Eat Real works as the main fundraiser for the Food Craft Institute, a non-profit organization focused on educating entrepreneurs on how to succeed in the food industry. Eat Real’s mission is to encourage the growth of local food business and support the hard work and craft that goes into good food-making.
For Angeles, the festival is something bigger and is the reason he keeps coming back to be a part of it.
“Eat Real is like our anniversary,” he said. “It’s our ‘Super Bowl’ and we will always be a part of it.”