Behind the Scenes: Bi-Rite Creamery

On a sunny San Francisco day what better place to spend it than the park? One of the city’s most popular parks is Dolores Park in the Mission District. A common hang out for the city’s free spirits, students getting out of class, residents and families in the community, and tourists this park is always crowded on weekends and nice days. If you haven’t planned ahead and brought your picnic or 6 pack with you, you most likely will venture out into the heart of the Mission to find some refreshments.

Across the street from Dolores Park, you will see a long line formed all the way to the corner of 18th and Dolores at Bi-Rite Creamery. Bi-Rite is one of the Mission’s newer gems providing the community with handcrafted artisanal ice cream and baked goods.

After opening in 2006, Bi-Rite has gained a lot of popularity and won numerous awards for its signature Salted Caramel ice cream flavor, attracting not only its immediate community but also customers from all over the city.

Birite has become a San Francisco foodie attraction. But during a time of major shifts in demographics in the Mission due to rising class inequality, what is Birite’s perspective and how do they contribute to these changes in the neighborhood.

I am creating an audio slideshow for one of my classes which pairs an audio interview with a photo slideshow. I am doing my project on Bi-Rite Creamery and interviewing co-founder Anne Walker. After talking with Anne, I have learned a lot about the creamery’s main goals and values which is to provide the community with handcrafted ice cream made with locally sourced ingredients.

“ A lot of people don’t realize when they come into the creamery that all of the ice cream is made right here and one of the inspirations for the creamery was my business partner, Kris Hoogerheid and I, when we envisioned having our own kitchen and making our own baked goods, one of the exciting parts of that was when we make our ice cream, everything that goes into it, we are going to make ourselves. All of that caramel that goes into all that Salted Caramel that is sold every week is made by us. We aren’t buying that caramel from anyone else. All of the snickerdoodles that go into the Ricaneles ice cream is made in our kitchen and baked and hand chopped. To me that’s always been the most exciting part of the ice cream, is that we are really proud and stand behind every element of the ingredients that we are incorporating.” -Anne Walker

I was lucky enough to get invited into the back to take photos of the kitchen as they were working on a large catering order of mini coffee cakes.

Anne explains that the rising rent prices in the city directly affect the creamery because “our employees are having a harder and harder time living in the city and that’s a growing concern. We have young people working here and we take it very seriously to be paying them a livable wage in the city and to be making sure that they can prosper here and that has been an increasing challenge, especially over the past 2 years.”

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