Three Stone Hearth Community Supported Kitchen
Guest blog post by Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth
We’re not a restaurant, but we were voted Best Take-Out in the Bay Area a few years ago. We call ourselves a Community Supported Kitchen, and for ten years we’ve been cooking nutrient-dense food, inspired by traditional diets and the research of Weston Price. We specialize in bone broths from pastured chicken and grassfed beef, soups and stews made with bone broths, lactofermented vegetables and beverages, and gluten-free and dairy-free desserts and treats utilizing natural sweeteners balanced by traditional fats. On our shelves you will also find liver pâté, pastured lard, sprouted flours, cod liver oil, raw cow’s milk, raw goat’s milk, “cultured” condiments (using sauerkraut brine), and frozen meat patties and meat loaves that incorporate liver.
The way our system works is this: Each week (on Thursday evening) we post a menu online of what we are making that week. Customers are able to pre-order food through the following Wednesday morning. Then the pre-order system closes and we begin dividing up our inventory between orders packed for delivery to San Francisco, Marin, and the East Bay, orders to be picked up in our Brick and Mortar location in Berkeley, and food to go into our store, so folks who haven’t pre-ordered can walk in and shop off the shelves. We are open to the public from 5pm-7pm on Wed evenings, from 10am-4pm on Thursdays, and from 9am-2pm on Saturdays.
We pack the vast majority of our foods in returnable mason jars. Customers pay a deposit for the mason jar, and then when they return it (clean!) to us they get a credit. We sterilize the jars and reuse them over and over again. We work with a number of local artisanal producers, and many of them pack in returnable mason jars for us as well: wildcrafted seaweeds, kale chips cooked in bone broth, and honey from local rescued hives are all in returnable mason jars.
In addition to our foods, we offer classes, workshops, and lectures. I regularly teach about Price’s studies and the nutritional wisdom of traditional diets. We’ve had classes on traditional posture, digestive health, and local seafood. We’ve offered workshops on cheesemaking, pickling, and making herbal syrups. We have books and charts for sale and also carry specialty lids for mason jars, and a range of non-toxic body care products.
There is a great deal of heart in everything we do. Three Stone Hearth was founded by five people who were passionate about access to local, nutrient-dense foods processed on a community scale following traditional techniques. We incorporated as a worker-cooperative, and after a decade in business, three of the five original founders are still worker-owners, along with seventeen other people who have joined the coop and are putting their energies towards its mission.
We have identified our company purpose as “Nourishing Transformation through Traditional Wisdom.” The transformation we seek and work towards is not only individual healing (which is so important), but also the paradigm shifts that we believe will lead to a better society. As a worker-cooperative, we are passionate about the democratization of capital, about creating green jobs that distribute profits and offer right-livelihood to the people who work here. We also aspire to be a “Deliberately Developmental Organization,” where we are continually supporting each other to actively work our personal growth edges, rather than trying to cover up our weaknesses or pretend they aren’t there. Simultaneously, we aspire to be both self-organizing and self-managing, taking inspiration from books like Reinventing Organizations as well as traditional and indigenous approaches to social organization — the “egalitarian individualism” practiced by many “hunter-gatherer” societies is in many ways akin to modern “responsive” business approaches.
So we like to say that when you support our kitchen, you are really supporting “social change in a mason jar.” We try to be a living example of how traditional wisdom can inform solutions to today’s problems.