These California Grain Geeks Want to Boost Your Immune System With True Whole Wheat

But that’s not necessarily what’s on your local supermarket shelf

Mark Bittman & Melissa McCart
Published in
10 min readAug 24, 2020


Closeup of a round, dark brown loaf of bread on a wooden surface.
A loaf from The Mill, made by Josey Baker in San Francisco. Photos: Kate Robertson

The way lines snaked out the door of her Rockridge shop, you’d think there were no bagels to be found in Berkeley, California, when Emily Winston opened Boichik Bagels in December.

A great bagel, boiled then baked, chewy on the inside with a leathery crust, was once impossible to find here. As New York-area transplant Winston took things into her own hands, she ended up creating a bagel that outshines the benchmark. That’s because she uses superior flour — much of which is whole grain — and that translates not only to better flavor but higher quality.

Some of her whole wheat comes from Bob Klein, a neighborhood fixture who, with his wife Maggie, has run Oliveto, one of the East Bay’s best and best-known restaurants, for over 30 years. Klein started Community Grains as a passion project just over a decade ago, and it’s become his mission in life.

The exterior of Oliveto in Oakland, California.

Community Grains contracts with farmers to grow heritage wheat locally, fairly, and sustainably. With that…