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Frequently Asked Questions 

(Updated August 2020)

 

For details on our new ordering and fulfillment options, and on our covid protocols, click here.

  

OUR FOODS 

Q: Why is your menu so limited? Why aren't you changing it every week like you used to? 

For many years, we offered a menu that changed every week through the seasons. Last year, we shifted to a monthly menu rotation. Our ultimate goal was to transition to a core, unchanging menu of products that are available all the time, and gradually expand that core menu to increase variety while also offering seasonal specials and new recipes. 

It simply became unsustainable for us to produce a menu that changed almost entirely every week. What other restaurant or food business does that? We had to shift to a production and business model that is more cost-effective and labor-efficient, if we're going to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of ingredients and cost of living for our employees, without significantly raising prices. 

At the moment, because of the financial impact of being closed five months and the constraints of social distancing and uncertain sales in the covid environment, we are opening with an even more limited menu. We hope to start adding more dishes as quickly as we can, so enjoy what we have and stay tuned for more!

 

Q: I am on a special diet.  Are you able to make individual meals to accommodate my restrictions? 

A: Many of our recipes are developed to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and complementary to the GAPS Diet protocol and with Paleo diets, as well as accommodating other dietary restrictions. Click here for details on tags you can use to search through our menu. Some of our foods each week are vegetarian, and a few are vegan. We also try to offer dishes that are nightshade-free, and have begun removing black pepper from certain dishes because of a specific restriction that some customers have brought to our attention (black pepper is not a nightshade). 

Beyond that, we make our foods in large batches to fulfill our orders for the week, and so are not able to accommodate individual requests or restrictions. We list the ingredients online for each item, so you can decide whether or not you can eat that product before ordering it. You can also search our products for tags, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, kid-friendly, Paleo, etc. (A full list is on the side of every product page.) 

If you have a question about an ingredient or a dietary restriction, please email us. We are always interested in customer feedback, including dietary restrictions or information about particular ingredients.

 

Q: How spicy is your food?  My children won’t eat anything that’s too hot. 

A: We try to be conservative with spicing, to accommodate the widest range of palates and sensitivities. We offer dishes with a richness and complexity of flavor, that sometimes feature the healing properties of herbs, spices and other ingredients with strong flavor. But we try and keep it mild and family-friendly. 

Many of the dishes we prepare are based on traditional recipes from around the world, which may be much spicier than our versions.  This is an adjustment we make to accommodate many palates, especially those of children. We want your children to eat and like our food!   

Those who like it hot can always add a pinch of cayenne or a splash of hot sauce. (Try our own Cultured Sriracha, Kapow! Paste or Spicy Red Kimchi!) Occasionally, when an item may be spicier than our usual flavor profile, we try and indicate that on the online product descriptor.

 

Q: What about salt?  How salty is your food? 

A: We salt to taste, using nutritious, mineral-rich Celtic sea salt. Our bone broths are unsalted, but most other dishes do contain salt. Again, we try not to over-salt because you can always add salt at home if you’d like more.

 

Q: How long does your food last? Can it be frozen, and how should I reheat it? 

A: This varies quite a bit. Click here for detailed information about the shelf life of our foods, and for in-depth instructions on how to store, freeze, and reheat most of our products.

 

ORDERING & SHOPPING 

Q: Can I give someone a Three Stone Hearth Gift Certificate? 

A: Yes. You may also order a Give a Gift credit for someone's Three Stone Hearth account for online ordering. Click here details. 

 

Q:  Why can't I order food online certain times on Saturday and Sunday? 

A: Our online menu is available from Sunday at noon until the following Saturday morning at 8am. During the short menu closure (Saturday 8am until Sunday 12 noon) we are working to update our inventory, and the following week's menu with new beverages and other items. 

 

Q: Sometimes when I go online to order, something that I want is sold out. Does that mean that it’s not available? 

A: At that moment, yes. We have implemented a new system in the kitchen for food production which will limit and hopefully eliminate any of our housemade foods being out of stock.  

Some of our products are also available at El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store and Berkeley Natural Grocery Store each week, so you can check with them to see if they have the item you want.

 

Q: What if I place an order but then need to cancel it? 

A: Your order can be cancelled up until 6pm the day before your selected pickup day. Please email us at info@threestonehearth.com as soon as possible to request that your order be cancelled. The payment for that order will be credited to your Three Stone Hearth online account and can be used the next time you order.

 

Q: What if I realize too late that I need to cancel it? 

A: If you discover after the deadline that you will not be able to pick up or utilize the food you ordered from us, email and let us know. Usually, we can arrange an alternative pick-up time with you or a designated friend. You also always have the option of donating your order to the kitchen. We’re sorry but we are not able to freeze products for customers to be picked up later. We can credit non-perishable items you bought that we can resell.

 

Q: What if I can’t pick up my order during your store hours? 

A: If you have an emergency and will not be able to pick up, please email us by Saturday 2pm at info@threestonehearth.com or call and leave a message at 510-981-1334. Unless prior arrangements have been made with us, all unclaimed perishable items will be given to the kitchen for staff use. Non-perishable items will be credited back to your account with a restocking fee of $5.00 per order.

 

Click here for details on our late pick-up policy.

 

Q: I can never make it to your pickup hours. What are my options? 

A: If you have scheduling challenges, consider the following: 

  • Ask a friend or family member to pick up your order for you during pickup hours. Please add a note in the notes section when placing your order telling us who is picking up your order.

  • Purchase certain Three Stone Hearth items from the The Natural Grocery Company in Berkeley or El Cerrito, open from 8:30am-8:30pm, seven days a week.

 

Q: What is your refund policy? 

A: If you feel there is something wrong with anything you bought from us, contact us as soon as you can, at info@threestonehearth.com. For perishable items we need you to contact us within 10 days of purchase; for non-perishable items, within 30 days. We'll need you to bring the product back to us, and if you bought it in the store, bring your receipt or the card used to make the purchase. We will discuss the issue with you, and, as appropriate, either exchange the item or issue you a refund. If you bought it online, a credit may be issued to your online account, unless you ask in writing for a refund to your credit card.  

If there is a problem with a product that we carry from another producer (as opposed to our own housemade products), we will usually put you in touch directly with that producer to resolve the issue and to give them direct feedback. The producer will often replace the product at no charge, delivering it to our kitchen so that you can pick it up later.

 

Q: What if I order something from you but then don’t like it? 

A: We are unable to offer refunds for products that you simply don’t like. However, we do recommend that you fill out our online feedback form so that we are aware of your input and/or email us with any constructive criticism. We take all feedback seriously and are continually improving our recipes and procedures to integrate feedback from customers and staff.

 

Q: I’m interested in classes and hands-on experiences in the kitchen and I’ve heard you offer those, but I can’t find them!  Where are they? 

A: For the time being, given the rerquirements of social distancing, we are not scheduling any Educational events.

  

GLASS RETURNS 

Q: Should I wash the glass jars and bottles before I return them? 

A: Yes, please! We sterilize the jars and bottles, but we expect customers to thoroughly wash them before returning to us. Jars that are returned dirty are not eligible for a credit.

 

Q: Should I return the lids and rings, and put them back on the jars? 

A: You don’t have to in order to receive your glass credit, but it does help protect the jars from chipping if, after they are clean and dry, you return them with the lids and rings back on. If a ring is damaged or rusty, you can recycle it. We will sanitize and reuse any rings in good condition, and all the lids get recycled, as we cannot reuse them. Only the glass is returnable for deposit.  

If a jar is chipped, cracked, broken or damaged in any way it cannot be reused. Please recycle it. Only fully-intact, reusable jars can be returned for deposit.

 

Q: Do you accept Straus cream or milk bottles returned for deposit? 

A: No, only Claravale bottles. We don’t sell Straus cream or milk.

 

Q: Do you accept The Living Apothecary Almond Milk bottles returned for deposit? 

A: No, we do not charge a deposit or give credit for them.

 

Q: Do you accept Evergreen Acres Raw Goat Milk bottles returned for deposit? 

A: Yes. We charge a $2 deposit on Evergreen Acres milk bottles, and accept them for return.

 

Q: I have a box of old mason jars that are like the ones you use. Can I return them to you for deposit? 

A: No, unless you got them from us they are not returnable to us for deposit. If you are interested in donating Ball or Kerr Mason jars to the kitchen, please bring them in for us to inspect first. We need to make sure they are clean, intact and useable.