Producer Profiles Archive
Here are some of the amazing people and places who grow and make our local food.
Gade Farm in Altamont has been a family business since 1878, when Peter Gade emigrated to the United States from Germany. Now, the fourth generation of Gades are farming together, growing 60 acres of corn, tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, beans, nursery plants, and much more on the same land that their grandfather lovingly tended.
Growing garlic is a serious business at Skymeadow Farm in Cherry Valley, NY, where Rich Guardi grows 6-8,000 pounds of organic garlic every year, working to develop more flavorful and disease-resistant strains of five carefully chosen hardneck varieties. Rich grew up on a dairy farm in Central New York, traveled throughout the U.S., and settled in Aspen, Colorado for twenty years before returning to work his land.
Knight Orchards: This true family-owned and-operated business began in 1907 when Clarence and Russell Knight moved their families onto the 80 acre farm in Burnt Hills, NY. They originally started with dairy, although in 1919 they decided to move into fruit. Starting with a large block of apple trees, the brothers added additional varieties of tree fruits in the following years. Once the trees had matured, dairy operations were eventually phased out.
Bulich Farm: Tucked into the Hudson Valley you’ll find the Bulich third-generation mushroom farm. Known for their shiitake, portobello, crimini and oysters varieties, the small family farm produces over four tons of mushrooms each week. Started in the 1950’s by their Yugoslavian grandfather, the farm was just one of many mushroom producers of the region, known for perfect growing conditions. In the 1980’s, Frank Bulich (second-generation owner) thought it was time to diversify their crop and take out the middlemen, selling directly to small business and individuals. Today third-generation owners Joe and Mike operate the last fully functioning mushroom farm in the whole state, using the same techniques taught to them by their father.
Davenport Farm: The rich lands that make up Bruce Davenport’s farm in Stone Ridge, NY have been in his family for over four generations. His great-grandfather and grandfather grew tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and cabbage. The advent of refrigeration allowed his father to specialize in sweet corn, the crop that seemed to grow best in the valley. Over 50 acres of their land is dedicated to his family’s delicious, Non-GMO sweet corn. A true family business, members of the Davenport family can be found working every phase of their farm: planting and harvesting, managing greenhouses and selling at the roadside stand.
When you’re looking to support local producers who believe in humane, sustainable farming practices, you know Honest Weight’s got you covered! This month we’re shining a well-deserved spotlight on Sweet Tree Farm in Carlisle, where Judy Pangman and Frank Johnson produce beef, pork, eggs and maple syrup, all with a commitment to promoting a safe and healthy local food system. Sweet Tree Farm’s animals are pasture raised as close to nature and as stress-free as possible, and of course without antibiotics or hormones. Here, cows are entirely grass-fed, and hogs and laying hens only feed on certified organic grains.
Since 1993, the Ball Family have owned and operated the fertile lands that make up their home at Schoharie Valley Farms in Schoharie, NY. Rightfully proud of the rich agricultural history of the lands they love, the Ball family is dedicated to growing only top-quality produce and preserving the lands agricultural heritage for generations to come. In its annual growing cycle, the family starts the growing season in spring, reaps summer’s plentiful bounty of tomatoes, tender sweet corn and peppers, and rounds out the year with autumn’s harvest of pumpkins, squash, carrots, potatoes and parsnips.
Rulison Honey Farm: For 120 years and four generations, Rulison Honey Farms has been keeping bees in New York’s Mohawk and Hudson valleys. Their 1000-plus hives produce a veritable ton of honey and beeswax, and also provide apple pollination for many orchards and gardens throughout the Capital Region. In the past two decades, keeping bees alive has been challenging for beekeepers across the country because of viruses, mites, and many chemical agricultural products. The Rulsions continue to work to keep their bees healthy so that they can supply you with one of nature's best sweeteners: nectar from the flowers.At Honest Weight we carry Rulison Farms’ clover honey, wildflower honey, buckwheat honey, spreadable honey, and honey right in the comb!
100 Mile Pies: If you stop in at the Co-op on a Friday afternoon, you might be lucky enough to catch Susan Quillio of Spoonful Kitchen and Catering offering samples of her 100 Mile Pies. These are savory pot pies and hand pies prepared in her kitchen in Easton, New York. The ingredients are sourced from local farms and regional producers of quality, wholesome foods. According to Susan, "Buying food regionally creates nutrient rich food, positively affects our economy and reduces our carbon footprint." The name of her product was inspired by her determination to work, as much as possible, with farmers and other food suppliers who are within a 100 mile radius of her business.Susan has been baking her pies and catering special events since 1998. She now works year round with a staff of 4; that number increases when catering demands are high. Currently her offerings are: Spicy Three Sisters Pot Pie, based on the Native American planting of corn, beans and squash; Traditional Vegetable Pot Pie, featuring carrots, potatoes, peas, green & white beans, celeriac, turnips, parsnips and mild herbs; Curried Cauliflower Pie a fragrant hand held pie with seasonings and ingredients reflective of India and the Far East. The latest creation is Rustic Rhubarb Berry Tart made with bright local fruits tucked in a cornmeal pastry. In addition to Honest Weight Food Co-op, 100 Mile Pies are available at two area stores and at the Troy and Greenwich Farmers' Markets. At Honest Weight they are sold frozen in the specialty foods section of the store. Take one home and heat it up. Susan promises it will be as good as fresh baked!
Gammelgarden Creamery: In 2010, Stina Kutzer and her sister Marta Willett decided to start a business that would allow them to share with their community the kind of fresh dairy products that their families enjoyed. The result of their planning was the establishment of Gammelgarden, a unique creamery located in Pownal, VT. The stars of this enterprise are 13 Jersey cows, six of which are now producing the milk that becomes cultured butter, buttermilk, skyr (an Icelandic yogurt traditionally made with skim milk) and fresh cheese. At Gammelgarden - a Swedish word meaning "old small farm" - the cows are pastured spring, summer and fall on the family's land. They are milked twice a day, two at a time, and then the milk goes through a slow pasteurization process that preserves both taste and nutritional value. Because production is limited to 45 gallons for each individual product, Stina is able to personally oversee all aspects of the system, thus assuring high quality. Currently Gammelgarden products are found in, or are used by, 20 food businesses scattered throughout New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. In the dairy case at Honest Weight, you will find 16-oz. containers of maple and plain skyr, and 6-oz. containers of bottom-layered Jammin' Skyr with Wild Maine Blueberry, Raspberry Maple or Strawberry Jam. Buttermilk is also on hand. The Co-op is happy to make these unique, delicious products available and urges shoppers to support this local business.
Slack Hollow Farm : Located in the town of Argyle in Washington County, NY, Slack Hollow Farm is one of several organic farms that supplies diversified produce to the Honest Weight Food Co-op. It has been in business since 1985 and has had the "NOFA-NY Certified" designation for the past 19 years. This essentially means they use no synthetic pesticides or herbicides on their crops and provide only natural sources of fertility for their soil. This family-run farm is operated by Seth Jacobs and Martha Johnson with help from a crew of dedicated workers. Their stated goals are to grow the tastiest, healthiest produce possible and to be a link in the area food chain by growing and selling their vegetables locally year-round. In order to realize the latter goal, they built an unheated greenhouse 10 years ago where they have been successfully growing winter spinach and other crops. Recently they added two ground heated hoop-houses in which they are able to produce a greater diversity of greens for the winter market. In addition to the Co-op, products from Slack Hollow Farm can be found at Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market, Healthy Living Market and Gardenworks; they are also featured in area restaurants and at catered events. Look for the Slack Hollow label when you shop at Honest Weight!
Klein's Kill Fruit Farms
In 1921, early in their marriage, Antonio and Jesse Bartolotta purchased the land in Germantown, NY, that would become Klein's Kill Fruit Farms. What began as a 225 acre farm that grew six varieties of apples became, over the course of 25 years, a business covering 600 acres of orchards. After Antonio's death in 1956, Jesse and her six sons carried on the work and saw the farm flourish. Today, 90 years after its foundation, Klein's Kill Fruit Farm Corporation continues to be run by 3 of the Bartolotta sons - Russell, Alfred and Robert - and one of the grandsons, Russell, Jr.
Now at Klein's Kill, they grow 19 apples varieties, 3 types of pears, and abundant cherries, peaches and plums. This conventionally grown fruit is currently sold at Honest Weight and is also delivered to businesses in 30 states from New York to California. The Bartolottas assure their customers that they "rely on the knowledge of experienced horticulturists to implement the best growing practices."
When you're at Honest Weight, see what is available now from this producer, and as the summer progresses, look for Klein's Kill seasonal fruit.
Nine Pin Cider Works
Nine Pin Cider Works is a new business, located on Broadway in downtown Albany. It is the brainchild of Alejandro del Peral, who crafts award-winning hard cider "from farm to glass."
The secret of his success has everything to do with process: It begins with acquiring the best local apples to create just the right blend of flavors, including unique apples grown from seed on his family farm. This combination provides the building block for Nine Pin's crisp and refreshing taste.
The apples are pressed at local orchards, then the juice is transported to the cidery in Albany. There it undergoes the trademark fermenting and aging process. Once it has been aged to Alejandro's exacting standards, the cider is packaged into kegs and bottles and sent out to the world. It can be found at Honest Weight in our beer section.
Organic Valley had its origin in 1988 in Wisconsin, where a small group of farmers with a shared love of the land and a belief in sustainable agriculture came together to form a cooperative.In time, Organic Valley became the number one source of organic milk in the nation. It now comprises 1,834 farmer-owners located in 32 states and three Canadian provinces.
Organic Valley works with dairy farms in 8 regions across the country, and Honest Weight gets Organic Valley dairy products from farms in the Northeast Region, like Odd Duck Farm. Look for these items in the dairy section of the store and be assured that you will be buying high-quality organic products and supporting regional sustainable agriculture.
Deb and Jim Morris founded Barkeater Chocolates in 2008 in North Creek, New York.
They use the highest quality chocolate with ingredients that are natural, often organic, without any fillers. They began with handmade
truffles, and quickly expanded the lineup to include Grown-Up Peanut Butter Cups and hot cocoa mixes,followed by Barkeater Bars in five
different flavors and a selection of chocolate barks. Whenever possible, Deb and Jim source locally-produced ingredients for their chocolates and have formed a small network of local food producers.
The business has grown steadily over the past 6 years, from offering just a few truffle choices to now producing tens of thousands of
pounds of confections annually. You will find a selection of Barkeater chocolates at the Co-op, and can
also check out www.BarkeaterChocolates.com.
Saratoga Gluten Free Goods
Saratoga Gluten Free Goods is a specialty wholesale business, owned and operated by MaryAnna O’Donnell, Jeanne Daley and Robert Averill. Its fresh gluten free breads, rolls and desserts are delivered weekly to Honest Weight and many restaurants and retail establishments throughout the region. These products are not only free of gluten and preservatives, but are also made from ingredients that are organic, GMO-free and locally grown.
The business had its start in 2008 at the Gansevoort Farmers’ Market. MaryAnna and Jeanne, whose families deal with gluten intolerance, had created products that were far tastier than the gluten free brands they found in stores. As their business grew, they were joined in 2010 by Robert Averill.If you are gluten sensitive, suffer from celiac disease, or simply want a tasty alternative to wheat products, look for Saratoga Gluten Free Bakery Goods in the bread aisle at Honest Weight
Raven Crest Botanicals
Susanna Raeven is an herbalist and medicinal herb grower, and operates Raven Crest Botanicals, a small-scale organic herb farm in Berne, New York. Raven Crest Botanicals is an apothecary of hand-crafted tinctures and extracts, all-natural artisan skin products, herbal tea blends. Susanna grows over 100 medicinal and culinary herbs using organic, permacultural, and biodynamic methods. Her hand-harvested herbs are watered with a solar-operated, pond-fed irrigation system, and her seedlings mature in a beautiful earth-sheltered greenhouse, which is also used as a drying house for herbs harvested later in summer.
Susanna first glimpsed the realm of medicinal plants during a trip to the Peruvian Amazon and has not looked back since. Her herb farm has grown with her plant knowledge, and she continuously increases the size of her growing space and the number of herbs she cultivates. She offers herbal CSA shares, leads plant walks, teaches classes in Western herbalism, and offers herbal consultations.
Look for products with the Raven Crest Botanicals label in the wellness department at Honest Weight. For more information about Susanna and her business, visit her website www.ravencrestbotanicals.com and read her blogs on www.motherearthnews.com