Sunday, Heldeberg Market had a booth set up at the Indian Ladder Local Foods Festival in Altamont. Â I was joined by three of our farmers: Cheryl Baitsholts from Baitsholts Farm, Randy Grippin from Mountain Winds Farm, and Sandy Gordon from Gordon Farms (who is also my dad- a lovely way to spend Father’s Day). Â We met a ton of new enthusiastic customers, as well as some potential new farmers interested in joining the Heldeberg Market. Â Thank you to all of the festival goers who came out to support local farmers, and to Indian Ladder Farms for hosting such a wonderful event!
Week 2 of the Heldeberg Market is in the books, and things couldn’t be going better! Thank you, all, for your support of the Heldeberg Market and our local farmers. We have grown from our sales in Week 1, met lots of new customers, and are already serving repeat customers.Â In addition to areas we delivered to last week in Knox, Albany, Latham, Cohoes, and Delmar, we also served Guilderland, Slingerlands, and Berne this week.Â Plus, we made our first workplace special delivery to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation offices in downtown Albany.
Farmers are thrilled with the positive response we have had, and with it being so early in the harvest season we have plenty of room to grow!
What’s new for Week Three?
We are hosting a new farm!Â Wilson Farms, run by Brian Wilson (pictured right) in Knox, has come online to sell forage and grain finished beef. Brian is the youngest farmer in the Heldeberg Market, and one of the few farmers in the Hilltowns under 30.Â He has worked hard to get his farm up and running, and is excited to meet new customers through the Heldeberg Market.Â Read more about his farm here.
Recipe of the Week: Orecchiette with Broccoli Raab, Bacon and Bread Crumbs
For a pleasant change of pace, we toss crisp, golden bread crumbs with the pasta instead of the usual grated cheese. If you don’t have orecchiette, replace them with shells, bow ties, rotelle, or fusilli.Â Yields 4 servings.
1Â pound broccoli raab, tough ends removed, cut into 1-inch lengths *
1/2Â cupÂ olive oil
1Â cupÂ fresh bread crumbs
4Â slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips *
Â¾ cup fresh garlic greens, chopped *
1/4Â teaspoonÂ dried red-pepper flakes
1Â poundÂ orecchiette
3/4Â teaspoonÂ salt
*Items available at the Heldeberg Market
1. In a medium pot of boiling, salted water, cook the broccoli raab until almost done, about 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
2. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over moderate heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove. Wipe out the pan.
3. In the same pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all the fat. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in the frying pan over moderately low heat. Add the garlic greens and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broccoli raab and cook, stirring occasionally, until just done, about 3 minutes longer.
4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the orecchiette until done, about 15 minutes. Drain and toss with the bread crumbs, bacon, broccoli raab, and salt.
Fresh Bread Crumbs: The quickest way to make fresh bread crumbs is to tear up a few slices of French or Italian bread and whir them in the food processor. No need to remove the crust.
Wine Recommendation: The bitter bite of the broccoli raab and the garlic greens in this dish both require a crisp white wine to act as a neutral foil. Try a pinot grigio from Friuli for good effect.
(Recipe from Food & Wine, 1998)
The Heldeberg Market team wrapped up its first delivery day yesterday, and it couldn’t have gone better! In the morning, I met our farmers with all of their super-fresh goodies at an octagonal barn in Knox.Â And, seriously, I canâ€™t stress â€œfreshâ€ enough.Â Many f our farmers picked their produce early that morning, and it smelled and looked amazing coming in the door!
They handed off their goods, I cut them a check, and we sorted everything into individual orders for delivery.Â Everyone was very upbeat, especially considering the early hour we met up (7 am).
Things went pretty smoothly, considering none of us had ever done anything like this before. And the farmers were very excited at the huge demand we experienced the first week, and the fact that they were paid immediately.Â Farming is hard work, and often goes unpaid for months at a time.Â One of my primary goals is to help our farmers build an economically sustainable life for themselves.Â In my experience, no one works harder, or takes more pride in their work than a farmer.
For ourÂ first week, we made deliveries throughout the Hilltowns, Albany, Delmar, Latham, and Cohoes. It was great to meet our first customers in person- your enthusiasm for the Heldeberg Market is the greatest reward we could ask for! Many thanks to all of you that placed orders!
The inventory for this coming weekÂ (with additional produce)Â is available online atwww.HeldebergMarket.com/store. Orders placed between now and Tuesday (the 15th) at midnight will be delivered on Thursday, June 17th. Order early for the best selection.
And, if you are interested in setting up a workplace or neighborhood drop-off point (to take advantage of our free delivery for you and 4+ friends) please contact me atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a crazy few months this has been!Â In January of this year, I started marketing beef for my familyâ€™s farm, Gordon Farms (shameless plug forÂ www.gordon-farms.com) in January.Â Sales took off, and it steamrolled into a slewÂ of inquiries from farmers around the region looking for help to market their products online.Â And that steamrolled into the Heldeberg Market.
A couple of months ago, I made a presentation at the inaugural Helderberg Hilltowns Association meeting filling farmers in on my farm e-marketing idea.Â Farmers jumped at the opportunity, with a handful of farmers signing up right at the meeting.
Over the next couple of months, I worked my tail off putting together marketing agreements, hosting farmer information session, and building a massive website.Â And, here we are today, on launch day.
Things couldnâ€™t have started off better.Â Today, the Heldeberg Market was featured on the front page of the AlbanyÂ Times Union.Â What a start!!Â More than 3,000 people visited our website, and people placed enough orders to cover our operating expenses on the first day!Â Words simply wonâ€™t do justice to the feeling of satisfaction I am experiencing at this moment for the hard work that went into this venture.Â I think my farmers and I are really on to something!