The snow has melted, the mud has dried, the (relentless) rains have slowed, farmers have (finally) gotten their seeds in the ground, and things are on a roll for this summer’s harvest. Â I’d like to welcome you back to the blog after a bit of a hiatus and some big changes. Â Allow me bring you up to date.
I am pleased to announce that in its first year Heldeberg Market seems to have made quite an imprint on the Capital Region’s local food scene. Â We have worked with thirteen local producers, increased Albany County’s direct agricultural sales by tens of thousands of dollars and served more than 500 customers. Â Not bad. Â We’ve also met, and worked with, some of the area’s most notorious chef’s, including the Governor’s Chef, Noah Sheetz, and local celebrity chef, Ric Orlando. Â In doing so, the farmers and I have also attracted a lot of attention from other farms and potential customers beyond our service area expressing their interest in participating in our online market.
So, in response to popular demand, we are taking our online farmers’ market Capital Region wide. Â For me, this means that I quit my other job and am heading down the full-time Farmie path. Â For you, this means that starting on July 12th customers anywhere in Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga and Rensselaer Counties will be able to log onto www.FarmieMarket.com to order food from farms that are most local to you and have it delivered to your door. Â We’re working with small farmers’ from all over the Capital Region to bring you quality food produced by environmentally- and socially- responsible family farms.
Our mission is to efficiently market small, responsible farmsâ€™ food so that they can be competitive in an increasingly industrialized food economy. Â I want to help more small farms, like my parentâ€™s, auntâ€™s, cousinâ€™s, and grand-fatherâ€™s, make a living in the modern food economy.Â They raise good food the old-fashioned way, and FarmieMarket brings small farms a modern competitive advantage to sustain that way of life. Â The farmers and I are sparking a grassroots revolution that connects consumers directly with farmers, provides quality food, earns farmers a fair livelihood for growing the good food that nourishes us, and puts the control of the local food economy in the peoplesâ€™ hands.
So far, things are going quite well. Â Over the last couple weeks I have been phone- and email-campaigning day and night, and touring some really cool and beautiful farms all over the Capital Region. Â Additionally, I have been designing logo’s and graphics, meeting with local agricultural guru’s, scoping the purchase of a refrigerated vehicle to facilitate the incorporation of dairy items into FarmieMarket.com’s product offerings, and beta testing a new e-commerce platform to give the website a fresh, new look. My friends say I’ve been working around the clock… but, the truth is that I love it so much I haven’t even noticed.
Nearing the Vermont border in Rensselaer County, I made a visit to Dan and Joanne Tilley’s Tilldale Farm on Monday. Â Joanne and I spent about two hours together hashing over the history of the farm and touring the property located directly on the Hoosick River. Â Tildale farm has been in operation since 1938, when the land was purchased by Ernest Tilley, Dan’s father.Â Â Â With its roots in dairy, Tilldale Farm raises heritage bred, certified organic beef and pork. Â They will also have all-natural eggs and chicken available for Rensselaer County shoppers this summer, too. Â The rich soil on their land in the Hoosick River Valley makes their land the perfect place to grow 300 acres of nutritious feed for their free-range livestock. Â It also makes the farm a truly stunning place to spend an afternoon wandering the fields. Â I’m really looking forward to working with the Tilley’s to feed Rensselaer County- they are a sweet family with a clear mission to raise food the way nature intends.
We have a lot more farms coming online, and bios that I will save for future entries (forgive my shameless teaser). Â I should mention that I have room for another produce grower from Saratoga County, as well as another egg producer. Â All-natural and organic farmers are welcome to contact me here. I could also use a maple and honey producer in Rensselaer County.
In close, I want to thank Heldeberg Market’s loyal customers for their support of our venture this year, and the success that has come from your support! Â Not only do your purchases support our participating family farms, but it supports my dream of sustaining an endangered lifestyle.Â Â Because of you I have the coolest job I could ever ask for. Thank you for visiting the Heldeberg Market, supporting our farmers, and doing what you can to build a more sustainable world.Â Remember to think global, and act local.Â We areÂ all better for it.