Thursday, 27 February 2020 12:14

Supporting Local at Old Saratoga Mercantile

Christina Myers, owner of the Old Saratoga Mercantile. Photo by SuperSource Media, LLC. Christina Myers, owner of the Old Saratoga Mercantile. Photo by SuperSource Media, LLC.

Schuylerville ­— Starting this week, Old Saratoga Mercantile, located at 1120 NY-29, Schuylerville, will offer growler refills and begin baking their own fresh bread, adding to the store’s organic products.

Christina Myers, owner of Old Saratoga Mercantile (OSM) will offer to fill growlers (62 ounces), growlettes (32 ounces) and grenades (16 ounces).  They also currently offer a selection of 183 craft beers breweries drop off in store.

“There is no Budweiser in here; it’s all hard to find, rare, really nice craft beers,” Myers said. 

They will also start baking fresh bread in store once a week to add to the bakery items.

Myers created OSM after she found herself growing tired of constantly reading food labels to find fresh, farm-to-table products to provide for her family. While searching, she found herself reflecting on the days before the commercialization of agriculture when each community had a general store and people didn’t need to read food labels.    

“People weren’t adding food coloring or high fructose corn syrup then,” Myers said.  “Those were the products that I was getting but I was getting them all over the place so thought I should just make a store myself.”

Since opening in August 2017, OSM has become a family-oriented one-stop shop for people in tune with where their food comes from. 

“My customers, I think, have a little bit of a different thing going on. They’re here because they are incredibly in tune with their food sourcing and that’s why they come to us,” Myers said.

The converted dairy barn carries a variety of fresh produce, dairy products, meat, eggs and other goods from over 120 local venders, farmers and artists. Customers can find common names in store such as Saratoga crackers as well as non-brand items like handmade knit hats that Myers buys from a single mom once a week. 

“This is how we put it together,” Myers said. “It’s difficult to coordinate and although time management is the most challenging piece, it’s probably the most rewarding because there are 120 people that are excited to be in here. We’re putting food on their table and they’re getting a good opportunity to offer their things.”

Along with the capital region farmers and vendors, Myers said she sources products from Vermont. If the products are not available locally or the local produce contains ingredients such as food coloring or high fructose corn syrup, Myers won’t bring the products in.

The family currently grows fresh produce in a 3000sq ft. high tunnel. Myers said they are big winter growers although they have farm year round. Currently they grow spinach, kale, arugula, lettuces and Asian greens, all heartier greens that can be grown in a tunnel up north. She said they don’t heat the tunnels so the family doesn’t grow produce such as tomatoes year round.

For the remainder of the year, OSM grows lots of garlic, zucchini, squash and other organic vegetables. 

“We grow weird things like mini spaghetti squash and heirloom tomatoes…things that you won’t find typically anywhere else,” Myers said. 

She added the family tends to take a step back during the summer because they noticed that their customers are so in tune with where the food comes from, they grow produce in their own gardens for themselves. 

The family is also in the process of building a second high tunnel to keep up with the demand in store.

“This spring we will be putting in a second tunnel. That’s going to give us a little bit more growth. At the moment we cut almost every single day because we sell out in our store every single day,” Myers said. 

Along with cutting produce every day for customers, OSM supplies to a few restaurants on a small scale such as Hamlet and Ghost in downtown Saratoga. With the new tunnel, Myers said they hope to support more restaurants and stock shelves in store to provide for more customers.

Myers said OSM sees a mix of regular and new clients and enjoys doing special things for them. She said one particular customer each week prefers the smallest package of chicken because she’s feeding just herself and doesn’t want to end up with the biggest chicken. So Myers saves the smallest package in the back each week for her. 

“Everyday I’m talking with people that are equally passionate for good food and for supporting local,” Myers said.

For more information about Old Saratoga Mercantile visit oldsaratogamercantile.weebly.com.

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