For those of you that don’t know, but are generous enough to come down to the Union Square Green Market every Friday and Saturday (even in this crazy cold weather), the Market is actually really difficult to get into and holds its vendors to the highest standards. Not only must all ingredients come from the Hudson Valley, they’ll double check all your receipts. I’ve had people from the market even come to my house back when I was still baking out of my home! Not that I mind; in fact just the opposite. I think it’s extremely important to be stringent about what we put in our mouths and that starts with the ingredients. Thankfully, there are so many options for high quality ingredients from ethical suppliers in the Hudson Valley. The result is just better baked goods. So I want to use this post to tell you about some of the amazing people I source ingredients from.
Hawthorne Valley Farm is one of the most ethical farms around. They’ve been given numerous shoutouts by the New York Times for their ethical farming methods. The cows on their farm have great lives spent roaming around on Hawthorne Valley Farm’s acres of property (as cows should). The calves spend months with their mothers, as opposed to mere hours in factory farming. When they do get milked it is in a carefully calibrated system housed in well ventilated barns that makes the process humane and expedient. These people really make sure the cow doesn’t suffer at all from the moment it’s born until it passes away. From them I get extraordinary buttermilk, quark, yogurt and cheese.
Ronnybrook Farm is another great source for dairy products. They’ve really grown over the years and can be found in numerous Greenmarkets locally as well as health food and grocery stores. In the face of large, corporate megafarms the folks at Ronnybrook have stayed committed to doing things the old fashioned way. You can taste that tradition in their cream. Their mission statement is “to provide a local source of fresh minimally processed all natural dairy products wrapped up in an overriding commitment to the humane treatment of animals.” I wouldn’t go with anyone else if you paid me.
One of my favorite alternative flours, oat flour, comes from the legendary Wild Hive Farm. Aside from coconut and almond flours, oat flour is extremely versatile and perfect for a grain free and gluten free diet. I use it in my baklava muffin with honey pistachio glaze, blood orange olive oil muffin with chocolate ganache, buttermilk and honey corn muffin, cafe mocha chocolate cake, and more. I never have to worry about Wild Hive Farm’s quality -- everything always comes out perfect.
And finally, Gail’s Farm in Vineland, New Jersey, is where I get most of my eggs. It’s a cruelty free farm where the chickens range free. What separates Gail from the rest is that when her hens are too old to lay eggs they live out the rest of their days on her farm (as opposed to becoming soup chickens). She is truly the best.
There you have it! Please, if you can, give these businesses your patronage. They are truly deserving of it. Or if you can’t find their products on your local shelves, come grab a muffin, cake, or any of the dozens of baked goods I have at my stand every weekend and support them that way.