Market Growth

GLOVERSVILLE – Diana Marshall isn’t giving up the secret of her three homemade pasta dishes, at least not yet.

To find out what they are and how to make them, people will have to go to her upcoming Italian cooking class at the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market. Her class and others will be announced at the market’s grand reopening next weekend, March 14 through 16.

“It’s quick things that I make for my family that they love; I’ve made them for my employees,” said Marshall, a former Mohawk Harvest board member who along with her husband co-owns Gloversville Sewing Center on South Main Street. “They’re easy, really easy, and they all use fresh ingredients that you’re going to find at Mohawk Harvest Co-op – easy farm-to-table kind of stuff.”

From the middle of January to the middle of February, the market underwent a number of renovations in its 30 N. Main. St. location, where it has been located since 2011. The market remained open throughout the renovations.

“[The reopening is] to literally announce to everybody who’s been through here that the dust has settled, we’re ready to serve,” General Manager Chris Curro said recently during a walkthrough of the market.

The deli and kitchen space moved from the front of the store to the back, and has expanded to include a refrigerated sandwich table and a gas oven and stove.

“This is a much more efficient kitchen,” Curro said. “It’s more customer-friendly, the displays are much better.”

The market also added a walk-in freezer and created a new space for the in-store coffee shop, Happy Jack’s. The freezer will allow the market to stock locally produced meats, vegetables and fruits year-round. Curro also said he wants to market a label for the co-op’s locally produced food, to sell frozen and canned goods in southern New York, in the future

“Our goal is to have much more available in the off-season; when produce is not available in the fresh, we’ll have it more in the frozen,” Curro said.

The renovations will allow the market to expand its offerings to its 529 members and walk-in customers, Curro said. The cooking classes are one example. So far, in addition to the Italian cooking class, the market is planning a children’s baking class, a grass-fed beef cooking class, a gluten-free class, vegan and vegetarian classes and a series of gourmet baking classes, all of which will be taught by local professional and amateur cooks.

“[We want to] really get people to understand how to eat well,” Curro said. “And when I say eat well, not just eat healthy – like what you’re eating, cook well.”

Marshall was an advocate of offering cooking classes when she was on the market’s board (she resigned last year, but remains a co-op member).

“I thought, we’ve got a new kitchen; wouldn’t it be great to have cooking classes?” Marshall said. “You don’t belong to a co-op unless you’re interested in food, so it was an easy transition for us. There’s a couple of us on the board that just like to cook a lot.”

Beginning with the reopening, the kitchen will offer breakfast hours every day from 8 to 10:30 a.m. with dishes such as eggs, pancakes, bacon and potatoes. The market will now have a children’s menu as well.

The changes come at a time of growth for the market. In 2013, the market’s total sales were $620,095, up about 15 percent from 2012’s sales of $530,044, according to Curro.

The Micropolis Gallery, which has been located in the market since it moved in 2011 from 51 N. Main St., where it first opened in 2009, to its current location, has been renovated as well. The kitchen expansion required the art gallery to move forward in the store.

Micropolis, a collective of local artists founded by graphic designer and painter Linda Hinkle, will have its reopening March 14 with an exhibit featuring 23 artists. Included are the collective’s eight current working artist members, along with artist “vendors” and guest artists who have been featured in past exhibits. Working members pay a fee to the collective, work in the gallery and take 80 percent of the sales of their artwork; artist vendors take 50 percent of their sales.

“We were closed for a month, almost the entire month of February,” said Elizabeth Batchelor, one of Micropolis’ four board members and a founding member of the collective. “What’s happened is, we put out a call to all the people who have ever been a working artist in our gallery. And every couple of months we have a new rearrangement of work – we bring in new work – and we feature somebody, so we invited all of our feature artists back.”

The guest works include paintings from Lexington’s Creative Expressions program. Joel Chapin, Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s art department head and professor, also has new works in the show.

“It’s great to see other galleries,” said Chapin, who also curates FMCC’s Perrella Gallery. “We were kind of deficient for a while in that area, and it’s sort of taken off in Gloversville.”

The new gallery space is actually slightly smaller than before, but offers a cleaner outlay and more options for displaying work, Batchelor said. New display cases now sit in the center, back and side of the gallery, and the brown awnings that housed lights that hung on the side wall were removed to allow for more hanging space.

“It’s a beautiful space now, and it really wasn’t,” Batchelor said. “It looked before like it was carved out of a leftover card shop, and now it’s just a really lovely space. And it’s much lighter and airier and more formal; this wall looks more like a gallery.”

“It just seems – even though physically it’s not bigger – it just seems more open,” Hinkle said. “The wall space is wonderful, not having those brown balances with the fluorescent lighting.”

Much of the renovation work to both the gallery and the market was done by a Micropolis board member, woodworker Susy Easterly, who owns Easterly Woodworking and Design in Gloversville. She built the three tables in the new dining area in front of the kitchen, and also constructed the new wall and storage space in the gallery.

“Everybody loves it; it’s such a unique space,” Easterly said. “To have a little food co-op along with a coffee shop and gallery, it’s just a really unique space.”