With some hopeful signs that the pandemic is easing, our dining directories may once again become helpful in finding farm-to-table dining options. Since the start-up of this website over ten years ago, the dining directories until the pandemic have been our most popular web pages, with the Massachusetts dining directory leading the way. Of late in 2021, the dining directory for the Bay State has again joined the list of our ten most popular pages.
In the past couple of years, we’ve made it a point to include listings of cafés in food co-operatives in our dining directories. As noted on our web page for Food Co-ops, food co-operatives are a source of many organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as pastured-raised meat by local family-run farms.
And there is a much greater local impact when food dollars are spent at food co-operatives instead of conventional supermarkets. In an earlier post, Local Economies Benefit With $$$ Spent at Farmers Markets & Food Co-ops, it was noted that purchases locally-sourced represent 20% of purchases for food co-operatives compared to 6% for conventional supermarkets, with local suppliers averaging 157 for food co-operatives verses 65 for conventional supermarkets.
When we heard that a food co-op was opening in Philmont (Columbia County) in upstate New York’s Hudson Valley, our ears perked up. This small village, with a population just under 1,400 at the 2010 census, is just off the scenic Taconic Parkway, and is easily reached from my home in Albany. On a recent wintry day, a drive south to enjoy a hike at Lake Taghkanic State Park provided an excellent reason to take a brief detour and visit the Philmont Cooperative.
Here’s the praiseworthy mission of the Philmont Cooperative, reflective of its tag-line Run Longer On Local and succinctly stated:
Philmont Market and Café Cooperative is a producer/consumer, cooperatively owned market, commercial kitchen and café, which cultivates a community-based food system and provides equitable access to affordable, nutritious foods; strengthens our local economy; and fosters sustainable living.
And the Philmont Cooperative has taken the concept of a co-op café several creative steps further to support the local economy and local entrepreneurs. In the parking area just outside this small food co-op is parked a food truck painted bright green, which in the seasonal weather is the home to the co-op’s Curbside Café with a generous number of picnic tables within convenient reach.
Three food aficionados share the food truck to operate three small prepared food endeavors in season during the warmer months, (i) Tyler’s Kitchen, serving breakfast & lunch cooked to order, five days a week; (ii) Compassion Juicery operating Friday to Sunday; and (iii) Gina’s Empanadas operating in the evenings Friday to Monday.
Fortunately for a visitor to Philmont in late January, in the off-season and colder months, the Curbside Café moves indoors. And on the morning of my visit, Tyler’s Kitchen was offering cooked-to-order breakfast and lunch inside the Philmont Cooperative. The appealing menu included egg & cheese sandwiches, scrambled egg wraps, grilled cheese, burritos, smashburgers using Grimaldi Farms ground beef, hot soups, and an enticing cordon bleu sandwich consisting of a breaded chicken cutlet, ham and swiss cheese.
As a pick-me up before a wintry hike at the state park, a hot off the grill, egg and cheese sandwich on a brioche roll from Tyler’s Kitchen, was perfect. And though the day was cold, a picnic table just outside the co-op was a pleasant spot to enjoy the delicious breakfast sandwich.
(Frank W. Barrie, 2/13/21)