Heldeberg Market

heldeberg market logoA new local online farmers market, called Heldeberg Market, launched today. Here's the setup:

  1. On the market's website, you pick a basket of products available from farmers in the hill towns of Albany County -- everything from herbs to maple syrup to wool
  2. Pay online
  3. Orders submitted by Tuesday at midnight are delivered the Thursday of that week to either your workplace (during the day) or home (during the evening). There's free delivery for workplaces that have five or more orders.

The market's founder is environmental consultant Sarah Avery Gordon, who grew up on her parents' farm in Knox. From the site:

Moving to Albany's Center Square neighborhood in 2008, Sarah began working as a private environmental consultant for a variety of different local agencies and organizations, dealing with topics such as community conservation, agricultural environmental management, and investigating opportunities for new farmers' markets in Albany.
In January 2010, Sarah began marketing her family farm's products online, using social networking tools and website she had designed. This venture was largely successful. From there, Sarah began talking to additional farmers about helping them to market their products, looking to build synergy amongst local farmers in a central internet-based market place. The result was the Heldeberg Market.
The Heldeberg Market's paramount goal is to help farmers make their farm businesses viable by expanding their access to a broader customer base. Simultaneously, the Heldeberg Market seeks to foster stronger rural and regional economies by cultivating a closer relationship between the Heldeberg Hilltowns and the suburban and urban areas of Albany County. Additionally, the Heldeberg Market also aims to bring fresh local foods to Albany County customers in a convenient way that makes it easy for residents to "green" their lifestyles.

The market currently includes eight farms and says it's looking to add more.

Update: From Sarah Gordon's comment below:

Check back with the Heldeberg Market in late June when the local veggies come into season. Although there is not much for vegetables now, once the local harvest season gears up we will have a selection of more than 30 different vegetables, each in several varieties. Our farmers are expecting that these veggies will start hitting the market during the 3rd week of June.

(Thanks, Nathan!)


This is an awesome idea, but there really isn't a ton of produce available on the site. Practically none actually. Some aspects of it might be useful though, for instance, not having to leave the house every time I run out of alpaca yarn.

Jack - probably because it's early June and right now the only widely available local produce is turnip greens. Based on the site, it seems like they'll probably add more produce when the growing season allows, since they're listing some produce . . . right? But nice alpaca yarn joke.

I love it! I plan to utilize it often.

@Jackers - cut 'em a little slack. It's not exactly what we valley people call "Harvest Season" yet.

Check back with the Heldeberg Market in late June when the local veggies come into season. Although there is not much for vegetables now, once the local harvest season gears up we will have a selection of more than 30 different vegetables, each in several varieties. Our farmers are expecting that these veggies will start hitting the market during the 3rd week of June.

Here's what I don't get (and I'm admitting I don't know diddily-squat about local farming by even asking this): Why is it then that the local farmers markets are operation and have all kinds of produce. Are those guys not local, growing indoors, what?

-and I'm not trying to be critical of Heldeberg Market here, I genuinely think this is an awesome idea and I'm sure these people know what they're doing, I'm just confused is all.

I posted a link to this over at The Capital Crunchy Corner this morning and it received some great feedback!

@Sarah -- you may want to detail the delivery area on the website. If you add specific towns & villages, you'll get better hits from Google and such.

@Jackers- Good question! The local farmers' markets that are offering produce early in the season are likely growing this produce in heated greenhouses (like "Hot House" Tomatoes). The Hilltowns are nearing their early harvest season- it lags slightly behind farmers' from the valleys, given that the Hilltowns are situated at a higher elevation, and were experiencing snow and freezing temperatures as recently as a month ago.

As a side note, something that the Heldeberg Market is trying to accomplish is creating a year round market place for farmers that offer products other than produce throughout the winter time. The Hilltowns are home to dozens of meat producers, including beef, pork, chicken, and lamb producers, that offer their products 12 months a year. Additionally, eggs, wool products, honey, maple syrup, and specialty herbal products can be purchased year round. The Heldeberg Market increases opportunities for these farmers to develop a steady and reliable income throughout the year. Also, by bringing all kinds of producers into one market place, farmers build synergy within the market.

Thanks for your interest, and be sure to check back in a couple weeks for a wider spread of fresh produce.

@Jackers, your comments illustrate the total disconnect between consumers and their knowledge of where the products that end up on grocery store shelves come from. Strawberries which turn up on your local market in December come from places like California which have year round warmer temperatures, and are shipped across the country on trucks fueled by gasoline. Which is why this country performs things like offshore drilling, to fuel trucks which carry more and more products to you, from farther and farther away.

The thing that I like about farmer's markets is the experience: Being in the sun, BSing with neighbors and vendors, picking the freshest and prettiest veggies and maybe a flower or two. The whole reason we are, as a culture, enjoying things like local foods, staycations, community gardens, and cooking fresh foods at home, is the realization that we should be slowing down and enjoying the journey or process or whatever you want to call it. Ordering produce from the farmers market on my iphone with the click of a button just falls a little flat for me. I know they have an app for that but enough already.

For those of us who are unable to get to a farmers market due to work or other engagements, this is an excellent option. thank you!


Just a suggestion, why don't you specify delivery points in various locations? For example in Voorheesville you could deliver at the New Scotland town park. This is convenient for most people in the area and you wouldn't have to make so many stops.

@Jim -- If you think the Town of New Scotland would be open to allowing the Heldeberg Market to have a drop off at the New Scotland Town park I would be happy to organize one. Feel free to email me at sage.consulting@yahoo.com and we can talk about activating a free delivery option for Voorheesville residents. Thanks!, Sarah

@ Chill Murray - you are exactly right - the national, vertically intergrated food chain brings us food from all over the world, shipped by oil, oil, and more oil.

@ Lucy - yes, a farmers market is a great experience, but some folks can't, won't and don't go, this online market is about more than consumers needs, its about farmer economic viability - and if this adds to the farmers retail market, I'll all for it.

@ Chill - my comment was about local produce at local farmers' markets, not about produce from grocery stores. Besides, I don't get strawberries from California, I get them from the Price Chopper on Central ; )

There's already a group of people in my office organizing to hit that 5 orders for free delivery. If that's possible ona consistent basis, I'm pretty psyched about getting a dozen farm eggs for just over $3 every week.

Getting them home on the bus may be a different issue, sure.

This won't totally replace going to the Farmer's Markets for me. I like socializing and seeing and touching the items I select. However, I don't have a car, and I don't always have the time to go to the market either. This means I can still get fresh local produce even when I don't have time to go to the farmer's market. It's also an easier option than a CSA share for a single person.

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