a few quick things:
- Want to receive this newsletter via email? Sign up here. (Some weeks it’s going out only via email.)
- This week we celebrate seven years of Radish & Rye. Join us in celebration (free bubbly!) on Friday, June 3, from 5pm-7pm.
- This week we also embark on a new excursion Further Afield — read on for more!
- This week STRAWBERRIES are rolling in from the fields.
- This week might be the most exciting in the history of Radish & Rye.
- Come see us! We’re here Weds-Fri, 12pm-7pm; Sat & Sun, 8am-5pm.
- Current and anticipated availability can be seen here: https://www.radishandryehbg.com/currentavailability.
a note from Julia
Friends. SEVEN YEARS.
You might know my traditions by now. Every year for our anniversary I re-read all the prior years’ anniversary posts (it takes longer each year!), I do some reflecting, and I write in this newsletter about where we’ve been and where we’re going.
This year I have the added task of sharing with you our BIG NEWS. It’s very related to where we’ve been and where we’re going, and it’s very related to our goal, as I phrased it in our fifth anniversary newsletter, of “getting the best food to the most people,” but I find myself struggling to know what to say.
Over the years that we’ve been doing this Radish & Rye thing, focused on 100% local food, most from small organic farms, all located within about 150 miles of Harrisburg, we’ve built some wonderful relationships with the area’s growers and artisans. We’ve also learned about some wonderful growers and artisans not within our radius – folks growing cool things that just don’t do so well around here, or businesses working to equitably bring to market products most often produced and sold under exploitive conditions.
We’ve learned about a small producer in New York state buying US-grown grains (most organic) and crafting them into traditional Italian pastas (and some not so traditional!); about a Mumbai native sourcing single origin turmeric and ensuring that the farmers who grew it are fairly paid; about a Native American tribe sustainably farming olives on their Wintun Nation land in California’s Capay Valley and producing top-notch olive oils from the fruits; about a Bloomsburg family that spends summers fishing salmon (and more) in Alaska, flash freezing their bounty, and bringing it back to Pennsylvania for us to enjoy. The list goes on and on. You’re probably familiar with some of these folks, too.
We’ve also always been aware that none of us are 100% locavore, and we have grown weary of how many times we have to say, “No, I’m sorry, we don’t sell lemons or olive oil or salmon or pasta.” (Even though we have all those things in our home ourselves.) We’ve wondered why we’ve told ourselves we can sell turmeric grown who-knows-where and put into jars locally, but not turmeric whose source we can identify, only because it was jarred elsewhere.
These wonderings have grown stronger over the last couple of years, as we’ve moved into our larger space at 1308, as we’ve perhaps become more averse to making extra trips to the Big stores ourselves, and as we’ve wished for easier access to some of the non-local staples we keep in our own pantry. We’ve thought we could probably do better at our goal of getting the best food to the most people if we offered more food, that we could probably also do better at our goal of supporting local farmers if their products could exist alongside other things shoppers and eaters are likely to need or want, and that we could probably do a better job of supporting the world’s farmers if we prioritized sourcing organic and fairly traded products from further afield.
You can probably tell where I’m going with this –
This week we introduce “Further Afield” – an excursion into non-local staples and goodies from around the world.
We could not be more excited.
We’ve had a ton of fun thinking about what we want to carry and encountering things that might not have occurred to us but seem too good not to pass up, and we can’t wait to share it all with you.
The lineup is too extensive for me to list it all here (you’ll just have to come take a look for yourself!), but we’ve tried to focus on items that are important in our own pantry or are frequently requested. There’s a lot of overlap here between what’s in our pantry/fridge and what you’ve asked for — canned tomatoes, a variety of mustards, Heinz ketchup, Hellman’s mayonnaise, Kerrygold butter, pasta, seafood, lentils…the list goes on and on. We’ve also brought in some non-local produce staples like Fair Trade bananas, organic avocados, organic citrus, and even some staples that we can get here but currently are experiencing a seasonal gap, like onions and potatoes.
Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about the grocery industry and how hard it can be for an independent retailer to get their hands on a big national brand at a reasonable price (more on this in a future newsletter, I think), so we’ve tried to find options ranging from “seriously the best out there” to “this is a really good value” across as many products as we can. Like, we have pasta options from Sfoligni (including Cascatelli from The Sporkful!) on the higher end and De Cecco for an awesome value. We’ve got a fancy organic Italian balsamic vinegar, and Alessi brand (well, we will have Alessi when it arrives next week!). Organico Bello canned tomatoes and Pomi brand.
And we’ve been suckers for grabbing things that we want to try ourselves, like an extensive line of Spanish and French conservas, Fly By Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp and Zhong Sauce, Jacobsen Salt’s furikake, KPOP Foods’ Kimchi Mayo Sauce, Soom tahini, etc etc etc.
There is a fair amount in this initial line up that’s somewhat experimental (and a fair amount that will trickle in over the next week or so, based on delivery schedules), so look for the lineup to be always evolving – and please, give us your feedback about what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see.
For me – a few days ago I made a linguine all’Amatriciana with pancetta, canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, olive oil, garlic, and De Cecco pasta and as I finished I realized I could have gotten all of these ingredients from Further Afield! I happened to already have many of them in my pantry, but when I need to replenish? I know where I’ll be doing it.
We hope you’ll come check it out, to see what we might add to your pantry (or fridge!).
P.S. I’m all caught up in the excitement of this next evolution of Radish & Rye, but it is still our anniversary and I can’t let that go by without a deeply felt THANK YOU for being so wonderful. As always, the people we get to be in community with thanks to this job – the farmers and producers, our staff, and the customers who walk through the door – it’s the best part, hands down. We’re so glad you’re here, and so excited to continue to expand the circle, both locally and globally.
P.P.S. Did you think Heinz ketchup and Hellman’s mayonnaise seemed out of place on that list up there? We’ve tried lots of alternatives, and can’t find anything we like more. We’re willing to admit it when “the best” isn’t organic or artisanal at all.