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Mama Pasta, Toga Market & Troy Tavern

April 27, 2014

Every now and again I’ll post a collection of press releases that are sent to the blog. Maybe I should be posting them when the arrive. But for the time being, I still don’t want to clutter up the daily posts with other more promotional messages.

That said, there are some things that you might want to know about and today I have three of them for you. One is a contest that you may actually have a shot at winning. Two is news of a Capital Region farmers’ market that will be moving outdoors for the season. And three is a new restaurant in Troy that has a great pedigree.

So now without further ado, let’s hear from the media relations professionals.

Giovanni Rana ( is celebrating Mother¹s Day (May 11) this year with a photo contest honoring our favorite childhood memories with mom, in case your followers might be interested.

The #ToMammaFromRana Mother¹s Day Photo Contest invites fans to share their photos today through May 7th. The photo with the most votes will win a Rana gift basket arriving in time for Mother¹s Day, including a beautiful Giovanni Rana copper pot, fresh pastas and sauce to cook for a special dinner, dessert, and more!

Entering is as simple as tagging a photo with the hashtag #ToMammaFromRana on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. The contest went live this morning on Facebook here:

Saratoga Farmers’ Market Opens for Outdoor Season on Saturday, May 3, in High Rock Park
Opening Day to Honor Founders and Recognize Multi-Generation Farming Families

(Saratoga Springs, NY) – When Saratoga Farmers’ Market re-opens its outdoor market at High Rock Park on the first Saturday in May, it will feature roughly 60 farms and vendors with a wide array of food, plants, and crafts produced in the region, including several vendors that sell ready-to-eat gourmet specialties that are popular with on-the-go consumers. The last indoor market session for the winter season occurs Saturday, April 26, at the Lincoln Baths building, 65 South Broadway in Saratoga Spa State Park.

The first outdoor market will be Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a short opening ceremony beginning at 8:45 that will honor the founding fathers of the market. The market will unveil a new plaque for the center pavilion at High Rock Park that commemorates the four individuals who helped organize the market in the late 1970s, and then introduce several of the young adults and children of local farming families who will likely continue the multi-generation tradition of the market.

“As longtime market customers have observed, we have had successive generations of farming families grow up at this market, and continue their families’ farming legacy. If you want to know who your “buy local” dollars support when you shop at the market, come meet these families and all our vendors, who are eager to share with customers about their farms and products,” remarked Charles Holub, president of Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association.

New Farms/Vendors
This season’s twice-a-week outdoor market will offer a range of food—including vegetables, fruit, mushrooms, meat, poultry, eggs, baked goods including pastries, bread, cakes, pies, cookies, and other desserts, fresh and frozen prepared foods, hot and cold beverages, wine, peanut butter, salad dressing and pesto, handmade crackers and potato chips, granola, pickles and sauerkraut, honey, jam, yogurt, cheese, and milk—as well as plants, flowers, handcrafts, and knife sharpening.

Many vendors come to both the Wednesday and Saturday markets, while others attend only one or the other. New vendors and products at the Saratoga outdoor market this year include:

— Chris’s Kitchen – Perogies, pot pies, and other heat-and-eat entrees (Saturdays)
— Euro Delicacies – Ready to eat Mediterranean cuisine, including spanakopita, moussaka, and stuffed peppers (Wednesdays and Saturdays)
— Humiston’s Vegetables – Vegetable farm (Saturdays)
— Mariaville Mushroom Men – Many varieties of exotic mushrooms and mushroom tea (Saturdays)
— Mayhem Hollow Organic Farm – Pesto ( Wednesdays)
— Moma Made Salad Dressings – Salad dressing and marinade (Wednesdays)
— Oliva Vineyards – Red and white wine, including dessert wine (Saturdays)
— Talmadge’s Fruits & Vegetables – Produce farm (Saturdays)
— Vital Eats – Vegan salads and soups (Saturdays)

Favorite Market Elements Continue
Prepared Food. Once again this year, a large hospitality tent on the north lawn of the park will provide market customers a range of ready-to-eat and take-out selections on both market days. Picnic tables make the tent a good place to enjoy a meal and rest.

— Music. At every market session, local musicians add melodic flair, ranging from folk and bluegrass to harpists and drumming ensembles.

— Non-Profit Information Tables. Local non-profit organizations may display information at the twice-weekly market sessions through arrangements with the market’s information booth coordinator. Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners will provide free lawn and garden advice during the first several market sessions.

— Veggie Valet. To make it easier to make multiple purchases at the market and transport them to a parked car, Friends of the Market provides a wagon service on Saturdays.

Market Accepts Food Stamps and Other Assistance Programs
“It’s important that the community knows that the market accepts several types of nutrition assistance program benefits,” stated Holub. “Customers can swipe their electronic benefits (EBT) card at our transaction table to use their SNAP benefits (food stamps), and receive tokens for use throughout the market. Also, some of our vendors are authorized to accept fruit and vegetable vouchers distributed through the WIC program and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.”

WIC farmers’ market vouchers are available through Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council at 518-288-3232; for eligible senior citizens seeking fruit and vegetable vouchers, the contact is the Saratoga County Office for the Aging at 518-884-4100.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market and its affiliated outdoor markets in Malta and Clifton Park will have the following hours of operation until the end of October:

— The Saratoga Farmers’ Market will operate twice a week at High Rock Park beginning May 3 on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m.
— The Malta Farmers’ Market will be open Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. beginning June 3, in the Allerdice ACE Hardware parking lot at 2570 Route 9 in Malta, just south of the Malta Community Center.
— The Clifton Park Farmers’ Market will be open Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. beginning July 3, in the parking lot of St. George’s Church, 912 Route 146 (near the intersection of Moe Road).

Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association maintains a “producer-only” standard for all of its markets, requiring vendors to grow or produce their goods in Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, or Washington counties to ensure that products are fresh and unique, not purchased for re-sale. The market makes a few exceptions to this rule for foods not available locally. By adhering to this standard, the market ensures that sales provide economic, ecological, and social support to local communities.

More information at as well as on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Seeking Memories of Storied Troy Dining Spot, 1933 – 1993

TROY, N.Y. (4/24/14) — “The Tavern Restaurant” was a popular mainstay for 60 years at 211 Broadway, from 1933 to 1993. Now, the legendary downtown dining spot is re-opening and co-owners Vic Christopher, 38, and Heather LaVine, 36, are asking anyone with memories or memorabilia to share them as they re-envision the space.

“When Troy was doing good, this was the place to go. Then things fell apart, and so did The Tavern,” said Christopher. “We’re bringing it back.”

This week, Quality Glass of Troy installed windows in the recently restored cast iron tavernfront. The windows include a series of customized bifold glass doors that can remain in the open position to allow for open air alfresco dining in warm weather. This installation was the first of its kind for Quality Glass, a three-generation family business established in Troy in 1940. The cost for the materials and installation was $12,500.

Following many months of structural work in the 1,500 square-foot tavern space, Christopher and his Confectionery Construction, LLC have started the detail phase of the project.

Some original elements are still intact, including a section of the floor with a tile mosaic spelling out “THE TAVERN.” Wall tiles from the former kitchen and other traces will be preserved and enhanced. The team is utilizing structural steel to support a marble bar top, which was reclaimed from an old Troy soda fountain.

“This building was full of debris and crazy stuff and we’re re-purposing everything we can,” said Christopher, who describes his construction process as freestyle reclamation. “We even reused the plywood that boarded up the windows for the last 20 years.”

Christopher and LaVine are aiming to open The Tavern Restaurant before the end of the year.

“We are developing a menu that will be unique to the region,” said LaVine.

The husband and wife team are currently inviting anyone who experienced The Tavern Restaurant in any of its incarnations to share memories and historical descriptions of the establishment and its various layouts. They have already acquired some memorabilia, including a Tavern Restaurant matchbook and postcard, which can be viewed online at:

Kathryn Sheehan, Rensselaer County historian, remembers joining her grandfather for lunch at the Tavern Restaurant as a young girl.

“The Tavern was the first place I had a club sandwich, and a Shirley Temple. It made me feel very adult like,” Sheehan said. “Gramma was a teetotaler and Grandpa had a great sense of humor, so after lunch he would always give us a wink and tell us not to tell Gramma where we ate lunch. She would not have approved.”

The Tavern Restaurant is located on the street-level of “The Clark House,” a four-story, 10,900 square-foot building at 207-217 Broadway that was constructed in 1876. It was once home to a boarding house and hotel, as well as many industrial, manufacturing and retail tenants through the years. By 2013, the sole remaining tenant was Broadway News, which opened in 1934 and continues to operate today.

Christopher and LaVine purchased the building for $80,000 in March, 2013. At the time, the historic structure was considered one of the most endangered buildings in downtown Troy. This October, after stabilization and restoration, the couple opened “The Grocery” in the center storefront. Once “The Tavern Restaurant” opens, the building’s first floor will be fully re-activated.

In November 2012, Christopher and LaVine opened Lucas Confectionery wine bar at 12 Second Street. That business is connected to The Grocery and The Tavern Restaurant by a rear enclosed garden patio with a retractable glass roof.


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