Albany Patch takes a look at the people behind the Albany farmers market. Kelsey Rumfello, 27, said she couldn't wait for Albany to have its own farmers market so that Phoenix Pastificio, a bread and pasta shop frequented by Albany residents, could bring its good.
What is the name and location of your company?
We’re the and we’re based out of Berkeley, right down the street from , on Addison.
How did the company get connected with the Albany farmers market?
We’re actually in all three Berkeley farmers markets. And we’re already in the Ecology Center’s markets, and they decided they couldn’t live without us. I’m just kidding! We’ve been wanting Albany to have a market. A lot of people from Albany come to our shop, and they’re like, “When are we going to get a market?” So when the Ecology Center even hinted about a market, we were sending our resume like the first day and they go, “We’re not really accepting.” And we were like, “We’re ready to go!”
What products do you have here on the table?
We sell fresh organic pasta, ravioli and sauces to go with them. We also have some great gluten-free macaroons. We make some vegan chocolate chip cookies that have avocados in them instead of butter and eggs. And then we are really well known for our olive bread. We’ve been around for almost 20 years and we deliver at over 200 restaurants, so some really great restaurants use our pastas and breads.
What’s your biggest seller at the Albany farmers market?
Probably the olive bread and the macaroons. Those two things are a really close tie. The macaroons because they’re gluten-free and everyone is on that gluten-free craze and they have to have them. And the olive bread, I don’t know, people are addicted.
Do people think the prices are too high?
Yes, people can say that pretty often. However, if someone’s had our stuff before, they don’t really say that. But organic ingredients are really expensive. We use all-organic flour, and for our ravioli the lemons are organic and all that kind of stuff. I think that people value quality. The pastas go from $4.50 to $7.50 and the sauces go from $5.25 to $8.50. But the pastas will be about three to four meals so there’s a little bit of sticker shock because it’s actually a lot of food. I can hardly finish off one of these in a week. The bread is $4.75 and no one ever complains about that one.
How is business going so far at Albany's farmers market?
It’s a really good market. I think that people have really wanted a market here and so it’s been pretty good. And it helps that we’re pretty well known. Most people walk by and say, “Oh, I’ve had your stuff before.”
How did you get started selling these goods?
Well, I work a few markets for them and I also help with managing the markets that we do, because we do around 15 to 20 markets. We pick up a lot during the summer because there’s a lot of seasonal ones like this one. And I really wanted a local East Bay one because all of mine are out in Marin and I live out here. So I wanted a local one that doesn’t take me 30 or 45 minutes to get to. And I had some time off, so here I am!
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