MANLIUS — Side Hill Farmers — a cooperative of Madison County farmers — will soon open a retail store called Side Hill Farmers Meats and Market in Manlius.
Paul O’Mara, who owns O’Mara Farms near Canastota, will be one of the main product providers for the store, supplying it with beef. Others farmers will provide a mix of dairy and meat products, according to Greg Rhoad, manager of the new market.
Some of the other farms in Madison County include Endless Trails Farms, which produces beef, and Shale Springs Stock Farm, which produces pork, according to the Side Hill Farmers website.
“Instead of [sending] our animals on to the commodity market where they can end up anywhere, we wanted to try to sell our animal locally,” says O’Mara. “So, we decided to open the meat market, and we are also going to have prepared meals and … sell other local farm products from other farms in the area.”
The new Side Hill Farmers Meats and Market plans to formally open for the Fourth of July weekend. The 1,400-square-foot shop will be located at 315 Fayette St. in the village of Manlius, next to Subway and behind Sno Top, an ice cream store.
Rhoad has been working with the other farmers to have everything prepared in time for the new opening.
“It’s a small shop in a small niche, so we have time to interact with our customers, educate, custom cut, and custom teach people how to prepare the local products we are selling,” says Rhoad. “We are unique in that everything we are going to sell in the store is going to be a New York–based or a local product as much as possible.”
Before opening the store, Rhoad was an executive chef at the Inns of Aurora in Aurora (Cayuga County) for the last 10 years. Before that, in 1995, he opened Rosalie’s Cucina in Skaneateles as the executive chef.
Side Hill Farmers Meats and Market will employ three people — two full time and one part time. Rhoad says the new market is being financed by the New York Beef Farmers Cooperative, which is now branded as Side Hill Farmers, and other investor capital. The property is being leased from Manlius Realty, LLC, according to O’Mara.
The shop will be smoking its own bacon, making its own sausages, selling beef, pork, and lamb, all local cuts, as well as making take-home meals, says Rhoad.
The store may not be the last one the Side Hill Farmers open,
“If this first store works out, hopefully we will open another one in a complementary region that can highlight the products. We’re in the process of developing a concept for a local food hub and central processing center for the cooperative and for Side Hill Farmers as well,” states Rhoad. “The whole process is really to drive agricultural economic development back into Central New York to give a place where local farmers can sell their food locally and for people who live locally to buy food locally.”
Consumers can also buy Side Hill Farmers products via its website (www.sidehillfarmers.com/store), and Rhoad’s goal is to have more complete online services available by September or October. The Side Hill Farmers cooperative delivers monthly shares of frozen products to central locations, with pick-up locations available at Cazenovia, Syracuse, Fayetteville, and Hamilton. A home-delivery service will soon be available, according to Rhoad.
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