ALBANY'S FARM TO BAKERY/CAFE



Clean, Fresh, Local Foods. Affordable, Seasonal Breakfasts & Lunches, Artisanal Loaves made with NY flours, From-Scratch Baked Goods and Desserts, all prepared in-house from responsibly grown, primarily local ingredients.

540 Delaware Avenue
Albany, NY 12209
518-463-1349

SUMMER HOURS

Wed: 6 & 8pm Farm to Chef Dinners (reservation only)

Thurs/Fri: 11am-7pm

Sat/Sun: 11am-5pm

(kitchen open from 11 to 5, limited sandwich menu available between 5 and 7pm)
Loaves, Baked Goods, Sandwiches!

Please visit our website for current menu and supplier information: http://www.allgoodbakers.weebly.com/

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Bread Share Signups, Gift Certificates!

Greetings Friends! We're signing up members for our 2012 Bread Share program and now have holiday Gift Certificates available, please read on for details!

2012 WINTER BREAD SHARES
Last year around this time we rolled out Albany's first Community Supported Bakery ("CSB") Winter Bread Share Program and we are now ready to offer Shares for 2012! Similar to a CSA where one pays for weekly produce at the beginning of the growing season, our Winter Bread Shares offer weekly pickup of sustainably produced, small-batch, artisan loaves in exchange for payment at the beginning of our program season.  Members are benefitted with larger Specialty Loaves than those sold retail, a reduced price on Daily Sandwich breads, a unique view of the evolvement of Nick's skills and talents throughout the winter, and greater involvement with those in our community who care about consuming Real Bread!  
Nick's Hearty Multigrain Loaf

Each single Share equals one loaf per week starting Sunday January 8, for 18 weeks, for $103.50. Multiple shares may be purchased, sign-up sheets are HERE!  We will only be accepting 30 members this year and have 6 previous members signed up so far.  The deadline for sign up is Sunday, December 18 - please consider confirming your spot right away as they are sure to go quickly.  We are offering Sandwich Loaves (Whole Wheat, Hearty Multigrain, Rye, Ciabatta) and "Baker's Pick" Specialty Loaves this year; pickups will be Sunday afternoons from 3pm - 6pm at the shop (160 A Quail St., Albany).


Matt B., last year: he couldn't wait to dig in!
 Last year, we prepared our locally-sourced breads and from-scratch baked goods for 49 CSB members who split 69 shares over 6 months, including 4 sponsored shares for Catholic Charities Mercy House Women's Shelter and Refugee Resettlement Program. We will be offering this option again for anyone to who would like to sponsor a full share of Weekly Healthy Bread to Catholic Charities for the season at the discounted rate of $90.00 for the season (please indicate your choice on your sign-up sheet). 

Our first season went incredibly well! There were two babies born and we formed long-term relationships with many of our members who have given us valuable feedback, the ability to open our storefront and were reponsible for us beginning to use all Organic Flours and much higher-quailty ingredients all around. We are eternally grateful for their encouragement and support over this last year as we have grown our little bakery! We hope you'll join us as we embark upon our second Community Supported Bakery Winter Bread Share Season!


HOLIDAY GIFT CERTIFICATESWe are offering Gift Certificates in just about any denomination that will be great gifts for those AGB lovers in your life!  Choose $5, $10, $15 or more - all certificates over $25 will receive an extra $5 on the certificate to be redeemed by your chosen recipient, the balance of which doesn't have to be used all at once and the certificates have no set expiration date.  Please email us, or see us in the shop or the Saturday Delmar Farmer's Market to pick one up.


NEWS
The Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts Fest is coming up January 12-14! Nick will be in the Rising Star Chef Pavilion and participating in the Slider Slam on Friday night. Get your tickets now!

Please let us know if you have any questions, we're happy to answer promptly.

Your bakers,
Britin & Nick Foster

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NOFA-NY September Locavore Challenge

We are members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY, who this month launched its second annual Locavore Challenge state-wide, and we are proud sponsors!  Please read all about it here and take on the challenge of eating as much local food as possible for as little as a day, a week or for the whole month - the point is to learn more about our local food system on a level you are currently comfortable with, give a boost to our local economy and support our farming neighbors.  Read on for all the information and please visit the NOFA-NY website for a calendar of events & more info!

Our September 18 Food Swap with From Scratch Club is a featured event and we are a participating restaurant!
(Tickets for the swap will be released any day on FSC.)

 "The New York State Locavore Challenge is a state-wide campaign organized by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY, the only state-wide non-profit organization dedicated to building the local and organic food movement from the farm up.  We help educate and train organic farmers, improve food distribution and access systems, and increase markets for organic food and ongoing advocacy work.

 The Challenge starts with the theory “vote with your dollar,” and takes it a few steps further, by appealing concerned citizens to participate in a wide variety of events and challenges that support their local economies, encourage organic and sustainable growing practices and propel the movement forward.

The goal for this campaign is to educate consumers about how to make healthy and ethical food choices, cook with in-season, local organic foods, while supporting local sustainable farms and food businesses. Our 2011 goal is to involve 5,000 people in this year’s challenge, and bring the concepts of local, organic and sustainable more into the forefront of the general public’s minds. 


This year’s program is versatile, fun and FREE! 

Challenge Levels
Bite-Sized (3 mini-challenges)
Meal-Sized (6 mini-challenges)
Feast-Sized (9 mini-challenges)

Challenge Categories
Grow, Cook, Eat
Join the Movement
Take Action
 
Grow, Cook, Eat
Bite-Sized Challenge: Choose 1
Meal-Sized Challenge: Choose 2
Feast-Sized Challenge: Choose 3

Take a 250 Mile Day Challenge
Take a 250 Mile Week Challenge (Counts as 2)
Take a 250 Mile Month Challenge (Counts as 3)
Shop at a Farmers Market, Farm Stand or U-Pick
Dine at a Locavore Restaurant
Join a Winter CSA
Join a Food Co-op
Eat (at least) 5 Servings of Local, Organic Fruit & Veggies per Day
Cook with Local Oils, Grains, Meats & Cheeses
Sip on Local Milk, Juice, Beer, Wine & Spirits
Swap Sugar for Local Honey & Maple Syrup
Try Food Preservation (Canning, Freezing, Drying)
Go Foraging!
Make Your Own Butter, Yogurt, or Ice-Cream
Grow an Herb Garden
Plant an Indoor Winter Garden
Plant at Cover Crop in Your Garden
Compost Your Kitchen Scraps
 
Join the Movement
Bite-Sized Challenge: Choose 1
Meal-Sized Challenge: Choose 2
Feast-Sized Challenge: Choose 3

Like NOFA-NY on Facebook and/or Follow NOFANY on Twitter
Blog About Your Challenge Experience (and send us the link!)
Become a Member of NOFA-NY
Attend a Locavore Event
Host a Locavore Potluck on Sept. 25th (Counts as 2)
Attend a Locavore Potluck on Sept. 25th
Read a Locavore Book
Host a Locavore Book Discussion (Counts as 2)
Participate in a Crop Mob

Take Action
Bite-Sized Challenge: Choose 1
Meal-Sized Challenge: Choose 2
Feast-Sized Challenge: Choose 3

Join the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign
Lobby Your Food Store to Include More Local Product
Ask Your Representative to Support Organic Farming
Speak With Your School About Local Sourcing
Start a Garden in Your Community or School
Volunteer at a Farm or Community Garden
Donate to the NOFA-NY Farmer Education Fund

The 250 Mile Diet Challenge
This 250 Mile Diet mini-challenge urges participants to eat only local and organic and/or sustainably produced foods. Participants who choose the Day or Week long challenges may select a specific day or week during the month of September that they would like to complete the challenge. The Month challenge can start anytime in September and be completed 30 days later. All foods consumed during the 250 Mile Diet Challenge must be produced locally within 250 miles and be produced using organic or sustainable methods. It is a difficult challenge, but there are a few helpful short-cuts allowed to make the transition a little bit easier.

1.) Marco Polo Rule: Salt, pepper and spices do not need to be local. Also yeast, baking powder and baking soda are nearly impossible to source locally so they are accepted exceptions as well.

This rule originates from the premise that if you could carry it in your pockets while at sea, you could bring it with you to the “New World.”

2.) Wild Card Items: Choose up to (5) Wild Card Ingredients that cannot be sourced locally but that you cannot live without.

Certified Organic, Fair Trade, or Locally Processed items are encouraged for all Wild Card items. Popular wild card items include: Coffee, chocolate, tea, olive oil, nuts and rice."

We hope you'll join us in support of our local food system.
Your bakers,
Britin & Nick

Monday, August 15, 2011

INGREDIENTS UPDATE: Better Butter



You may have heard, I (Britin) started making our own sweet cream and cultured butter for the bakery two weeks ago. We recently found out Meadowbrook Dairy wouldn't be able to bring us our usual beloved variety from The Country Creamery in Canestota anymore due to sustained high fuel costs and distribution complications.  When Chuck Van Wie (one of the Meadowbrook's owners) suggested I made our own butter, my mind started racing. Could I learn the skill quickly and thoroughly enough to prepare it in bulk?  Would our baked goods suffer or improve?  Is there ever enough time to tackle new tasks such as this?  Chuck pointed out that Meadowbrook's heavy cream is vat-pasteurized (the old fashioned way) making it superior to other local dairies.  Plus the cream is not subjected to high-heat, is GMO-free and with Meadowbrook we know the cows who provide us with such bounty are grass-fed for much of the year and treated humanely.  It didn't take long for panic to give way to excitement and I started researching all the ins & outs of butter making.  Tackling this new challenge has been exciting and fun (and messy)!

First 12 lbs. of sweet cream butter.
See, we are purists when it comes to food, especially with what we serve in our bakery.  Because we use almost 20 pounds of butter every week in our Croissants, Scones, Cookies, Muffins, Tarts and grilled Sandwiches, we can't settle for even one less-than-superior major ingredient.  We've experimented with a couple of other local butters from the Honest Weight Food Co-op, but found them lacking in depth, flavor and texture.  Culturing some of the cream before churning provides us with real buttermilk that we're beginning to use in our Scones, and Buttermilk Biscuits are most likely going to become a staple on Sundays in an effort to use everything we are producing.  The real buttermilk, which is thinner than store bought, can then be used to culture the next batch of heavy cream, which in turn gives us our own Creme Fraiche.  Once I started figuring out all of the derivative products we can use in the bakery just by simply beating fresh or cultured heavy cream, the decision to soldier through 20 lbs of butter making every week didn't seem so crazy.

I guess what I'm trying to convey here is, we're passionate about each and every detail of what goes into the food we offer to you.  We are deeply committed to providing consistently delicious Real Food, even when it means taking on a daunting task.  That said, I'm still working out the minor kinks regarding texture and proper culturing so you may see and taste some changes over the next few weeks as we figure out which baked goods respond better to each variety of butter and refine techniques.  It's important to us to hear your feedback, so please don't be shy about sharing your opinion. We change things up based on what we're learning from our community, so hearing your thoughts is crucial to our improvement.

1/2 lb pkgs sold this week.
We're thinking of starting a very small Community Supported Butter share program in a few weeks once the desired production consistency is achieved.  Ethical, NY-sourced sweet cream and especially cultured butter are rare (if not impossible) to find in the Capital Region, so we hope some of you will be very excited about this prospect!  I'm also thinking of flavoring a small amount with herbs, high-quality salts, garlic, maple syrup....the ideas are flowing!  We plan on making enough of each variety so that we can offer additional small quantities to the general public as well.  We'll keep you posted on the status of the initiation of the program.

I've been feeling pretty giddy with myself about all of this.  I've made 20 lbs each of sweet cream and cultured butter so far, and will begin culturing a new batch of heavy cream in the morning.  A recipe with detailed instructions will be posted on the From Scratch Club blog tomorrow, so if you're interested in making your own, please take a gander!  It's so easy to prepare in a small batch, everyone should give it a try.  I'm happy to answer any questions should anyone decide to take on the task.  We look forward to our continuing adventures with our own better butter, and hope you do too!

Your bakers,
Britin (& Nick)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why Aren't We Open More Hours? Special Late Night Post

Aside from detailed answers we give to questions about our ingredients, the nature of which we gladly divulge, the question we are most often asked to answer is: When will you be open more hours?  As of right now, there are three reasons we aren't quite ready to make that jump yet:

1) When we were looking for a kitchen to rent to bake for our Community Supported Bakery members in the fall of 2010, we found almost zero affordable, leasable real-estate or rent-by-the-hour kitchen relatively close to our home near Delaware Ave. We lucked into finding our spot on Quail St. through an unlikely source: the Albany Health Department.  The main go-to person for restaurant permitting at the AHD is Maryanne Stone - she was helpful and patient with our repeated phone calls & questions, AND she ultimately recommended Mark Guido (of Guido's Frozen Desserts, a mobile Italian Ice truck in businesses in Albany for more than 15 years) who had a 495 foot kitchen/retail space to rent on Quail St. (tiny: yes; about 3 miles from our home & affordable for 24 hour-access: boons!).

We chose to build our business with cash (no debt), so taking on the additional overhead was a daunting prospect.  We happened to know another small producer from the Delmar Farmers Market (Gatherer's Granola, Sandro Gerbini) who had grown out of his current production situation at Java Jazz Cafe in Delmar (recently closed, have you heard a new vegan restaurant has opened there?).  AGB & Gatherer's, recognizing and suffering from the severe lack of affordable commercial kitchen space available in Albany for small-food producers to grow, decided to secure the space together.  Combining this partnership with the investment of our shareholders through our CSB, AGB was able to put down a deposit, pay the first month's rent and purchase a used 20 qt. Hobart mixer (with the rest of the capital going to ingredients, permits & providing for our family through the winter).  Sandro invested in an oven and huge refigerator, we all navigated the City of Albany/Health Dept./Ag & Markets permitting processes (+ building, electrical, planning dept, City Clerk, the list goes on...NOT simple), and whoopdidoo!  Whaddya know? We're in business!  The headiness of that idea still smacks Nick & I in the face sometimes when we arrive at the bakery early morning, or are about to open our doors.  We OWN our own bakery!  Thrilling stuff.

Going through the experience of trying like hell, for months, to find affordable kitchen space to rent in Albany-proper led us to the idea of starting a Bakers Co-op.  Gatherer's & AGB are growing, so together we are currently occupying the kitchen for the majority of hours, but Fluffalicious Cupcakes rents our space on Mondays while they complete their new bakery in Cohoes, and we have other prospects clamoring to get in.  Together, we have the fortunate (unfortunate for prospectors) situation of needing the kitchen for most of the hours available.  In the long term, we hope to gather other local, stellar bakers with philosophies similar to ours (and complimentary products) to bring Albany a group of "All Good Bakers" who can help staff the shop full time, offer their wares and make a living.  For now, our partnership with Gatherer's Granola and other small-producers keeps our head above water.

B: Nick and I have a 4 year old daughter (when she was in the womb, we affectionately called her "The Kid").  Running a small business, even "part-time", based on the rigorous standards we have for the absolute freshness of our products, requires sometimes 20 hours a day (or more) when we're open from Nick, who prepares & bakes almost everything.  Days "off" are spent handling accounting; marketing; researching ingredients; developing relationships with suppliers, wholesale clients & event coordinators; ordering materials; driving to our farmers to pick up fresh produce, and handling various other bakery errands.  Wedged in there, we have to carve out quality time & meals with The Kid, who is suffering from our change in schedule & lifestyle at the moment.  We're finding ways to handle that challenge.

And #3:  We are growing slowly on purpose!  Everything we do is "bootstrapped".  While Nick & I have both worked in restaurants & customer service most of our adult lives, we don't have accounting, business, marketing or food-service degrees.  We're learning as we go.  I'm a research fiend, so we make up the difference that way (+ through building community relationships).  We bake as much as we can handle with the part-time help of a couple of friends, and take care of the remainder of requirements ourselves when not at the shop.  We're small and will remain that way.  We don't intend to become the next Panera Bread - you won't see our wares doctored & carelessly mass-produced at any point in the future.  We believe in supporting our neighbors and their creative talents (just as we are supported).  The integrity of the quality and personality of our business is of the utmost importance to us to maintain.  There's something intuitive about our feelings on this subject - we're not thinking analytically & strategically like a large chain might.  Our business decisions are based on our intimate knowledge of what's going on in our community, and what we perceive people (including ourselves) really caring about. 

Healthy balance, and a positive, manageable quality of life are among our goals.  So is following our dream of bringing our breads, baked goods & healthy lunches, that encompass our philosophy, passion & talents, to our community based on one main tenant: REAL FOOD. No preservatives, no chemicals, no antibiotics, hormones or GMO.  No Greenwashing.  No Bullshit (sorry for the expletive, but that particular word sums things up nicely in this case, and it's late after a long day - that's my excuse for lack of more appropriate language).

So, that's the long answer.  The short answer is: We'll open for more hours when we can handle it and the universe aligns with our talents, available time & goals.

All in good time, friends, all in good time.  Rest assured we'll keep you posted and we will work towards these goals (almost) tirelessly.  Rest....rest is important.   Think I'll get some now...12:05 pm.  Have to be up in 5 hours for the farmers market.  Nick will be up in an hour.  Sympathize!

Your bakers,
Britin (& Nick) Foster

Monday, June 27, 2011

What's In Your Bread And Is It Making You Ill?

Bread is the foundation of our business.  We prepare a variety of other offerings, but flour is our medium and bread is where our meals begin.  Nick has had a passion for preparing food since he was a very young; his maternal grandmother ("Gommy") faithfully baked fresh breads and pastries for his mother's family of eight, twice weekly (they couldn't afford to buy from the store).  The stories Nick heard from the extended Foster family, and one-on-one baking time with Gommy as he was growing up stayed with him.  Gommy passed away when he was 9, and at the age of 15 he began working in restaurants.  With no culinary degree and little working baking experience, the sensory memories gleaned from time spent at his grandma's house on baking days inspired our one-and-only bread baker to begin working from her techniques 9 years ago.



AGB's Sesame Semolina and
Whole Wheat Sourdough
Recipes can mean little when you're using just a few basic ingredients. Method is king in bread baking, an intuitive process.  When one person is mixing, kneading and baking large quantities, in the finite amount of time required for freshness, a "Surrender to the Flow" is called for (In Nick's case, that means listening to lots of Phish).  Crafting bread is an art, make no mistake.  Yes, admittedly, anyone can make a loaf but if you've ever tried it, you understand.  There are a million different paths one can take: quality and quantities of materials; length of kneading, rising times & baking temperatures; and a huge variety of sourdough concoctions & creative additions all come into effect when creating something as simple, and complex, as bread.

Extremely high-quality ingredients are the King's companion in our view.  Here at All Good, that means we use: Champlain Valley Milled flours that are un-enriched, unbleached, contain no GMO and are 100% organic (our White, Wheat & Spelt are from Central NY); Red Star baking yeast, Albany tap water, Kosher Salt and Sugars which vary from: local honey, fair-trade organic raw sugar, molasses, or the trub of a local brewer's mead or India Pale Ale.  Our variety of (still relatively young) Sourdoughs contain very little sugars and yeast, allowing the starters to grow naturally.  When preparing specialty loaves, we use only organic (or organic-practices) whole grains, oats, cereals, seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits and local cheeses free of hormones and antibiotics.  We source these additions aggressively from hyper-local producers as often as humanly possible.  We can't stress enough how important it is to us to use materials that won't make our community of customers ill over time - bread laden with preservatives, chemicals, GMO, unnatural dough conditioners and lab-produced sweeteners like High Fructose Corn Syrup have been found to do exactly that.
Notice the ingredients? 100% Organic White Flour.  That's it.

Despite the "healthy" claims of many current, major bread manufacturers,
The UK Daily Mail reported on June 15 that: 
"...the Real Bread Campaign, a (UK) non-profit pressure group, claims that bread has actually got worse since 1911 in terms of secret adulterants — enzymes that do not have to be declared on labels — still being smuggled into it. Today, despite the modern fashion for healthy eating, ‘nutritionally empty’ white bread accounts for more than 50 per cent of what we buy.   
Meanwhile, there is growing belief among medical researchers that modern industrial baking methods may be behind today’s extraordinary rise in digestive illness such as gluten intolerance and coeliac disease", and posted this graphic: 


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2003622/Is-bread-making-ill-How-2011s-loaves-bad-you.html
Crohns.net reports that "Poor food choices not only cause Leaky Gut Syndrome but may lead to food sensitivities as well. Processed foods are low in nutrients and fiber and often contain lots of food additives, unhealthy fats and sugar. This creates an alkaline intestinal pH and a slow waste transit time."  If you're gluten-intolerant, have celiac's disease, or other intestinal difficulties, the culprits could be the chemically-produced additives and preservatives that have abounded in mass manufactured foods since the 1950s.  False claims from some manufacturers concerning the health benefits of their breads (and other goods) have fooled everyone, but hopefully not for much longer. Sourdough breads, with a starter more than a month old, free from additives are supposedly fairly easily digested by those with a gluten intolerance (the same isn't proven for those with celiac).

"Healthy" food claims may not be provocative, but they sure are popular, whether or not they are true.  We gladly accept the additional costs, management, research and time required to acquire our quality ingredients from people we trust.  And we won't ever lie to you, the only thing we wash that's green is fresh vegetables (and our compost bin). 

So we ask you, what's in your bread?  You know what's in ours and if you ever have any questions about any of the ingredients we use, we are always happy to take the time to delve into the details of our food.

Your bakers, 
Britin & Nick Foster

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shop News: More Croissants, Lunch Items & New: Seasonal Tarts!

Happy Summer Solstice AGB Fans!  We spent the Solstice camping and brainstorming new menu items that we want to share with you.

But first: Big Croissant News! 
These are made....
with this!










Our faithful sidekick (and CIA graduate), Molasses Meg, and I are beginning the process this week of learning how to make Nick's traditional French Croissants ($2.00-2.50) so that we can offer them to you on Saturdays, in the shop AND at the Delmar Farmers Market!  Seriously disappointed faces in search of our croissants have greeted us in Delmar these past few weeks, so we're figuring out how to turn those frowns upside down.  We'll start offering Chocolate Croissants as well this weekend (as requested, at both locations) and will come up with other delectable flavors as time goes on.  Hopefully it won't take us more than a couple of weeks (under Nick's careful tutelage) to perfect the process and the quality won't suffer from our inexperience.  Did you know they are made with chemical and hormone-free Meadowbrook milk & cream, rBGH-free butter from The Country Creamery in Canastota, and organic flour from Central New York?  Provided our preparations don't go horribly awry, we'll be bringing croissants to Delmar this weekend and they will be available in the shop Saturdays and Sundays going forward as well.

Hooray! Summer is officially here
!

It brings with it all sorts of new fresh vegetables from local farms, 
so we are increasing our sandwich options. 
(Weekly specials are posted on our Facebook page.)

{special in-shop offer} This Weekend:
Purchase a sandwich or a full salad
and receive 1/2 off a dessert or baked good!
(just tell us you read this post)
Grilled Cheese Sliders with R&G cheese & local micro-greens.
To help celebrate and support our local farmers, we'll start by adding a Vegan Sandwich Special ($4.00-5.00) to our menu each weekend.  Our friends over at Farmer Jon's Produce in Selkirk are visiting the bakery tomorrow with a delivery of freshly picked, sustainable vegetables.  We're excited to see what Jon & DJ have coming up that they haven't brought to the markets yet!  Nick will decide on this week's new vegan sandwich special then and we'll get that info to you asap on Thursday via Facebook.  Please spread the word to your vegan friends.

Our other two Weekly Sandwich Specials are a Grilled Vegetarian ($4.00-$5.00 with local produce & cheeses), and Gourmet Grilled Cheese ($3.00 "Not Just Lot Food Anymore!").  For the grilled vegetarian sandwich this weekend, Nick is preparing a trio of sliders - each slider will be different, particulars to follow after farmers' visit.  In-house sandwiches are served with a micro-salad to balance your palate.  All Sandwiches are available in-house or to-go (wrapped in our compostable, biodegradable parchment).

We are adding a Salad Special to our roster: each weekend, Nick will prepare a Panzanella Salad with Fresh, Seasonal ingredients ($4-4.50, depending on ingredients) that you can take with you or enjoy in the bakery.  We also prepare a Foccacia Pizza ($2.50-3.00 per slice) every weekend; again, with local produce & cheeses  - see a pattern here? 
Pizza Margherita with fresh basil, local hydroponic tomatoes and R&G fresh mozzarella.

We're close to the hospitals, campuses and downtown - just 2 blocks off Central Ave (turn at the Linda, we're on the left just after Washington Ave. at 160 Quail St.). 
Come to All Good Bakers for an affordable, healthy, sustainable lunch!
Our Storefront, 160 A Quail St, corner of Spring between Washington & Western.

A few other Summer Solstice changes and options:
  • Starting this weekend, Nick is going to begin baking more "Specialty" loaves in the shop; he'll be focusing less on our "daily" loaves and more on bringing you a better variety of interesting combinations.
  • Meg is preparing two varieties of Individual Fruit Tarts for us this weekend (available at the shop & the market): Lemon or Peach Raspberry - with organic fruits and handmade crusts! ($3.00-4.00, fruits local if we can get 'em organic and in season).  We going to start offering you more light, seasonal desserts now that summer is here.  If the tarts go over well, we'll prepare them regularly.
  • There are a few items we're offering a discount on if you purchase in larger quantity: Baguettes are 2 for $5.00, Bialys 4 for $5.00 and Biscotti is 6 for $6.00.
  • We hope to start adding homemade, seasoned croutons soon.

If you enjoy our offerings,
please bring a friend with you when you visit
And ask them to bring a friend along, too while you're at it.  Our "word of mouth" reputation is growing, but (we won't lie) we could use your help bringing more people into the bakery on a regular basis. Remember, everything we serve, WE make in-house with the freshest, hyper-local, sustainable ingredients (with the help of aforementioned sidekick).  

Our new "outdoor cafe" is open, more fresh vegetables are coming in every week, we believe in what we're doing, and we are loving life running our own small business.  We hope you'll encourage the people in your circle to come see what we're all about.  All Good is open Fridays 11-6, Saturdays 10-4 and Sundays 10-2 (with Quiche, Croissants, French Toast and other brunch specialties).  Those of you who are observant may have noticed, we decided to open an hour earlier on Saturdays!  A minor expansion, granted, but hopefully it will allow more of you to stop by the shop during your Saturday morning routine.

We look forward to seeing our regulars this weekend and hopefully meeting lots of new faces!

Your bakers,
Britin (and Nick) Foster

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top 10 Reasons to Love All Good

  • EVERYTHING is made in-house, from-scratch,
    fresh daily, by us
    .
     
     
  • Our ingredients are REAL.
    That means we 100% avoid GMO’s, trans-fats, antibiotics, hormones, dyes, artificial and overly-processed ingredients.
     
  • About 80% of what goes into our bread and baked goods
    is grown or produced
    within a 160-mile radius of Albany.
     
    We continually strive for a lower carbon footprint.
  • We know our suppliers;
    support small, local businesses
    ,
    and investigate their sustainable practices.
  • Our loaves are wrapped in parchment paper that is Biodegradable and compostable.
  • We use as few paper products as possible
    and encourage you to bring your own reusables.
  • We recycle
    about
    4 times more trash than goes into the landfill.
  • We compost
    with Radix Sustainability Center of Albany.

  • We use
    environmentally safe cleaners

    and monitor water use.

  • We care
    as much about our
    collective health as a community as we do
    about taste
    .
     
NO GREENWASHING!!

http://www.allgoodbakers.weebly.com/

160 A Quail St. Albany, NY 12203
518-463-1349
allgoodbakers@gmail.com
Don't forget, we give a 10% discount if you arrive at the bakery by foot, bus, bike or other mode of motor-less transportation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Trinity

Britin has been the driving force behind the logistical nightmare of getting our shop opened to the public.  Prodding various media sources to come check us out, Britin...Figuring out which permits we need, Britin...Accounting...Britin.  Blogging, Britin again.  So I (Nick) am going to write a blog post!!...whatever that is.

During this whirlwind of activity, sometimes I feel like I'm just the driver and "that guy who bakes all the bread".  I've never been much of a talker which is why Britin handles all of the business stuff (she has a great personality for that).  AND, when it comes to writing...I'm a really good baker!  That being said, she has asked me to write, so write I will.  But...what do I write about?  What hasn't been said?  We've covered the flour, the donations, a little of our history.  So, how do I keep this interesting without straying too far from the topic of All Good Bakers?  Yes, the shop is open and I could tell you all about ordering fiascoes I face, trying to gauge how much product to stock...bboooorrriiiinnngg!!  Instead, I will use my time in this sleep deprived state to do what I do best in my sleep deprived states...go on a rant about my 3 true loaves...I mean loves :) (other than my family and friends, of course) which I will refer to as "The Trinity".

1- Good bread                                                      2- Good beer 


3- Phish!
I can tie these things together somehow...really...

Bread can take on many forms but can usually be boiled down to a couple of key ingredients.  A grain (or several), yeast, salt, and water.  From Wikipedia, bread is defined as: "Food made of flour, water, and yeast or another leavening agent, mixed together and baked."...uuhhh, is it just me, or is this the worst definition in the history of definitions?  This makes my job sound like I'm just throwing a bunch of stuff in a bowl, baking it and saying "SHAZAM!!  BREAD!"   These ingredients can be manipulated in a number of different ways to completely change the end result.

Beer is the same thing.  A few key ingredients...malted grain, hops, yeast and water.  Let's see what an online dictionary has to say about beer, shall we?  "1. An alcoholic drink made from yeast-fermented malt flavored with hops."...WOW!  Now that sounds interesting, doesn't it?  I take back what I said about the bread definition...this is just a load of poo.  Any true enjoyer (yes, I invented a new word) of beer OR bread knows that these components are there and necessary, but are not the things that send chills up your spine or make your eyes roll back in your head.  A good sample of either will surely make you do so.

Now, what happens when we wiki Phish?  From "Wiki":
"Phish is an American rock band noted for its musical improvisation, extended jams, exploration of music across genres and devoted fan base. Formed at the University of Vermont in 1983 (with the current line up solidifying in 1985), the band's four members - Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Jon Fishman, and Page McConnell -- performed together for over 20 years before breaking up in August 2004. They reunited March 2009 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, and have since resumed performing regularly."

It goes on...WOW!  Wikipedia's definition of Phish is longer than the definitions of beer AND bread together!!  While it may be longer, it still doesn't do the phenomenon any justice.

I was first introduced to Phish in high school in the early nineties by a friend who's sister would always disappear for weeks on end to a mysterious place called "tour".  "Hey, Zach, where's your sister?"  "Oh, she's on tour."  I would just say OK like I knew what he was talking about, for fear of sounding like an idiot.  The same friend played me Phish and I immediately went out and bought the album Rift.  My initial reaction was, "Whoa!  this is NOT the music I'm used to!  No simple chord progressions, little form and yet, it all came together beautifully and ALWAYS put a big smile on my face.  I only later learned that Phish and this thing called "tour" were connected and never got to go on aforementioned tour as a youngun.  Now I have responsibilities (a child, a wife, A BAKERY!) and tour is a pipe dream.  I can still, however, fire up the oven, pop open in ice cold IPA, crank up a good show from the days of yore and dance around my kitchen like an idiot doing my 3 favorite things.  Only problem is, these days I get injured while doing so.

So...bread, beer, and Phish all have a few main ingredients to start it all out...but lets be honest, Budweiser is no Lagunita's Hop Stoopid!  Freihoffer's is no Placid Baker or Rock Hill (or us, for that matter, thankyouverymuch).  And no studio recording of Phish could ever compare to the collective feeling of release when the band goes off to some other worldly place in the middle of a jam and comes back to where they started, sending 20,000 plus people into a phrenzy!  That being said...even the studio albums are good so I can't really compare Lawn Boy to Wonder Bread, can I?  I suppose this means, that the words of my friend Ian ring true..."Phish always wins". 


I'm letting you in on my Phish obsession because I told Britin that if we opened up our shop before the start of summer tour, that we would have to close up at least one weekend so that we can attend one show this year together.  Memorial Day weekend, Phish happens to be playing in Bethel, NY AND it's Britin's 40th birthday.  Yep, I said 40, as of Saturday, I'll officially be married to an over the hiller.  We'll be incorporating each component of the Trinity that weekend: We'll be OPEN Friday the 27th (11-6) so you can get your weekly breads and baked goods, then Britin and I are "Goin' Phishin'" Saturday and Sunday where there's sure to be lots of quality IPAs, and we can get our groove on before the Delmar Farmers Market begins the Saturday after (June 4).  I'll be manning the shop while Britin goes to the market every Saturday thereafter.

It all starts when a seed  is planted.  Whether it's hops, barley, wheat, the high note that Trey hits at the peak of YEM, or the first time you heard a funky Page solo in the song Maze.  All of these things can eventually lead you to dance uncontrollably like an idiot in a wild state of euphoria and ultimately collapse on the sofa with your head spinning.  There you have it, folks!  The holy phreaking trinity from the eyes of a true baker.  These things cannot be defined...just like God...or Lady Gaga.

Your baker,
Nick (a.k.a., "Captain Sparky")

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All Good Almost Set to Open Shop - 160 A Quail St.

Hello again dear friends & fans!  I can't believe we haven't posted anything for 6 weeks, but we have been working furiously to get our first-ever retail location open.  If you've been keeping up with us on Facebook, you know we're waiting to get an exhaust fan installed per code regulations - as soon as that's completed and we receive our Certificate of Occupancy from the City, we'll be opening our doors at 160 A Quail St.!  We're hoping against hope that everything will come together Thursday, we can start prepping bread and baked goods on Friday, and open on Saturday at 11:00 am (April 2). 
Sign by Christine's Mosaics!

We anticipated starting our very first brick and mortar business would be challenging, and we've had our fair share of hurdles to leap over - the first of which was finding a kitchen in Albany to rent at an affordable rate, (we're extremely lucky it came with an attractive retail space).  Making it through the winter with that additional overhead and less income has forced us to be creative & scrupulous.  We found furniture through Craigslist, bartered to get a bread rack built, found some retail partners, scraped together just enough to pay for permits, equipment and paint.  Navigating the permit process was daunting, but here we are at the last stages before opening and we're anxious to complete these ever-loving last steps so we can greet you all face to face on a regular basis!  We owe a big thanks to our 49 Community Supported Bakery families and all of you other fans & customers who have cheered us on all winter.  Without your support and encouragement, we would not have made it this far.

We'll continue to use 100% Organic Flours, our White and Spelt are 100% NY-grown, our Whole Wheat is 90% from NY, and we will partner with the same trusted local suppliers we've been developing relationships with this winter, like Champlain Valley Milling Co, Meadowbrook Dairy, Farmer Jon's Produce, Adirondack Maple Farm, Mike's Spice, etc. 

Here's an idea of how the shop will work to start:

HOURS
Service will begin with limited weekend hours to start, with probable expansion in the summer.  Please call ahead for bulk orders if possible!  We don't want to create a lot of waste so we'll be working on balancing the right quantity with demand.  We'll be applying for an outdoor cafĂ© permit, and will acquire some tables & chairs if Spring ever decides to actually get here.  We have a new bakery Phone: 518-463-1349 and answering machine!

Fridays: 11-6
Saturdays: 11-4
Sundays: 10-2 (small brunch menu)

MENU
All Good will continue to offer the items Community Supported Bakery members and Delmar Farmers Market customers have come to crave like Upstate Bialys, Seasonal Wholegrain Muffins and Buttermilk Scones, Vegan Cinnamon Buns, Biscotti, Crispy Brown Rice Energy Treats, English Muffins and Rolls, as well as our 5 Daily Breads ($6.00 and $3.00 for 1.5 lb whole & .75 lb half loaves): Hearty Multigrain, Rustic Italian and Rye (all naturally vegan), and Whole Wheat and Spelt (with local organic honey), plus White and Whole Wheat Sourdough Baguettes ($3.00) and a limited variety of Specialty Loaves ($6.50, 1.5 lb). 

We're excited to announce we'll be adding Specialty Focaccia (by the slice or whole) topped with local produce and cheeses, as a new item to our roster.  On Sundays, we will be offering Handmade Croissants and Seasonal Quiche (by the slice), also made with fresh, local ingredients. Focaccia and Quiches will be priced seasonally. 

 Environmental Initiatives:
  • In an effort to reduce Albany’s carbon footprint, anyone who arrives at the shop without a car will be offered a 10% discount off his or her purchase.
  • Fair-trade, organic regular coffee will be served for $1.00; however, no paper cups will be used in our establishment to help reduce neighborhood and local landfill trash.  A few mugs will be provided in-house, but we encourage you to “Bring Your Own Cup for a Buck”! Meadowbrook cream and whole milk, as well as WestSoy unsweetened organic Soymilk and Wholesome Sweeteners organic fair-trade raw sugar will be available. 
  • Loaves will be wrapped in parchment instead of plastic, and handmade bread bags will be sold for a nominal price within a few weeks of opening.
  • We are partnering with local business, County Waste, for our waste management; we plan to recycle as much as possible to reduce landfill trash.  County Waste provides single stream recycling services at the Port of Albany.
Community Involvement:
  • Leftover bakery items will be donated to Albany Catholic Charities’ Mercy House Womens Shelter and Refugee Resettlement Program.  28 loaves have been sponsored so far by Community Supported Bakery shareholders, with at least 24 more expected by the end of April.
  •  In an effort to give other small, local producers a commercial space to prepare their wares, we began sharing our kitchen in November 2010 with Alessandro Gerbini (“Gatherer’s Granola”, www.gatherersgranola.com ).  A variety of Gatherer’s Granola will be available at the shop.  We will continue to support other small local producers with affordable, short-term kitchen rental, and have a few prospects for this in the works.
  • We plan to work with other Pine Hills small business owners, residents and students to help make the area a more pleasant place to live. This will be an ongoing effort, we'll report to you as partnerships arise.  We already are forming relationships with Tom Genovese at The Sunspot Cafe and Anton Pasquill at Hudson River Coffee House.


The snowstorm coming our way isn't encouraging news or an April Fool's joke, but after we do manage to open the bakery, we know all of the frustrating challenges we've encountered will melt away and we can say again with ease, "No Problem" (Sans Souci).  It's All Good.  We'll keep you updated on how Thursday goes and we hope you'll all come visit us!

Your bakers,
Britin & Nick Foster



AGB Bakery items also available through the following venues:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Catholic Charities Help Those in Need Help Themselves

All Good made our first visit to the Mercy House Women's Shelter near downtown Albany on Friday.  As we slowly navigated a few steep, slippery hills in our VW bus trying to find it, Nick and I discussed our mutual excitement - for a long time we have wanted find a way to regularly donate bread directly to people who don't have many opportunities to consume healthy, sustainable, local foods.  Without your help, we couldn't make it happen! We are really grateful to those who have contributed loaves, ideas and support, thank you.

We were welcomed at the front door of Mercy House by a lovely woman (in the interest of privacy, we'll say "B") who gave us a tour and some history.  This Women's Shelter was opened in the 70's by the Catholic Charities and is in the former rectory of St. Joseph's Church, across the street.  There are 6 bedrooms, 4 beds to a room (with 2 single rooms upstairs for those in the Independent Living Program), a long galley kitchen, a small living room for most of the residents to share with a more private one upstairs, and a dining room/play area (more pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=45440&id=142747862425818&fbid=187458497954754&ref=mf).  Most residents are there for only one short month - they come from the streets of the Capital Region, homeless, some with illnesses, looking for jobs, a place to live, some support.  The residents are all making a heroic effort to secure a safer place for themselves emotionally and in our community.  The bread we (together) provide will be a small, but worthwhile, component of the overall health benefits their stay at Mercy House hopefully affords them.  The Charities emphasize their aim is to help people help themselves.
The loaves we donate will be split between the shelter and the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program.  This program is currently running on a much smaller scale than what is needed.  This year, they are able to officially help resettle only about 10-15 families from Afghanistan, the Congo, Ethiopia, Burma and Iraq.  There are hundreds more families escaping their countries' unrest  - they all need healthy foods, housing, jobs or schooling, and community-building support.  We realize the topic of helping immigrants might strike a controversial chord with some, but in our view, hungry people are hungry people.  We all need community support in some form in our lives.  

We will be taking bread there every Friday and would like to start an addition to the donation program.  There are some items you may have at home that can be donated at our weekly pick-ups on Wednesdays.  Mercy House and the families in the Refugee Resettlement Program are in need of some specific items that can go from your closet or kitchen directly into the hands of someone who needs it.  Here's a current list of some things they need right away:
  • Pajamas - men, women -large appreciated, children 7-18 years
  • Winter clothing, especially for children 7-18 years.  Hats, scarves, gloves, snowboots/wear, sweaters, coats...
  • Toiletries - New toothbrushes, deoderant, toothpaste, shaving cream, lotions, brushes/combs, etc.
  • Underwear (new, obviously!)
  • Food!  Fresh is definitely appreciated, especially in winter; we'll deliver non-perishables too
Since we'll be stopping by every Friday, we can accomplish something with that last one - getting fresh food in the bellies of those who really need it.  Remember, the Food Bank programs can pretty much only deliver non-perishables which aren't always the healthiest foods to eat, for anyone.  
We plan to expand on this idea.  Stick with me a little longer for an exciting new development: we had a Winter "Greenhouse" party with our friends, Farmers Jon, DJ, Ross from Raven's Roost & families, in Selkirk on Saturday.  [We traded bread for produce with Jon all last summer - he's got two huge lots & a produce stand on Rt 9W and is growing sustainable produce under organic practices (yay!) available at 3 local markets, including Saturdays in Delmar.] After filling our bellies with delicious potluck food from the farm and a warmed fermented apple concoction of Jon's grandmother's, we checked out the greenhouse.  Jon and I discussed finding a way to glean his produce to donate to these programs - he is on board and through the growing season we'll be taking fresh produce to Mercy House for them to distribute!  Truly exciting news that directly addresses our mission - supporting local farms and bringing healthy food to the community.  
Here's Jon maintaining even heat for his furnace with corn cob - he hooks up hosing from the furnace to heat his mini-greenhouse-within-a-greenhouse for seed sprouting.  
The proper humidity and heat must be maintained daily.  Farmers are getting things done, even in all this ever-lovin' snow!  We're helping to market Jon's CSA this year - I'll be documenting his growing season and creating a new blog for him.  He's got an innovative punch card system that allows you to buy into the farm in $100 increments - each $100 = $112 in produce and you can pick what you like or get a "farmer's choice" bushel of bounty from the fields each week.  You can purchase more than one punch card at a time - now is when farmers need your advance support!  Email him if you'd like to know more about it: farmerjon@mhcable.com.  Joining Jon's CSA now means supporting more fresh produce for those in need this upcoming season.  It's not too early to start thinking about fresh tomatoes!  We can tell you from experience that Jon's produce is stellar, and he grows a ton of different vegetables (plus they raise pigs).  The corn last year was unreal!

Thanks for sticking with this long post - if you have time left to leave a comment, we'll give away a "big ol' box of baked goods" in a random drawing of those who post here or on facebook to reward your perseverance and commitment :)   Winter contest! Woo-hoo!

Your bakers,
Britin & Nick

p.s.: 100% New York Organic White is in!  We have a tiny bit of Greenmarket Whole Wheat to finish up - then we start using our 90% NY grown WW.  We're now using 60% locally grown and milled organic grains.  This is a major step forward for us!