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Julie King manages The Farmers’ Marketplace

Friends & Neighbors: EVERYONE HAS A STORY.

May 25, 2011
By?YVONA FAST - Special to the Enterprise , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Julie King is excited about her new job as manager of The Farmers' Marketplace, a store that just opened in Tupper Lake. "I believe in eating local, healthy food that is sustainable.

"The Farmers' Marketplace offers fresh, local, natural, organic products," Julie said. "Because there are no farms in Tupper Lake, most of our fresh food comes from the Malone and Potsdam area. We also offer organic, natural food from a distributor, baby food, natural cleaning products, pasta and sauces, even ready-made dinners."

Julie's connection to local food began at an early age. "When I was little, I wanted to be a farmer," she said. "I love animals and being outdoors. I liked playing in the dirt. We had a garden, and I liked helping my mom plant flowers and vegetables."

Article Photos

Julie King holds a basket of fresh asparagus at the Farmers’ Marketplace in Tupper Lake.
(Photo — Yvona Fast)

By the time she was a teenager, her interests shifted to ecology and the environment. Her father was a lumberjack, and after graduating from Tupper Lake High School, Julie went to the Ranger School in Wanakena. She continued her studies at SUNY?ESF, the School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. She returned to Tupper Lake and taught forestry courses for several years at Paul Smith's College.

Julie met her husband, Rick, through mutual friends.

"We shared our love of the outdoors and the Adirondacks, and soon became hiking buddies," she said. "Rick loves to explore - he knows the Adirondacks better than anyone I know. On foot, snowshoes, skis, or in a canoe, he can take a short trip and turn it into an 18-mile excursion. As we got to know each other, we grew closer and were married in 1992. After six more years of exploring, Noah was born in 1998 and our excursions got shorter.

"While working towards my master's degree from Empire State College, I read about pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and their impact on the environment and on people. Our food is loaded with these harmful chemicals. Ecosystems, food, people are all interconnected. Much of the food in our supermarkets has lost nutrients due to long transit time between the farmer and the consumer. It bothers me that so many people - even children - get type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. I believe it's related to diet, yet we have the resources to eat healthy. I really want my family to eat the best they can to stay healthy.

"For my husband's birthday a few years ago, we spent the weekend at the Lake Clear Lodge. Cathy Hohmeyer had literature in the dining room about nutrient dense food and the Weston A. Price Foundation. It made sense to me, so I got involved in the WAP Lake Clear chapter. Dr. Weston A. Price studied traditional diets. He found that the diets of healthy non-industrialized societies contain no refined products (like sugar, refined flour or corn syrup) or chemical additives (like preservatives, artificial flavorings and dyes). He also found that all traditional cultures consume some animal protein and fat, whether from meat, fish or eggs. I feel content and believe I'm doing the right thing."

Julie had contemplated opening a natural foods store for the past eight years. However, her family was unable to take the financial risk required.

"Without money or a building I was out of luck," she said. "My husband has a small masonry and carpentry business, but with the economic downturn hitting the construction industry hard, things were difficult. Then last fall, at a WAP meeting, we were discussing the need for a North Country network of farm food stores. Gail Brill mentioned that there was someone in Tupper Lake who wanted to start a Farm Food Store. She made the contact, and the next day. Sylvia Golbin-Goodman called me, saying she heard I wanted to open a store," Julie said. "I told her I have the time but not the money. Sylvia said, 'Well, I don't have the time, but I have the money.' Our partnership and friendship was formed in an instant. We began planning how, where and when we could bring fresh, local, organic food to Tupper Lake - something we were both hungry for."

During the long Adirondack winter, Julie and Sylvia emailed, met and visited local farms to work out details.

"In our travels, we met many really nice, hardworking people who farm with a conscience, love what they do, and take pride in their quality product, whether honey, meat, eggs, fruit or vegetables,"?Julies said. "I'm excited and happy to share their harvest with area residents. I believe this is what I'm meant to do. We want to educate people about where their food comes from. One way we plan to do that is through 'Meet the Farmer' days."

Julie wants to encourage farming and vegetable gardening in Tupper Lake to supply the store with local food.

"Animals are the easiest to raise, because they're less affected by the short summers and long winters here than are plant crops," Julie said. "But there are techniques like hoop houses that can help extend our short growing season. The goal of The Farmers' Marketplace staff is to help make Tupper Lake and the surrounding communities strong and self-sustaining. We hope to create a 'Circle of Farms and Residents' in order to provide fresh, healthy, local food to people in our region. We will encourage and support anyone interested in starting a farm or market garden. We can help get information for those interested in pursuing farming enterprises through grants, loans, connections and training in the newest techniques and technologies.

"I enjoy working at The Farmers' Marketplace. All the employees here share the vision. I hope to pass on my passion for local, sustainably raised, organic food to our community. We need this."

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Based on an interview with Julie King. Yvona Fast can be reached at www.wordsaremyworld.com.

 
 

 

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