Farmers & Artisans, a unique store offering customers a tasty mix of local produce and products, recently celebrated the second anniversary of its opening at 78 East Spring St. in the historic Village of Williamsville.
Initial talks for what would eventually become Farmers & Artisans began in the winter of 2008 when several producers — who had become acquainted as farmers’ market vendors — began discussing the possibility of a year-round brick and mortar venue. The hope was that it would become a focal point for the local food community, creating connections between producer and consumer, and also become a place of education.
From those initial discussions, Julie Blackman and David Setzer decided to make the investment and Farmers & Artisans became a reality. The old post-and-beam building on East Spring Street, built in the early 1800s, was originally located on Main Street and served as a stable for the horses of the Williamsville Fire Department. It was moved to its current location in the early 20th century and over the years has been home to several businesses.
Blackman and Setzer liked the feel of the building and decided to renovate it to create a warm environment in which to sell whole and minimally processed local foods and artisan bakery items. Farmers & Artisans would eventually open its doors in September 2009.
Consequently, Blackman and Setzer sought out and were also approached by many additional food producers. Farmers & Artisans now offers hundreds of locally produced products including pastured meats, farm fresh eggs, dairy items, farmstead cheeses, seasonal produce, dried goods, grocery items and tasty prepared foods. The array of great tasting, sustainable and locally produced foods continues to grow!
Julie Blackman is the sixth generation working at her family’s business, Blackman Homestead Farm. Their farm was established in 1852 and continues to be owned and operated by her parents. Blackman went back to the family business and gave up a career in healthcare to expand retail opportunities at the farm. She developed a value-added product line including fruit butters, sauces and juices, and began participating in the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market, where her network of farmers and producers was formed.
With a long history in the food business, Setzer had come to realize that the best foods arise from the best ingredients. An epiphany in February of 1999 was the starting point in his transition to eating local, seasonal foods. As he became more immersed in the local food community, Setzer decided to share a personal passion for traditional European-style breads and began baking and selling at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market. From the onset, the decision was made to use only quality organic flour and traditional ingredients and methods.
Today, Farmers & Artisans has created a loyal following of customers by sticking to the following pledge: We try to lead by example, educating ourselves and others about local food communities. We support sustainable agriculture. We prefer to source from local and regional, earth-friendly producers. We recycle. We are committed to diversity and equality. We oppose discrimination in any form. We seek to avoid products that depend on the exploitation of others. We strive to create good jobs.
Current and future customers are invited to visit the store and experience the “local” difference. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, please visit http://farmersandartisans.com, call 633-2830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Farmers & Artisans on Facebook for frequent updates.