By Julian Montijo
In the back of the 4-H building on Lower Creek Road, in a small kitchen, Chris Kirby, founder of Ithaca Hummus, is boiling his next batch of garbanzo beans. The beans, once cooled, will be blended, with fresh-squeezed lemons and garlic, into hummus, then packaged by hand and sent directly to stores. One of Ithaca's most unique aspects is its ability to bring fresh products directly to the consumer. Chris Kirby created Ithaca Hummus two years ago to do just that.
Chris's story is unique in that it doesn't begin with hummus. After attending culinary school, he worked as a chef at a wine bar in Austin, TX. There he learned that he did not want to start his own restaurant because of the intense time commitment of a chef's work, which leaves little room for a personal life. Chris decided that he could instead use his culinary background to start his own business, where he could have flexible hours and a personal life. He applied to Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, planning to graduate in two years and start this business. He will graduate this month.
While at Cornell, with the idea that he wanted to create a product focused on freshness as a priority, Chris found that hummus naturally has a fairly long shelf life. He also discovered that the large companies Sabra and Tribe controlled nearly the entire share of the market. As consumers were beginning to grow more familiar with hummus and learn more uses for the product, Chris saw a higher demand for "just-made quality hummus attached to a brand." And so Ithaca Hummus began.
By Kristie Snyder,
The first thing you notice when you walk into GreenStar's new central kitchen and bakery facility is its size. The place is cavernous. The second thing you notice — it smells amazing. It seems odd that barbecue sauce and baked goods could combine into one tantalizing aroma, but that's exactly what was happening the day I visited. (If I had to list the third thing, it would be the floor. It's a delightful shade of bright blue.)
The new facility, designed by GreenStar's architect Pam Wooster with input from Deli and Bakery staff, is about 2760 square feet. Prepared Foods Manager Erik Lucas gave me a tour, showing off the new walk-in cooler and freezer, a loading area, sushi station, dishroom (itself about the size of the old Deli space), and the expansive kitchen and bakery area, loaded with gleaming stainless steel appliances (over 60 pieces of new equipment were installed), and humming with busy staff members cooking up old favorites and new recipes.
"It's certainly like nothing GreenStar has ever seen," said General Manager Brandon Kane. "It's gorgeous, efficient, and state-of-the-art. Outside of the colleges, I'm unaware of a production kitchen on this scale in this town."
That increased scale will allow GreenStar to do several things. The Co-op's catering program will be greatly expanded. New Deli and Bakery products are already in both stores, and will continue to appear. If a third store location is added in years to come, "that would just be added to the delivery route, as we've consolidated all of our production into one hub," Brandon said. The possibility of wholesaling GreenStar-made food to other area retailers is also being explored.
By Kristie Snyder,
GreenStar's deli is far from traditional, but with a new focus on local, fresh and handmade interpretations of classic dishes from around the globe, the Delicatessen @ GreenStar joins a long line of eateries that feel like home to their patrons.
The American deli was born out of the simple longing of a people for their comfort food. As Eastern European Jewish immigrants settled in the cities of the Northeast in the late 1800s, they brought with them their homemade recipes and created an institution — the deli. Some of these ancestral delis, such as the famous Katz's, which opened on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1888, are still here today, and the idea of "the deli" has thoroughly permeated American cuisine.
The GreenStar deli's new menu does include some of those traditional Jewish deli foods — knishes, corned beef – while encompassing simple, seasonal and handmade food from many traditions. Whatever culinary background you hail from, whatever the cuisine you crave, whether you're a hardcore vegan or dedicated carnivore, you'll find something to love in GreenStar's deli.
New in the Deli
Stop by the Deli for tasty sides and salads to go with all those great grillables from Grocery.
May is here and so is the beautiful weather — which goes hand in hand with grilling. After you pick up your favorite grilling items from the grocery department (see below), stop by the Deli. Whether you're having a picnic or a barbecue, our service case is full to the brim: from classic coleslaw to your favorite potato salad, we have it. Now that the season is changing, so is our case selection, moving from the heavier stick-to-your-ribs fare to lighter salads that'll keep some spring in your step. Check out the grab-and-go case, too, also changing with the season and not lacking in variety! We have a great selection of house-made dips and spreads. Sandwiches?? Yup, we've got those, too: vegan banh mi and tempeh reubens are the customer favorites, with plenty more, including a nice selection of vegetarian sandwiches. It's been a long winter! It's high time to enjoy the best of what Ithaca offers.