By Kristie Snyder, GreenStar staff

If you live in Ithaca, and you eat tofu, it’s almost certain you’ve been fed by the father and son team of Tony and Adam Potenza. Potenza Organic Farms in Trumansburg, operated by Tony since 1973, has supplied the organic soybeans for Ithaca Soy since its inception nearly 25 years ago. In 2015, Tony’s son Adam purchased the tofu business, continuing to produce tofu and tofu kan for devoted fans at GreenStar and beyond.

The first certified-organic farm in New York State, Potenza Organic Farms began as a vegetable farm, and has been selling to GreenStar for nearly the Co-op’s entire existence. In the mid-eighties, Tony, a founding member of the New York Northeast Organic Farming Association, switched his crops over to non-perishable foodstuffs like grains and beans. (You can buy his dry beans in the West End Bulk Department.) Not only does he supply Ithaca Soy with all the soybeans they use, he supplies organic wheat to the New York State soy sauce maker whose sauce is then used to manufacture Ithaca Soy’s tofu kan, a baked, marinated, ready-to-eat tofu product.

The Co-op purchases more than 500 pounds of Ithaca Soy tofu and 40 pounds of tofu kan weekly. The GreenStar Kitchen uses half of that, supplying the deli needs for the three GreenStar locations, as well as the Co-op’s catering service. Every tofu dish made at the Co-op uses Ithaca Soy tofu, including customer favorites such as BBQ tofu, vegan breakfast burritos, panang curry, country-fried tofu, vegan banh mi sandwiches, and pad thai. Each week, the West End Bulk Department sells about 200 pounds of tofu and tofu kan directly to shoppers. The rest is sold packaged in the West End Grocery Department and at the Collegetown and DeWitt stores.

All that tofu and more ­— totalling some 2,200 pounds a week — is produced within blocks of GreenStar, in an unassuming facility in Ithaca’s Northside neighborhood. Three to four times a week, organic beans delivered from Tony’s farm are soaked and ground. The resulting soymilk is coagulated, pressed, cut, and packaged into buckets for delivery to the Co-op and numerous restaurants around Trumansburg and Ithaca, including Viva, Taste of Thai Express, Luna’s, and Ithaca Bakery.

“The commitment to feed the local community is what drives me,” says Adam. “It makes me happy to come to work everyday.”