Katy Introduces Us to One of HL’s Local Farm Partners 🧑‍🌾

Welcome to early summer! Tender, vibrant greens are gracing our local farms and making their way to our shelves for you and your families. Just like every year, I watch our farms come to life, marveling at what they do and how they do it. I’m proud to say we’ve been working with local growers for over 35 years! Here’s an intro to one of those amazing partners, Tangleroot Farm, and the people who make it all happen.

From HL Staff to HL Partner

Situated in the beautiful Champlain Valley of Essex, NY, Tangleroot is a 20-acre Certified Organic farm whose mission is to get their vegetables to as many people as possible. Adam Reed, who runs the farm with his partner, was actually on the Healthy Living staff in our Saratoga store back in the day. “I worked the mornings in my field and evenings in the produce section at HL. I was on the floor opening day!” Adam exclaims.

“This is what makes them so special to the store,” says Laurie Thompson, our Produce/Bulk Buyer Supervisor. “Adam knows the mission of Healthy Living and what we stand for.” We’ve always been a major stop on their delivery route. “In any given year, HL represents between 10% and 25% of our gross sales,” Adam adds. 

Putting Down Roots In ADK

After starting in Saratoga on borrowed land, Tangleroot set up its permanent home 8 years ago in the Adirondacks. Getting a new farm off the ground can be tricky, especially in a place with a lesser-known organic food scene like Essex, but, according to Adam, it’s no more challenging than any other small business venture. 

“Everyone’s pouring themselves into their work for the first 5 years and most people don’t make it to year 10 regardless of what business you start,” he says. “I spend most of my time in fresh air in my backyard doing physical work that I love and growing healthy food.” This love certainly shines through in their beautiful and delicious produce!

I love working with all of our local farms. Our farmers always check in when they deliver, it’s not a quick in and out. It’s a family feel.”—Laurie Thompson, Produce/Bulk Buyer Supervisor

Farmer’s Market or Wholesale?

Initially, Tangleroot was heavily involved in the farmer’s market scene, a great option for the area but complicated with an extremely small farm staff that is also juggling wholesale and running a door-to-door CSA! 

Our partnership with Tangleroot has helped them move away from this often hectic world and concentrate on their mission. In addition to their wholesale and CSA, they also supply about 50 shares a year to the Fair Share Program created in partnership with AdkAction, providing home delivery of Certified Organic vegetables to disadvantaged households.

“Tangleroot works extremely hard to provide the freshest food for our community,” says Jessica Ward, our Assistant Produce Supervisor, who’s been with us for 7 years. “They help HL reach our goal of supplying the best local produce around while also supporting small farmers.” 

Minimal Till, Maximum Benefit

One unique feature of the farm is its Minimal Till philosophy, a technique that involves never tilling at full depth, maintaining a disturbed layer no deeper than 1.5″ in the soil, and not tilling at all whenever that’s an option.  

“It’s about preserving the integrity of as much of the soil as possible within our production system,” Adam explains. “Our water and nutrient holding capacity has skyrocketed, organic matter levels are being increased, biological activity is way up and weeding is way down—the number of earthworms we have now is nuts!” 

This is why our partnerships with farms like Tangleroot are so important: their eco-friendly practices ensure our communities can enjoy our land and water for many years to come. 

I love thinking about the people and the stories behind everything on our shelves. Bringing you just one beautiful bunch of kale, for example, takes so much hard work from our tireless farmers, our truck drivers, our staff—and everyone in our community benefits. I’m endlessly grateful for Tangleroot and all of our local growers and vendors, who bring us their spectacular abundance year after year, not to mention tons of joy!