Greyston Bakery in Yonkers is famous for its brownies, as well as its no-questions-asked open hiring policy. Greyston’s social enterprise is certainly working — the company has been growing, and changing lives, for 35 years. Now making some seven million pounds of brownies annually, the products have a wide retail distribution, which includes Whole Foods stores. And Ben & Jerry’s has been using Greyston brownie bits in their ice cream since 1987.
The La Squisita (shown right) canned tomatoes, beans, artichoke hearts, jarred peppers, and marinated mushrooms we all love come from its 40,000 sq. ft. warehousing and manufacturing facility in Mount Vernon. Started in 1918 in the Bronx by Frank Laria, La Squisita (which means exquisite in Italian) relocated to Westchester in 2011.
Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
A small team of bakers works in shifts around the clock at Port Chester’s Good Bread Bakery. Producing artisan-quality bread by hand is labor intensive, but it pays off, says co-owner Chris Beldotti. The rye, seven-grain, sourdough, semolina, and walnut-raisin varieties produced at this 5,000 sq. ft. facility are amazing. And for freshness purposes, Port Chester’s proximity to major highways is ideal: “Everything goes out as soon as we make it,” Beldotti says.
To address health problems facing family members, Shelley Schulz set out to provide them with the best food possible. Now, the tasty organic, vegan, gluten- and dairy-free treats are part of her Healing Home Foods line (shown left). The granolas, nut butters, and raw crackers are prepared in a 4,000 sq. ft. dedicated gluten-free facility in Pound Ridge.
Photo courtesy of Home Healing Foods
A party really isn’t a party without ice — and lots of it. Luckily for Westchester hosts, Chilly Willy & Cool Carl’s Premium Ice Service in Yonkers is there to meet all frozen-water needs. The business, family-owned since 1977, provides high-quality dry ice, ice cubes, ice spheres (a fancier-looking, slow-melting ice cube — bartenders love it), custom-made ice sculptures, and even ice luges, which will put your party on the fast track (or send it off the rails).
Some 2.2 million bagels are baked at Neri’s Bakery (below) in Port Chester each day, along with breads and rolls that are shipped far and wide, and, happily, to many local shops. Starting small in 1910, this family-run operation has grown to fill the 300,000 sq. ft. facility that looms large on Pearl Street. Using roughly 1.7 million pounds of flour a week, the bakery also produces a variety of pastries and cakes (love those brownies!) for the factory’s popular retail shop.
Photo by Ken Gabrielsen
Distilleries, breweries, cideries, and a micro-winery are keeping county whistles wet.
Artisan gin and vodka distilled from honey, plus rum, brandy, and a variety of whiskeys — StilltheOne Distillery Two (pictured right) in Port Chester produces them all. Albert Savarese bought the distillery from fellow cofounders Ed and Laura Tiedge in 2016 and added the Whiskey Shack tasting room, with a 22-seat communal table and three big-screen TVs (open Saturday noon – 6 p.m.). Coming soon: a cigar tent, oyster-shucking table, and barbecue pit.
Photo courtesy of StilltheOne Distillery Two
Broken Bow’s Hell Hath No Fury Stout, brewed with coffee, cocoa nibs, and Hudson Valley peppers, is just one reason to visit this Tuckahoe brewery for a sample or two. The ever-changing menu of specialty brews and perennial standards are a craft-beer lover’s dream.
It’s not surprising that Captain Lawrence brews are available in so many stores, bars, and restaurants in the tristate area. The Elmsford brewery (complete with popular beer hall), started by South Salem native Scott Vaccaro in 2006, has been steadily growing over the years and now has the capacity to fill more than 1,000 cases a day.
A bit of experimentation in college (with home-brewing) led to Diner Brew Co. (pictured right) in Mount Vernon, which opened last year. Owner Chris Sheldon is producing a variety of hard ciders — one flavored with coriander and lavender — which are selling throughout Westchester (check your local DeCicco & Sons shelves).
Photo courtesy of Diner Brew Co.
Hardscrabble Cider in North Salem is an orchard-to-bottle operation. Brothers Alex, Kevin, and Ben Covino grow the apples and make the hard cider (in various flavors) that can be enjoyed in the tasting room at scenic Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. The cider is also for sale at DeCicco & Sons in Armonk and Brew & Co. in Bedford Hills.
Yonkers natives John Rubbo and Nick Califano grew up helping their grandfathers make wine. This inspired them to open Yonkers Brewing Co. (located within the historic Yonkers Trolley Barn building), not only to produce beer but also to bring an industry (including a lively beer hall and restaurant) to their beloved hometown.
Both working brewery and awesome hangout (with gastropub menu), Peekskill Brewery keeps locals happy (check out their money-saving Mug Club) and is worth a trip for beer lovers throughout the county. Check out brews such as the Pinky Up or the Porch Bomb.
Figs and a hint of anise seed are lovingly turned into liqueur at this small Yonkers distillery, where master distiller David Nahmias makes Mahia (pictured right), known as the national spirit of Morocco. A Morocco native, Nahmias watched his parents and grandparents distill the strong, clear drink, and he is proud to continue the tradition. Nahmias makes rye whiskey, too.
Photo courtesy of Nahmias et Fils
Vintner John Vuolo is making six new wines at his South Salem micro-winery this season. The new vintages include a Chardonnay, a Vidal Blanc, and a Cabernet Franc. Vuolo sources all the grape varietals from New York State, turning them into wine at his small facility, located within Gossett Brothers Nursery. Visitors can stop by for tastings on weekends.
Java-heads get a jolt from all the artisan coffee brands roasted in the county.
Yes, the name does refer to a pulse, as coffee is all about the jump-start that “raises your awareness, gets you going,” says John Demeo, owner of BPM Roasters in Yonkers. He sources his beans carefully, focusing on fresh crops, and uses an infrared roaster that roasts cleanly and efficiently, with less fumes than traditional blue-flame machines. Try his on-tap cold brew and nitro coffee at Exit 4 Food Hall in Mount Kisco.
Students at Sarah Lawrence College, Pace University, and Westchester Community College are quite lucky, as food services at these schools offer Double Barrel coffees. Roasted locally in Yonkers with a focus on speciality blends (the “Bestchester” is a top-seller), owners Ross Farbman, Chris Tortu, and Michael Timlin think of roasting as an art form.
Photo courtesy of Double Barrel Roasters
“Coffee has more flavors than wine,” insists Jason Richter, owner of Path Coffee Roasters in Port Chester, “and we work to maximize the natural flavors — fruit, chocolate, citrus, acidity — of each type of bean.” But unlike wine, Richter adds, coffee does not age well, so Path roasts coffee to-order for each of its clients, including Market North in Armonk and Bobo’s Café in Somers. (Path coffee is also available at local Whole Foods stores.)
In a 70,000 sq. ft. facility in Port Chester, Robert Richter’s Empire Coffee Roasters has been roasting beans for private labels and food distributors since 1984. Empire also produces its own brands of gourmet coffee, such as Waterfront Roasters and Rainforest Java. Robert also produced a coffee addict in his son, Jason Richter, who runs Path Coffee Roasters out of the same Port Chester location.