By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
Tucked into a corner of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is a cheesecake maker. To market regulars, she is coming to be known as Grandma Apple.
Grandma Apple is Connie Capasso, owner of Grandma Apple’s Cheesecakes. She handcrafts her cheesecakes from high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and transports them to the market via a portable refrigerator that keeps the cheesecakes chilled and ready for on-the-spot eating.
The cheesecakes are available in individual cups for $4.50 each.
“Customers love the individual size,” says Capasso. “I appreciate that I can bake right in the cup and that the cup itself is recyclable.”
Like many artisanal businesses, Grandma Apple’s Cheesecakes grew from a passion.
Capasso has a large family and often would bake cheesecakes for them, trying out different crusts and flavors. Her family encouraged her to turn the baking into a business, so Capasso did some research, had a commercial kitchen built, and established a limited liability corporation. She joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market last November during its indoor season and now sells at the Wednesday and Saturday markets and at a market in Albany.
Like the business, the name Grandma Apple has family roots. As Capasso tells it, her eldest grandson – now 21 and one of nine – used to call a number of women in the family “Grandma.” Some of these women were grandmothers and some were great-grandmothers. She knew that he loved apples so she always had them on hand when he would come to visit.
“When he was old enough to start speaking, I became Grandma Apple,” Capasso says. “Now all nine grandkids know me as Grandma Apple.”
The cheesecakes come in several flavors in a range of flavors including some standards such as traditional, chocolate, lemon, and peanut butter. But Capasso likes to experiment and often adds different flavors once her experiments have passed the ultimate taste test — her family’s approval.
“Every so often we have a taste test day,” she says. “It’s a blind tasting. I bring out the flavors, and they give me their feedback.”
Capasso also makes larger cheesecakes, which are available through special order. Visit her at the market, on the FreshFoodNY app, or email GrandmaApplesCheesecakes@gmail.com to learn more.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Facebook and Instagram, and check us out on the FreshFoodNY app. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities.