By Julia Howard, Market Director
My first taste of mixed berry jelly from The Country Corner Cafe convinced me that not all canned fruits are created equal. The flavor was pure fruit enhanced by a touch of sweetness. I was excited.
“We use half the sugar in our jams and jellies and pies,” said Roseann Hotaling, of The Country Corner Cafe. “We want the flavor to shine through and not the sugary sweetness.”
The cafe is well known for its breakfasts and lunches in Saratoga Springs. Now, Hotaling and her son Eric are taking some of their favorite products a step further, supplying them to local businesses and selling at farmers’ markets.
The Country Corner Cafe made its debut at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this year, offering jams and jellies along with pies and fudge at the Wednesday market.
“Farmers’ markets are such a great opportunity to visit and interact with people,” said Hotaling. Besides the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, she offers her products at the Nine Pin Cider tasting room, Impressions of Saratoga and the Spa City market.
Such home arts as baking, canning, and preservation run deep in Hotaling’s family history, which stretches back to her childhood in Walton, NY. Her grandmother and mother taught her the art of preservation, and after earning a degree in restaurant management, Hotaling began working first in a hospital/nursing home food facility and then with the state’s Child Nutrition Services program for public schools. This role brought her to Saratoga Springs in 1988, as director of the school district’s nutritional services.
The closing of a downtown luncheonette created an opportunity for Hotaling to start her own restaurant and in 1991 The Country Corner Cafe was born.
Hotaling has passed her knowledge of baking, canning, and preservation on to her sons Jared and Eric, who worked alongside her in the cafe kitchen. Eric continues to work with the restaurant, much to Hotaling’s delight.
“He has such an attention to detail and pride in everything he makes,” Hotaling said. “It’s a pleasure to work with him.”
Hotaling also recently celebrated the birth of a granddaughter, a sign perhaps that a family tradition will continue.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates and special events.