Donna is perhaps better known in town as the longtime secretary at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in New Paltz. Cory is a veteran New Paltz volunteer fireman, and a soon-to-be graduate of cellular and molecular biology at SUNY New Paltz.
The palatable gourmet shop -- which smells like an open-air market in a Spanish, Greek, Italian or Parisian village -- was the culmination of both Cory and his mother’s talents and passion.
“I’ve always had a passion for cooking,” said Cory, who earned his first degree in exercise science and wellness. “And as a biologist, I was also intrigued by the way olive oils could be infused with other ingredients, as well as the trend of recycle, re-use, refill, which is so popular in Europe and one of those ideas that makes so much sense that we have too little of it here.”
What he and his mother have created, beyond a little corner of culinary heaven, is literally a “fill station” for olive oil lovers, as well as vinaigrette enthusiasts.
With the help of family and friends, Cory constructed an elegant bar, which is the island in the center of the store holding nine different “fusti.” Fusti is the Italian word for the stainless steel olive oil dispensers that look like shiny, refurbished milk jugs. In the store, they serve as a filling station for a wide sampling of freshly made olive oils and vinaigrettes that come from an organic farm in California.
For the price of what they would pay commercially in a typical supermarket, patrons of Scarborough Fare can bring in their own glass jars, or purchase one at the store, and fill and refill their jugs of gourmet oil for discounted price. These oils rotate, but a sampling includes jalapeno extra virgin oil, a Tuscan blend, the ever-popular, garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, basil olive oil, as well as pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette.
“I first experienced a shop like this in Cape Code,” Donna said. “I thought it was such a marvelous idea, and enjoyed it so much, often ordering olive oils from it, as well as other gourmet items for Cory because he loves to cook...I remember thinking that this would be such a great asset to New Paltz, that our residents and visitors would love it, but at the time I just put it on the back burner.”
That back burner was on simmer until she had one of those “ah ha” conversations with her son.
“I was in that entrepreneurial mood, thinking of how I might meld my passions, and then mom and I got talking about this store in Cape Cod and another one we had visited in New York City and everything just clicked,” he said.
Since they opened in April, they’ve been super popular, have been received with such open arms and enthusiasm that their Facebook page has grown and includes visitors from New Orleans, Connecticut, New Jersey and all over the country. Locally, some fans have asked where Scarborough Fare has been all their lives? “‘This store is just what we needed,’” Cory recounted people telling him.
“It’s a Sunday night entertainment shop,” he joked. “It’s for those that love to cook, entertain, have a love of flavor and timeless ingredients.”
One could walk into Scarborough Fare -- as many Culinary Institute of America students and faculty and serious foodies likely already have -- and pick and choose from oils produced by multi-generational, family-owned farms from Greece, Italy, Turkey or Spain.
But the store also stocks gourmet dips, relishes, vinaigrettes, homemade pastas, bags of bean mixes, sauces, breads, biscuits, teas, espresso, white asparagus, olives, salmon stuffed-peppers, Pellegrino and Limonata beverages. Customers come out with very reasonably priced gourmet appetizers and dinner.
“That’s the idea, to be a one-stop shop for those that enjoy cooking, eating, purchasing products that are fresh, organic, made directly from the source, rather than processed and re-processed ten times and sold at a supermarket for the same price if not more,” Cory said.
“What I love as much as the customers that come in is speaking with the families that we order from in Europe,” Donna said. “They understand that we are a family business and they are multi-generational family farmers and producers of incredibly fresh and delicious gourmet products and they often call just to see how we’re doing, to lend their support, to say hi and share our joint love of food and family. It’s amazing.”
The store offers many locally produced items including Kiss My Face moisturizers, soaps, candles and products, as well as cookbooks and Luigi’s Olive Oil out of Highland, as well as Harvey and Sons Fine Tea from upstate New York.
“We’re only just beginning,” said Cory, who thanked not only all of their enthusiastic local patrons and visitors, but his own firefighting family, who have all stopped by to support he and his mother’s store.
Cory worked as a volunteer firefighter during high school, continued on during his stint in the armed forces and returned in the same capacity serving as a New Paltz Fire Department lieutenant for two years.
“It’s all about giving back to the community that supports you, and I’ve had to step back a little bit to get the store opened, while working my day job (at K&E Beverage) completing my second degree. But I’m always committed to the NPFD, and I’m already working on a sign that I might have to put up on the door that says, ‘responding to a fire call, be back as soon as I can.’” That would cover Cory if he’s manning the shop alone and duty calls.
“We’re fifth-generational volunteer firefighters,” noted Donna. “We have a strong sense of family, as well as community.”
They also have a strong sense of impeccable taste. As this paper interviewed the mother-and-son team, patrons came in, dipped bread into olive oil samplings, tasted gluten-free humus dips, bean dips, cheese sauces, salsas, mustards, vinaigrettes. The praise and bottle refills just kept coming and coming -- all at the same time as the mother and son articulated their vision for the future of the store.
Scarborough Fare is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. To learn more stop by the shop or call 255-0061. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for Donna and ceWirthmannn@gmail.com or log onto Facebook and search for Scarborough Fare.