A New Door Opens at Emery Farm

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“Our focus with the new market and cafe is selling all local food and products, first what we produce here on the farm […] then going to other local farm producers and finally sourcing everything else from the New England area,” said Holly Phillbrick, manager of the all new Emery Farm market and cafe. 

After months of construction, Emery Farm has built an all new market and cafe which is taking the spot of the old building. The market and cafe hope to serve as a healthy grocer for the Durham community, selling farm fresh foods as well as locally sourced produce from the New England area. The market had a soft opening in October and plan to open when construction is finished. The market and cafe hopes to determine the opening date in November.  

With the new market and cafe Emery Farm hopes to become a staple in the Durham community as a small grocer for healthy, farm grown options. “With the new construction we are really hoping and trying to make Emery Farm a platform to be the local hub of the community, by offering a lot of really great food offerings that are farm to table as well as a space where people can come and hangout,” said Philbrick.

This idea of becoming more involved in the community’s health has come with many new advancements to the market and cafe, one being the installation of a commercial kitchen.  “Having a commercial kitchen allows us to make our own fabulous food right in house creating a bigger market so that we can be more of a small, local and natural foods grocer,” said Phillbrick. The commercial kitchen sets the market and cafe apart from your traditional grocery store, while emphasizing this idea of farm fresh foods. 

Christian Towle, employee and son of Brown Towle, the head farmer for Emery Farm, grew up around the farm and has seen how it has grown over his years. Agreeing with Phillbrick, Towle adds, “More people need to be watching what they are eating. I think the best thing is farm fresh food and we are one of the only places that are able to provide that to the Durham community […] the new market and cafe will get more products out and help expand the farm overall […] I have seen such a great family environment here and with the expansion I think it only adds to that environment.” 

Sadie Mckenna (‘21) has also grown up on the property and seen the farm’s growth over the years. Her favorite part was its family friendly environment and community activities. “I grew up there and it was my favorite place ever, I loved how it was all old and antique […] Even with the more modernized building they kept some of the old, antique features of the old building which is nice to see,” said Mckenna. 

Although the new building is three times the size of the old building, Emery Farm did not want to lose their family friendly environment and community activities. In fact, the new building has space built in for the community. “We have more space upstairs which we are calling a yoga studio where we might hold classes […] We might also hold more community activities like cooking classes and seminars during the week and over the winter to get people in at other times of the year,” said Phillbrick. 

Even though there is a new market and cafe, Emery Farm plans to continue to host family friendly activities, including apple picking, pumpkin decorating and their haunted corn maze. Phillbrick said, “these activities are what Emery Farm is all about […] they bring the family together and that’s something we wouldn’t want to lose.”

Along with more community space Emery Farm has added new features to the market and cafe that will benefit customers some as simply as public bathrooms.   

Unlike before, customers will not have to use the porta-potty to go to the bathroom as the new building has made it a priority to install public bathrooms inside the market. More important however, the market and cafe has installed heating and air conditioning as another advancement. “We were really a seasonal building before but now with the installation of heating in the new building we can be open year round which ultimately makes it a more sustainable business for everyone,” Phillbrick explained.

 In the past, due to the conditions of the old building, Emery Farm could only maintain a seasonal business in the months of spring into summer and the beginning of fall. Being open year round is crucial for the growth of Emery Farm and its new market and cafe. Phillbrick said, “with the new building Emery Farm has the potential to become a place that has more of everyday offerings, whether that’s picking up your dinner or stopping in the morning to grab your coffee and bagel […] it will have a little bit more of everything.” With the addition of heating, air conditioning and public bathrooms the market and cafe has turned into a fully functioning building, something the old building struggled with. 

Seeing that the new market will now have much more to maintain as Emery Farm has  expanded their business, there are more jobs to go around. “Now that we will be open year round we will be adding full time and part-time jobs […] The ‘farmer brand’ part of our business will also be adding jobs so we can grow more products,” Phillbrick explained. 

The new market and cafe hopes to become a local, more healthy and efficient way to grocer. Likewise, the addition of the market and cafe has created new jobs for the community while sending a message that eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle is right in the heart of the community at anytime. “We really hope our market will bring more local food right to the community[…] We want to become more connected to the community by providing healthy, authentic options,” said Philbrick.