All in the kitchen

A range of businesses converge at the Hop Barons Community Kitchen in Honesdale

By ELIZABETH LEPRO
Posted 1/5/22

HONESDALE, PA — On a Monday night in December, Adriana Vender sweeps into the Hop Barons Kitchen on Sixth Street in Honesdale, fresh off a day of substitute teaching.

She begins bustling …

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All in the kitchen

A range of businesses converge at the Hop Barons Community Kitchen in Honesdale

Posted

HONESDALE, PA — On a Monday night in December, Adriana Vender sweeps into the Hop Barons Kitchen on Sixth Street in Honesdale, fresh off a day of substitute teaching.

She begins bustling around the space, waning light from the high windows bouncing off stainless steel, as she prepares to teach a gaggle of children to make Christmas pancakes for her weekly Kids in the Kitchen class. In upcoming sessions, kids ages three to 12 will make pizza, sushi and rainbow pasta.

Vender’s is one of six business ventures in the area currently utilizing the commercial craft kitchen, joining Vanara Food, Wolfe Springs Farm, Konfections by Lara Knash, Crystal’s Natural Way and Wildflour Bakehouse.

Friends and business partners Jason Nacinovich and Chris Tuleya, who run the Hop Barons craft spice and BBQ rub company, opened the kitchen up for rent in 2019. They said businesses now using the space have helped them weather pandemic-related financial losses.

The kitchen is most useful for those who, like Vender, don’t have access to a commercial-grade cooking space, or want to host one-time or limited-run events. Weddings at the Sixth & River banquet space above the kitchen often utilize it for catering. Under Pennsylvania law, foods that have to be time- and temperature-controlled cannot be sold out of a home kitchen without licensing and inspections. Everything from dishwashing to food storage and cooking equipment needs to be inspected and approved, and licenses require yearly renewal. That process can be expensive and time-consuming.

“I could never do this randomly somewhere,” said Vender. As a bonus, the square footage allows energetic kids room to roam, and Hop Barons helps advertise the program.

Vender said growing up in an Italian family means she has been cooking since she was very young—Kids in the Kitchen combines her passion for culinary arts with her interest in elementary education, and has helped her visualize her career path.

“This is the reason I’m going back [to school] for education,” Vender, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree, said. “Because I found the age group I really like.”

Parents can sign their children up at https://www.hopbaronskitchen.com/kids-in-the-kitchen-classes and book private classes.

Sara and Arun Goodberlet use the kitchen to host monthly Indian food pop-ups, offering freshly prepared meals for takeout once a month. There isn’t an Indian restaurant in Honesdale, not counting the fare sometimes served at the Himalayan Institute in Bethany, where the couple live, so the venture is an effort to test out community interest without committing to a full-fledged restaurant.

“COVID changed the restaurant industry so much,” Sara said. “People who aren’t at the place or aren’t interested in running a five-day-a-week restaurant business… are able to innovate.”

So far, so good, said the Goodberlets. Both of their Vanara Food pop ups have sold out. From November to December, they increased their output from 40 to 80 meals. Vanara Food has a health-forward focus, said Arun, the chef, who added that the meals are prepared with 95 percent organic ingredients. He uses an authentic tandoor clay oven shipped from India, and even altered the Hop Barons gas hookups to install it.

The next Vanara Food pop-up will be on January 20. Reservations can be made online at https://www.vanarafood.com/, and the menu will feature vegan and non-vegan options, including lamb curry and biryani. Vanara also plans to partner with Three Hammers Winery for a five-course meal and wine-pairing event at the kitchen on February 5.

For farmer Tammy Preble, the kitchen offers a chance to extend her earning season and cut down on food waste.

Preble operates Wolfe Springs Farm, a livestock and vegetable farm on Carley Brook Road in Honesdale. She sells meat and produce at the Honesdale farmers’ market and runs a CSA with about 50 customers a week. She started using the kitchen this winter to make soup with unsold vegetables and chicken and rabbits that she butchers herself. She’s certified to butcher the meat, but not to prepare the ingredients for sale—that’s why she comes to the kitchen.

“The kitchen is definitely a great resource for the community,” Preble said. “It helps me have a steady resource of income throughout the year, instead of only bringing money in June to November.”

Preble’s nine-year-old daughter Emma often joins her in the kitchen, making cookies to sell at the market or helping mom chop mushrooms for one of their best sellers, a creamy chicken and mushroom soup.

Find more information about Wolfe Springs Farm at https://www.honesdalefarms.com or on social media.

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