SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEW10)- In a world filled with large grocery stores that have overtaken small mom-and-pop shops, there’s Old Saratoga Mercantile. A small country-style general store nestled on Route 29 in Schuylerville.
Customers won’t find products with high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or food coloring. They will find zero waste products and a growing bulk section with reducing packaging waste. But these things aren’t what makes Old Saratoga Mercantile the most unique, according to one of the store’s owners.
What sets the store apart is fresh produce that makes its way from the farm’s hoop houses directly to the store’s shelves, even in winter, said co-owner Christina Myers. “We grow year-round, but winter is really our time to shine, ” she said.
Hoop houses look like greenhouses with one exception, they are not heated. Myers said they focus on cold-hardy plants like spinach, arugula, Asian green mixes, watercress, sorrel, Swiss Chard, radishes, and different varieties of kale. The vegetables depend on the sun and the surrounding plastic to keep heat in, she explained.
Two tunnels provide Myers and her husband Tim with 6,000 square feet to grow their winter vegetables but it’s difficult. “We do have heaters in the tunnels, but they are not meant to help grow,” said Myers. “They are there for emergency situations to prevent the plants from dying.”
It’s not uncommon when the temperature dips down into the teens or single digits, for the heaters to use up 10% of their propane supply in a single night. “Most nights though, the plants survive because we cover them with row covers. It’s a chore but saves our plants,” Myers said.
A lot of care is taken to stock Old Saratoga Mercantile with goods from 150 local vendors and an “unmatched” selection of craft beer. Only grass-fed beef and dairy products are sold at the store. Myers and her husband visit the farms to make sure animals are ethically raised. “Because we are small, I say there’s not space for second place. I only bring in the best of the best,” she said.
Myers said they noticed a shift in shopping patterns because of the pandemic but have been lucky enough to be able to keep their shelves full and their prices stable. “We’ve been lucky to have kept a decent supply of these products, as well, and consider ourselves a full-line grocery store. We have a small footprint, but we jam-pack a lot in a little space.”
Old Saratoga Mercantile is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year and is located at 1120 Route 29, Schuylerville. They are open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.