Sweets in Utica
A gem that is well known in the city of Utica is Holland Farms. This is a local bakery that is known for its delicious half-moon cookies. Holland Farms began as a milk delivery service in 1928 by John Piersma. John and his wife Evlyn each had their own trucks and delivered milk around Utica. It wasn’t until a few decades later that the delivery service soon turned into a bakery and a deli. In 1955, Piersma opened the first Holland Farms Bakery and Deli in Yorkville, NY. However, the milk delivery service continued up until the early 1990’s. It wasn’t until his daughters, Suzanne P. Harrington and Marolyn Wilson, that the bakery grew exponentially.
In the early 1980’s, Suzanne and her sister Marolyn took over the bakery as co-owners. They instantly made changes to the bakery by expanding it and marketing the business. Here the company grew into a well known business in both Utica and upstate NY. This was also the birth of Jelly Bun month and the perfection of Half Moon cookies.
Marolyn is responsible for Holland Farm’s first commercial about Jelly Buns. She asked people how they would eat their Jelly Bun’s and used their responses for a commercial. This led to the creation of February being known as Jelly Bun Month. Marolyn created a month long holiday with her genius idea. This boosted sales in the months of January, February and March.
“Service with a smile”
Jelly Buns were one of the first products that Holland Farm’s had. It is a fried doughnut that is filled with very high quality raspberry jelly. The doughnut is either rolled in confectioners sugar, glazed, or served plane. Half Moons were not started in Holland Farms but the recipe has been known to be the best here.
An interesting fact about Holland Farms is that the entire staff is female. Marolyn believes that females are great employees and also put more passion and love into making and serving the baked goods and coffee. I witnessed this entering the bakery. Once I entered, I was instantly greeted with smiling faces and welcoming “Hello’s.” I knew immediately that the atmosphere in Holland Farm’s was much warmer than anywhere else I had been previously in Utica.
Holland Farms is fluid in the production of its half-moon cookies since they prepare the ingredients the night before. In the morning they bake the frozen cookie dough to have them ready for the early birds. The half-moon cookies are not necessarily cookies. The cookie itself has more of a cake like consistency that is made in either vanilla or chocolate. The frosting is split into vanilla and chocolate icing.
This cookie is very popular in upstate New York and has expanded into the rest of the nation. Half Moons are so popular around the country that Holland Farms has resorted to shipping boxes of cookies to people all over the nation. The recipe has been repeated multiple times. However, many Uticans believe that Holland Farms has perfected the recipe. This is because the cookies are made from scratch and the ingredients are high quality.
I gave some Half Moon cookies to students at Pratt Munson Williams Proctor arts Institute and here is what they had to say. Haley Henriksen from Pratt said that the Half Moon chocolate is very delicious. She said found that the vanilla part of the cookie was very tasteful since it was a type of vanilla she hadn’t really had before. This was an interesting case for Hailey since her favorite sweet is chocolate. Arisa Thaweeskulchai liked that the frosting was not too sweet and that the frosting melted in her mouth. She enjoyed that the bread was very soft and chewy. Arisa and I both noted that the look of the cookie, specifically the frosting could be better. But overall, every individual that had a Half Moon or any pastry from Holland Farms enjoyed it. Holland Farm’s takes its production quality seriously and it is respected amongst the community.
By Eureka Du
An escape from the customary flavor; Beijing House serves some of the most authentic Chinese cuisine in Utica.
Beijing House has been running in Utica for about ten years. It has always dedicated itself to serve the local community. The restaurant owner, Chen Caibin, developed the Chinese menu to accommodate the tastes of the local people. With its international flavor, Beijing House is supported by its surrounding community. What is attractive about the Beijing house other than tasty, flavorful food is the welcoming and warm environment we feel once we enter. Chinese classical furniture and ornaments allow customers to feel a pleasant atmosphere. There is another group of customers who choose to take out. Beijing house uses mostly ready-made materials to prepare its dishes. However, comparing to most fast-food restaurants around Utica, Beijing house provides our community with healthy and delicious food in a short time. The restaurant has always been packed and has not encountered any serious setbacks.
Life in Utica is different compared to Mr.Chen’s life back in China. However, with this successful business, Mr. Chen is living pleasantly with his family now. His family moved to New York City in 2000. To make a living, they decided to open a Chinese Restaurant. The location of Utica, the lack of competition, and the affordable rent brought them here, and that is how the story of Beijing House began.
Besides being a successful business in Utica and a source of income for the family, Beijing House shows how Utica is a culturally friendly environment for all individuals with all kinds of ethnic backgrounds.