The words “local, sustainability and relationships” describe the experience that three native North Enders want to bring to the neighborhood with the grand opening this week of Local Roots Market on Hanover Street.
Local Roots is an urban, farmers market where fruit is “fast food” and the specialized grocery is offering regionally sourced vegetables, organic cage-free eggs, organic milk, artisan bread and grass-fed beef. Nuts, candies and specialty canned and jar products are also be available on the shelves.
Growing up in the North End forged a lifelong bond among the three young owners, Marco Imbergamo, Ralph Verrocchi and Daniel D’Elia. For Ralph and Daniel, this is their second neighborhood business, having opened the neighboring My Cousin’s Place coffee shop last year. “Hard work pays off and makes anything possible,” said Ralph about how they made the coffee and sandwich shop into a success.
Marco brings years of experience and relationships with local farmers to the new store. “I want to pass on what I have learned from working on a farm in Lexington. I know many Massachusetts and New England farmers first hand and can bring that back to the North End,” said Marco, who now lives in Canton.
Giving the term “fresh” a new meaning, several produce products will be available in the store less than 18 hours after coming out of the ground. Marco’s wife, Jane Imbergamo, described the concept as “cutting out the middleman.”
“The North End is known for its great restaurants, but we want it to be known for its great groceries,” said Daniel. In addition to offering convenience to North End residents, the store is looking to customers of all ages that want to eat healthier through fresh food.
Farmers markets have long had an appeal to residents as a way to eat healthy while supporting the local economy and business owners. Local food keeps more of its natural vitamins and minerals without the negative preservatives and packaging methods needed to ship and store food for long periods. Should the Boston Public Market open in downtown’s Parcel 7, Local Roots is counting on their North End neighbors and varied distribution from several farms to differentiate their products.
When the new owners were looking to source artisan bread, they attempted to support another North End business, Bricco Panetteria. They were surprised and disappointed when North End restauranteur and owner, Frank DePasquale, refused to sell to them wholesale as he does elsewhere in the neighborhood. Instead, they turned to Iggy’s in Cambridge for their artisan bread supply.
More supportive has been property owner and developer, Phil DeNormandie, who is not only their landlord but will also be supplying grass-fed beef from his Massachusetts cattle farm. New England farmers have responded to local year-round demand using greenhouses to grow winter fruit and vegetables, such as Backyard Farms that grows tomatoes in Maine. Another farm in Jaffrey, New Hampshire will be supplying organic milk, eggs and fresh dairy products.
The enthusiastic North End entrepreneurs have big plans on how to grow the business down the road through wholesale and prepared foods. For now, they are taking it step-by-step to build a quality reputation in the world of sustainable food.
Local Roots is at 402 Hanover Street in Boston’s North End. The store is open 7 days a week, until 7pm (earlier on Sunday) and also offers local delivery. Call the store at (857) 263-7455 and find more information at their Facebook page.