Backcountry Market offers home-cooked food, eclectic produce and art exhibits at NEK | Business | Seven days
Two weeks ago, Justin Mason made his first trip to Hinterland market, a new store in South Albany. Mason, 24, is the deputy clerk of his hometown of Albany. He noted and enjoyed the array of inventory: homemade pretzels and kimchi, hot sauce and return candy, and a spicy flavor of potato chips from Lay’s – India’s Magic Masala – which he never had before. eaten before.
“I think it adds a bit of variety, of uniqueness to Albany,” Mason said. “It’s good that they bring a little bit of culture, which I personally think the city needs.”
Karin Weiner and Aaron Malys opened Hinterland Market on South Albany Road in June. The multi-talented artistic couple, who resurrected the village’s old general store, are creating their own brand of cultural hub, as Mason observed. They stocked the store with local yogurt and eggs, Vietnamese bánh tráng and pho shipped from Brooklyn, a display of vintage clothing and locally made baked goods. Described on its website as “the bodega in the middle of nowhere”, Hinterland Market is also home to an exhibition of paintings by a native of Southern Albany. Eunice Rowell Kinsey.
The market occupies a large, timber-framed building that was the South Albany store a century ago. The brown clapboard structure on a dirt road dates back to 1917, a few years after a fire ravaged most of the city. At that time, owners sleighed to Barton in the winter to buy supplies for the market, and farmers stocked up on grain there. Townspeople gathered in the building to play cards, watch silent films and dance to live music.
These days, Weiner, 50, and Malys, 49, are bringing the old store to life in a thoughtful and playful way, after multiple owners and five decades of dormancy.
Weiner grew up in Warren and majored in art at the University of Vermont. She moved to New York after college, rented a studio, and started making art. She then exhibited her collages and sculptures across the country while working at various concerts in New York City: serving in restaurants; painting houses; running a “fake” general store, as she put it; and work as a thrift store picker / buyer.
Malys worked in New York as an art director, photographer and graphic designer. One of his interests is the design and construction of skateboards. Although Weiner and Malys had lived about a mile from each other in Brooklyn for over 20 years, they never met until five years ago in Vermont, where both had moved.
They were ready to leave New York for a change of scenery and, for Weiner, a return to his country of origin. She was experiencing “a little urban burnout”, she said, “and wanted to return to the countryside”.
The couple live mainly in a 19th century Montpellier carriage shed that they have emptied and renovated. Four years ago they bought the old South Albany general store and started spending their summers there. With a pond to the rear, a garden across the road, and apple trees with branches hanging over a side patio, the property has made for an attractive seasonal camp.
They pitched the idea of opening a business and envisioned an art gallery in South Albany or a skate shop in Montpellier. Plans for the backcountry market sprouted last winter, when the couple thought: “May be [the space] deserves to be a store again“Weiner said.
At her home in Montpellier, Weiner practiced baking and taught herself to make what she calls “authentic pretzels”. In February, she posted a review on Front Porch Forum, offering pretzels to the neighborhood. The first weekend she got orders for 14 dozen. Malys added kimchi and hot sauce to the homemade products, and soon they had a mini catering business with weekly pickups on their porch.
“It kept us busy and not depressed during the pandemic,” Weiner said.
These efforts were the springboard for the opening of the hinterland market in June. (Coincidentally, another store opened in Albany that month, the community-backed Genny: Albany General Store on Route 14.)
The backcountry market offers Weiner pretzels and Malys ferments. Weiner also makes bread and meat pies. Savory pastries are stuffed with meat from Sweet Rowen Farm in East Albany; their shells are a bright yellow, colored by the turmeric that Weiner adds to the dough.
Market items include pantry staples and world foods, such as panko, borscht, and chin-su sauce. There are baked beans, sardines, ranch dressing and toothpaste. The store also carries a selection of non-food items including yarn, hummingbird feeders, toys, crayons, and bear grease ointment made from Cate Hill Orchard in Greensboro.
“We have fun finding eclectic things to mix with general store merchandise,” Weiner said. “And we would like to have a wider variety of things.”
Neighbors appreciate what the hinterland market brings to the region. On a recent Saturday, Jim Daniels and his 11-year-old son, Fred, ate Necco Meat Pies and Wafers on the porch. Fred said he liked having a store within a 10-minute drive of his home in East Albany. Daniels, a carpenter, said he was happy with the nature of the business.
“It always amazes me that every city [in Vermont] has a pizzeria and a creemee, ”he said. “I have always found it indulgent and over the top. I appreciate that this store seems to be above all an aesthetic project and the creation of a community space. ”
Recently, Weiner and Malys cleared space to make way for Hinterland Market’s first art exhibit: Kinsey Watercolors. They hung 14 of them, painted his signature on the wall and organized a wine-free opening, at the artist’s request.
“She was like a princess around the corner,” Weiner said of Kinsey at the opening.
Kinsey, who turns 94 on October 24, resides a few miles from the Craftsbury Farm Market where she has lived since 1949. From her porch, she can see across the fields a maple tree that stands at the intersection of Craftsbury, Glover. and Greensboro – towns his ancestors helped settle.
The exhibition features a selection of Kinsey illustrations from The Rowell Girls: Two Generations of a Vermont Farm Family, the 2003 book she wrote with her older sister, Louise Rowell Kinsey. (Louise and Eunice share a birthday; Louise will be 95 this month.)
Created at the behest of their daughters, the book tells the stories of Louise and Eunice’s childhood on the family farm in South Albany. At that time, the farmhouse overlooked what is now the backcountry market.
Eunice Kinsey first learned that the former South Albany store had been brought back to life by her son Earl, 67. He did some “tinkering” on the building, he said, including lifting it and rebuilding the foundation.
Kinsey’s paintings have been exhibited before, including at Vermont Folk Center in Middlebury and Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury. When she told Weiner that she had 14 of her 44 watercolors left, they arranged to put on a show in Hinterland.
“I hadn’t planned on anything except to reveal that I didn’t know what to do with the paints,” Kinsey said. “At my age, I am thinking of emptying the house.”
Six of the paintings were sold by September 30; the remaining watercolors, all for sale, will be hung in the backcountry market until the season closes at the end of October. During the winter, Weiner and Malys will fill online orders and sell their pretzels at Uncommon market in Montpellier, Roots Farm Market in Middlesex and Plainfield Cooperative.
Earl Kinsey recalled showing up to the market at the opening with a question for the owners. “I’m new here,” he joked. “Where the hell is the hinterland?” ”
People find out.