This past weekend I drove out to West Chester to check out the Artisan Exchange market. For those who don’t know, the Artisan Exchange is a collaboration of like-minded entrepreneurs who gather every Saturday, year round, to promote business and sell their hand-crafted, sustainable foods and other artisan goods. The market typically includes over 50 vendors and is open to the public. One of the main attractions at the market is Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters, whose roasting facility is attached to the market’s main corridor.
Frank and Maryann Baldassarre have owned and operated Golden Valley Farms for the last 30 years. I met them both at the market when I visited and got a chance to talk with them quite a bit about their business, their roasting process, their coffee and tea, and the market itself. Maryann and their daughter, Jackie, were manning the booth on the day we were there, offering samples of their shade-grown coffees, including their new cold brew.
Maryann offered to give me a tour of their roasting facility, which is located right next to the market. It was a pretty large space which included their roaster and equipment (obviously) and a bottling/production area. She said that her sons, one of whom studied and mastered his craft in Vermont and the other on the west coast, do most of GVF’s small-batch roasting. The rest of the family works in sales, national distribution, and company branding and advertising.
Golden Valley Farms is one of the few roasters who are triple certified as a USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and Bird-Friendly roaster. I had never even heard of that last one, but Maryann explained that their coffees come from farms that are certified Bird-Friendly by the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center. These farms guarantee not to chop down their canopy of trees growing naturally over their coffee plants. This preserves the habitat of birds that would otherwise fly to their seasonal homes only to find them decimated by deforestation. Without this safekeeping, birds die every year by the thousands. Golden Valley Farms partners with the Smithsonian to support this environmentally critical program by purchasing many of their coffees from farms that have achieved this coveted Bird-Friendly seal. Pretty sweet!
They offer quite the extensive lineup of blends in medium, dark and French roasts. They also offer their coffees in single serve cups (K-cups). Their beans (whole and ground) are available to both wholesale and retail customers and can be found in our area at many area Whole Foods stores, specialty shops, and of course, at the Artisan Exchange market.
They also recently started bottling their new cold brew coffee. Based on the nearly empty ice bucket I found when I visited their booth at the market, I’d say it’s catching on quite nicely. They also offer Cold Brew Pouches for at-home brewing.
The Baldassarre’s offered me a couple of samples to take home and try, including this bag of Guatemalan blend. It’s a medium roast with flavors of brown sugar, maple and figs. I haven’t ground any yet, but I’m eagerly anticipating this delicious bag-o-beans.
I also got to try some of their bottled cold brew which was excellent! Smooth and strong, it’s a delightful drink to sip with breakfast or any time of the day really, especially when it’s hot outside.
It was really refreshing. It’s a bold, dark blend that can be sweetened if you’d like, which is the way Mrs. Grub Guy enjoyed it. But if you’re a black coffee drinker, you’ll love it, too!
I’d like to thank Maryann, Frank and Jackie for their hospitality and for taking the time to show me around and talk with me about their product. Seriously guys, if you’re looking for a really great, local coffee roaster who cares about their coffee – both in origin and end result – then give Golden Valley Farms a try. You can find them at the Artisan Exchange market all year round!
Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters is located at 208 Carter Dr, Ste 13B, West Chester, PA, 19382(Map). You can find them at the Artisan Exchange market every Saturday, from 10:00am – 2:00pm. For more info, feel free to visit their website, or check them out of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.