Margi Neary was one of the first neighbors we met after moving to Sharon Springs. At the time we were still "weekenders," and since we frequently arrived late Friday nights we didn't have supplies for breakfast Saturday mornings. So we were pointed in the direction of "My Sister's Cafe," a cozy cafe Margi used to run. The food was amazing, as were her jams and other small batch foodstuffs.
When we decided that we wanted to offer food items along side our goat milk soaps and heirloom linens, we turned first to Margi. We had developed our Blaak Cheese and wanted to find the perfect compliment for it. Margi suggested Onion Jam, made from local onions and maple syrup, and it was a match made in, well, Sharon Springs.
Onion jam exploded. (The sales. Not the jars.) It has since been featured in Martha Stewart Living and Rachel Ray Magazine. Margi's business has grown so substantially that she's had to close the cafe to concentrate on an expanding catering business, MOSdelicious, specializing in catering using local foods.
We can go on and on praising all the homegrown talent found in Sharon Springs. But instead, we'll let Margi tell you a little more about herself:
Where do you live? I live in the historic village of Sharon Springs.
Who's in your family? I share my circa 1865 home with my sister and her husband. I have another sister and her husband who also live in the village. Our youngest sister and her husband live in Troy and my brother - the only boy -- lives and works in the Berkshires. I am the very proud mom of a young man who is an artist living in the exciting and inspiring city of New Orleans.
How long have you been practicing your craft? Coming from a large family – I have been cooking most of my life. I always loved to entertain and was notorious for trying things out on guests at parties. Fortunately, most of the time it worked out and I have managed to keep my friends to this day!
Can you describe the moment you first discovered your passion for your craft? When I was a little girl, my grandmother would send me out to the garden with my grandfather to pick vegetables for dinner. My grandfather would carry a saltshaker in his back pocket and as we picked, we ate. This is where I learned to appreciate local and how the work and love put into a crop made everything taste so much better.
As an artisan, your hands are your most important tool. If you could hold the hands of any person, living or dead, who would it be? My mother and father – without their love, support, and guidance through out my life I would not have been able to do what I do.
What's your favorite item that you make for beekman 1802, and why? Onion Jam because it is local, fresh, homemade and unusual – it is a versatile product that can be used with so many other local products – meat, eggs, cheese, and other vegetables.
What's your favorite item on Beekman 1802 that's not one of your own, and why? Michael McCarthy’s metal work – it is raw, organic beauty.
What's your advice for people who want to follow their passion like you do? Everything is possible, you just need to dare to dream, follow what you love and believe you can do so even if the road to get there is filled with twists and turns.
Check out Margi's famous Onion Jam: