By: Cherise Harper
1) Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what your passions are?
My name is Hope Glick. I'm married to the most supportive and loving man, Jr. Glick. We are going on our 4th year of marriage and couldn't be more excited for what God has in the future for us. He has been so faithful in this season of change and uncertainty and we owe it all to Him.
I'm also the owner of Half Dozen Cafe located in the Reading Fairgrounds Farmers’ Markets. We are very new, only 7 weeks in, but very excited to finally be open!
Cooking, specifically baking is one of my passions. It relaxes me and allows me to be creative.
Oddly enough, cutting hair is also one of my passions. I've worked as a barber the past nine years. Again, it allows me to be creative but has guidelines too. I still love cutting hair but looking ahead I felt like it was not what I wanted to be doing in another 9 years.
2) How long have you been working in the food industry and what made you want to open a café?
Opening a market stand never would have been a dream of mine if it wasn't for my sister and her organic deli, Foosies.
She also had a stand at the Market. Working for her during the five years she had her stand is where the vision started for mine.
But, ultimately, it really started with my parents. They began going to markets many years ago. Philadelphia, West Chester and New Jersey were some of the seasonal outdoor markets we would go to. They sold the organic chicken they raised on their farm, along with some organic produce and dairy products.
They have had an established stand at Reading Fairgrounds for the last 10 years. They have seen so many changes with the demand of local and especially organic food. It was so exciting to be a part of the change and help people learn why they should eat organic food.
So, I guess you could say I've been in the food industry since I was young. But, only last year did the idea spark for me to have a stand in the market. It had never crossed my mind before because I had always worked for my sister, parents and as a barber.
When my sister sold her stand, once again there was no prepared organic food in the market so it seemed like something was missing. Then, this past fall, a stand opened up next to my parents and it was just to good to be true! Three months and a lot of hard work and the Half Dozen Cafe opened.
The meaning behind the name of my cafe comes from my dear mother. Each one of my siblings has helped so much in the process that I wanted a unique name. Nothing was sticking until we thought about how often my mom responds to the question of how many children they have. She always responds with "a half dozen."
3) The café is organic. What exactly does that mean?
My sister and I would always say, "It's real. Real food." But really, that is what it is! There are no GMOs (genetically modified organisms), no high fructose corn syrup or chemicals like aspartame. Organic foods have no harmful sprays like pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on them. They also have no additives, hydrogenated oils or artificial colors.
It’s just real, wholesome, delicious food.
4) Sourcing organic foods can be difficult. Could you tell us a little bit about where your ingredients come from and how they are harvested?
We work with my parents and Paradise Organics for all of our produce. If my mom has, for example, some extra broccoli I'll use it the following week. So, my menu and prepared foods are often dictated by what produce is local and in season.
All of our meat is sourced from my family's farm in Reinholds. They raise chicken, steers, and pigs. They are organically raised and grass fed when the season permits.
My younger brother, Caleb, has a chicken processing business for small farms across the state and beyond. Every Tuesday he butchers chickens for my parents’ stand and myself. So, I can guarantee that the chickens I use are the freshest and highest quality you will ever eat.
Caleb also raises grass fed layers for the farm fresh eggs I use. Right now, I go through about a case a week which is about 16 dozen. Again, they are the freshest eggs you can get, high in omega 3s, the yolks are a bright orange in color because they are raised outside.
Most of my other baking ingredients are sourced from United Natural Foods, a wholesale company based out of York. From them, I can get chia seeds, almond flour, coconut milk and more for my week’s menu.
The coffee I use is just simply the best in my opinion! New Holland Coffee Co. is a local cafe and roaster of the best beans. Right now we offer Ethiopian, a house blend, and decaf Colombian, all organic. We also have frappes and espresso drinks where we use Joe's Organic Syrups as well as a house-made salted caramel sauce.
5) I’ve noticed a case of prepared foods at the café. What types of foods do you have available and how do you decide what to make each week?
One of the perks of owning the cafe is the freedom to make whatever I want! I always have a variety to choose from but, I also have some staples that won't change. Chicken Salad and Egg Salad are customer favorites that I will always have on hand. Other items will change seasonally. For example, our Chia Seed Pudding will change with what is in season. Right now we have a Peach Raspberry Chia Pudding that is the perfect amount of sweet and tart!
6) What is your vision for the café for the future?
Right now that's hard to say because I feel like I'm still working through the vision for starting the cafe. The stand is so new and I am in the process of figuring out what my customers want too. I know I would like to be more involved in the community. I believe Reading is such a unique city and has so much to offer and I want to be a part of that.
7) Do you carry any gluten-free or diet-restrictive foods such as dairy-free or vegan?
Yes! Even though we are not a gluten-free facility, I always try to carry some items that are gluten-free, same with dairy-free and vegan. I love to bake and experiment with recipes so the variety is always changing unless I find a favorite. One that has become a customer favorite is our Raw Cashew Cheesecake. It’s made with soaked cashews, maple syrup, with a nut-based crust.
8) What is the most exciting part of owning the café?
I'd say the most exciting thing is that I am able to work for myself and use my passion for cooking and baking every week.
9) Is there anything you would like your customers to know?
That they can trust my high standards for food and ingredients will never change and I will only ever offer the best to them. They can always trust that their food will be sourced locally, when possible, and always come from trusted sources. I will continue striving to serve the best, organic foods possible.
10) And, last, could you tell us your all-time favorite meal and why you love it so much?
It's contantly changing! I find a favorite and then something else comes along and it's my new favorite! Right now, I'd have to say its my Chicken Parmesan served with "Zucchini Noodles" and my own marinara sauce. Mmhhh...now I'm hungry for it!