CARLEY Franklin HUGHES
I am the child of back-to-the-landers who had settled in rural West Virginia, so farm fresh food was part of my world from the time I was born. As soon as I could walk, I would disappear into the garden or the woods picking, weeding and foraging. This love combined with fond memories of my Ukrainian grandmother’s baking would eventually inspire me to create Ella’s Bellas.
A couple of years after moving to the Hudson Valley, I found myself with a small child, a yellow mutt and lots of untapped creative energy. Since food was the passion that I always seemed to return to, and even though I had no formal training, Ella’s Bellas was born. I loved taking Ella to the local farms with me to pick produce or work in our garden. I wanted that element to stay a part of the structure of Ella’s Bellas, so we still have a shop garden for herbs and basics. We’ve also been working on berry patches and an orchard to supply the shop. In addition to these foundations, now that we have the expanded retail space we are able to support more farmers and give the community a gathering place. We host CSAs and sell seasonal local produce on the counter.
Ella’s Bellas has always been a family affair – In the early days, Jason would do dishes, clean and make deliveries, Ella would let me cook during naps and help me stir when she was awake. When we outgrew the home kitchen, they came with me to the store. Working with my family by my side has helped me with the struggle of being a working mom.
I am a perfectionist and I impart that into all of my recipes and all of my ingredient sourcing. Ella’s Bellas recipes have been developed with great attention to detail. The rule is that if everyone in the kitchen doesn’t love it then we try again.
Please let me know if you have any questions! Thank you for everything.