“A lot of restaurants cater to the tourists or the baseball crowd,” said Dana Leonard. “We really want to focus on the local residents of Cooperstown. We have a sense of community here — this is my farm — this is my food — this is my community — that is what we are about.”
When the sisters decided to practice responsible food service they asked their parents for guidance. Brent and Mary Leonard have owned and operated Carefree Gardens for almost 30 years. Brent Leonard built a summer greenhouse café for his daughter so the mobile food truck would have a home base.
“When we were in South America, we were inspired to do something at home,” Kristen Leonard said. “When we came back and talked to our parents, Dad built the café house so we could park the truck here.”
The café is in the middle of Carefree Gardens nursery, located at 558 Beaver Meadow Road in Cooperstown. There is an eclectic mix of seating surrounded by lush foliage and flowering plants. In addition to menu items, the sisters have on display a collection of fairly traded, handmade items acquired during their travels.
Origins Café is a seasonal restaurant that opens in the spring and closes in the fall. When the cafe closes, the sisters travel to other countries, learning about sustainable farming and responsible stewardship of the land.
Next winter, they are scheduled to harvest olives in Greece.