Queens County Market Bustles with Business

Local Entrepreneurs Look To Make It Big

Entrepreneurs from across New York City had their wares out for display for the fourth Queens County Market, held on Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in Long Island City.

In the photo at left, the husband-and-wife team of Melanie Aure and Darrin DuFord show off their fancy ketchups and spreads which are sold under the name Mel’s Melting Pot. In the photo at right, Ravi Jolly prepares a fresh batch of samples of his “iheartkeenwah” quinoa-based snacks.

The market, the brainchild of Rego Park resident Katrina Schultz Richter, made its first appearance in the area after three events at Sunnyside Community Services.

Richter, who works in the hospitality industry, created the market while investigating the possibility of starting her own food business.

While the comparatively small space at the Laughing Devil meant that many vendors applying for space were turned down, plently of merchants were still setting up tables.

Among them was Ravi Jolly, whose quinoa-based snack company, iheartkeenwah, has risen from its humble beginnings in Jackson Heights to distribution throughout New York and Chicago as well as mentions in national magazines.

According to Jolly, the idea for iheartkeenwah came after Jolly and his business partner took a trip to Bolivia and saw the grain used in a variety of ways. While most quinoa is boiled to create a dish not unlike couscous or other pasta dishes, Jolly and his partner discovered that it could also be turned into a baking powder or sprouted into an edible plant.

Also plying their wares on corn dogs were condiments from Mel’s Melting Pot, the brainchild of Melanie Aure and her husband Darrin DuFord. A relatively new venture for the Astoria couple (having begun operating last October), Mel’s Melting Pot already has distribution in two stores in Manhattan.

Their fruit ketchups and applesauce use ingredients from farms in New York and Canada.

Richter told the Times Newsweekly that the Queens County Market will continue to travel throughout the borough for now, but she hopes to find a permanent location for it based on demand.

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