HALFMOON – Jim Laiacona and his wife Jeanne, of Newtonville, have teamed up with Doug Freeman and his wife Jen, of Troy, to create a family-owned fish market in Halfmoon. Harvest Moon Market opened up shop on Route 9, Dec. 16, bringing with it years of expertise and big hopes of becoming a community favorite.
Jeanne Laiacona said her husband Jim met Doug Freeman, their fish specialist, at the Menands Regional Market. “The Menands Market still has many of the great produce houses of the Albany area, despite the changing nature of the business over the decades,” she said, adding,”The rule is that all wholesalers want to be retailers and Jim and Doug are no exception.”
Prior to opening Harvest Moon Market, Jim Laiacona was involved in businesses including American Fresh Produce, Harvest Cut Produce and Processing, and Laiacona Produce. Jeanne noted her father in law was once known as the Celery King of Troy.
Freeman previously worked at Brickman Produce and Seafood and at the Two Cousin’s Fish Market in Albany.
After working in education for over 30 years, Jeanne Laiacona sees the market as a chance to try her hand at something new. “Now, I get to experiment with fresh ingredients and recipes and play with Dougie’s chef friends,” she said. “What a wonderful world where we all get a third act, this time with fish!”
The Laiacona’s son, Jesse, has been learning the ins and outs of the trade with his father and Freeman, cooking with his parents and working behind the register, according to his mother. “He makes some of our best-selling products,” she said. “ The joke is that anything stuffed (lobster tails or salmon pinwheels) or stacked (lasagna or eggplant) is his area,” she added.
The market has received great support from the Halfmoon-Clifton Park community. “They have seen our sign and have been waiting for us to open, even yelling at us for not doing it sooner,” said Laiacona This, she said, confirms the notion that there was a real need for a fresh fish market in the area.
Harvest Moon Market gets its fish from Boston where Freeman has a longstanding relationship with major fish houses and area chefs. He “doesn’t sell anything without knowing all about where, when and how it was caught,” explained Laiacona.
She noted the benefit of generational relationships with local farmers and the wholesale connections that allow the market access to the best produce “ even now in January.”
“We would like the store to be an extension of our home and hospitality,” said Laiacona. “We want people to leave stimulated, amused, and nourished in food and senses.”