We talked to: The Freckled Fox Cafe

How long have you been here and what made you want to be in Florence in the first place?

It will be two years in September. We searched all around the area--as far as Monson--but this place just felt right, for a number of reasons. We were looking for the ideal space that fit our vision and budget, included a family play space where parents can let their kids be kids, and felt like part of the town. The business neighbors are great, and the sense of community is wonderful!

What do you love most about Florence/Northampton?

We love how many new, small businesses are popping up, even just in Florence, and how many are run by women. It’s a very empowering feeling and a supportive community to work in.
There are so many family-friendly places, which is very important to us. We love that we can get fresh local produce from local farms and vendors almost all year ‘round. We use Dean’s Beans coffee beans, Sidehill Farm yogurt, greens from a local farm, and chicken from Diemand Farm--just to name a few of our local favorites! And our bagels come from Tandem Bagel and fresh bread from Bread Euphoria. We love supporting other small, local businesses and building respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.

What are some other things you’d like folks to know about the cafe?

As a registered dietician, it’s very important to me that people are aware of what they are eating, where it came from, and what’s going into it. We avoid preservatives and make our offerings in-house, from scratch. One of our most beloved treats is my Aunt Fern’s carrot cake--everything that goes into it as freshly made, from the toasted coconut to the cream cheese frosting. She taught me to make it when I was growing up, and she served it at her own tea/coffee shop near Meriden, CT. We love carrying on this tradition, and our customers rave about it.

We’re also committed to being as eco-conscious as possible, using green energy in the cafe and paper straws instead of plastic. We don’t waste anything--we make our baked goods fresh daily, and anything that is leftover at the end of the day goes to Habitat for Humanity. We also no longer have a water cooler, as we were wasting a great deal of water every day. I’m happy to offer glasses of water to customers, of course, but the large container, while it seemed like a good idea initially, was just too wasteful.

We love that we can offer gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan goodies to customers who have allergies or special diets. We know how health-conscious many people are, and we want them to be able to have nutritious, delicious treats they can feel good about eating.

We also love that we can offer the Cup of Kindness program to our customers, as we are committed to giving back to the community where and when we can. The program allows customers to purchase a coupon--and the cafe matches it--with a particular food item on it, and add it to the tree we have in the cafe. If someone is short on cash, forgets their wallet, or is going through a difficult time, they can take a coupon from the tree and present it to us at the counter, no questions asked, for that particular food item. We’ve been doing this since day one, and it’s our way of encouraging random acts of kindness and making sure people are not going hungry.

And of course, we have to ask--how did you decide upon the name of the cafe?

In recent years, we rescued a Terrier named Mystique who can be very amusing and mischievous. When she’s being especially “naughty”, we call her the Freckled Fox. And that name just made sense for the cafe as well!

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