Employee News

Hey Cupcake! Albro’s Tasty Treats are a Holland Farms Standout!

No comments

When you stop into Holland Farms Bakery & Deli, one thing you’re sure to notice right away is our display case filled with beautifully decorated cakes, cupcakes and treats. Behind these designs is Sheila Albro, lead cake decorator at Holland Farms.

Sheila has worked at Holland Farms for two and a half years, but she’s been decorating cakes for more than 12 years. “My mom and sister are both cake decorators, so I grew up with it,” Sheila said. As part of her responsibilities at Holland Farms, Sheila works directly with clients to help them create the custom cake of their dreams, as well as creating numerous cake and cupcake designs which are sold daily in the bakery case.

Sheila said that she produces 30 to 40 cakes on a daily basis that are displayed and sold in the bakery case, as well as hundreds of cupcakes each week. One of the main highlights of working at Holland Farms for Sheila is the ability to put her imagination to work. “Here, I have the freedom to be as creative as I want,” she said. “I especially love getting creative with the cupcakes.”

Sheila enjoys working directly with baker Mark Scott on new cake and cupcake creations, as well as the rest of the staff at Holland Farms. “The staff here at Holland Farms is a close-knit group of people. It’s almost a family atmosphere.” Although she is surrounded by her own delectable creations all day, Sheila says her preferred Holland Farms treat is a seasonal favorite. “I love our Dutch almond sticks, which are available during the holidays.”

Sheila makes her home in Vernon Center with her husband and two children. An added perk to working with sweet treats all day? “When I get home my kids follow me around smiling – they love that I smell like frosting!”

Holland FarmsHey Cupcake! Albro’s Tasty Treats are a Holland Farms Standout!
read more

Shepherd Keeps Holland Farms Ship-Shape


As operations manager at Holland Farms, Carla Shepherd is constantly busy making sure the day-to-day operations of the bakery and deli run smoothly. For the past four years, Carla has served in this capacity at Holland Farms – a career choice that makes her look forward to coming to the office every day.

Carla has been at Holland Farms for 11 years, beginning her career as a part-time bookkeeper for the company. When the company realigned in 2007, she was asked to come on board full-time as the operations manager. “I oversee the day-to-day general operations of the business,” Carla said. “My job entails a lot of human resource work, including new hire orientations.” Carla added that additionally, she works with vendors and handles some aspects of customer service as well. “I try to help wherever I’m needed.”

Carla said that Holland Farms is a great place to work for a combination of reasons. “I enjoy the customers and the staff here at Holland Farms,” Carla said. “The behind-the-scenes people are amazing – I’m always in awe of the amount of product that we make here each and every day.” Carla also said that because Holland Farms produces high-quality goods, an unhappy customer is a rarity. “The consistency of the product we sell keeps customers happy – and coming back for more,” she said.

While most people might consider the sweet offerings at Holland Farms to be the most delectable, Carla simply cannot get enough of the coffee. “I just absolutely love our coffee,” Carla said. “On my days off, I find myself wanting to come in for some. I just can’t wait to get that first cup of coffee after a couple of days off.” Holland Farms co-owner Suzanne Harrington knows how much Carla loves Holland Farms coffee – “I was up north at our camp on a week’s vacation, and Suzanne showed up with some Holland Farms coffee for me – she knew how much I’d be missing it!”

When she isn’t at work, you’ll find Carla spending time with her husband of 23 years and her son, who is a senior in high school. A life-long resident of Oneida County, Carla also enjoys reading and travel, and has a special place in her heart for children and animals.

Holland FarmsShepherd Keeps Holland Farms Ship-Shape
read more

Ramon Zayas – Our Master Baker

No comments

You might not realized that behind-the-scenes at Holland Farms Bakery & Deli, a world-famous baker is busy preparing the delicious pastries, donuts, breads and cakes for the day. But every day Ramon Zayas, production manager at Holland Farms does just that. Ramon has garnered fame for being in the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s largest jelly donut – baked on January 21, 1993 and weighing 1.7 tons – but his top priority is serving the people of the Mohawk Valley the very best in baked goods.

Ramon, who formerly owned Donato’s Bakery in Utica, has worked at Holland Farms for the last 17 years. He has been a baker for 37 years, and lends this experience to his role at Holland Farms. “I do pretty much everything in the bakery here,” Ramon said, adding that he oversees the entire bakery, buys supplies, maintains inventory, and trains and cross-trains new employees.

Ramon is also active on a national level, serving as past president for the New York Bakers Association, as a board member for the Retail Bakers of America, and serving as current president for the New York Bakers’ Association.

But it is at Holland Farms that Ramon is most at home. “I absolutely love the people here,” Ramon said. “The staff is hard-working and conscientious, and the volume of baked goods we produce every day is phenomenal,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to be able to serve people.”

Ramon said that even after all these years; he still loves to eat sweets every day. And although he’s world-renowned for his famous jelly buns, he is especially proud of his cheesecake recipe. “It’s a real New York cheesecake. I went to Queens to learn the recipe – pure cream cheese from top to bottom. It’s delicious!”

A native of the Utica area, Ramon and his wife of 34 years have five children and five grandchildren.

Holland FarmsRamon Zayas – Our Master Baker
read more

Holland Farms Spotlight: Dorothy Holmes

No comments

If you’ve ever stopped into Holland Farms in the afternoon, chances are you’ve met Dorothy Holmes. Dorothy has been serving up delicious Holland Farms coffee for more than eight years – always with a smile.

Dorothy worked in an office for 36 years before coming to Holland Farms – a departure for which she was both apprehensive and excited. “I had worked in corporate America all my life, and when I decided to look for a part-time job, I figured I’d be working in an office,” Dorothy said. She found herself applying for a position at Holland Farms, and was quickly won over by the personalities of the owners. “Marolyn and Suzanne were so friendly and nice when I applied, they won me over,” she said.

At first, working at Holland Farms was very different for Dorothy, who had limited customer contact in her previous employment. “I spoke with people mainly over the phone and by computer,” she said. Dorothy soon realized that she enjoyed the daily personal contact with the Holland Farms patrons. “We get a lot of repeat customers in the afternoon. I’ve gotten to know them and look forward to seeing them every day.”

When faced with revealing her favorite menu item from Holland Farms, Dorothy said she has too many to choose just one. “I’m a dessert person. I love chocolate, so I love the cream puffs, the brownies, the half moons… it’s a long, long list.”

Even sweeter than the baked goods, though, is the working environment, according to Dorothy. “The employers are great to work for, and I enjoy our customers. It’s very friendly here.” As an example, Dorothy mentioned the very special birthday she was surprised with last December. “When I showed up at work, Marolyn and Suzanne had a tiara and a cake for my 80th birthday, as well as signs in all the windows. It was such a surprise, and so thoughtful.”

Dorothy, who is a widow with four children and three grandsons, said that her secret for a happy life is keeping active. In her spare time, she loves travel, especially by bus. She also enjoys theater, and has seen The Phantom of the Opera three times. She is looking forward to an upcoming bus trip to NYC, where she will see Sister Act on Broadway and will visit the 9/11 Memorial.

Holland FarmsHolland Farms Spotlight: Dorothy Holmes
read more

Holland Farms Spotlight – Maureen Dingle

No comments

Preparing one meal a day for a family can sometimes seem like a daunting task – imagine overseeing two kitchens that produce several hundreds of pounds of food a day! That’s just a day in the life for Holland Farms Bakery & Deli Kitchen Manager Maureen Dingle, though. She oversees both the salad kitchen and hot foods kitchen at Holland Farms – a role she has played for almost a decade.

Maureen, who generally oversees a staff of three during the winter and six throughout the summer months, is responsible for the production of all the cooked menu items at Holland Farms – from their famous potato salad to their amazing barbeque. If it’s on the menu, it’s there because Maureen has worked to make sure the Holland Farms kitchens are operating smoothly and efficiently.

“I like the fact that here, we’re allowed to work independently,” Maureen said. “We’re allowed to manage our departments the way we know will work best.” Maureen said that the enjoyable working environment is one of the main reasons she’s worked at Holland Farms for the last eight years. “It’s very easy to work here,” she said.

Of course, one of the great things about working for Holland Farms is the food – both from the bakery and the deli. “I’d have to say my favorite dish from the Holland Farms kitchen is our chicken riggies,” Maureen said, adding that jelly buns are her favorite baked good, with banana rolls coming in a close second. “If you haven’t tried our banana rolls, you really have to – they’re delicious!”

A lifelong resident of the Mohawk Valley, Maureen currently lives in Ilion. She has two adult children, six grandchildren, and one on the way. In her spare time, she enjoys painting. “I’m an artist on the side,” she said, adding that she likes to paint nature scenes, children, and murals for her grandchildren.

Holland FarmsHolland Farms Spotlight – Maureen Dingle
read more

Holland Farms Spotlight: Gail Ann Sfeir

No comments

For 17 years, Gail Ann Sfeir has been providing smiles – and delicious dishes – to the patrons of Holland Farms Bakery & Deli. In her role as Deli Sales Manager, Gail Ann is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the deli, including ordering deli meats, training new employees and making sure that all aspects of the deli are in tip-top shape.

“What we provide to our customers here at Holland Farms are homemade products that we’re proud to serve every day,” Gail Ann said. “Everything is scratch-baked and made fresh. Customers sometimes ask things like, ‘Are these real mashed potatoes?’ Of course they’re real! We believe fresh is best.”

Gail Ann resides in Sauquoit with her husband of 40 years. They have three grown daughters, as well as three granddaughters. Prior to joining Holland Farms, Gail Ann owned and operated a meat market and deli with her husband. This experience allowed her to bring immeasurable knowledge to the table in her role as Deli Sales Manager.

In addition, her love of cooking has also assisted her in her role. “Utica Greens are my real specialty,” she said. “Holland Farms is the place to come for traditional Utica dishes, like greens, tomato pie, riggies and, of course, half moons.” In fact, of all the delectable offerings at Holland Farms, half moons are among Gail Ann’s favorites. “You can’t beat our chocolate-on-chocolate half moons,” she said. “They’re the best!”

But it isn’t just the sweets and Italian-inspired dishes that have kept Gail Ann at Holland Farms for more than a decade and a half. “The employers here are easy to work for and very compassionate, and we always have a lot of fun together,” Gail Ann said. “And we have so many loyal customers that I have gotten to know over the years. Being able to provide them with quality products, and giving them a smile to go along with it, really makes my day!”

Holland FarmsHolland Farms Spotlight: Gail Ann Sfeir
read more