2021 Small Bites
January 20, 2021
created for farmers, food manufacturers, distributors, grocers, & anyone else interested in how food moves
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Laurie's is made locally & sold at Dan & Whit's in Norwich & available to stock in your store
Grocers: Stock Health & Beauty
It's been a grey month in most places here in Vermont amplifying for some the January blues. It is time for a Vermont recharge & shoppers are seeking products to ease the effects of this winter.
Winter displays evoke intention: self-care. Merchandising VT products helps tip sales to meet the expanded need for winter comfort. A range of products in the health & beauty departments includes hair care, salves, tinctures & capsules. More & more we are seeing sales of hemp-based CBD products along with products from our local goat milk dairies.

We have artisan makers in every area of the state & local stores are carrying the products from within their community (AKA gateway products). Dan & Whit's in Norwich has been promoting Laurie’s All Natural line through their website & in the store. In nearby White River Junction, 
Flourish Beauty Lab, a VT maker of premium hair & bath products has been adapting to production disruptions. 
As stated in past issues of Bites, manufacturers have been caught in supply chain disruptions caused by the global impacts of the pandemic. Flourish is one of those companies with packaging gaps which led to suspension of wholesale accounts to stores. But that has not stopped them from creating new products & revisited distribution options. The Sensory Series is available to stores across VT & ships nationally DTC. Reach out to Kristen for wholesale info & shipping options wholesale@flourishbeautylab.com

Nourishing oneself has become a focus as 2021 gets under way. Between social strife & the pandemic, self-care will continue to increase & stores can help lead the way by promoting our VT producers. 
Product highlights
CBD from Elmore Mountain Therapeutics is available to stores of all kinds, all sizes! Are you looking
for a VT company with aligned values as your own? They operate their business at the "intersection of wellbeing, economic development, social justice & environmental sustainability."
With covid on the rise, shoppers' habits are still "shop less but with larger basket sizes" & buying in bulk has increased. Many stores have expanded their bulk
selections with products like VT Soap Company Castile Soap. Larger packaging aligns with a reduced-waste/reduce recycling initiative also taking hold now that people are home more & faced with their waste-stream. Buying bulk pack sizes helps reduce single use products & with shoppers making fewer trips to the grocery store, having bulk sizes is an added incentive to shop your store.
Boston Post Dairy up north in Enosburg Falls is well known regionally for their on-farm store, award winning goat milk cheeses, AND their health & beauty products are available wholesale to stores. Looking for a new line of Vermont body care products? Contact the farm for their award winning cheeses too!
Keeping up with 2021 trends to minimize plastic packaging to stores Dorset Daughters rebrands
Distribution: Relocalize Sources
Small producers & emerging brands are always encouraged to add future COGs into their projections. For many businesses doing direct to store deliveries, this is a stage of growth, one they hope to move away from. Initial pricing often overlooks future distribution costs or under-estimates packaging. Of course, with global supply chain disruptions it is undoubtedly hard to predict the impact on COGs.
Many VT food manufacturing & farm businesses expanded direct to consumer options with quick decisions once the pandemic took hold. This winter businesses are diving deep into their accounting determining profitability & helping shape plans for another year of unknowns.
Farms & food producers quickly turned to online sales platforms partnering with other local businesses- such as Snug Valley Farm’s delivery route or Northshire Grown Direct's twice-a-month CSA online ordering. Continuing to adapt, winter in the Mettawee Valley has brought changes to the NGD CSA platform with an abundance of ready to eat meals from local restaurants & caterers. They are keeping revenue steams going for all the partner businesses, while also evaluating costs of the sales for 2021.
Keeping dollars local can help with COGs. Does your packaged product need a shipping or display reworking, might you be able to save some money? Are you exploring changes in packaging but not sure what you don't yet know? Locally owned McClure Packaging Systems & Supplies might be just what you need.
Care & Wellbeing of Staff (& Soil)

January 21, VRGA hosts a webinar on Employee Health Safety & Quarantine. It will focus on managing the health & safety needs of employees including how to handle employee quarantines, what to do about workplace COVID exposure, & any new info about mandated FFCRA leave available at the time of the webinar. Register here for this valuable workplace info.
Provender Alliance created a supportive education series. Join Farm to Plate's west coast collaborator Mark Mulcahy on January 27th a workshop on Staff Care. The value-priced webinar is geared to staff, owners, & managers Sign up now
For more events, see the list posted to the Farm to Plate website. This includes the month long Real Organic Project Symposium.
Farmers & Food Producers!

Reminder! Center for Agriculture & Food Systems has launched the Vermont Legal Food Hub. The program connects income-eligible Vermont farmers, food entrepreneurs, & related organizations with attorneys willing to provide pro bono legal assistance.
Farm to Plate has developed 31 product & market briefs, a stakeholder engagement process to refine & prioritize recommendations & strategies to develop a shared vision for the Farm to Plate 2.0 Strategic Plan.
The final report will be delivered to the Legislature in February 2021 officially commencing Farm to Plate’s next 10-year cycle. Explore the Grocers Brief.
Every corner of the state has localized makers of health & beauty products. A top seller at Mt Energy Market in Londonderry is every "flavor" of The Glowing Bee Soap Company.
Contact: Annie H Harlow

Unless otherwise noted, photo credits are from company social media, websites or Annie Harlow

Grateful for the funding support provided by High Meadows Fund
Week 46 of Covid January 20, 2021