Small Bites June 9, 2021
dedicated to the VT food system supply chain creating opportunities
to sell more VT products to more buyers

Preparing for Summer

With the state opening up as the best in the nation (!) once again store decisions are shifting. Curbside is reduced or eliminated, mandatory mask wearing is becoming less of a thing, some store hours are back to pre-pandemic times. However, somethings are rolling along with little change. JJ Hapgood in Peru continues to feed their community through the Everyone Eats program & partners with area restaurant chefs for meals to go. Meanwhile at Brownesville Butcher & Pantry they have commissioned their own beer with local brew masters!
VT producers are wondering if the "local bump" that occurred for their businesses in 2020 will carry over through all the summer business traffic. What we are hearing is that high summer traffic is expected (it's already here) & that featuring Vermont producers in sales, displays & cross promotions will help keep dollars flowing to in-state enterprises through the positive impact & domino multiplier effect. This effect occurs throughout the production stream too. Just look to Brownsville Butcher & Pantry beer project as an example! 
More on the BBP Beer

"The brewers at Catamount Brewery are incredible!" says Lauren & Peter of BBP. The brew masters are the creators of a nice light crispy signature ale with ingredients entirely sourced from within Vermont. The triticale & pilsner malts came from Peterson Quality Malts & the crystal, chinook, & magnum hops are from Champlain Valley Hops. The result ‘Crispy Boi’ served exclusively on draft at the store’s café, it is a great taste of 100% Vermont beer - not much better for a hot day. 
Crispy Boi.
More Product & Multiplier Effect
Up at the Happy Bird Poultry Farm in Isle LaMotte, nothing says summer quite like drumsticks & chicken thighs on the grill! Serving stores & restaurants from Rutland to the Canadian border, they also have a farm store that is the only store on the island.
As a local producer themselves, they seek a full line of products from other VT producers to round out their offerings. Customers have long driven up to the islands for their pot pies & sausages which are farm-made & exclusively sold at their retail store. And one more good thing! Their products have made up the protein in Everyone Eats meals.
Taking a break from your work this summer? Cruise up the HBPF for a great farm-store shop- & remember to pack a cooler with ice for your return trip! 
Leonardo's Gelato available to stores across the state delivered through Wilcox Ice Cream.

“We buy as much local Vermont products as possible, like our milk base from Kingdom Creamery in Hardwick & Goodrich Maple Syrup in Marshfield. Vermont distributor Wilcox Ice Cream does a great job of getting our product out.”
This Week's Cool Beverage Now is the time to roll out more Vermont made beverages!
Switchel, an historically significant beverage for our farmers, is becoming more widely known. VT Switchel recipes are thirst quenching & easily adapted for cocktails. Buyers can find their products at Upper Valley Produce, VT Roots & Pumpkin Village Foods, all of them deliver to stores & farmstands.
Several beverage brands are expanding throughout the state through distributors including Farrell. So if you are buying wine & beer from them, check out their non-alcohol VT products too.
One more hot weather cool product:
Leonardo's Maple Gelato, made in Rutland. They have a range of other flavors too along with sorbet- stock some in your cooler today. Conveniently delivered through Wilcox Ice Cream.
Looking for quality snacks for campers, boaters & hikers? Look to Battenkill Wholesome for grab & go wholesome snacks & a great topping on gelato , sorbet or ice cream! Ready to meet the needs of your summer customers, they deliver through VT Roots or drop ship to all stores & farmstands via Mable
We are above average! VT is doing great & proud of our vaccination/creemee numbers. Down from 13,474 two weeks ago, to 8708 last week. Now we need just 2385 more vaccines to go to 100% opening of all businesses with no restrictions.
In case you missed this last week... Retooling, "re-storing" old stores is good for our communities. Crisscross the state & you will see many positive changes: Currier's Quality Market in Glover, West River Provisions in Jamaica, The Genny in Albany, the Original Vermont Store in Poultney, the Warren Store, Main Street Market in Richford & the Sharon Trading Post which became the newest in the Maplefield's family of convenient stores.
Fast Moving Uncertainty

Everyone wonders. What happens with Koffee Kup & VT Bread Company is yet to play out. It is still an uncertain & evolving scenario with the new potential buyer Flowers Foods (owner of the Wonder Bread brand). VT Digger reported on the recent closure of VT's two iconic brands being sold, currently new ownership has no interest in reopening the two bakeries in Vermont. One thing that is eating away at former staff & food industry is that this potential out of state owner will diminish the positive impact of the local economy & its multiplier effect.
"Bidders for the recently closed Koffee Kup Bakery & subsidiary Vermont Bread Company are mulling a lawsuit after a court-appointed receiver accepted a last-minute offer Monday to sell the businesses to Flowers Foods, a $4.4 billion maker of national brands ranging from Nature’s Own to Wonder Bread." -VT Digger

Read more from VT Digger or
check out the WPTZ story
Vermont: What is in a name? ACT 129 signed into law in 2020, protects "local". The new definition makes “local” synonymous with “Vermont” with respect to food products. It also offers opportunities to celebrate Vermont’s brand & recognize the value of buying Vermont products. Read this summary for more insights on the local definition.
All Things Maple

Calling all farms, food businesses, sugar-makers, restaurants, breweries, producer associations, food system organizations, recreation, & tourism partners to participate in a fall celebration of all things maple from September 15 – October 15, 2021.
This is your chance to get creative & showcase the many uses of Vermont maple. Vermont Maple 100 is a month-long, annual promotion that highlights hundreds of maple activities, adventures, & maple-inspired products. Attention Stores: it is time to plan ahead for recipes, displays & giveaways!
Join the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in celebrating the Maple 100, in partnership with Vermont Tourism to promote events & specialty products for Vermonter’s & visitors to discover new ways to enjoy Vermont’s sweetest treat.
It’s free to participate with endless options for how to be involved. Need inspiration? See last year’s Top 10 Highlights! 
Honig Dairy Goat Farm in East Dorset, makers of Dover Hill Creamery artisan cheeses. Selling to stores & farmstands including the Dutton Berry Farmstand in Newfane. Super delightful cheese for summer promotions. The Brie is absolutely wonderful & is perfect with fresh local strawberries.
Strawberry season has begun across the state! Just like with apples, there are early, mid & late varieties across the long season.
Training staff on the flavors & characteristics of each variety helps develop an understanding of the flavor nuances & helps shoppers discern the differences. Right now, some stores are beginning to reintroduce sampling programs. If nothing else, be sure to provide tastings for staff to learn the attributes of different strawberries.
Farmers! Be sure to educate store buyers on each variety with flavor notations on invoices. This helps everyone gain knowledge that not all strawberries are the same & even enhances the differences between western & Vermont berries. 
Reminder for
Farmers as Retailers

Buy from locally owned distributors to round out farmstand inventory across the state & check out the NOFA farmstand list for when you are cruising around on your time off!

Kathy Killam Distribution

VAAFM Retail Licenses: Be in the know for products you sell at your farm store including meat & dairy.
It is Dairy Month & that includes cow, goat & sheep products from our largest producers, like Cabot to smaller dairies like Gammelgarden & Ice House Farm. Be sure to highlight, feature, promote all our VT dairy producers.
Using their Seriously Sharp Cheddar (Pepperjack or Bacon Cheddar), the new line of packaged Cabot Mac & Cheese is FLYING off the shelves at all stores. Main Street Market in Richford & Healthy Living Market in Williston both created effective end cap promotions. Both stores got cleaned out & distributors are keeping up with the new demand. This new product line works great as a promotion for campers as it is super easy to cook on a camping stove. 
Cabot Mac & Cheese: Vermonters shopping VT products at the Main Street Market