July 4th Holiday Weekend
& Lots of Great Food to Sell!
Week 16 of Covid-19
Wild Fern baked goodies made with fresh local ingredients baked for the Stockbridge community
Grocery Nibbles
Our second big holiday during covid 19 is upon us. It is hard to believe that we are at July 4th weekend already.

Clearly it's not business as usual regarding standard merchandising with staffing focused on health & safety. Exemplary service at all our stores is job one. That includes new positions of "gatekeepers & traffic controllers", sanitizers & extra diligent cashiers.

We have all been taught that the cashier is the last person a shopper generally interacts with, impacting the customer experience. Now they carry an extra load of keeping an extra positive demeanor during a stressful time. We are now a solid 16 weeks into the pandemic & it is not going away in the near future.

  • Regional traffic is expected to increase. With it comes extra concern for staff & community safety
  • Vermonters staying close to home & regional travel are going to be big trends for the entire summer & fall. Travel by Taste Bud is a new summer rave making our Vermont summer count
  • More people=more dollars spent for VT food. Stock VT beverages including craft soda from distributors Farrell & Baker
  • Reminder: Single Use Plastic bag ban went into effect July 1.

A few other bites for grocers ....

Excitement in Warren-where it won't be the usual raucous July 4th, but you can get take out!
Staycationing in Vermont
In the summer, Willey's is a fast paced store. It is jammed with campers, boaters & culture enthusiasts. Families roll in stocking up for BBQ's, picnics & general summer al fresco eating. Kids wander in with their bathing suits still dripping from the refreshing Lake Caspian.

This year portends many changes, actually, they are already here. Limiting the number of shoppers, requiring masks, both in-store & curbside shopping designed to safely serve an influx of seasonal shoppers with the year round local crowd. TO honor all the steps already taken by locals, members of the Greensboro emergency response team sent a letter to summer folks to share safety guidelines expected to be adhered to by all.

Safety affects all stores with staffing challenges. Willey's diligently sanitizes leaving less staff resources for merchandising & the usual summer promotions. They have devoted efforts to stocking more local products. From the meat case, & perfect for the big weekend, are deliveries of Sawmill Brook Farm & a freezer full of Snug Valley Farm , & fresh cuts in the butcher case. Just think, some cross-merchandised spices might kick things up a gear....
Little Bottles Spice Company was rolling out their new company just as covid shut things down. Not good, right?
Are you a store, retail farm-stand or distributor looking for the perfect staycation blend to compliment your meat sales? Their signature blends are well rounded & great for up-selling with quality Vermont meat or for shoppers to upgrade their homemade potato salads, grilled vegetables or chicken.
July = Snacks
Are you covered with a nice selection from Vermont producers? DSD or next day shipping available from many producers.
VT Summer snacks to promote:
  • Battenkill Wholesome granola, crumbles & brittle, for vacationers & staycationers alike
  • WOW! Hand-crafted Marshmellows from Nomadic Kitchen perfect for summer s'mores especially when bundled with Fat Toad Farm Caramel sauce
  • True North Granola premium line of granola including Nutty No Grainer, their single serve snacks are great too to promote
  • Nanarella Paté from the Morrill Mountain Fruit Farm, amazing nuggets of VT grown fruit created in the French tradition. Perfect for nibbling, with cheese plates or a stand alone dessert or a "hammock recharge!"
Goodwill & Good Bites
Stores, distributors, food producers & communities are stepping up their social missions & goodwill actions.
Wild Carrot Farm in Brattleboro matched community donations providing $50 farmstand gift cards to 22 BIPOC
families in the Brattleboro area through @susuheals Food Sovereignty Fund.

A "definite staycation road trip" on the taste trail this summer: Heather Lynne spreads the luv at Wild Fern in the beautiful White River Valley in Stockbridge
Food Connects: on the road moving food to stores & farmstands through the food hub collaboration
Distribution/Supply-side Nuggets
Another shout out to the Vermont Food Hub Network , helping grocers & farmstands around the state access products direct from farmers locally owned food manufacturing businesses.

Green Mountain Farm Direct , Farm Connex , The Intervale Food Hub & Food Connects work in collaboration to crisscross the state with a myriad of products. If you don't know about them, start now!

Food Connects works to increase wholesale access to locally produced food & develop new markets for food producers while contributing to a vibrant local economy. The Food Hub services VT, & Monadnock region in NH. To date, they have sold $1.5 million in local food sales to their customers. 

The website ordering system gives access to source-identified produce, meat, dairy, & baked goods from more than 60 producers in southern VT, NH & MA. Reliable deliveries up to twice a week fit neatly into store operating schedules. Competitive prices, personalized services, & tons of great products supporting our local economy impacted by covid 19.
Luna Bleu Farm: sales & service at the Norwich Farmers Market
Farm Fresh Bites

July 4th is always a banner time at farmers markets & farm stands, but this year is a wee bit different. Out-of-staters & local families are in for a surprise as they make their first foray out to farmstands. As they shop for strawberries, raspberries, cherries & all the early summer produce, things will take longer due to the state VDH safety orders. All VT is taking seriously the influx of summer traffic & safety.

Tons of local produce is hitting the stands. Baby carrots, zucchini & summer squash, hoop-house tomatoes, greens & of course straw & raspberries, with blueberries close on the heels. The early heat was a bonus in some ways (& very stressful too!). Scott Farm is picking cherries & sharing the bounty at local farm stand Wild Carrot Farm. Farmers Markets are also adhering to safety measures, check out recent farmers' market pictures from Vital Communities
  • Retail farm-stands: are you listed on the NOFA map? Help new shoppers find your farm
  • Does your farm-stand need help? Reach out to us via the contact info at the bottom of the page & let's see what resources we can get to you!
  • Reminder: Weights & Measures scale testing events are cancelled. Farmers Market Vendors will not be prohibited in using their scales at Farmers Market if not tested. The Agency will share updates for possible testing at a later date. 
  • Looking for strawberries to fill in your CSA, farmstand or store? Four Corners Farm, in Newbury has extra & will deliver if on their route. Call 802-866-3342
  • Need blueberries for your stand or CSA? Knoll Farm & Charlotte Berry Farm will have plenty to share after July 10
  • Current PYO resources: Restart Plans, PYO, Signupgenius, UVM handwashing station plans & PYO link to farms
  • Looking to round out your farm stand inventory with new products? Check out Lesser Distribution, VT Roots, Farm Connex & Meet Mable as well as DSD or drop ship from the all the producers mentioned in this issue.
Kingdom Creamery a multi-generational family owned & operated, premium producers of dairy products from creemees to fresh milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, maple syrup & more. Many of their products go great with strawberries, raspberries & cherries! Want to introduce new product lines? Check out Kingdom.
Battenkill Crumble with local yogurt from the likes of High Pond Goat Yogurt along with fresh berries from Knoll Farm or Dutton Berry Farm & promote the topping Good Mix
Vermont Specialty Food Association: It's not just for food producers! Grocers & farmers with retail operations can gain from their business resources & being exposed to great Vermont products. Their website has tools for searching producers to round out your inventory.
"We should face facts that we are closer to the beginning than the end of this pandemic."
- Andrew Yang
Upper Valley Produce busy in the warehouse
Farm to Plate hosts meetings of technical advisers, non-profits, government & businesses to address current issues. Meetings can be viewed here
Thank you to the farmers, producers, distributors & suppliers for providing first hand information for this update.
VSFA producers, next issue I will add more businesses to link to! A huge thank you to those who responded through the list serve.

Contact Annie H Harlow
to share your info & seek retailing business resources


Funding support provided by USDA & VAAFM & High Meadows Fund