Small Bites Feb 17, 2021
created for farmers, food manufacturers, distributors, grocers, & anyone else interested in how food moves
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Jocelyn & Cinta bagels are available to stores through Green Mountain Farm Direct
Bakeries across the state are working to meet the needs of stores. Each region has small bakeries making bagels, donuts, breads & desserts. Some of these are using VT grown grains, others are using VT companies to source King Arthur Flour, Cabot Butter, & local dairies like Monument Farms.
From the heart of Newport, Jocelyn & Cinta's sells through Green Mountain Farm Direct helping stores gain access to their ever popular bagel.
Meyers Bagels in Burlington reaches stores along the Lesser Distribution route. Servicing stores from Londonderry to Stowe & lots of stops in between.
Good Companion Bakery at Bound Brook Farm in New Haven sells DSD to stores & select farmstands along with expanded on-farm pick up. The Vermont Food Collaborative on Route 7 north of Middlebury is an easy-in, easy-out stop for locals to pick up fresh baked goods.

And for farm-based retailers, if you are planning to bring in off-farm products to supplement sales this year, think of a possible weekly pre-order of bagels co-promoted with jams & jelly.
Product Highlights

Against the Grain based in Brattleboro has grown its gluten free bakery to a national level from their start with a line of frozen pizza crusts & breads to meet the needs of celiac shoppers. Through their dedication to purity, they oversee all aspects of purchasing & production, forgoing a co-packer to assure product integrity. They source locally for many ingredients & have grown to become a significant employer in the region providing stable work with complete benefit packages. Their ethos extends to local sources of non-food materials: boxes, labels, cartons, bags. They work with Efficiency Vermont for energy-efficient cooling, lighting & equipment.
Shopping behavior has changed in the past year and ATG has flourished with their line of easy to stock-up frozen products including pitas, bread, bagels & pizzas. They have also expanded to include center of the aisle packaged cake & brownie mixes.
They distribute nationally through UNFI as well as locally through Wilcox, AGNE, & Food Connects. Local businesses including expanding farmstands, can pick up direct at the warehouse while insuring the cold chain for the frozen products are ensured. Stores across the state have high product turns for the entire line.
ATG is in many ways a model food producer scaling over its 14-year history to uphold full supply chain integrity with other Vermont businesses & supporting its workers with on-going training & development. This Vermont company is one to carry to support your customers' demand for a high-positive impact company gluten free line. Product turns are strong when displayed with good visibility in your frozen section.
Snack Attack

When was the last time your store featured nut-based Vermont snack food products?
We have some great "tailgating" snacks for skiers & riders relaxing in parking lots, Nordic skiers taking to the back country, ice skaters playing in pod-pop-up hockey games, & of course ice fishers enjoying all our deeply frozen waterways!
In-store promotion ideas:
Sugar Bob's Finest Kind fantastic snacks for slope-side or anytime. A 2020 Good Food Award Winner
Mixed Up Nut Butter crazy fun flavors for easy sandwiches to take sledding
Squirrel Stash more super flavor packed nuts to promote for all out & about activities, or sold as cross marketing with a frosty cold Vermont beer!
The Nutty Vermonter Small batch, BIG flavor. Promote as a pantry basic for winter time fun snacking.
Tavernier Chocolates because chocolate & nuts go so well together. From Brattleboro comes the ultimate chocolate-nut experience to stock in your store & available to your store.

All of these products are available DSD through various shipping methods. 
At Cutting Hill Beef in Cornwall, their product is NOFA-VT certified organic. Your customers can feel comfortable & confident knowing that the beef is raised & processed at the highest level of assurance.
This owner-operated farm successfully runs a cow-calf operation controlling the genetics for their quality grass fed, organic product. Using regenerative farming systems based on principles & practices they are increasing biodiversity, enriching soils, improving water quality, while also enhancing ecosystem services.
They are seeking new opportunities to distribute more widely to stores in Vermont AND the NE region. They have multi-channel sales D2C through an online store & DSD. They sell freshly processed & frozen meet depending on the necessary method to reach the end user. They are open to discussing store needs; ground beef in pound packages, whole carcass or 10 pound boxes of primals for stores with in-house, full-service meat counters. Please contact Ramsay for a conversation to buy direct or distribute. 603-306-7921 or
The beef operation dovetails with their organic dairy which sells bulk milk to Stonyfield Yogurt for organic yogurt.
Trainings & tools
VSFA has fantastic twice a month semi-casual "lounge meet-ups" for specialty food producers. B2B exchanges of targeted topics.
Rising Stars is a team of business advisers with years of experience training in Vermont. Join Farm to Plate collaborator Mark Mulcahy & the team on March 3rd for a training: Communicating With Your Staff in a Crisis is free. An affordable four-part series follows on March 17 & 31, April 14 & 28.
With increased demand for local meat, here is a tool for rating the operations of a Meat Department. Stores have seen an uptick in demand for local meat; explore & sign your team up for the meat cutting series in Waitsfield this winter.
VT Roots cruising the roads of VT filling shelves at stores & servicing farmstands
Vermont Roots the independent, woman owned distributor based in Rutland, focuses their product mix to meet demand at retail food stores, supermarkets & farmstands.
2020 brought a wave of new farmers onboarding value-added & specialty food products at their farmstands. Often the products were direct tie-ins to those produced on-farm. Cross promotions include salad dressings to augment sales of salad greens, jams for PYO operations that lacked their own line of farm made products. Maple products are always popular with farmstands; pancake mixes enhance sales through merchandising.
The seasonal uptick of farmstands requires tight inventory management at the distributor level. Even within the "seasonal" concept there are vagaries to contend. The spring greens customer craves to the nutrient-rich fresh alternatives to the post-winter root diet. Then come fall, a different line of products often meets the needs of the "foliage tourist" & yet another change in diets.
There is of course the spectrum of flavor profiles that can be adapted for farmstand sales too. The ubiquitous "apple or pumpkin pie blend" flavors readily available in the fall. Choosing products with seasonality should tie into changing up diets quarterly creating opportunities for high-demand products that circle back to the farm products that enhances overall sales.
A successful farm-based business stretching their retail acumen requires an understanding of customer behavior to purchase products that add value (rather than shrink) to their operation.
Strafford Creamery producers of ice cream & fresh glass-bottled milk.
Farm to Plate Strategic Plan launched! The easy to digest Briefs help policy makers, producers & retailers understand the future of ag & ag adjacent businesses. It is a comprehensive study with Product & Industry Briefs of flag ship industries. Explore the Brief on Technical Assistance for Farm & Food businesses.
 Finn & Roots an aquaponic grower in Bakersfield, in the NW corner of VT, is powering up their micro greens operation. Already selling to several stores through Pumpkin Village Foods, they seek to increase the sales to existing stores while bringing on new ones that match their production schedule.
As the days get longer, shoppers will begin to increase their purchases of local greens. Finn & Root has just what stores need to meet demand: clamshell micro greens, live packed basil, or cut basil are just a few of the products grown together in a plant & fished based sustainable system of aquaculture. The natural waste produced by the fish is an organic fertilizer for the plants. The system is run without using any antibiotics, pesticides, or herbicides. Contact Holly for product distribution info. 802-933-4355
Farmer Resources 

A must for farmers with farmstands! Feb 22: NOFA webinar on farmstand product mix & pricing with business consultant Rose Wilson & Andrew Knafel of Clearbrook Farm. In 2020 farmstands expanded off-farm purchases, by all appearances it looks like this year it will continue. Farmstands should look to our localized distributors from across the state to round out product mixes: VT Roots, Lesser, Pumpkin Village Foods, GMFD, Food Connects & Farm Connex. Using relocalization tools like ACORN's Local Sourcing App can help farmstands source local products.
VT farm-based businesses gained added revenue last year through Harvest Hosts a supplemental farm income option. With RV traffic up & farm-stays hard to arrange in a pandemic, this was a great fit. Farmstands sold directly to this new customer segment, greatly increasing the sale of farm-based products. The Robb Farm & Sugarhouse was pleased with this program. Listen to the Thriving Farm Podcast on the topic.
Farmer Housing Survey: fill this out to help best identify needs for assistance for farm housing through VHCB. Deadline is Feb 22.
The NOFA Winter Conference is a month-long series of online talks. Join in the fabulous workshops & seminars.
UVM Extension has seasonally relevant info from our favorite ag engineer Chris Callahan.
Building your farm-product retail brand & needing UPC codes? ONLY source from GS-1 & not off market resellers of previously used codes or off-market fake codes.
Recommended Resources & Organizations

We have an amazing network of organizations supporting our local food economy- from trade organizations to micro-region social profit agents. We share a few every week; take a minute to check out the links & follow up with cross-promotion hashtags, etc.
Real Organic conceived of in Vermont, is a national organization to relocalize organic family farming
GMFD Green Mountain Farm Direct, is part of the VT food hub network expanding sales to stores of VT products throughout the NEK & connecting to stores through partnerships including Farm Connex
VFFC VT Farmers Food Center in Rutland helps producers gain market access & promotes Everyone Eats
Just Cut: minimally processes foods for delis, prepared meals programs, & Everyone Eats
Has your business conducted an Efficiency Vermont Energy Audit? Stores, farms & distributors can save by reducing energy costs.
An assessment helps you understand where your business is losing energy (read: money!) & what you can do to fix it. They offer over-the-phone guidance to help identify cost-effective ways to take action, & the most efficient equipment to meet your needs.

Contact: Annie H Harlow

Unless otherwise noted, photo credits are from linked company social media, websites or Annie Harlow
Farmstand pictures are from Seven Days May 5 2020
Grateful for the funding support provided by High Meadows Fund
Week 50 of Covid Feb 11, 2021