Anson Tebbetts "It Takes a State"
Are you a local food influencer?
November 17, 2020
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Vermont's business message
Grocers: Vermont's Front Line
Buy Vermont First is more than a branding line, it is all about business survival during the pandemic.
Secretary of Ag, Anson Tebbetts has crafted a wonderful essay we hope you all read. It is reflective of our times & our culture of caring for each other.
There is a statewide promotion partnership between the Agency of Ag & Tourism to highlight your farm & food business including independent general stores & coops. All the details are here.  Deadline to join is Wednesday Nov 18th at 5:00
We hope you take part in this new campaign to raise awareness of Vermont companies.
Along the lines of caring & support, we congratulate the Vermont food producers who are Good Food Award finalists. We also pay homage to all the specialty food businesses who applied & shared their products with the national team of judges. Getting your name out matters, even if you were not a finalist or winner in your category. Among the 1928 entries, you got well deserved recognition. Grocers, do you carry these award winning Vermont foods? These are perfect products to bundle for holiday specials for locals & second home owners. 
Quote of the Week

" The pandemic means we have new neighbors as well. Many have decided to leave the cities for the hills of Vermont. Welcome to our little corner of the world where we are thankful agriculture is part of our daily lives. Vermont is a state where you can really find where your food comes from-Anson Tebbetts, Secretary of VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Richford's Main Street Market, is settling into its new role in the community. In case you missed it, the store changed ownership in June. Formerly owned by AGNE, it was sold to NOTCH in June. This community health clinic & wellness nonprofit is modifying the product mix to carry more locally sourced products.
Aires Hill Dairy, a large local dairy is selling its milk at the store in the heart of Richford. Read more about the store from VT Digger.
Perfect for thanksgiving promotion: local mushrooms for stuffing or gravy!
At Mansfield Mushroom Company a number of popular mushroom varieties are cultivated for sale to stores. Most popular are the Oyster, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane & Piopinno. Each has a distinct personality with unique flavor & texture. Oysters are silky, sweet, with a slight anise flavor. Shiitakes are wonderfully meaty with a rich umami flavor. Lion’s Mane are exceptionally sweet with a unique fresh smell & lobster-like texture. Piopinnos are earthy & savory with a delightful mushroom crunch. They are popular & sold in abundance at the Buffalo Mountain Coop.
Another mushroom producer meeting customer demand, is FunJ Shrooming Co. Supplying a number of stores in the northern part of the state, including the Buffalo Mt Coop, Sweet Clover Market, Rail City Market & Commodities Natural Market to name a just few stores. 
A New Store Opens
A small shop expanding on its success as a food truck opened on Lime Kiln Road, behind Koenig Cedar in South Burlington. Jamaican Supreme is focused on traditional specialties. Long known for the excellent food available in his food truck, owner, "Richie" Bailey has taken the next step to make great Jamaican food available serving up to go food along with Jamaican products like soda & snacks. Check it out & read more from our friends at Seven Days.
Brattleboro Food Coop: it's all about PIE

We love to promote Vermont stores & producers here in Small Bites. So how to deal with our border stores & producers? We highlight their relationships too!
The Brattleboro Coop is featuring Saxy Chef Pies made in NH using (literally) tons of Vermont ingredients. This is how the local food system works: cross border partnerships support our collective economy. Into every pie goes a combination of regional ingredients: Maple Meadow eggs, cherries from New York state, rhubarb from local farms in New Hampshire, with dairy sourced through Black River Produce all from Vermont farms. 
At Saxy Chef, it is undeniably pie season! A manageable day is baking 200 pies, whereas during the holidays, upwards of 400 will be baked five days a week. Often the Saxy Chef bakes a full day just for the Brattleboro Food Coop, then another day during the holidays for other locally owned businesses, co-ops, & farm stands. 
Brattleboro Coop knows businesses are interconnected in support of keeping dollars local, even when they cross the border.
Additionally to meet the changing impacts of the pandemic, the Coop is expanding to include products carried by Dottie's a recently closed local store that long served a segment of the community with discounted pricing. Through a collaborative consolidation of Dottie's, the Coop is now adding a new line of lower priced items to help meet the wider needs of the community. 
Supplying stores with VT products
Distribution: Looking Outward
Vermont producers have relied on VT Roots to gain access to stores across the state. It is long known as a food distributor capturing sales in the specialty food sector. They have seen increases this year throughout the state. Both Governor Scott & Secretary Anson Tebbetts have stated, we need to continue supporting our local economy with our local purchases & promotions. This includes using our local distributors.
A reminder that products available through our local distributors often produce higher margins for our food manufacturers as there are fewer trade & marketing costs / allowances. When you see VT products on sale at national distributors there is a balancing act for producers, as all the discounted costs are on their shoulders & not the distributor's. Want to learn more? Read the 2019 NOFA Local Food Wholesale Assessment Report.
When it comes to shipping produce, there are many misconceptions about roles & responsibilities tied to technical traders. By not having clarity, unforeseen costs can be incurred for producers shipping wholesale. Need more info & understanding on PACA & technical trading? Check this out
We are all concerned about the current increases in covid 19 across the country & the impact on national supply chains of food & packaging manufacturing. This is unchartered territory for us as a nation. Distributors, stores & shoppers are forward buying in center store categories to mitigate uncertainty, though that adds to uncertainties. As we enter into winter our businesses continues to navigate challenging times. 
In the Beverage Case: GFA Finalist Savoure Artisan Soda

Vermont grown produce is the basis for each & every bottle of this hand-crafted beverage line. Savoure is a modern take on traditional pantry classics & a 2020 Good Food Award finalist with their Rhubarb Pink Peppercorn which has sold out. Check out the interview with artisan producer Jess Messer .
Support VT producers!
Vermont's own Olivia's Stuffing: makers of Traditional, Cornbread & Gluten Free. Available through Associated Buyers, Chex, UNFI & KeHE. The full line of products is also available shipped to stores via DSD services.
Farmers Take Note!
Do you need a hand washing station at your farm, orchard, farmers market, or other agritourism business? Have you been putting it off due to lack of funds, time, or direction? Now’s the time to dig into resources available through UVM Ext.
Funding provides materials & technical support to make your hand washing station dreams come true. Handwashing is a good practice any time, but in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative. 
If you are interested in funding support or just want some help building a hand washing station, fill out the short form
Chris Callahan
802-447-7582 x256
Super IMPORTANT for farmers
USDA wants to get the word out that there is money available to farmers & agricultural producers who continue to face disruptions & associated costs due to covid 19. The CFAP2 deadline is December 11th. Each county has USDA reps to help navigate the application. Staff will work with you to complete the Farm Operating Plan if necessary. Act now to explore the application process. Find your rep here

Commited to buying more BIPOC products & services? Use the Farm to Plate BIPOC Business Resource Tool
VAAFM has a regular e-news of info &
resources for farmers & interested folks. We encourage stores & distributors become informed on agricultural issues & solutions to our vibrant agriculture. Find the current issue & sign up here.

Opportunity Awaits: Attention start-ups & small businesses!
Do you need marketing support in photography, graphic design, & website copy? Are costs a concern? Try Zuzudex Creative a pay what you can full-service marketing company exclusively for entrepreneurs & small businesses. Their goal, helping grow your business in a way that is affordable. Thinking you cannot afford to expand your marketing? Reach out for a cooperative approach to business expansion: Contact Lissa Harris
(516) 551-7170
It never hurts to promote Fat Toad Caramel for topping apple pie & ice cream. This is truly a "small batch" product made with Vermont goat milk. But it is not only for pie. Promote in your specialty cheese department with this cheese pairing POP cross promotion card. It is one of many products perfect for holiday bundling both in-store & through your online marketplace.

Fat Toad can be ordered direct DSD to any store through Fedex & UPS. Available to stores through 3rd party wholesale platforms Mable, Faire, & Hubba & through VT distributors Provisions International & Vermont Roots.
Tips to support our producers
When it comes to understanding merchandising, keep in mind the basics. Learn about impulse sales where less can be more, promote complementary products, & remember that bottom shelves are great for heavy products. Learn to ask yourself: Is the product display easy to shop?
A shout out of thanks to Front Porch Forum, a key sponsor for the 2020 Farm to Plate Gathering. This community service has done much to connect our communities including local food producers & organizations. It is a valuable resource across the state. Thank you FPF
Improve your numbers
With support from Farm to Plate Retail Services, your store can get a refreshing new look, re-engage staff, assist with inventory management, & review operations using training tools including a multi-store merchandising showcase For training info see contact info below.
Unless otherwise noted, photo credits are from company social media, websites or Annie Harlow

Share your merchandising acumen with us! Send before & after pics
Contact: Annie H Harlow

Grateful for the funding support provided by High Meadows Fund
Week 37 of Covid November 17, 2020