Small Bites January 2020
New Store: New Opportunities
The VT Food Collaborative opened in New Haven early in November and promises to provide locals a fantastic, price-friendly source of small-farm products including meat & cheese. With a focus on sourcing from the Addison County community of producers, owners Jennifer Kennett & AnnaJo Smith know that procuring from a wider area of VT is needed. They intend to play a pivotal role with custom butchering and as a future cross-dock location helping VT producers meet wider markets.

Happy Bird Poultry in Isle La Motte provides VT Food Collaborative high quality chicken & smoked products in a variety of pack sizes. Ember & Stacy Boyle are expanding their reach of on-farm processed, VT-inspected poultry to restaurants and stores. They see continued growth for 2020 reaching new markets through Vermont's expanding food hub network . They also have a fantastic retail outlet with fabulous farm-based products.
Winter: A Systems Approach

Meet with local producers to assess and evaluate local food purchases. Make the goal of learning about each others' business to increase sales and margins on both the supply and the selling side. Use our handy tools!

Organize Operations by creating
or reviewing standing operating procedures. This streamlines labor, assists in retraining and covering staff needs.

Review (or create) a store safety plan covering emergency and safety. A well thought out plan helps keep staff both safe and empowered. Columinate has an article worth reading regarding the basics of creating a safety binder.

Clear-out tired, old displays: give your merchandising props an honest hauling out. Start the new year with only usable props. Make this a team effort and take inventory of new props that can help you sell food.
2019 was a big year at Buffalo Mountain Coop . They changed their structure introducing a GM, under new leadership they made significant changes to purchasing, operations, equipment upgrades, merchandising and recharging staff engagement by attending Farm to Plate Regenerative Retail and Columinate Seminars. Cheers for more positive steps to meet community needs for 2020.
New Year: New Resolution
Why not resolve to make your deli & prepared foods from minimally processed VT grown vegies. Two great options come to mind: Center for An Agricultural Economy processes produce in food service pack sizes through the JustCut program.

Would you prefer to purchase pre-made soups? Reach out to Joe's Kitchen, a VT based company sourcing local produce too. Joe has retail & food service pack sizes and distributes widely through out Vermont. Choose to use local food service packs to save on labor & meet customer demand.
What's in store for 2020?
Kimball Brook Farms is refocusing their product line from their organic dairy products to CBD beverages and hemp products. KBF was an early adopter of adding CBD to products in 2019. As a family farm they saw the potential to leverage new uses of their land and talents. Looking for a new source of milk? Consider Strafford Creamery & Sweet Rowan for single source grass-fed dairy products available through the food hub network.

Fat Toad Caramel has taken steps to scale back production and distribution to streamline costs while increasing margin. Analyzing costs of both production and the costs of distribution, Callie Hastings is overseeing a new direction. Vermont Digger ran an article that aligned with a recently published Wholesale Report that outlines distribution variables and costs. These costs are often misunderstood by food manufacturers and retail buyers.

Farm to Plate encourages you to read both the VT Digger article and the Wholesale Report. 
Local products sell best when merchandising is done with intention. A random display with mixed, non-compatible products will not encourage sales. If you or your staff need a refresher on merchandising basics, check out Episode 6 of the Farm to Plate video series to help increase sales.

Contact Annie H Harlow for info, support inquiries,
or to share your retail tips!

Funding support provided by USDA & VAAFM