Think good thoughts
December 3, 2020
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Community support SCM: a food pantry, curbside & local delivery service exemplify levels of service
Grocers: GBG
Goodness Begets Goodness
Turkeys & standard Thanksgiving produce orders give way to a wider mix of holiday food. Grocers are getting super creative with the push to sell more VT made food & gift products to support our economy. They are also working closely with their local communities to make food more accessible to those in need.

We are hearing from stores across the state that a community approach is making food accessible, it is also filling the need which covid 19 has amplified- connecting for a greater good. Sweet Clover Market has a food pantry outside their entrance which is stocked daily with donations from customers & food staples purchased by the store to give away. With hunger & food insecurity increasing in every corner of the state, stores are using their place in the community to give back.

Natures Market in Manchester like many small independent stores has made one tough decision after another these past 9 months. One that they made back in March was to close to in-store shopping. Instead they work to meet their loyal customers' needs & introduce their full line of groceries to new shoppers seeking safer alternatives through online ordering & curbside pick-up. Always supporter of the Vermont Food Bank & local food pantries they continue to support acts of giving back. An additional decision made this: providing all their locally raised turkeys at cost plus a small service fee in gratitude to their customers & as a way to introduce shoppers to fresh local turkey.

Quote of the Week

"Our doors are closed, but our hearts are open."
-John, Natures Market in Manchester
Every store we talked to is featuring Vermont food & craft products now more than ever. Well thought out gift baskets from local producers & farm made value-added products get premium display space prominent recognition on websites & ordering platforms. Personal-care bundles of VT soaps, salves & other gifts are a HUGE seller. Rightly so with increased needs for enhancing our selfcare. Farms & online sales channels are also bundling products. A special line up of holiday gifts is available through Northshire Grown a covid-response CSA. Other promotional tactics include Garuka's VT Holiday Care Packs; order online & ship to folks across the country. Thanks for supporting VT!
Vermont Product Highlights
We recognize the wonderful cycle of life, the gift of Jack Lazor & the grassfed dairy products of Butterworks Farm. Jack passed away this week & his family continues the legacy of high quality, farmstead made yogurt & kefir. Seven Days Stuck in Vermont produced a video story of the farm a few years ago. Learn more about our esteemed friend & the family's mastery of soil production & healthy animals raised with love. Butterworks is available to stores in VT via GMFD & throughout the NE region through other distributors.
WOW! This is so exciting!
I had no idea that Sugar Bob's Finest Kind sold their award winning products in bulk! This is perfect for independent food stores to showcase a VT product in your prepared foods department marinades, dressing & braised. Need details? Talk to the Sugarman himself! Support VT producers any way you can!
Seasonal Product: Sweet, flavorful eggnog from Rogers Farmstead. Display this front & center with great visibility &
be sure to mention it as an option for your online sales.
Sweet Clover Market received 300 turkeys DSD from local farms
Distribution: DSD
Likely unbeknownst to them, many first-time turkey cooks were supported by the distribution network which includes direct to store deliveries. Local Vermont products arrive at store receiving docks direct from the producer themselves.

During the holiday season purchasing direct from the producer requires an all hands on deck approach: from securing customer orders, to synthesizing orders from multiple farms to organizing delivery times with appropriate staff in place AND then managing efficient & safe customer pick up. Oh, all while making sure invoices are paid to the producers in a timely way.

DSD turkey orders are time consuming & take a lot of organizing they also happen while primary deliveries are taking place. This can mean a slow down at the receiving dock, & the re-allocation of space for the holiday pre-buys. If operations are not efficient at the store level, it has a multiplier effect on operations for the primary distributor. When drivers are delayed at a store it slows down deliveries at every other store yet to be delivered to on their manifest. Receiving clerks at those stores then have to shuffle their staff to help get the delayed products received & onto the store shelves. We have seen that stores with strong teamwork tend to prepare well for the holiday shifts in DSD orders & can best apply staffing resources to the highest level of efficiency. When that happens, you can see that efficiency even beyond their store to other stores on multiple distributors’ routes. 
H.O.P.E. will be receiving a wedge of Blue Ledge Farm Cheese for every online order placed this week through the Middlebury Coop. This is a way to give back to the community in need while supporting a local producer. This year, donations such as this from our locally owned stores are helping relieve the pressures on our food pantries. 
Super IMPORTANT for farmers

Easy to access covid support grants: CFAP2 deadline is December 11th. Each county has USDA reps to help navigate the application. Act now to explore the application process. Find your rep here

The UVM Extension website is newly retooled with its fabulous resources. Farmers, we hope you caught Chris Callahan's webinar on Bags, Liners & Bins.
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.
The Farm to Plate Annual Gathering was a fantastic success via zoom. All the resources including video recordings of each session are available on the Gathering Landing page.
A shoutout of thanks to City Market a sponsor of the 2020 Farm to Plate Gathering. The Coop has a long, rich history of supporting our communities including local food producers & organizations.
Thank you City Market!
Are you a business spinning like crazy in these times? Are you stuck in your own head? Have you considered creating a team of outside advisers to run ideas through? Or maybe you'd like to partner with other business professionals for fresh insights. VSJF has created a series of You Tube videos to help businesses identify if an advisory board is good for your business. Check out the first in the series, then follow it up with all the other videos.
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 understanding product life cycles.
A must read! Benjamin Lorr's recently released The Secret Life of Groceries. Insightful, selectively inclusive approach to the supply chain is informative, both heartbreaking & inspirational.
Attention Everyone!
Please take the The Vermont COVID Consumer Survey. This short consumer survey gauges Vermonters’ attitudes & behaviors around travel.
Unless otherwise noted, photo credits are from company social media, websites or Annie Harlow

photo credit: Farmers to You for Rogers Farmstead eggnog

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Contact: Annie H Harlow

Grateful for the funding support provided by High Meadows Fund
Week 39 of Covid December 3, 2020