Sweets & Treats
Week 18 of Covid-19, July 15
Main Street Market announces its presence in Richford, Fantastic News!
Grocery Nibbles
Grocers are busy selling local food across all categories. This support either direct from producers or through our loyal distributors, is paramount to our overall economic viability. Without a doubt, it has been a roller coaster ride sourcing & selling products throughout 2020.

Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier, deeply connected to their local producers & shoppers has shared what they have seen since March.

"Initially the number of transactions was roughly half normal while the basket size was more than double. More recently, we are seeing an increase in smaller baskets as the economy has reopened, people are more comfortable shopping and we see more visitors from out of state."

Hunger Mountain Coop offers in-store & expanded online-curbside pickup of over 1000 products including fresh dairy products from Monument Farms , English muffins from Vermont Bread Company & Aqua Vitea Kombucha . Their buyers are bringing on new products across categories, something that was not a top priority a few months ago.

Healthy Living Market in So. Burlington, another larger grocery store, has also seen shifts in consumer behavior. With the governor "opening the spigot" shoppers have again changed their patterns. They are less nervous & have adjusted to all the safety protocols in place. Healthy Living still offers curbside pre-ordered but customers are preferring to be back shopping the well-merchandised store.
East Calais Community Trust purchased the former store in an effort to reintroduce a general store & community center between East Montpelier & Hardwick. It will have an emphasis on convenience & ready-made meals. They are in the middle of fundraising & researching for operations manager.
Sweets = Treats
Vermont treats are a real thing & we are giving a shout out to some of our fine companies. Stores often do well bumping their margins as summer traffic loves a good sweet. On this week's short list:
  • Douglas Sweets, the undeniably perfect shortbread cookie made with VT ingredients Cabot butter & King Arthur flour. Shipped in various pack sizes DSD to any store in the country via FedEx. A great cross promotion with Monument Farms milk-both of which are available through Healthy Living Market to go.
  • MOCO, the organic coco that is NOT just for winter because it makes the ultimate milkshake. This is a fantastically unique product made with four ingredients. In summer this is best featured in social media cross promotion with your favorite local ice cream such as Kingdom Creamery or Wilcox.
  • How about promoting Garuka Bars for summer activities, or sharing with your deliver drivers? A quick pick me up for truck drivers, hikers, boaters, & hammock nappers
  • Baby Bundts, gluten free, made in small batches are perfect cakes to promote for picnics & small group gatherings, DSD or through Kathy Killam Sales & Distribution

DSD or next day shipping available from many of our fabulous Vermont producers.
"The supply of local product has held up more reliably than many of our national brands. This is remarkable given the increased demand for local products especially in the fresh categories. Our meat department is made up of primarily Vermont products and saw sales growth of 24.5% last month. Our appreciations go out to our farmer/producer partners!" -Kari Bradley, Hunger Mountain Coop
Mark Mulcahy ...Business consultant, Vermont retail trainer, produce guru, & of course a great friend of Farm to Plate, is rolling out a number of webinars through Rising Stars Seminars & Columinate to rekindle (lost-to-covid) personal trainings so important to retailers.
Monument Farms ships throughout west-central & northern Vermont
Distribution/Supply-side Nuggets
Monument Farms Dairy , a fourth generation dairy located in Weybridge has been front & center in customer service since its beginning in 1930. It's rich history has been built on supporting the health & well-being of the cows & economic vitality of the community.

Restaurants & prepared foods departments have long known that the quality of their recipes is enhanced with Monument Farms products. Retailers have seen sales increase when the full line of products is stocked in the cooler. Quality, service, & shopper identification of a brand they trust help promote a vibrant economy.

Grocers & farmstands from Swanton, to Enosburg, Rutland to Warren can get orders direct from Monument. They have partnered with Mansfield Dairy to service Stowe & Montpelier. Reach out to Monument to feature quality VT dairy products joining locally owned stores including Sweet Clover , Mehuron's, East Warren & Commodities Markets

Prior to & throughout covid, safety is paramount for its farmers, employees & customers. Community engagement & service has always been a high priority & now the dairy is participating in the the Farmers to Family Food Boxes as part of the CARES Act to meet the ever increasing needs of VT's food insecure.
Farm the Farm to Plate archives: gorgeous summer textures
Farm Fresh Bites

Across the state, farmers have greatly expanded their retail operations this summer in many creative ways. The need to share existing retail tools with farmers is becoming clear as a way to increase sales, improve customer the experience & operational efficiencies.

One of the best training self-evaluation tools is the Farmstand Audit Tool . This can be completed in sections by key farm stand/farm store staff. Think of it as a comprehensive critique to improve sales created by a former produce manager of City Market Coop & promoted through NOFA resources.
  • Does your farm stand team need communication & leadership tools? Check out the vast resources available through the Farm to Plate Retail Collection designed to improve sales & the customer experience. It includes video, hard-copy training tools, & one on one support retail on-farm support services.
  • Reminder: To add Vermont products to your retail farm stand Check out Lesser Distribution, VT Roots, Farm Connex & Meet Mable (deemed by VT specialty producers one of the best ways for small stores to access Vermont products). DSD or drop ship from the all the producers mentioned in this issue.
Wellwood Orchards in Springfield seasonal sweets & treats
Have you heard? A new searchable list of walking trails is being created to promote time outside. Fill out the survey to help develop this program. Dig In Vermont will host the list, focusing on trails that are on or adjacent to Vermont’s working farms or are conserved historic agricultural land.  List your farm to increase sales at your farm stand & expand your farm's visibility. Email or call Vera Simon-Nobes 802-985-0382. 
Staycationing in Vermont:

I just have to share this again!.... Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets created an ice cream map. It goes perfectly with the DiginVT Pick Your Own Fruit Guide . Explore all of Vermont using the food trail tool. Promote to your summer shoppers for them to create trails of their own.
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 for producers to round out your inventory.
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 information for this update.

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


Funding support provided by USDA & VAAFM & High Meadows Fund