Small Bites June 3, 2021
dedicated to the VT food system supply chain creating opportunities
to sell more VT products to more buyers

So much good news!

Let's look on the bright side! Since the pandemic began there has been restructuring & new ownership in small towns across the state. Some have been changes in ownership through retirement, others as community endeavors to serve food to their community through non-profits, & others sold & restored to meet new needs.
Take a look-see at the fabulous revitalizing that has evolved despite the challenges of a pandemic. We give a super shout out to these stores as they serve their communities, support local farm & food producers & provide jobs that have the potential to grow into careers. Crisscrossing the state changes are happening at many stores: Currier's Quality Market in Glover, West River Provisions in Jamaica, The Genny in Albany, the Original Vermont Store in Poultney, the Warren Store & the Sharon Trading Post which became the newest in the Maplefield's family of convenient stores.
Retooling, "re-storing" old stores is good for our communities. Congratulations to all the stores for your perseverance & community dedication opening (or soon to open) in a the challenging times brought on by the pandemic. 
The state creemee incentive program seems to be working! Through a collaboration with the VT Dairy Farmers & VAAFM a creemee coupon is given to the newly vaccinated for use at these participating stands. Down from 13,474 last week, now only 8708 vaccinations before all restrictions are lifted!
Vermont continues to lead the nation in vaccinations. With the latest numbers in, we're at 78.4% of the eligible population, just 8,708 away from our 80% goal, when remaining restrictions are lifted. -Gov Phil Scott June 1, 202
It’s a busy time at creemee stands, including Silloway Farm! And, this week the weather is 100% high-demand for creemees along with the vaccine coupons. Kingdom Creamery makes premium creemee & ice cream base customized by ice cream-makers across the state & available at every VT food store. Check out Wilcox Ice Cream & their full line of VT frozen products- including their own ice cream & treats.
Product Highlights

Savoure Artisan Soda is having a banner season & it is only June 3rd. They are now working with Myers Produce which has greatly opened up new selling opportunities. Owner Jess Messer is super stoked to sell to farmstands which she can do as DSD too. Need a new small batch, high quality, bevie for your customers? Choose Savoure!
How about a small batch artisan cured meat for your picnickers-boaters-hikers & gardeners? Award winning Babette's Table can be sold as a stand-alone, or incorporated into your summer food meals to go programs. Widely available throughout the northeast at stores & farmstands including Jubilee Farm in Huntington, Kiss the Cow in Barnard & Wilson Herb Farm in Greensboro.
How about some nice bread to cross promote with the cured meat? Every store in VT sells local bread from a nearby producer. Sometimes one has to reach across the border for local support of regional producers. Just over the NH state line, is Orchard Hill Breadworks, with widely available products in our Southern Vermont stores including the Putney Coop & Mountain Energy Market in S. Londonderry.
12K Granola from Barton, is keeping up with demand for its many small batch flavors. Selling locally up north at White's Market in Lyndonville & the retooled Currier's Quality Market in Glover. 
The new owners of the Original Vermont Store, in Poultney are excited to bring on more locally sourced
products across many categories. By using VT Roots & deliveries direct from local producers they are
bringing in shelf stable summer must-have products.
More on the bright side: Nationally, it looks like in-store sampling is coming back. COSTCO, Sam's Club & others are reinstituting programs. Some have added new twists such as transitioning with "servers" at checkout lines offering up samples, on-demand taste & product reviews from shoppers. As vaccinations continue to rise, stores across the state are considering ramping up their sample programs keeping in mind safety with pre-packaged offerings. Sampling programs will surely change but some info still pertains.
Things to learn

If you are wondering why there are significant delays or cost increases associated with your business, a glimpse into the intersection of the pandemic & the system of logistics is helpful. Whose job is it to uphold the "paper trail of regulations" & maintain highly functional relationships? Consider how especially taxing it must be when looking at international shipments of any & all products.
"A freight forwarder, forwarder, or forwarding agent, is a person or company that organizes shipments for individuals or corporations to get goods from the manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution. Forwarders contract with a carrier or often multiple carriers to move the goods. A forwarder does not move the goods but acts as an expert the logistics network.
The carrier can use a variety of shipping modes & often use multiple modes for a single shipment. The freight forwarder may arrange to have cargo moved from a plant to an airport by truck, flown to the destination city & then moved from the airport to a customer's building by another truck."
The puzzling of shipping & handling creates opportunities across the production & demand spectrum. 2020 & 2021 have seen significant delays in the global supply chain which intersect with roles & responsibilities of freight forwarders. There is an opportunity to utilize high-level technology to efficiently ship & manage the logistics.
Whether domestic or international transportation, having a specialized niche helps create more uniform operations. Keeping with a specific sector develops operational efficiency & proper handling resulting in high-level results with a focused customer base utilizing the same language of shipping & distribution terms. FAK freight all kinds: should a freight forward business focus on one product sector? At its core could be expertise on logistics & regulations incumbent to move product most effectively.

It is like farming or food production: focused & specialization in niche markets can benefit efficiency, high-level customer service & market development.
Farmers Into Retailers: Take Note

Farmstands, such as Clear Brook pictured above, have extensive product selection across categories. To increase the sale of VT products for your farmstand: check out the locally owned distributors crisscrossing the state.
Kathy Killam Distribution
We keep reminding farmers of the NOFA Farmstand Audit Tool & that they offer technical assistance to improve on-farm retail sales.
Ready for PYO? Check out the risk reduction tool;
Eat Local App: Search PYO farms
VAAFM Retail Licenses Be sure you are in the know for products you sell at your farm store.

Frozen Desserts: Agency licenses all creemee machines & companies making gelato, ice cream & other frozen desserts such as cheesecake & ice creams sandwiches. Inspection includes adherence to food safety protocols & proper handling of ingredients.
Milk: Businesses selling milk should register with the Agency. 
One more thing! Garuka Bars made with honey from Champlain Valley Apiaries are made in Burlington. They are perfect to promote grab & go for hikers, boaters, bikers & for quick add-ons at farmstands. Available through BRP & drop shipped to stores via Mable.
What is the state of honey & bees in Vermont? Read the Farm to Plate Product Bee & Honey Brief  for info on the barriers & opportunities as relates to bees, honey markets & pollination. Vermont has 14,553 hives producing an estimated 727,650 pounds of honey annually. Since 2006, Vermont beekeepers have lost an average of 33% of their honey bee colonies each winter & in 2018-2019, Vermont’s average annual colony losses ranked third-highest nationally. Key threats facing bees are pests and pathogens, land use change (e.g., development), & pesticide application.