Small Bites June 23, 2021

dedicated to the VT food system supply chain creating opportunities
to sell more VT products to more buyers

Meeting Community Needs

Jericho Center Country Store, in the heart of village, is a 100 percent quintessentially Vermont store melding the old & the new.
The "old", originally started in 1807, features gorgeous historic architecture along with merchandising displays from older times. Advertising & promotions throughout history play a significant role in creating the ambiance of relationships long associated with a community store.
The "new" is a fantastic product mix of Vermont brands from emerging & established craft beer to Cabot cheese products selected to meet their customer needs with a focus on localization. Because it is iconic, it receives press as a must-see tourist stop. To that, they have a line of their T-shirts & stickers highlighting their store & VT. With a focus on good food, including their hearty prepared foods to go, the store is a vibrant member of the community. 
Also meeting the needs of the community are fundraisers sponsored by stores with campaigns that "rally for change".
The seven corporate Vermont stores owned & operated by AGNE raised over $12,000 in May for the Veterans' Count, a philanthropic arm of Easterseals Military and Veterans Services, which provides resources & services to veterans, service members & their families. Once again, we are proud of our little state's local stores & customers taking care of our diverse community needs. 
Vermont Product Highlights

First let's talk about the June produce harvest! Tons of local produce through concerted seasonal extension or just the right growing conditions in Vermont's terroir.
Here are a few of this week’s highlights from across the state
Strawberries of course! (see other block for more info)
Blueberries! Adams Berry Farm!
Carrots! Peace of Earth Farm
Greens of all kinds
Herbs of all kinds
Radish several varieties- always a June favorite
Tomatoes yes that's right!
Young beets including golden & Chiogga
Napa cabbage
Young celery Pete's Greens!
Sweet onions with tops
Summer squash Elmer Farm
Raspberries new at Adam's Berry Farm ...And the list goes on!
See our produce display basics.
Local produce available through many distributors including Upper Valley Produce, Food Connects, & Farm Connex
The Farm Store in Jeffersonville, selling TONS of local bread & other local baked goodies along New England's longest rail trail, The Lamoille Trail
Genuine Jamaican makers of traditional marinade provides flavors for your prepared meals & sell retail sizes for your customers. It is one of our state's small scale producers selling at local coops & independent stores through DSD.
One way they increase sales & visibility is partnering with in-store tastings & product demos. Derrick's upcoming schedule has him sharing his Jamaican specialties at the West Barnet Quick Stop & St J farmers' market a place that locals love for a convenient shop & where small town chatter genuinely happens among vendors & shoppers. 
This week's beverage brought to you by SAP: Bubbles with Benefits the refreshing sparkling water & seltzer made right here in Vermont with our maple syrup. Travelers will get a taste of something new & different. Promote this product available through Farrell, one of their non-alcoholic Vermont made beverages.

"The current specialty foods industry is exciting & dynamic, but its structure leaves many qualified entrepreneurs locked out of opportunity. It also denies the industry access to new talent & novel products, as it is largely limited to those with large sums of capital & connections. The inequalities permeate all aspects of the business, from trade shows to training opportunities, sales meetings to investor pitches, & ultimately, product offerings on the shelves of retailers. As a result, talented & visionary BIPOC food entrepreneurs have been held back from successful market access, scaling, & growth due to a lack of network, capital, & transparency. These BIPOC food entrepreneurs bring innovative & authentic products to the market & would be a tremendous cultural & financial asset to the growth of our industry. 
As one step towards changing this system, Associated Buyers commits to supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs throughout our regional food system by partnering with makers, providing resources & support to increase their influence, economic contribution, & representation Equally as important, we pledge to continually confront our own prejudices, misconceptions, & ignorance of racism in our industry"
Farmers' Markets Are Back!

We heard sales were off the charts for vendors selling all types of products at markets across the state last week. That is great news! Some vendors were adjusting to the return, others training new staff on farmstand set-up & sales transactions. All the safety measures of last year made this year look easy & without the need for everyone wearing masks & keeping 6 feet apart it began to look & feel a little like the "before times".
Adams' Berry Farm was introducing strawberry lemonade, the return of organic popsicles, & a zillion & one happy customers buying strawberries while thinking about past bicycle smoothie days! All in all, makers & farmers saw happy customers both local & travelers enjoying the freedom & safety of our 80%+ vaccination rate. 
Strawberry varieties are hitting their stride! Across the state sales are strong for PYO, at farmstands, to food manufacturers & to retail food stores through wholesale. Here are a few of our farms enjoying a vibrant start to the season:
4 Corners Farm, Newbury
Dutton Berry Farm, Newfane, Brattleboro & Manchester
Last Resort, Monkton
Deep Meadow, Ascutney
Pete's Greens, Craftsbury
Joe's Brook Farm, St Johnsbury
Yoder's, Danby
Clear Brook, Shaftsbury
Full Belly, Monkton
Some early varieties include Wendy, Flavorfest, Cavendish, Honeoye & Jewel.
Need Berries? Reach out to us for clues to local producers
It is a crazy busy summer out there & we are only 2 days into it! Is your store in a high tourist area? Do you have the high-demand VT products people have come to expect when in our state? Grab & go snacks along with our choice beverages are a must to promote for hikers, boaters & bikers.
Our rail trails provide a great opportunity to feature easy to eat prepared & snack foods. In Jeffersonville, the Lamoille Rail Trail is super close to The Farm Store & directly adjacent to a bike shop. (& occupying a former grocery store). And nearby, the Morrisville Food Coop is super close to the trail too. These types of associations make it prudent to cross-promote with rail trail links. Does your store or farm take advantage to reach travelers in your area?
The appreciative staff at the Morrisville Food Coop takes Pride in being friendly by welcoming everyone including bikers, boaters & hikers traveling around the state.
The Vermont maple sector is experiencing rapid growth in production & product innovation. The expanding national demand for natural sweeteners, paired with improved production practices, creates an opportunity for continued expansion that will bolster job opportunities at all levels of the maple industry. Read the Maple Brief from Farm to Plate for info on our leadership role in maple distribution, research, & product manufacturing for the United States.
All Things Maple
Food businesses & food organizations are encouraged to participate in Maple 100 September 15 – October 15, 2021. It’s free to participate with endless options for how to be involved. Need inspiration? See last year’s Top 10 Highlights!
Edible Vermont is an independently owned, community-based publication. The summer issue is coming right up! The magazine & digital content promotes the local food culture & economy with editorial integrity, authenticity & exceptional photography. Local farm & food businesses have another way to advertise to the statewide traveler. Learn more!
In case you missed this last week, by popular demand:

The Farm to Plate Food Justice Task Force created a self-assessment tool & resource guide for organizations & individuals to learn more about different approaches to improving food access. This includes hunger awareness & relief, food justice, right to food, & food sovereignty. A goal is to identify their own role, ways to expand their work, or partner with complementary approaches. Join the Food Justice Task force.
ReLeaf is a budding network of Vermont Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) who enjoy, work in, lead in, benefit from, & contribute to four areas of focus: land, environment, agriculture, & food-ways.