City Market's Prepared Foods Shines with Local Food Use

When you think of the words local food, what do you envision? Perhaps grown by your neighboring farmers, seasonality, delicious, healthy, minimal carbon foot print and supporting local economies. Well here at City Market, we define local products as grown or raised in Vermont, where the farm selling the product is from Vermont, and any processing is done in Vermont. Typically, these products are mostly whole, unprocessed foods. Being able to support local farmers and producers is something we deeply value and we’re thankful to our hard-working local producers who bring us an incredible array of crops throughout the season, keeping Vermont’s working landscape active.

There are many ways in which we support local vendors and one of the ways is in our Prepared Foods (PF) Department. Our PF Department is in charge of everything ranging from our made-to-order sandwich station, our grab-n-go section, deli case and of course the hot bar.

You may be wondering just how much local ingredients our PF Department uses and what food and farms we source from. Well, in 2014, we purchased over $80,000 in local food to be used in our house-made food options and in 2015, we topped that by purchasing over $115,000 from local vendors in the state of Vermont which was about a 40% increase in local spending in our PF Department alone.

If you’ve shopped here before, you may have noticed that we have a rotating menu on our hot bar that changes weekly. By changing our menu weekly, it allows us to use a wide variety of local ingredients that are in season. On our hot bar alone, you can find over 30 different local ingredients being used in our soups, sides and entrées throughout the year.

When it comes to total pounds used, a total of 120,453 pounds of local produce was used in 2015, which was an increase of 34% from the previous year. In 2016, our Prepared Foods Department’s goal is to purchase around 200,000 lbs. of ingredients from local vendors to be incorporated into our in-store offerings. The ingredients that we used in 2015 came from roughly 17 different local vendors, which is a number we wish to increase each year. We have built strong relationships with many Vermont vendors and farmers over the years and some of our biggest suppliers include, but are not limited to, Miskell’s Premium Organics (Charlotte, VT), Rockville Market Farm (Starksboro, VT), Lewis Creek Farm (Starksboro, VT), River Berry Farm (Fairfax, VT) and Pomykala Farm (Grand Isle, VT) to name a few. In 2015, we purchased over $34,000 worth of local ingredients from Miskell’s Premium Organics, $20,000 from Rockville Market Farm, $17,000 from Lewis Creek Farm, over $14,000 from River Berry Farm and over $10,000 from Pomykala Farm. When asked, Eric Rozendaal, owner of Rockville Market Farm, had this to say about City Market, “Our business has a strong relationship with City Market, especially the Prepared Foods Department.  It's not an understatement to say that selling to them has been a game changer for us.”

In 2015, we used over 8,500 pounds of Yukon potatoes, 8,000 pounds of butternut squash, 8,800 pounds of chard, over 8,000 pounds of romaine lettuce, and over 6,600 pounds of carrots. To put that in comparison from 2014, we sourced 3,500 pounds of Yukon potatoes, 2,600 pounds of butternut squash, 5,700 pounds of romaine lettuce, 6,334 pounds of chard, and 3,700 pounds of carrots. That is just to name a few, as we used over 35 different local ingredients in 2015.

By using local ingredients, it allows us to cut down on food waste as well. There are times when our Produce Department receives “seconds” (less attractive produce that can’t be sold on the shelf) and Prepared Foods is able to take that food and use it in our menus which allows us to use the food that many other grocery stores may throw away.


2015 (in pounds)

2014 (in pounds)

Yukon Potatoes



Butternut Squash



Romaine Lettuce










With so many ingredients being used on our hot bar every day, we wish to make it easy and convenient for our Members and customers to distinguish when local ingredients are used in our products by our use of signs and color coding. When scanning our hot bar and deli case, you will notice that local ingredients are listed in bold on the signs. You can also find the name of the farm from where the ingredients were sourced.

With buying in such high volume, this allows us to create a larger impact financially with our local vendors and within the Vermont food system. When we buy local, it allows the local farmers to use that money and reinvest it back into their crops, farm and equipment so they can continually produce and operate their farm (and keep supplying us with delicious food!).

As you can see, supporting local vendors is an imperative part of City Market’s mission. As we continue to innovate and grow, we look forward to building more and more relationships with vendors and incorporate even more local ingredients into our product mix. In doing so, it creates a stronger food system within the state of Vermont that aids in supporting many farmers and vendors as well as offering the ability for Members and customers to purchase local food that may have not been as accessible in the past.