New frozen green beans, broccoli, and sweet corn grown by family farms in New England, New York and Quebec on our shelves.
A day or two after I started working at City Market a few years ago, I walked around the store with our General Manager, Clem Nilan. We talked about where we saw opportunities for local farmers to fill ‘gaps’ in our local food supply.
One of the most striking gaps was in aisle 5 - the freezer! We had bags of frozen corn, peas, broccoli, beans, blueberries, strawberries and more on our shelves but our only sources were from large, national corporations that source their fruits and vegetables from as far away as China.
It seemed like the perfect local-food gap: these vegetables and fruits are already grown in Vermont and the process of freezing vegetables is relatively simple.
After a spring of road trips to meet with different potential partners, Clem and I were excited that both the Neighboring Food Co-ops Association and Sunrise Orchards signed up to partner in the project!
Long-story (of endless meetings, lots of data collection, and a hurricane) short, we have frozen corn, beans, broccoli, and blueberries, grown by family farms in New England, New York and Quebec on our shelves this fall!
Here's a peek at where they come from:
David from Sunrise Orchards processes frozen blueberries.
Blueberries: The blueberries were grown by Green Mountain Orchards and Harlow’s Sugar House, both in Putney, VT. While not organic, the growers practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control insect pests, weeds, and diseases in their fields. The blueberries were frozen using Green Mountain College's Mobile Flash Freezer.
Fresh green beans go into the freezer at the Farm to Table Co-packers.
Green Beans: The green beans were grown by John’s Farm, a family farm in central NY that has been growing a variety of produce since the 1950s. The farm is not organic but uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to produce the Caprice, Labrador and Lewis bean varieties for our frozen green beans. The green beans were frozen at Farm to Table Co-Packers in Kingston, NY.
Sweet Corn: The sweet corn was grown by Gill Farm in Hurley, NY. First planted by John Gill’s grandfather in 1937, the farm is not organic but produces a wide variety of produce using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods. The corn is a non-GMO variety (not genetically engineered) and was frozen at Farm to Table Co-Packers in Kingston, NY.
Frozen broccoli emerges from the freezer.
Organic Broccoli: Our broccoli comes from the 14 certified organic farms of Deep Root Organic Co-op in Vermont and Southern Québec. It was frozen up at the new Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, VT.
This year is our pilot for evaluating the demand for local and regionally sourced frozen fruits and vegetables. We'd love to hear any feedback you have on these products!