Read on for a deep-dive into the world of sourcing fresh fruits and vegetables for the Intervale Food Hub.
Intervale Food Hub Purchasing Priorities
Our goal is to provide food that's good for you, good for Vermont, and good for the Earth. We also want to make sure that you know where your food comes from and how it was produced - we believe in transparency in the food system!
We prioritize working with local producers who fit with our values:
- Supporting local Vermont farms and businesses,
- Helping sustain small to medium farms,
- Supporting organic certification and/or sustainable practices that are appropriate to the food in production,
- Supporting farms and businesses with ethical production methods,
- Sourcing high quality products,
- Finding farms and business partners with appropriate food safety and delivery logistics in place
Our farm partners are at the heart of everything we do. We work with a committed network of farms and businesses -- every year, we pre-plan our subscriptions with our farm partners, and the Intervale Food Hub makes purchasing commitments to our farm partners in advance. Why? In the words of one of our partners, Justin Rich of Burnt Rock Farm in Huntington, VT:
“Having people who commit to buying products early in the season, who follow through on that commitment, pay you a fair price, and buy a lot of it at one time allows us to be much more efficient with our production. The relationship we have with the Intervale Food Hub is extremely valuable to us.”
When you sign up for the season with the Intervale Food Hub, you're providing extremely valuable support to our Vermont farm partners! Thank you!
Filling the Gaps
As Vermonters, you're keenly aware of our state's wacky weather and growing conditions. Sometimes farms are not able to deliver exactly according to the plan – this could be due to a crop failure, pests, extended cold or wet weather, etc. In that case, we need to find a different item to keep your baskets full.
When we look to fill the gap for a certain produce item, we have several steps we take to make sure that we're providing consistent, reliable deliveries to you, our members. First, we reach out within our network of partner farms to see if they have enough of a comparable item available for us. If our partner farms do not have the item or something comparable available, we might shift the delivery of one item around in the schedule, or go with a different delicious fresh seasonal item as a replacement. If we still have a gap to fill in our delivery, we would next look to a producer outside of our pre-planning network, who meets our standards for sustainable and healthy practices.
Once outside of our network, we are looking for farms and ingredients that meet our values and our standards for sustainable, healthy practices -- the prioiritiesat the beginning of the post.
For example, we occasionally source from Deep Root Organic Cooperative, a company that’s based in Vermont, and who works with many of the same farms that we do and also works with organic family farms just over the border in Quebec. We source from Deep Root Organic Cooperative farm partners because they are still geographically close, though not in Vermont, and they offer produce that is certified organic, high quality, and can be delivered to us on short notice.
As another example, we were approached by the family at Mousam Valley mushrooms in Maine, right about the same time that our Vermont mushroom producer was scaling back production. Mousam Valley Mushroom's sustainability practices, organic certification, and high quality mushrooms felt like the right fit for the Food Hub while we looked into finding organic Vermont mushroom producers to partner with. Now, as of publishing time, we're working with 1000 Stone Farm, a small certified organic homestead farm in Brookfield, VT!
Hopefully all the information above is helpful. We always appreciate the opportunity to talk to our members about the details of Vermont’s seasonal local food system and how the Intervale Food Hub works behind the scenes!
What are your values and priorities?
We also would love to hear from you to learn more about about your priorities and values, to help us source the best food possible. Let me know if you have any other questions or more questions about the same topic!