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Last week our Outside Sales team embarked on a tour of a select group of farms and purveyors that we work with in southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire. It was a great learning experience for us all. Unfortunately we picked the two hottest days of the year!

We started the day at Harlow Farm Stand in Westminster. Evan Harlow showed us around the farm and we took some wagon trails into the woods to some of his remote fields as well The farm is old school in many ways but slowly modernizing. We were very impressed with the fields themselves. You can visit their stand on Route 5 to see for yourself.

From there we headed south to Scott Farm Orchard in Dummerston, Vermont. Zeke Goodband is the closest thing to Johnny Appleseed you will ever find. He is a wealth of knowledge on apples. They offer a couple of tasting days in the fall if you would like to check them out. You can also go to their store in season or even join their apple CSA.

We took a tour of Commonwealth Dairy where they make Green Mountain Creamery Yogurt. The plant is state-of-the-art and spotlessly clean. It is pretty amazing how much yogurt they make there.

We ended the day with a trip to Echo Farm Puddings to see the cows that make the milk to make the pudding. This is truly "farmstead" pudding in that it is made on the farm from milk produced on the farm. The cows were pretty funny as they all have names and personalities. Some were escaping while their pals were warning them vocally that they were not obeying the rules. We had the opportunity to watch some bad cow behavior as they were repeatedly escaping and getting chased. Maple pudding is on its way very soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

To learn more about some of the farms that Black River Produce works with, please see Farms and Partners.

“Can I choose the local farm my produce comes from when I place my order?”

As local products become more readily available, this question comes up routinely from our produce purchasing customers. We like to keep produce moving to guarantee peak freshness; in between the time we pick up produce from a partnering grower and deliver it to fulfill a customer order, that produce spends a short time in our temperature controlled warehouse. Sean Buchanan, President of Black River Produce, explained this process during a tour of our warehouse last year with a group from Farm to Institution: New England. You can find their impressions from their tour on their blog.

From April 1st through June 15th we ran a Seafood Contest to see who could sell the most "Alaskan" Seafood Products in support of our Alaskan Fishing Industry. One group consisted of restaurants and organizations, while another group included retail stores to ensure a level playing field. The winners are the top 5 purchasing accounts in each group for those specific seafood items; congratulations to everyone!

 

Retail Store Division
1st - ($500) Mazzeos of Great Barrington
2nd - ($400) Monadnock Food Co-op
3rd - ($300) Co-op Food Stores (Hanover)
4th - ($150) Brattleboro Food Co-op
5th - ($75) Co-op Food Stores (Lebanon)

Restaurants & Organization Division
1st - ($500) Shanty on the Shore
2nd - ($400) Equinox - A Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa - Vermont
3rd - ($300) The Tyler Place Family Resort
4th - ($150) Myer's Bagel Bakery
5th - ($75) Popolo

 

 

Congratulations to Executive Chef Sean Miller of The Foundry at Summit Pond in Killington, who led his team to a silver medal at the 5th Annual American Culinary Federation Competition in Saratoga Springs, NY.

One of his winning menu items included, a “Pan-seared hake with chilled beluga lentil and avocado salad with plum vinaigrette, compressed plums, micro-green salad and herb oil.”

Read more about the invitation-only, Chopped-style competition here.

Congratulations Vermont Creamery for winning top honors from the Specialty Food Association, as a part of its Sofi awards, for the creamery’s pinnacle-aged goat cheese, Bijou. And the accolades don’t end there; their Bonne Bouche was also a finalist!If you haven't had the privilege of tasting this for yourself, be sure to visit your nearest coop or store and purchase some. Check out the full article on their accomplishments here.

If you are a BRP customer, give us a call and order yours today!

Today was an exciting day in the test kitchen of Black River Produce! We had internationally acclaimed, Cervena Venison Executive Chef, Graham Brown here.

It was a rare opportunity to not only see how to break down each cut with minimal waste, but to gather inspiration for menu ideas and sample the many applications in which he was able to prepare the product.

Thank you to everyone that attended this live demo event and tasting. We heard the following feedback from one attendee, Ryan Devolve, on our Facebook page, “I attended and had a great time, the food was amazing and the laid back feel of the whole thing was fun. Thanks for having me, hope for more demos like this is the future!

We spotted a recent article about Ethan Gevry, who started raising hogs for Black River Meats when he was just 16. He is now one of our largest hog suppliers. You can view the full article, published in the Acorn Champlain Valley Local Food & Farm Guide, via the link below. Congrats on being recognized Ethan for your hard work!

“At 19 (turning 20 this summer), Ethan Gevry’s is Vermont’s largest hog producer. According to Gevry, he raises over 2,500 hogs a year, almost all of which is sells to Black River Meats in North Springfield. Gevry’s Champlain Valley Farms is one of six producers for Black River’s heritage pork line of products.”

Read the full article here.

 

This Friday we will have a table set up at the Springfield Food Co-op offering free samples of Black River Meats. We will be offering our newly released line of Hot Dogs, Sausages, and more. Stop in and try some from noon til 2pm.

We'd like to remind all of our customers that we host an Open House the first Wednesday of every month. The next one is coming up on May 4th. Refreshments will be provided.

Come tour our warehouse and meat processing facility. We are one of a few facilities in the US with viewing windows so you can see the whole process without ever being on the main floor. Tours are only available to BRP customers and are not open to the general public. Anyone who is interested should RSVP with Scott Sparks or your sales rep. See you there!

We enjoyed hosting a group from Zack’s Place, who toured our operations facility with Scott Sparks, Vice President of Sales. Zack’s Place is based in Woodstock, Vermont and provides opportunities for young adults with special needs to “explore culture, education, business and fitness while developing bonds of friendship.” You can learn more about Zack’s Place on their website.

Ojai Pixies are not sold under trade names! They are not Cuties, Sweeties, Delites or Smiles– they are Ojai Pixies; that is, Pixie tangerines grown in the Ojai Valley.Always seedless and easy to peel, Ojai Pixies are picked at the peak of ripeness, which makes them stand out for their complex citrus flavor and mouthwatering sweetness.

Pre-order now!