Update from GM Chris Roland

May 3, 2020

Hello Co-op Owners, Neighbors & Friends:
Another month indoors, but work continues on Fredericksburg’s Community-Owned Grocery Store.  The team is hard at work finalizing store layout and equipment while our architect, John Burger, is working with his professionals getting our store drawings ready for permitting and general contractors.  We’ll be breaking ground very soon on our remodel and then the real excitement begins!  We’ll probably have our first store sign up on the Lee Plaza marquee before the next newsletter comes out!  It’s getting more and more real every day!

Some of the other work we’re doing is connecting with our local farmers and producers and seeing how they are doing during this unprecedented time.  We’ve interviewed Lawrence Latané from Blenheim Farm, Robert Greenlaw from Earth’s Echo Farm, and Emmett Snead from Snead’s Farm to see how they are managing.  With many farmer’s markets on hold and many restaurants closed or doing less volume, we were worried that our local farmer’s jobs, which were already some of the hardest on the planet, were getting even harder with less avenues to sell.

We are very happy to report the one consistent thing we’ve heard from them all is that demand is as high as folks can ever remember it!  How cool is that!?!   It seems that while grocery stores were struggling to keep shelves stocked, and both international and national supply chains showed weakness, consumers remembered that, when in doubt, GO LOCAL!  Our local farmers are being flooded with calls, direct orders, and CSA signups.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve eaten more local asparagus this month than I ever have and it’s great!  Our local growers are growing tons (literally) of fresh, local produce for us to eat and we get to skip all the middle people … even if we have to look a little harder for it. 

As an eternal optimist, I see this as one upside of this whole virus mess … a return to eating locally.  It’s time local farmers came out on the winning end.  Let’s support our local growers, rather than foreign-owned supermarkets (Giant, Food Lion, Aldi, Lidl) and national produce suppliers.  This doesn’t mean eating asparagus for dinner every night in the spring, but it does mean checking in with what’s local and incorporating it into your week’s meals.  Sometimes it means trying something new.  With so much quarantine cooking and baking going on, let’s experiment!   I know I’m trying some sweet potato bread this week to finish off my local sweet potatoes. 

Check out the farmer videos on Facebook if you’d like to see those interviews and let us know if you have other folks you’d like us to talk with.  It’s been a lot of fun and we want to do a lot more.  We’ll also keep updating with local market info and ways to reach out to farmers directly.  Hope everyone is staying safe, happy, healthy, and full of local food. 

Chris Roland
General Manager
Fredericksburg Food Co-op