Regionally Sourced Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Your food co-op works hard to source products that strengthen the local economy, support sustainable agriculture and grow the co-operative movement. Food co-ops across our region have been innovators in the food system, from organic and fairly traded goods to rebuilding local and regional economies.
The Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a network of more than 20 food co-ops in New England, has identified a range of products that could be grown, processed and consumed closer to home. Among the most compelling are frozen fruits and vegetables. While our region has a vibrant tradition of family farms and agricultural co-ops, much of the frozen produce on our shelves is grown on large, industrial farms, and processed by distant corporations.
What would it take to change this situation? The NFCA has partnered with Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, Vermont, to find out. “We are excited, in a year of so many challenges for farmers, to release a line of regionally sourced, family farmed frozen produce,” said David Dolginow of Sunrise Orchards. “And it wouldn't have happened without the partnership of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association.”
Working in collaboration with family farmers, farmer co-ops such as Deep Root Organic Co-op and the Pioneer Valley Growers Association, and processors including Farm to Table Co-Packers, the Vermont Food Venture Center and Green Mountain College’s Mobile Flash Freezer, we are now piloting products that are grown, processed and packaged right here in the Northeast.
In bringing you these products, we have worked closely with family farmers, farmer co-ops and co-packers across our region to source fresh, sustainably grown produce from the Northeast:
- Blueberries. Our delicious highbush blueberries were grown by Green Mountain Orchards and Harlow’s Sugar House in Putney, VT. The growers practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control insect pests, weeds and diseases in their fields.
- Green Beans. John Farm in Sauquoit, NY, has been growing a variety of produce since the 1950s. The farm uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to produce the Caprice, Labrador and Lewis bean varieties for our frozen green beans.
- Sweet Corn. Our delicious, non-GMO sweet corn is grown by Gill Farm in New York State. First planted by John Gill’s grandfather in 1937, the farm now produces a wide variety of produce using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods.
- Broccoli. Founded in 1986, Deep Root Organic Co-op is a pioneer in regionally grown organic produce, offering a wide variety of vegetables from their 14 member farms in Vermont and Southern Québec. Their co-op supplies our food co-ops with organically grown broccoli.
“We have really appreciated the opportunity to work with the NFCA on this project,” says Anthony Mirisciotta, Deep Root Organic Co-op’s general manager. “This collaboration has produced some great, regionally sourced frozen foods that can be enjoyed year round, as fresh as the day they were picked. This is what really excites us!”
We hope that you’re excited, too, and will look for these products in your co-op’s freezer, try them out, and tell us what you think. Neighboring Food Co-op Association Frozen Fruits & Vegetables are available for a limited time at participating member co-ops (for a map, please visit www.nfca.coop/members). They are easy to find in your food co-op’s freezer — they’re packed in a clear package so you can easily see what’s inside.
We hope that you will try these products and let us know what you think.