Last night, I attended a Wegman's Buyer presentation for local farmers hosted by the Piedmont Environmental Council.
Yes, I was out of my league! Also: let's talk about this crappy weather the mid-Atlantic region has been experiencing. This Texan hasn't seen the sun in 16 days.
I feel sick and cranky and I swear it's the lack of vitamin D. My supplements aren't hacking it.
I feel as though my wellies are permanently affixed to my feet. I almost wore them into the gym this morning!
For those who don't live near a Wegmans (anyone who doesn't live on the East Coast NOVA and above), let me introduce you to the awesome.
They are a 100 year old privately held, family-owned company that emphasized #eatlocal LONG before #eatlocal had a hashtag.
I experienced their Dulles store when I used to live in Nova. They have GREAT produce as soon as you walk in and lovely specialty item displays and even an in-house restaurant and bar. They produce a quarterly magazine with awesome seasonal recipes broken down so even the most ill-equipped chef can make do.
To me they represent affordable quality and the ability to taste a wide variety of everything in season.
During peak season, the presenter says that 30-40% of the produce in a Wegmans is locally sourced. That is a big deal considering the size and scale of these stores.
I learned we would need to be GAP certified before they would buy from us (General Agriculture Practices via the US Dept of Agriculture) but that Wegman's will help with the cost of certification! They will also help value added products like local jams, jellies, etc. produce the necessary labels to be compliant. It seems like they really do value their local communities and grower relationships.
(I liked that they said grower and not vendor)
It's obviously a few years before we could even consider becoming a supplier, but I learned a lot and I'm proud I had the gumption to go!
P.S. Farmers apparently wear jeans and button downs and clean shoes. (I didn't get the memo on clean shoes! Mine definitely had mud and chicken shit on them)