Farm to Aisle 2
By: Devon Kohler
While I was up in Vermont this month visiting a friend at her beautiful Riverside Farm and enjoying the spoils of this amazingly snowy winter, I stumbled upon (or rather was introduced to) a vital piece of “edible south shore.” Walking around the many quaint, covered bridge filled towns of Vermont, taking in the ever abundant local produce, cheeses, meats, and preserves, quickly sparked conversations of what is missing in our local offerings down here on the south shore. I began to discuss with my Vermont resident and childhood friend my goal of bringing south shore local food more mainstream. And, wouldn’t you know it, she had just the weekend before been paid a visit by Rebecca Pimental, owner of Sweet Georgia P’s farm in Scituate.
Unfortunately, a loosely scheduled chairlift meeting did not come to fruition – the slopes were just too amazing that day – but Rebecca and I did have a chance to catch up on the phone this week. Sweet Georgia P’s is a small CSA farm owned and operated by Rebecca and her husband Joe who are dedicated to providing healthy, local produce to their family and the community at large. They seem to have the rare combination of “get your hands dirty” farming and a seasoned business sense. They have had two successful growing seasons and are embarking upon a potentially large move toward expansion.
In addition, Sweet Georgia P’s recently returned from the “invitation only” Whole Foods local vendor summit, giving them a potentially invaluable partnership. In first steps, Whole Foods will host Sweet Georgia P’s CSA pickup at both their Hingham and Bellingham locations. This will give Whole Foods a substantial added amount local produce “street cred” while at the same time offering Sweet Georgia P’s some mainstream visibility. CSA members will pick up their weekly shares at a Sweet Georgia P’s “farm stand” outside of Whole Foods and while the shares will only be available to members, pro-rated memberships will be offered to interested parties who happen upon the pick up stand while on their regular shopping trip. Sweet Georgia P’s has already experienced success with this model in Scituate at the Roman Table and the Village Market. The CSA pick-up brought a regular influx customers into the stores and offered visibility for Sweet Georgia P’s as well.
This is an angle that I had not considered and may be a better first step with Foodies in Duxbury. It is a win-win for both the CSA farm and the grocery store without any substantial commitment on either side. I also think that this first step could pave the way for a more extensive relationship down the road. Rebecca and Joe would be willing to set up a CSA drop at Foodies in Duxbury if I can rally together fifty Duxbury CSA members. It might be a tall order, but I do think that traveling a distance for a CSA pick-up has been a huge inhibitor to many potential CSA members. We’ll see what happens when a CSA pick-up can be included in part of a regular grocery store trip.
Devon Kohler graduated with a psychology degree from Harvard University and is now a mom of three, residing in Duxbury, MA. Being a novice gardener herself, she is passionate about local food and incorporating it into healthy sustainable cooking and eating for her family and the community at large.