Grown in Marin
University of California
Grown in Marin

Local Nicasio Valley Cheese goes into local United Markets

Dairy cows
One place that picked up on the local cheese company was United Market in San Anselmo. The produce manager Ed Gilardi got the news from Rick Lafranchi at Silver Screen Video, and took it to his boss. “We are building in more and more local food and produce to our line. This was fantastic, to be one of the first to carry Nicasio Valley Cheese,” Ed says.

Getting product from our “conventional farms,” especially our traditional (conventional) dairy and beef farms, into local stores can be a difficult task. Our commodity farmers are used to selling “lots” of calves, and “hundredweights” of milk, on regular schedules to processors, some as far away as the Midwest. This tight national structure doesn’t leave much room for specialty niche marketing. By progressing to cheese from their own cows, the Lafranchis have found a way to add value to the family farm by taking the commodity to specialty, and capturing the premium through vertical marketing . The United Market folks are also proud to carry their neighbor’s product. “We are very happy with the deal,” says Ed Gilardi, “and are looking for more ways to carry local.”                          

Both retailers and producers are beginning to adapt to the new demand for fresh, local food. The are actively overcoming the obstacles of a steady supply stream, seasonal concerns, and freshness for produce and meats.

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