SWAMP RABBIT CAFE & GROCERY
When we opened the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery back in 2011, our mission was to help small local farmers succeed by getting more of their foods into the hands of consumers. We have been working towards this mission through education, showcasing local foods in our grocery and butchery, and through making great food with simple, local ingredients through our bakery, cafe, and pizza outlets. We love our job, because not only do we eat well, but each day, we get to go above and beyond to source and promote the best local products around!
We know from experience – sourcing local isn’t easy. There are many logistics involved, many relationships to cultivate, and many unpredictable variables that we can’t count on – like a bad storm wiping out a farm’s entire tomato crop in a day. Farming also isn’t easy – when farmers aren’t guaranteed to have customers buying the crops they’ve been growing for months, their livelihoods have a lot of uncertainty.
In 2016 we identified a huge need in our community and were ready to take local food to the next level, through helping farmers further market and sell their crops, and helping other businesses source local. Most small farmers aren’t able to deliver to 100 different restaurants, but food hubs are. Most restaurants aren’t able to order from 100 different farmers, but food hubs are. So, what do we do? We crop plan with growers to help them grow crops with high market demand, in the right quantities, at the right time, and we commit to selling those crops on their behalf. We do more than just market their products: we tell these producers’ stories to restaurants, grocery stores, and other food hubs. We provide post-harvest handling education, resources, and supplies. We aggregate demand, coordinate weekly harvests and deliveries with our growers, and once it reaches our door, we tackle the logistics behind transporting local food from one end of the state to the other, and beyond!