Frozen vegetables don’t have the most appetizing reputation, but the staff of Burlington’s City Market hopes to change perceptions by selling a new line labeled Neighboring Food Co-op Association. This year’s pilot program includes green beans, corn and broccoli, grown at family farms throughout New England and packaged by the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick and Farm to Table Co-Packers in Kingston, N.Y. There are also blueberries that sprouted at Green Mountain Orchards and Harlow’s Sugar House, both in Putney.
The produce is sold in clear plastic bags so customers can choose it as carefully as they would fresh foods. According to City Market media coordinator Todd Taylor, supplies of everything but in-demand broccoli are sufficient to last the store at least through midwinter. Taylor says sales in this pilot year will determine whether the store stocks up on more local frozen veggies in winter 2012. Hunger Mountain Co-op in Montpelier, also a member of the pilot program, has reported “brisk” sales of the same vegetables.
Taylor, for one, is sold. “They’re superb,” he says. “The green beans especially, once you’ve heated them up; they’re almost as fresh as in the summer.” If others share his opinion, they’re sure to be a hit.