Fresh & Local
Croftburn Market, Part 1
Column #9, Published Nov 18th, 2011
There is currently a food revolution going on, and locally grown food is making permanent inroads into the food we eat.
Two weeks ago, I asked, “What is a locavore to do during the winter?” Once the farmers’ markets close for the season, there is a dearth of retail channels for locally grown food. There are now year-around wholesale channels for locally grown food. The wholesalers have created a four-season market for local produce, so there are now local year-around growers. What is missing is a year-around retail channel. Enter Croftburn Market.
Po Bronson in his book “What Should I Do with My Life” tells the story of a guy named Joe. Bronson says, “When important decisions had to be made, the question was not, ‘What are your principles?’ but ‘Which principles are you prepared to act on?’ ‘Act’ was the operative word.”
Croftburn Market is retail market specializing in locally grown and produced food. It opened at the end of July next to Bruster’s Ice Cream on Rodgers Road. I asked the owner, Andrew Campbell, about his timing. “The country is in the middle of the longest recession since the Great Depression. There is no evidence that it is going to end any time soon. Many people would say this is a bad time to open a retail market.”
Andrew laughed. “I don’t disagree with any of that. However, there is never a perfect time. If you know someone who can accurately predict the future, I would love to meet him.” Andrew was obviously ready to act on his principles.
I asked Andrew how he got the idea about a local food market. He said that for years his mom, Meg Campbell, used to sell lamb and beef from their farm to restaurants. From that experience, he was sure that there was a larger demand for locally raised and processed meats. Croftburn Market sells fresh local lamb, chicken, beef, pork, and a full line of sausages made on-site. Andrew is a local butcher, like what used to be common half a century ago.
The lamb, eggs, and much of the beef comes from their own farm. The rest comes from local producers that he knows. Andrew believes that locally grown meat has big benefits. Among the benefits for consumers he mentioned that many people want to know where their food comes from. He also talked about quality and variety. Those are all benefits of local food that I have talked about in previous columns.
As an example, Andrew tells me, “A lady was just here looking for a tri-tip roast. She was from California, and she could not find it anywhere.” A tri-tip roast is also sometimes called a Santa Maria steak, and it is a California local specialty. Andrew carries the primal cuts, so he not only had it, but cut it to order.
Andrew also mentioned the benefit to local farms by having another sales outlet. Farmers are often price-takers, and having options always helps them.
In addition to being a local butcher, Croftburn Market sells many other local foods. They sell Red Truck baked goods. They sell milk in returnable glass bottles from the same Remington dairy that makes Moo Thru ice cream. (The chocolate milk is almost decadent.) They sell locally grown salad greens. They sell local beer and wine, and have Friday, and sometimes Saturday, night tastings.
I’m again out of space for this week. A retail market for local food is a big development so I’ll finish my conversation with Andrew Campbell next week.
Bryant Osborn and his wife Terry own Corvallis Farms in Culpeper County. His column on fresh and locally grown food runs every Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org