How We Source Local Organic Corn For Our Tortillas
Pictured above: The VTC staff at Wrisley’s in Essex, NY
Here we are closing 2016 in style – 500 packs of tortillas went out the door to groceries stores, restaurants, a wedding catered, and some diehard customers that braved the Vermont winter – if you can call 3 inches snow. Now that we’ve been open for over six months we feel it’s a good time to start writing a weekly or bi-weekly blog of what we are doing, where we are headed and capture the events that are helping move our small family business forward. I will keep a colloquial style throughout this section so please pay more attention to the content than the form. I am interested in capturing both a chronology of current events and general themes that repeat themselves throughout our interaction with clients, suppliers, friends and family. Today, in the front of my mind I am thinking about “Local Sourcing” and what it means.
Here at VTC we source our corn from our friends across the lake Adirondacks Grain Growers. They are a USDA certified organic operation. The farm is 10 linear miles from our factory and it is part of the same “Ecoregion,” the entire Lake Champlain Basin. To me, using corn from the same watershed meets the definition of local and supports our working landscapes. On a clear day I can see across the other side of the Lake Champlain Valley. Standing tall I see the majestic Palisades of Split Rock Mountain, an amazing natural area adjacent to our farmers’ cornfields. I love supporting Sustainable Agriculture in the buffer of such a beautiful area.
Yes there is an imaginary line that runs through the middle of Lake Champlain separating New York and Vermont but nature knows no boundaries – all the water that falls around our factory flows to the lake, same thing with Split Rock Mountain. Would I feel comfortable getting corn from the Connecticut River Valley? Is corn from the east side of the Green Mountains local? Is corn from the west side of the Adirondacks local? I don’t know. What I do know is that I can see our source from our window, I personally know our farmer and he has USDA organic certification. On a different post I’ll write about the “true” costs of organic vs. conventional corn.