Went to a Food City store and what did I see?
A New Brand of LOCAL Milk looking back at me!
In a month of challenging news centered on COVID-19 and how it is affecting farms across the country, a once-every-10 days trip to a grocery store offered a bright spot in an otherwise difficult time frame.
‘Southern Dairies’ is a new brand of milk making its way onto Food City shelves! This carton was a sight for sore eyes, particularly when I saw the words “We support LOCAL dairy farmers!” And then, I saw the milk plant #37-82, a milk plant I and many others in the South are familiar with – the Milkco plant at Asheville, NC. The cost on this day (Friday, April 10, 2020) was $2.99 / gallon.
Because I’m fairly familiar with farms whose milk is delivered to certain milk plants in the southeast, this made me extremely happy! That milk plant receives the majority of its milk from farms in northeast TN (from Knox County to Johnson County), southwest VA, North Carolina (central to western NC), SC, and north GA.
I have many, many friends whose milk is bought by Milkco, and this is another opportunity for their milk to be available to regional/local consumers! Truly, this is a case of a milk plant located in the mountain south, purchasing from farms in the south, and delivered to food retailers in the South! That’s a whole lotta local $$ circulating in the area economy!
Food City has collaborated with the Milkco plant before, as they have sourced their Food Club (private label) branded eggnog from them in past holiday seasons.
There were other brands of gallon milks on the Food City Dairy Case shelf at the time of this visit: Mayfield is another brand of milk processing milk from southeast dairy farms, with a plant in Athens, TN. The ‘food club’ brand is bottled at the Superior Milk plant in Canton Ohio, sourcing milk from farms in that regions of the country.
Food City is a grocery store chain of approximately 130 stores located from Southwest Virginia to Eastern KY, through East TN and into North GA. This is a chain I know well, since I am frequently in their stores, and I know vegetable growers who sell produce at Food City. This chain, like many, has been challenged with all of the panic buying experienced by many groceries across the country, with shortages at times. The ‘new normal’ has still not settled in, but things are better than at the beginning of the pandemic hoarding.
Read some related articles about the effect Coronavirus buying had on Food City:
- 27 Mar 2020: Give the Supply Chain Time to Catch Up:” Food City Executives Discourage Panic Buying, by Allison Goley for the Rogersville Review
- 24 Mar 2020: Food City CEO: In-store Shortages Will Continue, but Stop Panic Buying, by Brenda McDermott for the Knoxville News-Sentinel
Read More about Food City in general:
- Food City turns 100, written by Davis Lundy for the Chattanooga Times-Press in 2018
- Food City’s on the Right Track, written by Bridget Goldschmidt, Ensemble IQ, published at Progressive Grocer; an article about Food City’s Flagship Store in Johnson City, TN
None of us in farming, food, or the supply chain have any idea what the ‘new normal’ will be when the Coronavirus is more under control and life gets back into more of a predictable routine. While it is hoped sales of Southern Dairies branded milk take off like a rocket, that too is unknown at this point, and we’ll have to wait and see what other varieties or flavors of milk make it into retail channels. But shelf space and access to consumers, ever how much it is, is a great beginning!
Food City and Milkco have teamed up to give dairy farmers who operate farms in the southeast something to be proud of when they walk into a Food City – that’s their milk on that shelf! And this won’t only help local dairy farmers, this will help other farms in the area who grow grains which help feed those dairy herds, it will help local agribusinesses who serve those dairies, and it will give a sense of pride to local southeast communities.
And for that, many farms and agribusinesses in the southeast are grateful for this ‘carton of hope’ at Easter Weekend, 2020.
Southern Dairies, you have our prayers and our support for a successful brand launch and future!