In light of the very public shortages of basic items you have probably seen in the news, your WFM grocery team wanted to take a moment to let you know how it is impacting us here in Woodstock, and also to offer some helpful tips to improve your curbside shopping experience.
For most items, “shortage” probably isn’t the right word. What we have found is that it has been difficult to obtain national brand products like Organic Valley milk, Lundberg rice, and canned beans due to dramatically increased demand. But our local producers have plenty of inventory and our smaller niche distributors have some great alternatives, and they are happy to help us fill in the gaps. We’ve got some suggested replacements for you detailed by category below. Long story short, local vendors are able to keep up where the national brands are struggling, so show your local folks some love!
BAKING ITEMS: It’s been a real challenge for us to keep retail-sized flour in stock while the supply chain catches up with demand. We do have 50 lb bags of King Arthur and we are portioning it out in 5 lb increments as necessary. Yeast is hit or miss, but we are doing our best; baking chips, alternative flours, and sugar are generally available—we are just selling more of them than we have in the past, so we’re increasing our orders and should have plenty moving forward.
DAIRY: Our distributors have to give priority to their national accounts, so availability of Organic Valley milk has been spotty. We have no problem at all getting really fabulous local cream–top whole milk from the folks at Kiss the Cow, Sweet Rowen, and Norwich Farm (their milk comes from the cows at Billings Farm right here in Woodstock). We have also been receiving consistent deliveries from our friends at Thomas Dairy and McNamara Dairy several times a week—demand for these has increased dramatically, so we do run into some short-term out-of-stocks. These milks are pasteurized and super fresh and generally have a shelf life of 1-2 weeks, so just order what you can use in that time period.
Ice-cream supplies have been solid, but we are seeing unprecedented demand—we even met the Wilcox driver in a parking lot along his route to restock since we sold through this week’s regular delivery in 24 hours! Have no fear, we will definitely increase our orders moving forward!
VEGAN ALTERNATIVES: We have seen a sharp uptick in demand, but our suppliers are keeping up with the refrigerated items (Califia Almond Milk, Nutty Life Cashew Milks and Oat Milk, Violife vegan cheese, tofu, tempeh, etc.). We just received a large order of frozen Beyond Meat products, too. Shelf-stable almond and oat milks are hit or miss, but we are generally able to bring in a few cases a week. Non-dairy ice cream is definitely in stock, and we have coconut, cashew, and oat-based varieties.
BEANS, RICE, PASTA, & CANNED TOMATOES: Canned beans have been arriving in partial shipments (at best), and we are working hard to source alternatives. If you have the time, dried beans are super easy to cook, and if you have access to an electric pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot), they go from dried in the bag to ready to eat in about 45-60 minutes.
Rice is also in super high demand right now, so we are bringing in an awesome new brand called Castor River Farms out of Missouri—they are family owned and super sustainable. We hope you like it as much as we do!
Pasta supplies are still looking good; If everyone only buys what they need for a week or two at a time, our distributors should be able to keep up. The brands we carry are typically not available at large chain supermarkets, so we don’t have to compete with them for resources…and we think our pasta tastes better, too 😊.
Canned tomatoes have been arriving steadily; so as long as everyone only buys what they need in the short term, we should continue to be in good shape.
Pasta sauce is in great shape—we have some fantastic local vendors that can keep us pretty well supplied if we do run into issues with the national brands.
OLIVE OIL & PANTRY ITEMS: We have run into sporadic out-of-stocks on our value-priced olive oils, but we are sourcing new brands and ordering more every chance we get. We generally have a good mid-range selection, including local favorite Olive Table, which is owned by a Woodstock couple and produced by their family in Greece ($18.99 Greek blend, $22.99 Organic Greek Blend)—it’s always a huge hit!
Most condiments and sauces are well stocked, as are crackers, jams, pickles, nuts, dried fruit, and chips. Nut butters are in somewhat limited supply with the exception of tahini—we have plenty of Soom tahini and chocolate halva spread in stock. Canned tuna has been flying off the shelves as fast as we can get it. If you need some, try ordering for a Tuesday afternoon pickup as it usually comes in on Mondays.
WINE: Please don’t be shy about including a price range for things like wine and olive oil. For wine, we have 2-3 selections in the $10 and under range and an awesome selection in the $10-$20 range, with a few special selections in the $20-$35 range. We can also accommodate most special orders for wine with advance notice—just give us a call and ask for Courtney or Amelia or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to order a case or more, please give us as much notice as possible so we can be sure to order enough to go around.
GENERAL GROCERIES: Our major shipments arrive Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week. It takes most of the morning to receive and stock our deliveries, so choosing a mid- to late-afternoon pickup time will increase the chances that the dry goods and dairy items in your order will be available.
Thanks for shopping with us!