|Mission Driven: City Feed and Supply|
|Features - Farmers and Markets|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
When you walk into City Feed and Supply on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, you want to stay a while. The endless bounty of edible treats within your reach is certainly a big part of this, but it's owners David Warner and Kristine Cortese that really make City Feed feel like home. From the beginning, the owners' vision for CFS was to create a neighborhood store. Cortese explains, "We wanted to create the store we wanted in our neighborhood. We figured, if we want this store, others would want it too." They were right. In fact, the excitement and popularity of the first location (at 66a Boylston Street, also in Jamaica Plain) led to the larger location, which has become the hub of Centre Street activity.
For those of us who are focused on buying local foods, CFS provides just that and for all the right reasons. "We stock local foods because we are interested in supporting our local farmers; it's really about community," says Warner. The City Feed shopper can peruse the shelves, coolers, and refrigerators and see signs telling you exactly where the product originated. In this way, the customers know that they, too, are helping support not only City Feed, but its suppliers as well.
City Feed's willingness to support local growers also extends into the CSA market. Warner and Cortese decided that they would offer to be a pick-up station for local CSA's even though they themselves were stocking similar items on their own shelves. CSA shares from Enterprise Farms are picked up on Thursdays. Each week the shares are dropped off with a list of their "owners." "Our employees fetch the boxes, and cross the names off the list," Cortese explains, "and we hold shares for 24 hours." Stillman's Farm has a slightly different model. Stillman's distributes their shares on Saturday at the Jamaica Plain Farmers' Market (behind Bank of America.) At the end of the day, extra shares are brought to City Feed so that CSA members who were unable to make the pick up during the farmers market hours can still retrieve their fresh produce (NOTE: All drop-off arrangements are made directly through the farm.) City Feed and Stillman's have collaborated in this way for 9 seasons. "The farms and shareholders appreciate the convenience, " says Warner, "and we enjoy providing the service." Of course, City Feed also benefits from the additional foot traffic of the CSA shareholders. The Enterprise Farm shareholder who comes to pick up his or her share and then drops in for a quick sandwich or snack represents the wonderful symbiotic relationship that City Feed has cultivated over the years with its suppliers and customers.
Although City Feed is very much a neighborhood store, it is worth the trip if you are not in the Jamaica Plain area. From sandwiches featuring local ingredients, to piping hot Fair Trade coffees and teas, to a robust local cheese selection, you will not be disappointed, and you will come back.
Photo by Lori De Santis