Small groceries are starting to look a lot like the independent coffee shops that sprouted up the 1990s. Think about it the way you might think about gray as the new black. (Wait, is it?) These little stores may be poised to become as ubiquitous as their coffee counterparts.
Like Church Hill's Union Market, Shockoe Bottom's Franklin Street Market and North Side's newly reopened Little House Green Grocery, Harvest Grocery & Supply in the Fan aims for a specific clientele. It stocks local produce, specialty beans, farm eggs, interesting jams and local charcuterie. You can't shop for your weekly groceries here, because it doesn't carry Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, a staple of every home with a child in it. But hardcore home cooks who can withstand whining can get about everything they need.
Harvest Grocery & Supply is about to stretch the confines of the niche it occupies. In addition to frozen meat from famous farmer Joel Salatin's farm, Polyface, Harvest has teamed up with J.M. Stock Provisions & Supply in Charlottesville to offer fresh meat in a butchery case to be installed at the beginning of the year.
"I had been talking through my concept with Erin and Jess of Little House [Green Grocery]," Harvest owner Hunter Hopcroft says, "and one of them mentioned that some young guys had visited them that were opening up a butchery and market in Charlottesville." He sent J.M. Stock Provisions & Supply co-owner James Lum an email and went to Charlottesville to check out the store in person.
It was a meeting of like minds. "His vision for Harvest aligns well with ours," Lum says. "The bottom line is good food."
Lum and partner Matt Greene look for local, grass-fed beef. And all of the meat they carry, such as pork, chicken and lamb, is pasture-raised. "Our animals are sourced very intentionally," he says. "We buy from farmers we trust."
They'll also supply Harvest with a wide variety of charcuterie.
"The level of quality and integrity that goes into thoughtfully stocking a 10-foot butcher case makes for an entirely different experience than a traditional grocery store's deli department," Hopcroft says.
Until the case is installed and deliveries begin, you can have a taste of what J.M. Stock Provisions & Supply is bringing to Richmond tomorrow, Nov. 8.
"We’ll be grilling up and sampling out a few of our smoked sausage outside Harvest and selling a variety of fresh sausage four-packs made this week in the shop," says Lum. "As an added bonus, our good friend [and former Style contributor] Tracey Love will be tasting out wines from Blenheim Vineyards."
You can also catch them again on Dec. 13.