Connecting the Dots of Michigan’s Local Food System

This story was originally published in the ‘2022 Local Food Guide for Michigan’

Consider for a moment, how a container of milk got onto your grocery store’s shelf. That milk started at the farm, was processed, delivered, then stocked by hand all before you could even buy it. This multi-step process to get a product to the customer is what makes up the supply chain.

There is a vast network of people and businesses involved in this chain from start to finish, all with significant relationships to one another. Once the logistics have been fine-tuned, a rhythm is formed between suppliers and sellers and it can be difficult for small or new food businesses to even be considered or get an introduction. That’s where Taste the Local Difference comes in: we make connections between food businesses and larger markets to reroute the traditional supply chain.

Using milk as the example again, we established new relationships for The Farmers’ Creamery, an Amish-owned and operated milk supplier in Mio, MI, who wanted to increase sales of their product through more retail locations in the Detroit area. This resulted in an entirely new distribution route for their milk, butter, and drinkable yogurt products, with 12-15 new retail outlets and a 20% increase in sales.

Even with previously existing supplier relationships, TLD initiated change by communicating the value proposition of local food and positioning our partners’ products as the clear solution. When a person or organization, like TLD, has a hand in shifting the supply chain to a local alternative it is often called Value Chain Coordination.

Since we exist at the intersection between buyers and sellers of local food, TLD has the unique skill set and relationships to influence Michigan’s supply chain. As The Farmers’ Creamery adds additional products over the next 6 months and expands its distribution throughout the state, it will continue to make those new connections through TLD. The same can be said for our partner SampleCart in Detroit, who offers free product samples for a chef to try before buying. TLD connected them to dozens of chefs and suppliers to support their growth and we continue to do so today.

“We choose to work with TLD because there is no other organization we’re aware of that has the level of relationships within the local food communities in Michigan”

Chris Idema, co-founder of SampleCart.

The team at TLD will tell you that our core value of building authentic relationships is the one that resonates with us most. Whether we’re communicating the importance of knowing where your food comes from or connecting the dots in our local food system, you’ll see this value in action.


In the business of relationships, Taste the Local Difference is your best asset. We can help you enter into a new market, or wholesale channel because we have the strategy, resources, and insight to make sure you’re prepared. If you’re looking for a local source, we can help you too. Visit to find more information about our value chain coordination services and set up a discovery meeting.