Local

Spotlight on Red Hen Baking Company

Our Member Deals Spotlight is beaming on Red Hen Baking Company this week! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of freshly baked breads from February 15th – 21st. Read on to learn more about this wonderful local bakery that’s been turning out fresh organic bread 7 days a week for nearly 20 years!

 

History

The folks at Red Hen Baking Company are guided by a belief that pure, uncomplicated ingredients and the hands of skilled artisans are the building blocks for great food. Their bakery sprouted from humble beginnings with a staff of 8 on Route 100 in Duxbury, VT. They were committed to using organic ingredients since the very beginning and became an established presence in the area’s many cooperative and independent food stores. Their bread was beginning to appear at more and more of the area’s finest restaurants and they became mainstays of the Montpelier and Waitsfield Farmers’ Markets. To this day, these venues still make up the core of their wholesale business.

After 8 years of hard work in Duxbury and a seasoned staff that had grown to over 20 employees (many of whom are still with the bakery today), they had the opportunity to move 5 miles down the road to the neighboring town of Middlesex. It was here that they established their new baking facility in a building constructed especially for their purposes with an attached café in a renovated building that housed the former Camp Meade Diner.

Their café has become known as a local destination and gathering place where people can enjoy not only the breads they’re so well known or, but also their increasingly lauded pastries, sandwiches, and soups. To supplement their own creations, the cafe also features beer, wine, and specialty food from near and far. Next time you’re cruising through Middlesex, be sure to stop in!

Quality Commitment

Although Red Hen has grown considerably since those early days in Duxbury, they remain dedicated to creating the very best food from the best possible ingredients. You can’t make great food without great flour (or potatoes or seeds or meal, as the case may be), so a great deal of time and energy are spent sourcing the very best of these items. In many cases, they are closely acquainted with the farmers and millers that are responsible for producing the raw materials used for baking their breads. In fact, over 90% of all the flour they use comes from two farmers within 150 miles of the bakery. Each year, 430,000 lbs of local wheat go into their breads!

Farmer Ben Gleason of Gleason’s Grains delivering flour to the bakery.

They employ methods that are as old as bread making itself and these processes guide their days at the bakery. This method of slow fermentation produces a complexity of flavor, a chewy texture, helps the bread to keep longer, and even adds to its nutritive value. Each loaf is then formed by hand and baked in a hearth oven. The Red Hen family of breads runs the gamut from dense whole grain varieties to light and airy ciabatta and everything in between.

Giving Back

Like any good hen, the folks at Red Hen feel a responsibility to do what they can to nurture the community that has nurtured them. There is never a shortage of work to be done and there are so many good organizations doing that work, but each year their staff selects a few organizations that they would like to support. Last year they directed over $26,000 to the following organizations doing work both close to home and further afield:

To learn more about Red Hen Baking, check out their web page! You can view their cafe menu, read all about their diverse bread offerings, and find great tips for storing your bread to maximize freshness.

 

Spotlight on The Orange Owl

This week’s Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on The Orange Owl! This Vermont-based vegan skincare company provides our Wellness department with a full line of fabulous body care products and from February 8th – 14th, they’ll all be 20% off for member-owners! It’s a perfect time to pick up a few DIY Spa products for your Valentine, or to simply pamper yourself! Read on to learn more about this wonderful local business and the fabulous female powerhouse at the helm:

About the Company

The Orange Owl is a vegan skincare company based in the beautiful state of Vermont. The core mission of the company is to provide simple and environmentally friendly alternatives to essential products used regularly in our lives. ‘Going Green’ is not just a buzzword or about being fashionable to the folks at The Orange Owl. Instead, it is one of the vital components that goes into designing all of their merchandise.

Inspiration for The Orange Owl’s products is derived from a number of sources. From the smell of early morning coffee with a hint of cinnamon, hikes along some of the most beautiful trails in New England, to a plethora of experiences in founder Askhata Nayad’s home county of India, epiphanies happen all the time. It’s from these experiences that the colors, scents, and textures of her products are born.

Giving Back

She has also not forgotten that as you move ahead in life, it is important to give back to society. To this end, The Orange Owl is involved with The Schooling Project, an organization in India that works towards financing the education of underprivileged children. The Orange Owl donates 5% of every purchase made to benefit The Schooling Project, which works together with Global Concerns India to provide avenues for children to gain the financial means necessary to stay in school. In addition to basic education, the team does a fantastic job of offering workshops with the children to build their confidence and helps them explore various technical fields ranging from photography, to film design, and green design.

About the Owner

Akshata Nayak was born and raised in the city of Bangalore in southern India. She moved to America for her graduate studies in late 2003, earning a Masters in Biochemistry and, a few years later, a Masters in Applied Clinical Nutrition. After working in basic research in the fields of Immunology and Emergency Medicine for six years, she decided to shift her focus.The Masters in Applied Clinical Nutrition was a step in that direction. It helped emphasize some basic policies of trying to establish a balance in people’s lives when it came to overall health.

When she’s not busy owning and operating The Orange Owl, she also serves as a nutritionist at Alternative Roots Wellness Center, a holistic health center started with her husband. She lives in Vermont and loves to cook, read and repeatedly change the cushion covers in her living room. She is having the proverbial blast.

 

Akshata believes that establishing a relationship with you is just as important as having you enjoy her products. After all, knowing the people behind the items you use regularly makes the purchase more personal. So, indulge and treat yourself. Leave your problems behind. Experience these wonderful products!

 

Spotlight on Urban Moonshine

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Urban Moonshine this week and all of their wonderful wellness products are 20% off for member-owners from January 11th – 17th. They offer a wide range of high-quality organic products ranging from digestive bitters for your belly, to tonics that pick you up or simmer you down. With a strong emphasis on ethical sourcing processes and a mission to make herbalism more accessible, we’re happy to shed a little light on this women-run company hailing from Burlington, Vermont. Read on to learn more about them:

 

 

Urban Moonshine was founded in 2008 in Jovial King’s kitchen with the goal of making herbal medicine more accessible. They specialize in high quality liquid herbal extracts with a focus on digestive bitters, herbal tonics, and everyday health remedies. Urban Moonshine has grown from a booth at the local farmers’ market to a nationally distributed and recognized brand while staying true to its mission of bringing high-quality, certified organic herbal medicine to more people and changing the way we think about the healing power of plants. They aim to return the use of herbal medicine to daily life, to bring it “out of the cupboard and onto the counter”.  They see their herbal products as part of a growing wellness movement, focused on authentic, effective, whole plant solutions. Urban Moonshine is based in beautiful Burlington, VT and is proud to be a woman-run company.

An extremely big moment in the Urban Moonshine story occurred last month: the amazing independent herbal tea company Traditional Medicinals acquired Urban Moonshine! Fundamental to that story is that Traditional Medicinals was co-founded in Sebastopol, CA in the early 70’s by one of Vermont’s most beloved/legendary herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who was also one of Urban Moonshine founder Jovial’s first herbal teachers! Both companies are on the same path bringing high quality, organic herbal medicine into more people’s lives and they’re thrilled to be able to lean on Traditional Medicinal’s experience to help continue to build Urban Moonshine from the small kitchen to farmers’ market business Jovial started in 2009.

Both botanical wellness companies are aligned with the usage of high-quality organic ingredients, ethical sourcing processes and a mission to make herbalism more accessible by connecting people to the power of plants. Traditional Medicinals and Urban Moonshine will continue to operate separately and retain existing headquarters in Sonoma County, CA and Burlington, VT.

Be sure to check out Urban Moonshine’s blog to stay up to date on the latest in herbal wellness.

Nutty Steph’s Gets Even More Local

Nutty Steph’s is celebrating recent improvements that make their classic local product vastly more desirable for “Localvores”. The change came from a partnership with woman-owned milling company, Maine Grains, as the source for the oats used in Nutty Steph’s Vermont Granola. Simultaneously, the last two years brought major improvements to the Nutty Steph’s baking process, which allows the company to pay more for the oats while not raising the price of their Vermont Granola. “We are so proud of our granola now that we want everyone to try it.” says company founder, Jaquelyn Fernandez Rieke.

Nutty Steph’s Vermont Granola had always been made with Vermont maple syrup, making it 28% local, but with the Maine Grains oats, the granola is now made with 78% local ingredients. “During our first 12 years, I struggled about trucking in oats from so far away, sometimes as far as Vancouver. It broke my heart, really, that we had no feasible source for local oats. I am soaring about the changes. To have finally found a local company, woman-owned, milling an organically grown oat is one thing, but it’s a whole other thing to afford the more expensive oat without passing on the cost to our customers. We relocated to a new bakery and can make more granola at a lower cost.”

Maine Grains mills the oats to order for Nutty Steph’s and ships them fresh because of a delicate constitution that results from their traditional milling process. Dry-rolled oats are rare in today’s marketplace because big agricultural markets necessitate they be warehoused for as much as two years before getting eaten.  Nutty Steph’s baker Amanda Copeland explains the “our palettes from Maine Grain are practically alive. The consistency varies a lot from week to week as we go through a certain batch of oats. We adjust the bake according to the mood of the oats.” The reward for this tedious attention to the “living oat” is a richer texture. Plus, compared to their storage-warrior steam-rolled counterpart, the dry-rolled oats are nutritionally superior.

Localvore is a food movement started in 2005 by three women in the San Francisco Bay area seeking to promote the combustion of local foods. Wikipedia defines it as eating foods “grown in the same geographic region, in order to develop more self-reliant and resilient food networks; improve local economies; or to have an impact on the health, environment, community, or society.”

Nutty Steph’s has made impeccable granola and chocolate since 2003, selling directly to eaters, co-ops and natural & independent grocers. The company works to cultivate community togetherness and innovate the workplace-as-human-relational-field of consciousness. Their shop, located at 961C US Route 2 in Middlesex, VT is open daily with free chocolate & granola tastings. It’s part of the Middleground business community, also home to The Hive Craft Collective, Mud Pottery Studio & Gallery, and Red Hen Baking Company, making it a particularly fun place to stop and browse. Be sure to swing by on your next trip through Middlesex and, in the meantime, you can find their granola and chocolate here at the Co-op!

Spotlight on Blue Ledge Farm

If you’re planning to put together a cheese or charcuterie board for your New Year’s Eve gathering, be sure to pick up some Blue Ledge Camembrie! We’re featuring this divine cheese in our weekly sale from December 28th – January 3rd. Made with fresh Ayrshire cow’s milk, this is a smooth mold-ripened Camembert/Brie hybrid. A buttery slice of bovine heaven! It pairs well with a light red or white wine and is a great match for any type of cured meats. Read on to learn more about the makers of this fine cheese and their sustainable dairy farm in Salisbury, VT:

 

 

Blue Ledge Farm is a first generation, family owned and run goat dairy and cheese-making operation established in 2000 by Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt. Their mission is to create a high quality product built on the cornerstones of respect for consumers, land and animals as well as their local community.

They initially started milking four goats at Blue Ledge Farm, and began processing cheese two years later. Today they milk 125 goats twice daily and produce eleven types of cheese, from very fresh to semi-aged bloomy rind cheeses, to harder cheeses aged three months.

The 150 acres of Blue Ledge Farm consist of woods, hayland, pasture and wetland. Recognizing the ecological value of the wetland ecosystem, they recently preserved the fifty acres of wetland on their farm through the Vermont Land Trust. Their 125 goats spend spring, summer, and fall days browsing in the woods, return to the barn for 4 pm milking, and lounge around in a grass pasture as evening sets. It’s no wonder that they recently became certified as an Animal Welfare Approved Farm!

Sustainable farming practices are top priority at Blue Ledge Farm. They compost their bed-pack manure and apply it to their fields, thereby completing the nutrient cycle from grass to goat and back to grass. In 2008 they built an underground aging facility, or “cave” which is naturally cool and moist, conditions that the cheese likes, and being underground it takes less energy to keep the temperature and humidity at desirable levels. They have partnered with Efficiency Vermont on several projects over the years, from a variable-speed efficient milking machine, to more efficient cooling compressors, to newer fluorescent light bulbs, all in an effort to lower their impact on the environment. At the heart of their operation is the clean-burning EPA-Approved bio-mass furnace, which allows them to heat their home, cheese-house and barn, as well as all of the hot water used in the cheese plant, with locally-produced wood pellets! In 2015 they covered the south facing roof of their barn with solar panels which provide nearly half of the farm’s electricity usage all summer long!

In addition to the Camembrie on Co-op shelves, you’ll also find their lovely fresh Chevres in several flavors, Crottina, Lake’s Edge, Middlebury Blue, La Luna, Mixed Drum, and, when available, Riley’s Coat. Enjoy!

Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery

Looking to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth? We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery this week and member-owners can enjoy 20% off Krin’s full line of local confections from December 21st – 27th! Read on to learn more about this wonderful bakery nestled in the mountains of Huntington, VT.

 

 

Krin’s Bakery is the home of artisan baker Krin Barberi. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, then exploring and working for others, Krin opened her Bakery in 2005.

According to Krin, “We are a community of 7 Huntington women bringing diligence, humor, and really good taste buds to work every day. Our team is devoted to delicious baked goods made in small batches with deep attention to the baking process. We bring pride to our production process, using only “real” ingredients (butter instead of shortening, sugar instead of corn syrup). From ingredient choice to the mixing bowl, from oven to cooling rack, we bring that sense of pride from our kitchen to you.”

Krin is a passionate local foods activist supporting the cause by working with local distributors, markets, producers, and farmers. She takes her inspiration from her rural New England family’s tradition of supporting and participating in the life of her community. She believes that where our food comes from is important and takes pride in using local Vermont ingredients including carrots and zucchini from Full Moon Farm in Hinesburg, Bee Happy Honey from Starksboro, Huntington’s own Maple Wind Farm eggs, and dairy from Middlebury’s Monument Farms.

It is from this deep sense of community and place that Krin continues to bake love and care into each and every treat.

At the Co-op you’ll find Krin’s famous cupcakes, mini cakes, macaroons, and biscotti.

 

Spotlight on Vermont Creamery

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Vermont Creamery this week and offering member-owners a 20% discount on their full line of delicious dairy products from December 14th – 20th. They recently shared some big news with the community, and perhaps you’ve already heard about it, but we wanted to share the full scoop from one of their founders, Allison Hooper. Below you will find Allison’s post from their creamery blog:

With Gratitude for a Bright Future

On March 19th, Bob and I announced to our employees that we are selling our company to Land O’Lakes, the successful farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in Arden Hills, MN. After several years of searching for the right partner, we are thrilled to share this news. We are filled with a myriad of emotions: Delight that we have found a great partner. Elation that our baby Vermont Creamery is a great catch and a good fit for America’s iconic butter-maker. Nostalgia for those naïve twenty-something-year-olds starting an improbable enterprise. Energized to slow down and be present for our families. Relief that we’re leaving behind the stress of owning a business that isn’t so little anymore. Excitement that the future for Vermont Creamery and our team is bright and filled with opportunity.

Why sell now?

Bob and I are entrepreneurs. 34 years ago, back in 1984, we saw something in the future that others didn’t see. We asked: ”Why not make and sell hand-made cheeses from cows and goats milk?” We were undaunted and refreshingly optimistic. In our twenties, the risk seemed minimal as we cobbled together our $2,400 investment to make cheese in an outbuilding on a goat farm. Bob’s penchant for numbers and my intuition that Americans might eat goat cheese and crème fraiche (if they were really hungry!) fueled our passion and drive to succeed. Over the course of 34 years, we developed some scrumptious cheeses and enough customers to flourish as a business. We had just enough grit to clear the big hurdles of making a tasty cheese, keeping cash in the bank and earning a commendable trusting reputation with our customers. Who knew that this little company and America’s appetite for artisanal cheese would blossom as it has?

Today, we have a thriving and promising enterprise. Vermont Creamery cheeses and butters are sold in every state. Daily, we manage ten distinct cheesemaking technologies. Between the creamery and the farm, we employ over 105 people. We buy milk from 14 Vermont producers, 4 in Quebec and 12 in Ontario. We have accomplished a whole lot more than what we set out to do. Here is what makes Bob and I really proud:

  • We make amazing chèvres, crème fraîche, mascarpone, cultured butters, and geotricum rinded goats’ and cows’ milk cheeses;
  • We’ve stimulated a company culture that embraces transparent open-book management and rewards innovation;
  • Through solar energy investments on our dairy barn and improvements at the Creamery, we are hacking away at our carbon footprint;
  • Our B Corp certification requires commitment to higher environmental goals, less waste, and more sharing of our surpluses;
  • Through initiatives like the Vermont Cheese Festival and Cheese Council, we collaboratively lift all boats;
  • By building what we hope will become a model, transparent, environmentally conscious and sustainable goat dairy, we connect our working landscape to the good food we serve up;
  • Bob and I built a business partnership that has endured three decades of mistakes, triumphs, raising thoughtful children, and creating solid financial results;
  • We’ve personally mentored the next generation of Vermont Creamery; boy is their future bright!

Bob and I have had a good run and we know it is time for us to turn over the reigns to a team of terrific managers who have the skills to build upon what we have created. We have been intentional in hiring and developing talent at Vermont Creamery. We have already transitioned our day-to-day management to Adeline Druart, our 14- year French “intern” who came to America to learn to speak English. We promoted her to President nearly 2 years ago. Our leadership team is ready and eager for the opportunities of transition. They have a plan and a clear vision on where they will take Vermont Creamery. Equipped with the resources and expertise of Land O’Lakes, there is nothing they cannot achieve.

Bob and I do not plan to leave Vermont Creamery just yet. We will continue to attend industry events and speak on behalf of the Creamery. We have an inspiring story and love telling it. We will advise the management team through the transition. Most importantly, we will carve out the time to be students of life beyond cheese. There is a lot we’ve yet to explore and our spouses couldn’t be more excited for us to re-join them in the civilian world. Bob and I are both grandparents now, we are eager to spend more of our days at home in Vermont and less of them in distant airports promoting the cheese business.

Our work with cheese is not done. The Hooper Family will retain Ayers Brook Goat Dairy as it shoulders its way to sustainability. Our family is eager to help Miles and Daryll (Allison’s son and daughter-in-law) succeed on the farm. The Hoopers will call on Bob often for his financial counsel. We know that Vermont Creamery customers will still delight in visiting the farm. We look forward to seeing you there. Rolling up our sleeves to connect farmers with land and goats to milk is unfinished Vermont business that needs our attention.

Why Land O’Lakes?

We examined many options for fit and funding the future of Vermont Creamery. Land O’Lakes came with unprecedented enthusiasm. As the iconic company that made the butter which was in my family fridge growing up, Land O’Lakes has the know-how and resources to help Vermont Creamery realize our vision. For Land O’Lakes, they simply love what we do, our products, our leadership team, and our brand promise. And we are thrilled by Land O’Lakes’ desire to take our improbably successful family business to the next level.

Vermonters and our customers all around may feel a sense of uneasiness when a local brand sells to a larger company. We appreciate that sentiment and how this exceptional Vermont community has cheered for and supported us. We trade on the beauty of our landscape, the thoughtfulness of our Vermont practicality, our varied agriculture, and championing of humane causes. Land O’Lakes recognizes these values, shares them deeply and plans to invest significantly in the Creamery in Websterville, Vermont. The management team and all employees have been asked to stay on. Increased wages and improved benefits are scheduled and we intend to hire more production workers.

Land O’Lakes is dedicated to developing a local supply of goats’ milk. About 20 years ago, Bob and I each took short consulting stints to work for Land O’Lakes’ International Division. Our contracts brought cheesemaking, marketing, and business expertise to Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the West Bank and Bulgaria. We are familiar with Land O’Lakes’ values and effectiveness; they understand the sensitivity required in meeting a community where it is and finding synergy to realize a common vision. Bob and I were pleased to be sought out by the Land O’Lakes International Division then and look forward to similar opportunities for Vermont Creamery staff seeking this kind of growth experience.

With Gratitude.

Of all the emotions we’re feeling, gratitude is tops. We are grateful for the friends, fulfillment, and independence that our careers in cheese and farming have bestowed. We are grateful for the customers, new and old, who invigorated our drive to be the best. We are grateful for our conscientious employees who have made this business feel like family. We are grateful for raising six children (three sons each) in a family business that started from scratch. They know about hard work, their privilege, and responsibility to make the world better. We are grateful for our loving spouses, Don and Sandy, who have coached and supported us through this transition. We are grateful, that the future for the business and community we have built has never looked brighter.

The Localvore’s Holiday Pantry

Looking to stock up your pantry with holiday staples from local farmers and producers? Here’s a handy guide to the local offerings by department:

Produce:

The produce department is bursting with holiday staples from local farms including plenty of winter squash, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, rutabagas, apples, apple cider, cabbage, cranberries, and winter greens like kale and spinach. The local farms we have to thank for this abundance include Golden Russet, Elmer Farm, Four Pillars Farm, Burnt Rock Farm, New Leaf Organics, Harlow Farm, Champlain Orchards, Sunrise Orchard, and Vermont Cranberry Company.

Bulk:

In Bulk, you’ll find lots of local items to meet your holiday baking needs including whole wheat flours, all-purpose flours, bread flours, pastry flours, and cornmeal thanks to Gleason Grains, King Arthur Flour, and Nitty Gritty Grains. You’ll also find local maple syrup from Hillsboro Sugarworks and honey from Singing Cedars Apiaries & However Wild.

Grocery:

The grocery department is well stocked with local holiday favorites including packaged flours from King Arthur Flour; Olivia’s stuffing mixes; maple syrup from Hillsboro Sugarworks, Werner’s, & Shaker Maple Farm, honey from Lemon Fair Honeyworks, Singing Cedars, Champlain Valley Apiaries, However Wild Farm, and Ariel’s Honey Infusions; maple sugar from Little Hogback Farm; pastry crusts from Krin’s Bakery and Kiss Tart; pepper jelly from Jed’s; and an abundant selection of jams, preserves, and chutneys from Blake Hill Preserves.

Cheese & Dairy:

Our cheese case boasts over 100 different local cheese options for your holiday cheese platters! The dairy case offers milk & heavy cream from Monument Farms, Strafford Organic Creamery, and Kimball Brook Farm. Vermont Creamery & Kimball Brook Farm have creamy, delicious local butter. You can also find Vermont Creamery’s mascarpone and creme fraiche, plus there are plenty of eggs from a number of local farms. Also, be sure not to miss the local eggnog from Strafford – it’s a staff favorite!

Deli & Bakery:

An abundance of breads and rolls come to us from Red Hen, The Bakery, The Manghis’, O Bread, La Panciata, & Klinger’s. You’ll also find stuffing mix from La Panciata, along with a gluten-free stuffing from West Meadow Farm Bakery. If it’s pies you’re craving, our bakery offers fresh house-made pies, plus local pies from Krin’s Bakery, Champlain Orchards, and Red Door Bakery.

Champlain Orchards Apple Pie. Photo by S.P. Reid

Business of the Month – Maple Landmark

Looking for local and sustainably made toys for the kids on your holiday shopping list? We invite you to check out our Co-op Connection Business of the Month – Maple Landmark! They’ve been making eco-friendly educational wooden toys, games, and gifts since 1979. Have you visited their factory store on Middlebury’s Exchange Street? Show your Co-op card and receive 10% off your purchases! Read on to learn more about this fantastic local business and learn why president and owner of Maple Landmark, Mike Rainville, was named the 2017 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year!

 

Maple Landmark is a company of 40+ people dedicated to making great products right here in Middlebury, Vermont. Their business began in 1979 in President & Owner Mike Rainville’s parents’ basement and today they occupy a 28,000-square-foot facility where they make the vast majority of the products they sell. Primarily, they sell to thousands of toy stores, gift shops and catalogs nationwide, but they also have a sweet little factory store that shouldn’t be missed by those of us lucky enough to live nearby. They take pride in being a local company that supports other local companies who operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.

A Family Business

The business was started by Michael Rainville. Since then, three more generations have joined the rank and file at Maple Landmark. The youngest are Michael’s sons, Adam and Andrew. One generation up from there is Michael, wife, Jill, and sister, Barbara. Up from there is Michael’s mother Pat and occasionally father, Claude. On the very top is “Grandma” as she’s known around the shop. This is none other than Michael’s 98-year-old (as of 2017) grandmother, Harriett Brown. While she doesn’t come to work regularly anymore, she did well into 2016 and still makes appearances every now and then.

Michael serves as president and CEO, running day-to-day operations. Jill is Office Manager, overseeing the paperwork. Barbara is the Marketing Manager, attending trade shows, working on public relations and helping in the finish room. Adam is a Project Manager, developing new products and improving old processes. Andrew heads up Communications, working on advertising, social media, and email blasts and attending trade shows. Pat is the Supervisor of our finish room and is responsible for the application of all paints and finishes in addition to hand-painted items. Claude helps in his free time, shredding paper for packing and mowing the lawn.

Sustainable Materials

The wood Maple Landmark uses is from native species. They use rock maple primarily, as well as some pine and cherry. These are some of the best materials for wooden toys and gifts and we are fortunate to have them locally available.

There are virtually no old growth forests left in Vermont, the region was heavily logged in the 1800’s. Damaging floods in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s not only knocked out the water-powered mills that processed the timber but they also taught a lesson in not laying entire mountainsides bare to runoff and erosion. Vermonters have a reputation for being stubborn but we also use our experiences to learn better ways.

In the early 1900’s, Vermont was 20% forested, now it is 80% forested. The forests are growing back, even more rapidly than the rate of harvest. As dairy farms consolidate and abandon marginal hillside property, the wilderness once again begins to take over.

The majority of wood that grows tends to be lower grade material. Since Maple Landmark makes small items, they are able to use downgraded lumber by simply cutting around the defects. This strategy saves on the demand for the rarer, more premium grades. They also make use of small dimension material that is cast off from other plants.

Just as they are careful to fully utilize the wood they buy, their suppliers are careful about how it is harvested. For the entire history of their company, they have purchased the majority of their lumber from one local source, Lathrop’s Maple Supply of Bristol, Vermont. Tom Lathrop is located just nine miles up the road and supplies not just maple, but pine, cherry, and other species as well.

Click here to learn more about the use of lumber for Maple Landmark products.

Eliminating Waste

The sawdust generated at Maple Landmark goes to a couple of local farmers for use as cattle bedding. Their wood scraps are put out for locals to use for kindling. They use very minimal packaging for their products and ship their products in reused upcycled packing materials. Click here to read more about their recycling and conservation practices.

Small Business Person of the Year

Michael Rainville is being recognized by the US Small Business Administration as Vermont’s Small Business Person of the Year for 2017! This honor has been granted in recognition of Maple Landmark’s employment growth, financial success, expansion and community involvement.

“It’s a privilege to have Maple Landmark recognized for its efforts,” said Rainville. “Throughout the years we have been recognized for our toys, but this is the first time Maple Landmark has been recognized for its overall business operations.”

“We are extremely proud to be a Vermont manufacturer. There were times when it was tempting to think about going overseas, but we know what we are. We are an American company that likes to make stuff,” said Rainville.

How It’s Made

 

Local Holiday Gift Basket Ideas

Are you planning to put together a unique local gift basket for someone on your holiday shopping list? Check out this handy guide!

Step 1

Select A Theme – The key to creating a thoughtful gift is to consider and understand your recipient. Is he/she a person you turn to for health and exercise tips? Do they love to cook and always have the latest lowdown on food trends? Or maybe you’re shopping for a college student or co-worker? With your recipient in mind, choose a theme they’ll love!

Step 2

Presenting Your Present – Everyone loves a pretty package! Keep it simple and pick up one of our ready-to-gift cellophane bags, complete with ribbon, for just $.99, or feel free to get creative! Reusable totes, baskets, and ceramic bowls make fun containers, or you can wrap your items furoshiki-style with a pretty scarf or Co-op t-shirt!

Step 3

Putting It All Together – Below are a few ideas we love to help inspire your unique gift basket:

 

The Foodie
The Foodie

This basket is perfect for your food-loving friend who is always whipping up fabulous meals! It features Full Sun craft culinary Sunflower Oil, Vermont Trade Winds Farm Maple Rub, Blake Hill Moroccan Plum & Fennel Chutney, Serving Up The Harvest cookbook by local author Andrea Chesman, Vermont Maple Sriracha, Benito’s Habanero Infused Maple Syrup, Artesano Mead, Vermont Creamery Cupole, and Bees Wrap reusable sandwich wrap.

The Health Nut
The Health Nut

This basket was inspired by your healthy-eating, wellness-boosting, gut-health-promoting, super athletic friend. It features Sweetgrass Herbals Immune Support, Blackwell Roots Farm Pickled Ginger Carrots, Untapped Maple Athletic fuel, Caroline’s Dream lip balm 3-pack, Pickled Pantry by local author Andrea Chesman, pure raw honey in the comb from Lemon Fair Honeyworks, Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters, and apples from Sunrise Orchards.

The Localvore
The Localvore

This basket is for anyone who loves to indulge in all things local! It features Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps, cranberries from Vermont Cranberry Company, Champlain Valley Creamery’s Pyramid Scheme, Shacksbury Basque cider, Cave-Aged Cheese from Orb Weaver Farma copy of Dishing Up Vermont by Tracey Medeiros, Summer Sausage from Vermont Smoke & Cure, Raspberry Chipotle Cocoa Conserve from Blake Hill, Vermont Farmstead Lille, and a gift box of Lake Champlain Chocolates of Vermont.

The Office Mate
The Office Mate

This basket was put together with your favorite co-workers in mind. It features a gift set of creams and salves from Caroline’s Dreama festive Co-op mug stuffed with Lake Champlain Chocolatesa pot of Elderberry-Infused Honey from Ariel’s Honey Infusions, a canister of green tea from Love & Tea Co., a reusable Co-op tote, a bottle of sparkly nail polish from Nail Pattern Boldnesscoffee from the Vermont Coffee Companyand a Maple Walnut Raspberry Bar from Best Moon Bakery.

The Party Host
The Party Host

Do you have a friend who is always entertaining? This basket is perfect for the perpetual party host! It features Castleton Crackers, Blue Ledge Farm Camembrie, Curried Sweet Potato Hummus from the Vermont Hummus Company, a bottle of Lincoln Peak Marquette, Twig Farm Tomme, Tuscan Flatbread from La Strada Bakery, a gift box of caramels from Red Kite Candy, and Les Pyramids from Lazy Lady Farm.

The Beauty Basket
The Beauty Basket

Do you have a friend who could use a DIY spa day at home? This basket is filled with local items to help your frazzled friend relax and de-stress. It features Urban Moonshine Joy Tonic, Flourish Ginger Arnica Massage Oil, Botanical Face Cleanser from Caroline’s Dream, Bohemian Bath Salts from Wonderland Bohemian, a sparkly bottle of nail polish from Nail Pattern Boldness, Lemongrass & Melissa body cream from Flourish, an A’Chromatheraphy relaxation kit, a Calming Essential Oil Patch from Natural Patches of Vermont, Caroline’s Dream deodorant, and a Dead Sea Mud & Kelp bar from Chasworth Farm Soap.

The College Student
The College Student

This gift basket is perfect for that college student on your list! It features a bottle of Aqua Vitea Cranberry Kombucha, a bottle of Stress Less from Sweetgrass Herbals, two Vermont Smoke & Cure meat sticks, a raw honey energy bar from Garuka Bars, a box of truffles from Farmhouse Chocolates & Ice Cream, a beer bomber from Simple Roots Brewing, a tote of Empire apples from Champlain Orchards, and a 40th Anniversary Edition organic cotton Co-op T-shirt.

 

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