November 2017

Do Food Co-operatives Have a Role in the Era of Big Organic?

Most of the grocery world from giants like Kroger and Walmart to community-owned food coops and privately held natural food stores are trying to anticipate and prepare for the effects of the Amazon purchase of Whole Foods Markets. The Amazon purchase is one of many examples of increasing centralization of the organic and natural food system that includes producers, distributors and especially retailers.

The Whole Foods purchase brought to mind a book I recently read titled Organizing Organic. The author, Michael A. Haedicke, recounts the history of organics in the food economy.  From my vantage point (I was born the same year Paul Keene started Walnut Acres one of the first commercial organic farms) many of the people interviewed for the book were familiar to me and several were Vermonters.  Haedicke believes that from its beginnings as a movement (to counter “conventional” agriculture) after World War II organic agriculture contained both a transformative sector and expansionary sector. The transformative sector held decentralization, social justice, and local control as core values. While the expansionary sector also held these values it also saw the expansion of organics to larger markets as key to a successful movement.  As I read Haedicke’s analysis, he suggests that organic food market expansion through consolidation, centralization, and efficiency has become the primary driver in the organic sector and transformation relegated to the sidelines.  Haedicke interviewed several administrators of large organic retailers. Consistently they expressed the rationale that bigger meant more organic food which created more organic farms. What could be bad about that?  Haedicke doesn’t come to any conclusion as to the good or bad coming from the primacy of expansionism. What I have seen is that big organic can cut some prices for consumers and get more product to more places. But I have questions: What are the social costs of consolidation and centralization? Can the consumer cooperative movement expand organic (and local) and retain the commitment to community?

Haedicke also came to the conclusion that consumer food cooperatives attempted to balance transformative values and expansionary competition better than any other sector of organics. Why did this happen? Many of the “third wave” (MNFC is one of them) of consumer cooperatives originated with the blossoming of the organic movement in the 1970’s. Their values mirrored the values of the transformative sector of organic agriculture. Another possible reason is in the very structure of consumer cooperatives. Consumer cooperatives are “enterprises owned by consumers and managed democratically which aim at fulfilling the needs and aspirations of their members. They operate within the market system, independently of the state, as a form of mutual aid, oriented toward service rather than pecuniary profit”. To me, the phrases “managed democratically” and “oriented to service” most clearly differentiates cooperative food stores from big organic retailers.

In today’s world of increasing “big” organic (either large corporations or the state as in China) and centralization of power, operating within the market system and at the same time being oriented to service rather than profit is a quite a challenge. Our member-owners, as those of most consumer cooperatives, have differing needs and aspirations.

How does a democratically managed cooperative integrate those needs and aspirations into a market economy business? One key way is by member/owner participation. Participation can be running for the Board of Directors of the cooperative or choosing to vote in the election for directors. It can take the form of voting for policy (as in the case of the MNFC member/owners voting in favor of patronage dividends two years ago).  It can be sharing viewpoints with Directors at a Board meeting or in community forums like our Co-op Conversations that predated the expansion. It can be putting suggestions in the suggestion box in the store or talking with friends and neighbors about co-op issues. It certainly can be shopping at the store as those everyday decisions affect the products we carry.

So my answer to the question “do food cooperatives have a role in the era of big organic” is rather a request. Continue to participate and we will all help to arrive at the answer.

Jay Leshinsky is a long-serving member of our Board of Directors

Spotlight on Trois Petits Cochons

We’re shining our Co-op Spotlight this week on one of the most awarded specialty food companies in North America-  Trois Petits Cochons!  Les Trois Petits Cochons has produced award-winning, all natural pâté and charcuterie since 1975 by crafting small, handmade batches using only the finest high-quality ingredients. Their full product line is 20% off for member-owners from November 30th – December 6th – just in time for creating beautiful, crowd-pleasing holiday platters! Read on to learn more about this company that has been producing high-quality, hand-crafted products for over 40 years!

ltpc_logo_full_pms1807

Heritage:

Les Trois Petits Cochons first opened its doors as a small charcuterie in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1975. It has since grown to become the leader in the pâté and charcuterie industry, offering a complete line of artisanal pâtés, mousses, terrines, sausages, saucissons, smoked meats and other French specialties. Their products have garnered a long list of SOFI awards, earning great respect in the culinary world.

contact-photo

Mission:

Les Trois Petits Cochons is committed to continuing the tradition of making delicious, authentic and quality pâté and charcuterie for its customers. By combining time-honored recipes, choice ingredients, innovative cooking methods and strict quality control they are able to create consistent, handcrafted products. All of this, together with dedicated customer service and a passion for good food, have allowed them to stay true to their small charcuterie roots.

Environmental Commitment:

Les Trois Petits Cochons believes in taking care of the earth that gives us so much. All Les Trois Petits Cochons paper packaging is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. This means that all paper is harvested legally and sustainably and that the chain of custody — from the forest to the grocery store — has been verified. In addition, Les Trois Petits Cochons uses all-natural ingredients and hand-crafts its products in small batches.

Be sure to check out the fabulous collection of recipes on their web page!

history_photo

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.

 

The Co-op Connection – Celebrating Main Street This Holiday Season

In a town as beautiful as Middlebury, in a state full of beautiful towns, it’s easy to take for granted the local businesses that contribute to this beauty.  Local “brick and mortar” stores are the anchors of local commerce, but their existence is also key to the preservation of the look and feel of a small town, and to local society.

Main Street Stationery

The “Affordability” of Online Shopping

In today’s rapidly changing business climate, more and more of our dollars are spent online with companies whose owners we’ll never meet, whose staff may exist only in cyberspace and whose profits in no way contribute to our local economy.  The temptation to pick up a device and order exactly what we want, exactly when we need it, is a strong one, especially when prices are competitive and shipping costs are often negligible.   When we use our dollars this way, it’s hard to “follow the money” and to know what impact our investment has had in the world.  Can we really afford to shop this way?

The Value of Keeping Dollars Local

It’s important to consider the buying power you truly exercise when you shop at or use the services of a local business.  The dollars you spend at home not only contribute to the owners and staff of a local business, they help preserve and grow vibrant downtown communities.  If you’re a homeowner, this means you’re putting your dollars right back into your property value.  A vibrant downtown contributes to the amount of time we spend together as friends and neighbors sharing a society.  Shopping locally means investing not just in our local economy, but in our quality of life.

David & Sheri of Juice Amour

The Co-op Connection

At the Co-op, our investment in a Vibrant Local Economy extends beyond our store walls and the local producers whose products we sell.  Through our Co-op Connection program, we’ve formed a partnership with 20 Middlebury businesses, to help sustain and grow our downtown.  These local shops, salons, service centers and health clubs have entered into a partnership with the Co-op, providing a discount or special deal for our member-owners.  In turn, the Co-op provides a discount to these business owners and their households and helps to get the word out about the products and services they provide.  As Co-op member-owners, you can contribute to AND benefit from using this program, by shopping locally.  Put your money where your home is.

Member-owners, take a look at the benefits you’ll enjoy through the Co-op Connection when you present your Co-op Card!

 

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. This small, family-owned, family-run, and family-friendly company nestled in the woods of Gilsum, New Hampshire is beyond worthy of the spotlight. They help define what it means to be a socially responsible, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals program this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% for member-owners from November 25th – 29th! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise!

high-res-logo-for-print

Badger was born in 1995 when founder Bill Whyte was working as a carpenter in the cold New Hampshire winters and created an amazing balm that helped soothe and heal his cracked hands. The company has since grown to over 100 products and 60 employees but “Badger Bill” still runs the show as CEO, along with his wife Katie (COO), and their two daughters Emily (VP Sales & Marketing), and Rebecca (VP of Innovation and Sustainability).

Badger Bill and family

Quality Ingredients and Standards

Badger selects ingredients with great care, using only those that fit their rigorous natural standards for healthy agriculture, minimal processing, sustainable supply chain, and health-giving properties. Every ingredient they use is grown and processed with the highest degree of respect for protecting the environment, the workers and the natural properties of the plants. Nearly all of Badger’s products are made from 100% USDA Certified Organic food-grade ingredients and they utilize as many fair trade certified ingredients as possible. You can view their impressive growing and processing standards on their web page.

B Corp Status

In 2011, Badger became a certified B Corp. In 2015 they were recognized by the B Corp Best for the Environment list.  The list recognizes 116 businesses that earned an environmental score in the top 10% of more than 1,200 Certified B Corporations from over 120 industries on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger facility & gardens

Employee Care

Badger also recently won the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for their accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. They aim to be supportive of the new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. With this in mind, their Babies At Work program brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. Most short-term disability benefits regarding pregnancies end after just six weeks, leaving the parent to find childcare as he or she returns to the workplace. Badger’s policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until a specified time: in most cases until the baby is six months old or begins crawling.

The Whole Badger Crew

This program makes breastfeeding easier and allows for the inherent health benefits for both mother and child: enhanced bonding, lessening of daycare costs and more financial stability, great social network and extended-family support for both parent and child, and an easier transition to off-site child care. Once children are ready for off-site care, they have the option of attending the Calendula Garden Children’s Center.  This option offers reasonably-priced, high quality, flexible childcare for children of Badger employees, as well as a limited number of children from the greater community. The center itself is located in the renovated house that was the former home to the Badger Company, a quarter of a mile down the road from the company’s current facility. Badger, in a sense, creates its own “village” to support both parent and child!

Calendula Garden Child Care Center
Calendula Garden Child Care Center

Another exemplary aspect of employee care is their free lunch program. This is a daily organic lunch served during a paid 30-minute break. Every day their fabulous cooks prepare a free, home-cooked lunch for all of the Badgers made from 100% organic and mostly local foods. During the summer months, much of the produce comes right from their Badger vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free organic lunch!

Product Certifications

Badger believes that third-party certifications take the guesswork out of claims made on cosmetics and personal care items. This means that they adhere to the standards and guidelines of any third party agency certifying their products. Their products are certified organic by both the USDA and the NSF, many of the ingredients are Fair Trade certified, and all products are certified gluten-free and certified cruelty-free.

 

Check out this short video to hear from Badger Bill about the values that make his company unique:

 

Spotlight on Lake Champlain Chocolates

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from November 16th – 22nd! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home since 1983:

lc-logo-brown-300-dpi

According to the folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates, Vermont is more than an address; it’s home. It’s where they live, who they are, and how they choose to do business.  And from the first truffle in 1983 to the present day, Vermont has inspired the folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates to take a craftsman’s approach to chocolate: creativity, patience, and mastery.

What began as a truffle-making venture has now grown to include a long list of tasty treats from fudge to sea salted caramels and beyond. And with each new product, their original commitment to excellence has remained the same. They have remained true to their mission of seeking out the best and freshest ingredients from local farmers and producers and they’ve been doing it that way long before it was cool.  Call it Vermont instinct, but even back in ’83, it just made sense that using local honey, maple syrup, and fresh cream in their Chocolates of Vermont would result in superior flavor. Those same instincts also guided the decision to never add preservatives, extenders, or additives to any of their chocolates.

Lampman Family

Fair Trade:

Beyond labeling individual products as “fair trade” — an ongoing process in itself — the entire company is now certified Fair for Life.  Fair for Life is a rigorous third-party certification for social accountability and fair trade. Above and beyond fair trade certification, it looks at a company’s practices as a whole, including the ingredients used in its products. LCC undergoes regular audits to ensure every step of its supply chain is socially legit. Not just the cocoa, but every link they have as a business, including their own employees’ working conditions here in Vermont.

Why? Because of their belief that every person in the process should be treated and compensated fairly. And that means everyone in the supply chain — from the farmers who grow and harvest the cocoa, to those who transport it, transform it into chocolate, process your order, package it, and ensure it arrives ready for you to enjoy.

This certification affirms the following:

  • A price premium is paid to the cocoa farmers and co-ops.
  • Certified products originate from fair trade producer operations.
  • LCC is engaged in long-term partnerships and socially responsible trading practices with its suppliers/purveyors.
  • LCC respects the labor rights of its own employees, providing good working conditions.
  • LCC is a good community citizen and practices environmental responsibility.
fair-trade-chocolate-lcc

Blue Bandana Bean-To-Bar:

Blue Bandana is an award-winning line of single-origin craft chocolate bars launched in 2012 by Eric Lampman, head of R&D at Lake Champlain Chocolates and son of founder Jim Lampman. Born from a desire to go deeper into the chocolate-making process, the micro-batch chocolate bars are produced in Vermont using cocoa beans sourced directly from their origin.

With the Blue Bandana line, they’re following a “direct trade” model. As the name implies, there’s no middleman, so the supply chain is that much shorter. This allows them to build one-on-one relationships with farmers and sponsor local initiatives in the communities where the cacao is grown. There’s a direct feedback loop with growers and co-ops, and that makes a huge difference in the quality of the end product.

For LCC as a whole, fair trade still offers the best solution. Going 100% direct trade company-wide would be a real challenge, for a few reasons — sheer quantity, for starters. Bottom line, fair trade and direct trade are both valid ways to do the right thing, make sure farmers get a fair shake, and get to know your supply chain.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

Uncompromising Quality:

All of the products at Lake Champlain Chocolates are certified Kosher with zero additives or shelf extenders and the goal is to use non-GMO ingredients whenever possible. Of course, their certified organic chocolates are 100% GMO-free as guaranteed by the organic certification.

organic-bar-disp-group

Factory Tours:

Want to see how their chocolates are made? Take a FREE Factory Tour!

Monday-Friday, 11am-2pm
Tours on the hour
Self-Guided Tours after 3pm

FREE Chocolate Tastings
Saturday & Sunday, 11am to 4pm

750 Pine Street Burlington, VT
Tours fill up quickly in peak months, so call ahead: 802-864-1807

art-hop-008jpeg

Farm to Freezer for the Holidays

Here at the Co-op, we work hard to support our local farmers. And we are proud to be working with other food co-ops across our region to make regionally grown produce available to our shoppers year ‘round.

As you shop at your local food co-op for all the ingredients you need for a delicious meal this holiday, don’t forget to check out our frozen fruits and vegetables from the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA). These farm-to-freezer products are the result of a project that brings together food co-ops throughout the northeast to increase the availability of healthy, sustainably grown, regionally sourced fruits and vegetables for consumers beyond the traditional local harvest season. This also provides a boost for the farmers producing these crops by extending their marketing season beyond the typical (and brief) growing season in our region.

The NFCA’s Farm to Freezer project began in 2011 while exploring opportunities for increasing regional food sourcing. They noticed that most of the frozen fruits and vegetables on co-op shelves were grown on large, industrial farms and processed by distant corporations.  In collaboration with local farmers, food cooperatives, and regional processors, they developed a pilot of frozen products grown, processed and packaged right here in the Northeast.

Since the launch of this project, food co-op shoppers have purchased nearly 20,000 pounds of Blueberries, Organic Broccoli, Organic Edamame, Organic Green Beans, and non-GMO Sweet Corn — all grown and packaged right here in the Northeast, and available only at your food co-op!

As you celebrate with friends and family, we invite you to “Keep it Local” with delicious produce from our region’s family farmers! Look for our Northeast Grown Frozen Fruits and Vegetables in the freezer section. They’re easy to find because they’re packed in a clear package so you can see what’s inside!

Click here for more information and a fantastic holiday green bean recipe!

 

Spotlight on Elmer Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Elmer Farm this week to celebrate this 90-acre organic farm and the farmers who bring it to life. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their glorious spread of organic vegetables from October 9th – 15th! Read on to learn more about the history and heritage of this farm, which has been providing food for this community since the early 1800’s!

elmerlogo

Driving into East Middlebury on Route 116, it’s hard to miss the beautiful patch of flowers bordering the white farmhouse at the entryway to Elmer Farm. What you might not see from the road are the amazing fields of vegetables that are grown on this fertile, organic soil. Elmer Farm is a conserved 90-acre farm where Spencer & Jennifer Blackwell grow 25 acres of mixed vegetables, grains, and dry beans, all of which are certified organic. Annual inspections and certification by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) ensure that the crops are grown responsibly and safely without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

The farm belonged to the Elmer family since the early 1800’s and has a long heritage of providing food for its community. The receding glaciers bestowed the farm with a wonderful mix of fertile soils and sandy loam, perfectly suited to growing vegetables and grains. Elmer Farm grows more than thirty-five different vegetables, an array of flowers and culinary herbs. This includes over 200 different varieties including many heirlooms.

Spencer and Jennifer Blackwell, along with their children, Angus, Ida, & Mabel and their hard-working crew of farmhands are proud to grow vegetables for their community, neighbors, and friends in Addison County. They value hard work and the agrarian quality of life. They are committed to our community through various farm-to-school efforts as well as gleaning for local food agencies. In fact, Spencer helped spearhead the Local Food Access Program at HOPE.

A number of years ago, representatives from HOPE, Middlebury College, ACORN,  and the local business community, along with several local farmers, including Spencer from Elmer Farm and Will Stevens of Golden Russet Farm, got together to discuss the possibility of increasing the amount of locally grown food offered at HOPE’s food shelf. This group recognized that Addison County farmers grow vast amounts of beautiful, healthy organic fruits and vegetables, which are often unavailable or too pricey to those who need it most. They also recognized that these farms often had excess produce available that would not be destined for retail markets, which could instead be diverted to the food shelf. Fast-forward to present day, and the idea hatched by this group has evolved into an incredibly successful program that is bringing thousands of pounds of healthy, local foods to those in our community who need it most while also diverting a lot of food from the waste stream.

 

At the Co-op, you can find Elmer Farm’s organic cabbage, red & yellow onions, butternut squash, baby bok choy, radishes, leeks, scallions, kale, chard, and their famous carrots! You can also subscribe to their CSA, where you will receive fresh vegetables, flowers, and herbs each week from mid-June through the end of October for a total of 20 weeks. Also be sure to check out the recipes on their web page!

Spotlight on Bob’s Red Mill

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Bob’s Red Mill this week to shed a little light on this employee-owned business that has been offering stone-milled grains for nearly 40 years! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off all of Bob’s Red Mill products this week (November 2nd – 8th) – just in time for holiday baking season! Read on to learn more about their unique business model and their commitment to using traditional stone milling techniques to deliver healthy high-quality grain products to store shelves.

bobsredmillsquarelogo

At Bob’s Red Mill, they believe that quality can’t be rushed. That’s why they manufacture their products using time-honored techniques, like grinding whole grains at cool temperatures with a traditional stone mill. Their beautiful stone grinding mills are much like the ones used during early Roman times and unlike the more commonly used high-speed steel rollers, their mills ensure the most nutritious parts of the whole grain remain intact. It was these beautiful antique grinding mills that first inspired founder Bob Moore to start Bob’s Red Mill nearly 40 years ago.

An Employee-Owned Business

On Bob’s 81st birthday, rather than receiving gifts, he decided to give his greatest gift away – his business! Bob surprised all of his employees by giving them total ownership of Bob’s Red Mill through an employee stock ownership program (ESOP).  Bob didn’t extend this gesture as a means to step away from the company he had created so he could ease into a comfortable retirement. He did so because of his firm belief in putting people before profit, and giving due appreciation to the people who’ve made a company strong. Despite hundreds of lucrative offers to buy his company as he approached “retirement age”, Bob chose the rare path of putting people first and gifted his company to his dedicated, hard-working staff.

esop-group

Milling, Testing, Packaging, & Distributing Under One Roof

The folks at Bob’s Red Mill knew from day one that if they wanted to ensure the best products possible and ensure quality every step of the way that they’d have to be able to do it themselves. Their facilities in Milwaukie, Oregon include the 325,000 sq ft headquarters, laboratory, and manufacturing plant, plus a 127,000 sq ft distribution center! Their gluten-free products are produced and tested in their separate gluten-free-only facilities to ensure product safety.

Bob and his wife Charlee at the Bob's Red Mill Headquarters
Bob and his wife Charlee at the Bob’s Red Mill Headquarters

Sourcing the Finest Products From Our Farms to Your Table

At Bob’s Red Mill, the relationship with the final product begins at the source. They maintain personal relationships with farmers across the country and make an effort to visit their farms. Together, they are able to ensure that they’re offering the best product available, while always using best practices.

back-in-teff-field

Sourced Non-GMO Pledge

The Bob’s Red Mill Non-GMO Pledge means that the ingredients sourced for their products have been declared by their suppliers to be made without the use of modern biotechnology. The truth is, they’ve always sourced using this practice, but now that commitment is visible on Bob’s Red Mill packages to allow consumers to purchase with confidence.

When you see the Sourced Non-GMO Pledge on one of their packages, you can be sure that they’ve worked with their farmers and suppliers to source ingredients that were not genetically engineered. That work includes cultivating trusted relationships over many years and requiring documentation that attests to the fact that the ingredients have not been genetically modified through the use of modern biotechnology. For assurance, they conduct audits of their suppliers annually. They also source organic ingredients whenever feasible, and by definition, foods that are Certified USDA Organic are made only with ingredients that have not been bioengineered.

non-gmo-pledge3

Be sure to check out the Bob’s Red Mill website for more info and don’t miss their extensive collection of recipes!

 

Co-op Connection Business of the Month – County Tire

Winter weather is just around the corner, so it’s a great time to start thinking about winter tires.  We invite you to check out our Co-op Connection Business of the Month – County Tire! Not only can they fix you up with new tires, but they also offer a wide range of automotive services and they have a special deal for Co-op member-owners! Present your member card to receive 10% off parts and 5% off tires! Read on to learn more about the oldest locally-owned tire shop in Addison County:

If you need tire or automotive care, trust County Tire Center, Inc! Located at 33 Seymour Street Middlebury, VT 05753, County Tire Center, Inc. is your trusted source for all of your automotive and tire needs. Owners Steve and Lisa are there to ensure you that your visit to County Tire Center, Inc. will not only solve all of your automotive needs but will be one that you will be sure to share with others. They take pride in quality service and the ability to meet customers’ needs in a timely manner.

Servicing customers in the greater Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York, County Tire Center, Inc. has the automotive expertise and friendly, reliable service you need to get you back on the road fast! From tire sales and batteries to shocks, struts, brake, and transmission services, they can handle all of your vehicle needs to keep you running in top shape.

With their years of experience, they offer quality parts and service at the best prices possible. They take pride in their work and strive for great customer satisfaction on each visit. Their goal is to keep your vehicle running in the best possible condition and they will not settle for “good enough.” They went into business in order to bring a higher quality to automotive work in the Middlebury area and intend to have each customer leave happy while offering the most competitive prices in the area.

With their excellent selection of Bridgestone, Firestone, Fuzion, and Nokian tires, they can fit any vehicle make and model. They strive to ensure customer satisfaction and vehicle safety and will do whatever it takes to make sure that you and your vehicle only receive top quality tires and equipment. They understand that your vehicle is a large investment and they welcome your business in protecting that investment.

If you need general automotive services, computerized tire balancing, general tire service, oil changes, brake service, custom auto detailing or performance tires, consider County Tire Center, Inc. Do you have an electric or hybrid vehicle? County Tire Center, Inc. is an authorized Hybrid/EV repair center offering a wide range of services to keep your hybrid or electric vehicle in top condition. Please feel free to contact them at 802-388-7620 or online to discuss the many options and services offered.

How do they stay small and sell big? It’s simple: years of experience. County Tire Center, Inc. has been in business since 1982. Their mission is to offer you the latest in parts and products, at the best prices with unparalleled service. They pledge their best efforts to make your experience both beneficial and enjoyable. Once you try County Tire, we’re sure you’ll be back for more!

 

© Copyright 2016 - Middlebury Food Co-op