November 2018

Business of the Month – Kiss the Cook

Looking for the perfect gift for the chef in your family? We invite you to keep it local and check out our Co-op Connection Business of the Month – Kiss the Cook! They’re one of the newest businesses to join our Co-op Connection lineup and one of the newest businesses to join Middlebury’s downtown scene. If you haven’t yet dropped by their store and checked out their incredible variety of kitchenware, December is a perfect time to do so! You’ll find gifts for everyone on your list and don’t forget to show your Co-op card for a 10% discount!  Read on to learn more about this family-owned business:



The folks at Kiss the Cook have a deep love of food. According to their web page, they love “to eat it, cook it, talk about it, look at it, dream about it, and then eat it again.” They recognize that food can be a powerful force that unites us all and brings us together across cultures and generations. They draw on this passion and understanding of the power of food and strive to provide you with the right tools regardless of the food journey you’re on. They’re committed to bringing you the best products, knowledge, and service whether you’re just learning to cook, a professional chef, or anything in between. 

Kiss The Cook has been a family-owned business from the very beginning. You may have seen their flagship location while strolling the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. The original store was opened in the early 1990’s by Marie Bouffard & Mike Soulia, who operated the store for over 20 years. In 2014, the store was purchased by current owners Luke & Ashley Wight and, lucky for us, they expanded to Middlebury in 2017, taking over the operations of the former Otter Creek Kitchen & Electronics right in the heart of downtown. 

In addition to their dazzling lineup of the latest and greatest culinary wares, they offer a fun schedule of events and demos. A quick peek at their What’s Cooking blog for November showed an exciting new cookbook launch by legendary local Author Andrea Chesman, a tasty turkey slider tasting and cooking demonstration, and a book signing with Chef and Author Gesine Bullock-Prado, star of the Food Network’s “Baked in Vermont”.   If you’re looking for a little culinary inspiration, their blog also features a regular “New Meal Monday” segment with tasty recipes to try.  


Spotlight on Vermont Creamery

Planning a holiday party? Then you’ll be excited to hear that we’re featuring Vermont Creamery in our Member Deals Spotlight this week! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their decadent array of award-winning products from November 28th – December 5th. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a state with the highest number of artisanal cheesemakers per capita, and Vermont Creamery ranks high among them. Their cheeses, creme fraiche, mascarpone, and cultured butter have garnered awards locally, nationally, and globally, creating quite a reputation for this local creamery with such humble roots. Read on to learn more about how the creamery began, their model for being a sustainable mission-driven business, and what keeps them inspired to produce their world-renowned products:

Their Story:

Allison learned how to make cheese during an internship on a farm in Brittany, France. Bob was working for the Vermont Department of Agriculture and charged with organizing a dinner featuring all Vermont-made products. When a French chef requested fresh goat cheese, Bob scrambled to find a local producer. He asked Allison, who was working in a dairy lab and milking goats in Brookfield, to make the cheese. The dinner was a success and the cheese was a hit; Vermont Creamery was born that night.

In the 34 years since the improbable business partners made their first goat cheese, a lot has changed. But the more things change at Vermont Creamery, the more they stay the same.

They’re still here in Vermont, making consciously-crafted, delicious dairy that reflects who they are and what they care about; they’ve taken the time to perfect every detail of what they make. Their cheeses and butter have won hundreds of national and international awards, their team remains their most valuable resource, and they still put taste above all. You’ll never eat anything they don’t believe in.

Co-founders Bob Reese and Allison Hooper


Their Mission:

At Vermont Creamery, they strive to produce the highest quality cheeses and dairy products using local ingredients while supporting and developing family farms. They aim to exemplify sustainability by being profitable, engaging their staff in the business, and living their mission every day in the creamery.

Vermont Creamery became a certified B Corp in 2014. B Corps are a new type of company that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. This designation reflects the values upon which the company was founded and their operating philosophies today. The B Corp Impact Assessment provides a roadmap to continually improve their business practices while also applying rigor to and accountability for their mission. Check out their B Impact Score here.


Looking for great recipes? Click HERE!


Flowing with the Darkness – Staying Well in the Yin Season

The winter solstice this month marks the return of spring – a movement toward light and growth.  We can use that returning light and growth, the rising Yang, to persevere in our own personal paths of truthfulness.  The Co-op Buying Criteria is a treasure that assures the products on the shelves in the store contribute to our personal wellness and do no harm to the environment.  Many of us are thinking about resolutions and new beginnings as we get through the frenzy of December, intending to establish our own set of criteria to help us make decisions for ourselves and our families that support our health and well-being. How can we create new and better habits to improve how we nourish our bodies and our minds?  How can we sustain the challenges our national politics continue to throw our way that are the opposite of nourishing?   

It is not uncommon these days to be in the Wellness section of the Co-op and hear the Wellness staff being asked for help with the growing options of products.  Member-owners ask, “Can I take that cream on a plane?”,  “How do I use this herb?”,  “What can I expect from these products?”,   “Will it help my….?”.  Talk about complex!  I, Nadine, admit to eavesdropping on some of these Q&A sessions, along with asking my own.  I even piped up to answer a question once, “Yes, I have friends who have taken CBD creams on airplanes, in checked bags, buried in socks.”  Hopefully, that member-owner did her own research before getting on the plane!  

As I worried about possibly sending someone to jail, it made me consider how we rely upon Glenn and the entire Co-op staff to do their research to support us, the member-owners and other customers.  They work to keep up with the latest trends in health and nutrition.  While they are certainly guided by our food buying criteria, they have to be able to sift through information and determine what trends are sustainable and worth marketing/selling at the Co-op.  Many products and services “claim” to be a solution, but since we are all so different, an herb that might work for me, might not work for the next person who pauses in the aisle wondering what product will help with a muscle ache. For instance, in my family, arnica works super well for my daughter, but I seem to have a mild allergy to it.  There are trends and fads in the Wellness arena and we count on the Co-op staff to do their homework so we can confidently pick the right herbal formula to help our kids’ earache or our achy joints.

The darkness of winter time is naturally a time to go inward, Yin. By nature, we must stay inside longer which can be challenging. This is a difficult time for many who do not enjoy cold weather activities or that lack of sun. I, Sophie, for one, struggle with this. Growing up in California did not build my skin for dark cold winters. Yet, after 7 winters, I embrace my winter wellness routine. The Co-op has definitely been a big part of supporting that. Knowing I can trust the products and the advice from the Wellness Department folks or get advice on how to make bone broth while I’m checking out has been a gift.

We have both found that our winter wellbeing, much of which was advised to us from our different practitioners, Nadine’s Chinese medicine team and Sophie’s naturopathic doctor and herbalist, includes similar practices.  To thrive in the winter, Sophie takes a high daily dose of vitamin D, which as many of us know comes from the sun which we are lacking in the winter.  We both suffered from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for many winters; struggling because neither of us knew what to do. Not knowing the other one during these years, we found out we both spent the past years talking to a lot of folks and changed our practices so that now each of us welcomes the seasonal change, finding joy in the cold and darkness.  We both use teas, Epsom salt baths with essential oils, ayurvedic abhyanga massage, saunas with essential oils such as tar, vetiver, and eucalyptus.  And there are all those other winter comforts labeled by Scandinavians as Hygge – candles, soups, longer nights of rest, baking, etc.

We hope you are snuggled in somewhere cozy, sipping tea by a fire, cultivating your own wellness.  Happy Solstice!

Nadine Canter Barnicle and Sophie Esser Calvi are both members of our Co-op Board of Directors

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 accountable, 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 23rd – 28th! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise!


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. Badger Bill ran the company (as CEO) along with his wife Katie Schwerin (as COO) and their two daughters Rebecca Hamilton and Emily Schwerin-Whyte and it grew to over 100 products and over 80 employees. In 2018 Bill passed the leadership of the company on to Rebecca and Emily making them both CEOs or Collaborative Executive Officers. Click HERE to read more about Badger’s amazing history.

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.

Team of Friendly Badgers

B Corp Status

Badger became a B Corporation in 2011 to help assess and improve their business practices and ensure that they’re always doing what’s right for people and the planet. In June of 2018, Badger was named ‘Best For the World’ and ‘Best for the Environment’ by the folks at B Corp, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, environment, and community.

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for their accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. Creating a family-friendly workplace is a high priority at Badger. They aim to be supportive of new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. They offer an extended parental leave and a Babies At Work program, which brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. This policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until it begins crawling, at which time it graduates to Badger’s Calendula Garden Childcare Center. The Center is located just a quarter-mile from the Badger campus and offers high-quality, subsidized childcare for children of their employees.  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 Ecology Center vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free Organic Lunch For Badger Staff

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.


Take a Virtual Tour with Badger Bill:


A Tour of Badger from Badger Balm on Vimeo.

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 15th – 21st! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home since 1983:



The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sourcing Matters:

From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, they’ve been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.

They’re also aware that sourcing matters for products that must come from afar. From the cacao farmers to their customers and every hardworking person and supplier in between, their  Fair for Life – Social & Fair Trade Certification goes above and beyond by looking not only at individual ingredients but at company practices as a whole. This means that you can enjoy every bite of chocolate knowing that they are committed to making a positive impact on our local and global communities.

The goal is to bring you their best.  To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and fair trade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

A Family Affair:

Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.

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.



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


Talking Trash with Kathy and Gwen, Part 2

The topic of waste reduction is common fodder at the Co-op – after all, one of our Ends (the reasons we exist as a cooperative) is to promote environmentally sustainable and energy efficient practices. It’s something we’re always working on and there’s always room for improvement. With this in mind, interested staff members at the Co-op began meeting monthly to discuss ways that our Co-op could improve our practices to move closer to a zero-waste operation. We realized during these gatherings that we have a lot of collective passion on the topic and many of us come from backgrounds that help inform the ideas we bring to these meetings.

Take Gwen Lyons, for example. You might know Gwen as a cashier at the Co-op, but you may not know that she holds a degree in Environmental Studies from UVM and her previous job was with the Central Vermont Waste District.  She’s a glorified, self-proclaimed Trash Nerd. And she’s got a lot to share with us about what happens (or doesn’t happen) to items when we dispose of them. We wanted to share some of this with our Co-op community so we asked Kathy Comstock, who you may also recognize as a cashier, to interview Gwen. We’ll be sharing the interview with you in two parts. If you missed part one, click here! Read on for part two:


Kathy:  So, what is Zero Waste?  A quick Wikipedia search tells me that Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills or incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.” And, so, it means that Zero Waste is especially important to consider now because we are running out of space and ways to handle our waste, correct?  You told me in an earlier conversation that our landfills here in Vermont are almost at full capacity.  And most of us, by now, have heard about China and other countries that are beginning to say “NO” to the US and not take any more of our recyclables.


Gwen:  Right.  Vermont only has one working landfill left in Coventry, Vermont – up near the Canadian border. Back when I was still working at CVSWMD, it was forecasted that the landfill only had the capacity for 20 years of waste remaining. So, what happens when the landfill is full? Not only is the permitting process for siting a landfill arduous and building one is very expensive, but any town in Vermont has the right to say “No” if they don’t want one. The big issue is that we (Vermont consumers) are happy to produce the waste, but don’t want to take responsibility for it when we are finished with something. Adding to the frustration is the fact that about 1/3 of what is being thrown away is organic material – food waste and yard debris, which will never break down in the anaerobic (or non-oxygenated) environment of a landfill.  And although it will eventually break down, in doing so it will release methane, a very toxic greenhouse gas. Companies who own and operate landfills will boast that they can harness the methane to use for electricity, but in most cases, the methane is burned off on site. If you have ever driven south on I-89 past the Middlesex exit at night, you will most likely see the flame on the southern side. What you are looking at is the, now closed, Moretown Landfill burning off its methane. (Note: They do also harness methane to convert into electricity, and I believe they sell that electricity to the grid).

To further build upon your thoughts on zero waste, it’s not just the idea of sending nothing to the landfill or reusing things again. To me, zero waste is about not creating waste in the first place. A huge component of that is not buying products which come in packaging that has to be disposed of, in any sense. This means being a more thoughtful consumer – buying in bulk, not putting veggies in plastic bags, bringing your own reusable containers to the store, only buying to-go coffee if you have your own mug, etc. Truly living a zero-waste lifestyle, or as close to zero waste as possible, is do-able, it just takes planning and commitment.

But, I digress. Back to food scraps in the landfill. With the state’s Universal Recycling Law, by 2020 it will be illegal to put food scraps in the trash in Vermont. Although I think it is awesome and I am in complete support of it, we are again in the situation of having a forward-thinking idea, and creating the legislation to put it into effect, but are not necessarily prepared with the infrastructure to do it properly. Composting food scraps is easy on a small at-home scale. But being able to accept, process and compost an entire state’s worth of food scraps is not.


Kathy:  But why is that so difficult?


Gwen:  The long-short of it is two-fold: 

The first challenge stems from the fact that start-up costs for creating a commercial composting facility aren’t cheap and there are complicated zoning regulations one needs to deal with, as well. Commercial composting facilities aren’t necessarily a money maker, especially compared to landfills. It’s a tough, dirty job and not everyone is interested in pursuing a career in compost. So, as a result, there are very few commercial composting operations in the state. While at the district I worked closely with Highfields Center for Compost in Hardwick, Vermont Compost Company in Montpelier and Grow Compost of Vermont in Moretown. The Chittenden Solid Waste District also runs a facility in Williston, which, from my understanding, is already taking twice the volume (of food scraps) the facility was designed to take in. And this is with only a small number of residents and restaurants participating in composting in that area. Obviously, we are going to need the infrastructure in place to accommodate those who can’t compost at home. One upside is that, while large-scale composting facilities can be expensive to build and operate, unlike in your household compost, they can compost oils, bones, meat, or dairy.  This makes diverting food scraps from the landfill that much easier for VT residents.

The second challenge of composting on a large commercial scale is that, just like recycling, the stream needs to be clean. This means no contamination, including plasticware, PLU stickers, straws, stray napkins, plastic wrappers, etc.  In regards to the position that I mentioned earlier as “Compost Monitor”, it was my job in a school with a new composting program to stand at the compost, recycling and trash bins at the end of lunch and help students sort what was left on their trays. When on field trips to Grow Compost of Vermont, one of the owners, Lisa, would always bring out her bucket of plasticware to show us what had been sifted out. And PLU stickers on apples, oranges, and bananas’? They are made out of plastic and will not break down. No one wants to find a PLU sticker in their garden, but it happens. Food scraps can be rejected if there is too much contamination, just like with contaminated recyclables.

As I mentioned before, maintaining a clean stream is critical for recycling.  Loads of recycling can be rejected if the buyer determines there is too much contamination. So, as frustrating, and sometimes time-consuming as it is, plastics need to be rinsed clean of all food debris, and yes, this includes peanut butter. Honestly, I fill a container with water and leave it in the sink for the day. A good swipe and rinse with a scrub brush and it is good to go in the blue bin. Another tricky one is pizza boxes. Yes, your hot tasty pizza comes in what looks like an easily recyclable box, but if there is oil soaked into the cardboard it has to go in the trash. Why? The paper recycling process takes water – and water and oil don’t mix.  A repeat offender is napkins, I see them in recycling bins all the time. They are not recyclable either because, as a napkin or tissue, the fibers in that material have already been broken down to their smallest size.  There is no next step for them – into the trash they go. Of course, if you have a brown unbleached napkin it can most likely be composted – even at home. But, if you are sending your food scraps somewhere, check with them first. Those are just some common examples. (I can keep going if you want!)  But one last thing, … just because it says “recyclable” on it, or has the iconic recycling symbol on it,  only means it CAN be recycled. It doesn’t mean that it IS recyclable where you live.


Kathy:   OK.  So, this all sounds really overwhelming, but I don’t want to believe this is an impossible thing to overcome.  I know we can all make some changes.  I know that the Co-op has started to discuss and has already incorporated a few changes already.  What kinds of things would you like to see happen at the Co-op?


Gwen: Our staff is working on creating new signage, which will be posted at the trash, recycling, and compost stations to help give clear guidance about what goes where. I know I mentioned it earlier, but it isn’t always easy, and although most of us have the best intentions, we could be accidentally putting something in the wrong place. And yes, after 5 years in the solid waste industry I have become a full-blown “trash nerd”. I’m sure people have seen me pulling items out of both the trash and recycling at the co-op, muttering to myself under my breath. Plain and simple, I have been rewired to care about trash.

And, there are definitely changes that we can all make to reduce waste when shopping at the Co-op. Some are easy, and others will take a little more planning and organizing.  For instance, bringing in your own shopping bags is something that many of us already do, but there are still plenty of us who can adopt that practice. Also, thinking twice before using a plastic produce bag.  Do your avocados or bananas really need to go into a plastic bag? Nope, they don’t. They naturally have their own packaging. Instead, bring your own produce bags … either reuse plastic bags from a previous purchase, buy reusable mesh produce bags or just put your produce items in the basket.  Bring your own containers to fill in the bulk section. Only buy tea or coffee if you have your own mug.  And, if you are choosing to eat at the co-op, choose a reusable bowl or plate instead of a to-go container. If you’re taking your food to-go, we have a new reusable take-out container, as well.

There are so many simple ways that we can change for the better, we just have to start retraining our minds to stop being okay with our current single-serve, convenience-based consumer practices, and take a moment to consider what re-using and recycling methods we can employ instead. The question I liked to pose to all the students I taught was, “When you throw something away in the trash, where is away?”

But what I really want to emphasize is the concept of zero waste.  Before routinely buying, tossing, or consuming, consider if there is a way to avoid creating the waste in the first place.  So much can be altered just by taking a moment to consider the options. No one is perfect, (not even me!).  I, too, am guilty of going for convenience in a pinch. But, by taking the time to put reusable bags back in the car, grabbing a coffee mug “just in case” or choosing a plastic plate at the Co-op salad bar, and reframing our mindset, great strides can and will be made in improving our growing waste problems. Countries all over the world have demonstrated that collectively they can reduce waste, so we know it can be done. We just have to make the conscious commitment to lessen our footprint.  And, with knowledge, I think we can.


Kathy:  I think so, too. Thanks, Gwen!


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 October8th – 14th! 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!


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 visit their webpage to 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!

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!


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 1st – 7th) – 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.


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.


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 Their 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.




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