February 2020

Spring Cleaning Savings By the Caseful Coming 3/14-3/21!

Does the sound of dripping snow send you into a cleaning frenzy?  Spring Cleaning enthusiasts, this sale is for you!  The Co-op’s Spring Cleaning Case Lot Sale is arriving, just before the equinox descends.  Stock up on cleaning supplies by the caseful, and be ready to wipe away the winter wearies!  All of that cleaning can wear a body out – fuel up your elbow grease with savings on snacks and beverages, too!  Stop by any time Saturday, 3/14 – Saturday, 3/21.  Pick up cases of featured products right in the store and pay for them at the register along with your usual grocery shop.  Here’s what’s in store:




Spotlight on GT’s Living Foods

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on GT’s Living Foods. All of GT’s effervescent probiotic products are 20% off for member-owners from February 27th – March 4th. Read on to learn more about this family-owned business that was the first to bring Kombucha to U.S. store shelves 25 years ago!

Founder and Owner GT Dave

Raised by parents practicing Eastern philosophy, GT Dave adopted a spiritual view of the world from a very young age. Gifted a Himalayan Mother SCOBY in the early ‘90s, the Daves were intrigued by Kombucha’s ancient healing properties and decided to brew their own batches of the fizzy, fermented tea.

In late 1994, GT’s mom, Laraine, was diagnosed with a highly aggressive form of breast cancer. When she healed, Laraine shared with doctors that she had been drinking a very pungent, homemade tea. That tea was GT’s Kombucha.

Inspired by his mom’s experience, it became GT’s mission to make his Kombucha accessible for everyone, everywhere. At only 15, he began bottling his brew in the kitchen of his parents’ Southern California home and became the first to put Kombucha on shelves in the U.S.

According to GT Dave, “we’ve stayed true to the authentic brewing process of this sacred elixir for over 20 years. Our #1 selling Kombucha is raw, organic, naturally effervescent, and handcrafted in small batches – always cultured, never compromised.”

Now, under the new name of GT’s Living Foods, they’re proud to remain a family-owned & operated company. As they continue to embrace their innovative spirit, Mother Nature remains their main source of inspiration.

They began making Kombucha based on the belief that it could touch people’s lives and make the world a better place. With that in mind, GT’s now offers over 30 kombucha flavors and several varieties of CocoYo dairy-free fermented coconut yogurt.

Looking for fun new ways to enjoy your Kombucha? Click here for great recipes!



A Yearly Get-Together – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

On a cold Saturday on January 26th, the Board of Directors of the Co-op met for a day-long retreat, as it does every winter. Part of the group was also Glenn Lower, General Manager of the MNFC, Greg Prescott, Operations Manager, Karin Mott, Marketing, Education and Membership Manager, Emily Landenberger, Assistant Marketing, Education and Membership Manager, and Victoria Dewind, Board/Staff Liaison. Michael Healy was also with us. He is a facilitator from Columinate (a consulting cooperative) who has worked with us many times and who helps us stay on track and keep our eyes on our objectives.

Besides our monthly board meetings and the occasional committee meetings, once per year, we get together to delve deep into a topic that, over the course of the previous year, has been on our minds and that we would like to discuss and explore further. This year the topic was Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Glenn, the managers, and the whole staff have been and are already doing a lot in terms of discussion and action to better serve the community. What we wanted to explore was how to look at the issue of DEI from the point of view of the board. Looking at our Ends, Policies, Executive Limitations, what more can we do to better support the staff of MNFC in their work for creating an increasingly diverse, equal, and inclusive store?

In the words of Michael Healy, the main goal of the retreat was “to decide whether we should amend the current Ends policy to more specifically articulate our values about diversity, equity, and inclusion.” It was a “safe strategic conversation:” We wanted to think and discuss an issue that is so thoroughly connected to what the Co-op does. For many hours we talked freely and we listened carefully, working in small groups and then all together. Having members of the staff there made all the difference: they gave us invaluable input and “kept us real” when we strayed in abstract territories… At the end of these conversations, we agreed that we should add specific language about DEI in our policies. This would make it a stated goal, on which the General Manager would have to report and that the Board of Directors would have to monitor. The work is not done, stay tuned.

Another goal for the retreat was to “enjoy each other’s company and build a collaborative spirit (but we could also say “cooperative spirit”!)”,  and enjoy each other we did! Every time I participate in one of these retreats, I am amazed by the kind of work and connection that happens when such a safe space gets created (and when delicious Coop food is provided!).

Ilaria Brancoli Busdraghi is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member


Celebrating our Interdependence – NOFA-VT Winter Conference Recap

The NOFA-Vermont Winter Conference is an annual event to celebrate the efforts and mission of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Vermont. NOFA-VT was founded in 1971 as one of the first organic farming associations in the United States. The organization has grown to have over 1200 state-wide members and certify over 720 farms and processors in Vermont to the USDA National Organic Program Standards. 

The mission of NOFA-VT is to “promote organic practices so as to build an economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just Vermont agricultural system that benefits all living things.” This focus on environmental and social sustainability and of creating community through learning and sharing dovetails with the mission and values of the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op. We’re all in this together!

Over three days, exhibitors, presenters, and attendees converge for a weekend of connection, learning, and inspiration. This year’s conference theme was ‘Celebrating Our Interdependence,’ and sought to focus on how relationships and connections can help build a stronger, more resilient food and social system. 

I attended the conference on Sunday and was thrilled by the opportunity to connect and learn! The first stop was at the Exhibitors fair, where farmers, seed companies, book publishers, and other local organizations offered books, tools, food and drink samples, and crafts for sale, along with information and materials from agricultural businesses and conference sponsors.

Exhibitors Fair

The first workshop I attended was a presentation on ‘no-till’ farming methods led by Bryan O’Hara of Tobacco Road Farm. He told the story of his farm and how after about ten years of using fairly typical methods in organic annual market gardening, crops started to do less well, succumbing to pests and diseases. He observed how the health of the plants was directly connected to the complex web of life in the soil. He also made the connection that the health of the plants relates to their nutritional value – and flavor! – when we eat them. After those revelations, Bryan decided to convert his farm to ‘no-till’, adjusting his methods so as to not disturb the natural balance of the soil ecosystem. Working with nature, rather than fighting it!

No-till Vegetable System at Tobacco Road Farm (Source: https://smallfarmersjournal.com)

Right before lunch there also featured a panel discussion on “weaving a new narrative” and how agriculture can be a catalyst for culture change. Panel members included an educator of Native American culture linking seeds with culture and history through stories and practice; a member of a co-operative farm with revolutionary ideas that has created a family of co-owners and co-workers to create a co-operative vision; a traditional Vermont family dairy owner in transition and partnership with a new generation of young organic farmers; and a husband and wife duo practicing ecology, observation, learning, and fascination with the natural world on a dynamic perennial food forest in Jeffersonville, VT. 

Weaving a New Narrative Panel Discussion

This panel participated in a discussion that sought to explore the ways we can use imagination and connectivity to create change in the wider world through the ways we relate to the food we consume every day. Particularly interesting was the idea of the momentum of existing structures in society to perpetuate themselves, and the hope that by promoting new narratives the foundation for change can be created. The last question posed to the panel members was one worth pondering: “What would you tell someone in 2100 you did to help create a positive change in the years since 2020?” One of my favorite responses was from John Hayden who said his “grandkids would hopefully happily report that Grandpa helped people love the insects,” because by “loving, appreciating, and respecting the insects, it might spill over to loving each other more too.” 

After browsing the Exhibitors’ Fair, chatting with the Young Farmers Coalition, and bagging up some seeds from the “seed-share” table, we walked to where NOFA had their mobile wood-fired oven roasting root vegetables. A wood-fired pizza oven on a trailer – how cool! And what a treat on a cold day!

NOFA-VT’s Mobile Pizza Oven

An afternoon workshop presented by Jim Ulager, author of Beginning Seed Saving for the Home Gardener, focused on seed-saving. Jim opened the workshop with a story of his Grandpa ‘Zeke’s’ tomatoes and how he was the only descendant with these Russian heirloom seeds, and that you couldn’t find them in seed catalogs. He also observed that by saving and growing these seeds (and enjoying the tomatoes the plants produced!) was a process completely independent of the larger economic system, a unique feat in this modern day-in-age. Throughout the workshop, we discussed specifics of how one can save seed from legumes and pumpkins and tomatoes, but we also explored the stories that seeds can tell and the philosophical links that seeds make between the gardener and the natural processes of the earth.  


After a long day or learning, connecting, exploring, and gaining inspiration, it was time to go home to tend to the sheep and chickens and dream of Spring!

Alex Arroyo is a member of our Produce Team who also runs a permaculture farm in North Ferrisburgh, VT


Spotlight on Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine is basking in the glow of the Co-op Spotlight this week and all of their wonderful body care products are 20% off for member-owners from February 20th – 26th! This discount is in addition to the everyday low price on many Toms of Maine products offered through our Co-op Basics program, so it’s a great time to stock up and save! Read on to learn more about the philosophy of care for people and planet that the Tom’s of Maine community holds dear and learn about some new recyclable packaging options for 2020:


At Tom’s of Maine, they believe in living for today—and tomorrow! They recognize that decisions have a lasting impact, and they make them thoughtfully. Since 1970, their mission has been to help people live a more natural life. Here are just some of the ways they translate their mission into positive actions:

  • They’re guided by a Stewardship Model and over 45 years of expertise. Their passion is finding and combining naturally sourced and naturally derived ingredients to create personal care products that really work. And their products come with a product guarantee because your satisfaction is important.
  • They’re transparent about the ingredients they use. They explain where they come from, what they do, and how they are made so that you can make the right choice for your family and yourself. Click here to explore their ingredients.
  • They share their profits and time. Tom’s of Maine donates 10% of product sales to nonprofit organizations working to support health, education, and nature. And they encourage employees to use 5% of their paid time to volunteer for their favorite causes. Click here to learn more about how Tom’s of Maine gives back.
  • They strive to implement and follow sustainable business practices. This is the only planet we call home, so they work to protect it for future generations. Click here to learn more about their sustainability initiatives. They also publish their sustainability progress and goals in their annual Goodness Report.

The Backstory

Tom and Kate Chappell moved to Maine from Philadelphia in 1968, looking for a healthier, simpler life for their growing family. They discovered the benefits of natural and unprocessed food, and started looking for the same qualities in personal care products. But all they found were labels listing artificial flavors, fragrances, sweeteners, colors and preservatives. So they decided to create their own.

In 1970, with the help of a $5000 loan from a friend, Tom’s of Maine was born. Right from the start, their company was shaped by the Chappell’s entrepreneurial spirit and values. By 1975, they’d introduced the first natural toothpaste on the U.S. market. And because Tom and Kate felt that businesses should give back, they soon found meaningful ways to care for the planet and their communities.

Tom’s of Maine became a part of the Colgate-Palmolive company in 2006. And they’re proud to say that as they’ve grown through the years, their simple, direct approach has never changed. They continue to put their hearts into providing their customers with natural personal care products that work as well as they’d expect.

Tom & Kate Chappell


New for 2020 – Recyclable Toothpaste Tubes!

Over 1 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown away into landfills each year in the U.S. – so Tom’s is proud to debut this first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube. In fact, this is the first toothpaste tube recognized by the Association of Plastic Recyclers for its breakthrough technology.

First, check to be sure that your tube has this flag on it:

Their transition to the recyclable tube is happening throughout 2019 and 2020, so not all tubes will immediately be recyclable. It’s important that if your tube does not have this flag on it that you don’t put it into your recycling bin.

Does your tube have the flag above on it? Great! Getting your tube ready for recycling is easy: simply squeeze out as much of the toothpaste from the tube as you can, replace the cap, and place the tube in your recycling bin. The Tom’s of Maine toothpaste tube can be put into your household recycling bin for curbside recycling if your community accepts #2 HDPE plastic. #2 plastic is a commonly recycled plastic and is what many laundry detergent bottles and milk jugs are made from.

Please don’t cut open the toothpaste tube to try and remove excess toothpaste! During the processing of the tube at the recycling facility, the tube is ground up and goes through a “rinsing” process, where all the residual toothpaste is washed off of the plastic. So there’s no need for you to do any rinsing at home. 



Solutions for the Non-Recyclable Items:

While they’re proud of their recyclable toothpaste tube, not all toothpaste tubes are recyclable just yet and unfortunately, many other types of personal care packaging aren’t accepted through curbside recycling. Through Tom’s partnership with TerraCycle, you can send in your hard-to-recycle personal care packaging waste so it can be made into new and useful objects. Their Natural Care Brigades accept mouthwash bottles and caps, deodorant containers and caps, toothpaste tubes and caps, soap packaging, floss containers, and toothbrushes from any brand!

get the details

Spotlight on Champlain Valley Apiaries

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a local business that’s been providing local honey to the Co-op since the very beginning – over 40 years ago. In fact, Champlain Valley Apiaries was founded long before the Co-op existed, way back in 1931, and they’ve been producing pristine, delicious Vermont honey ever since! From February 13th – 19th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of gooey golden goodness. Read on to learn more about this wonderful local business and their commitment to environmental stewardship:

Champlain Valley Apiaries is a 3rd generation Vermont family-owned business. Founded in 1931 by innovative beekeeper Charles Mraz, they have been producing delicious Vermont honey for over 85 years. Their mission, along with producing the highest quality honey, is to foster sustainable agriculture and bring awareness to the essential role of honeybees in our food system. They are committed to protecting all pollinators, the environment, the well being of their employees, and the local community where they live and work.

They also continually assess and modify business operations so as to lessen their impact on the environment by increasing operational efficiency, conserving energy, water, and other natural resources, reducing waste generation, and eliminating the use of harmful materials. Champlain Valley Apiaries is committed to a triple bottom line, not only valuing profit but seeking environmental excellence and social awareness within their company culture.

The folks at Champlain Valley Apiaries describe their honey as a floral snapshot of a particular area at a given time. Bees gather nectar from a variety of floral sources, depending on the time of year. Sources include things like clover, alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, various trees, dandelions, and goldenrod, to name a few. For this reason, the exact makeup of their honey will vary from year to year and even from bee yard to bee yard. In order to keep a consistent product, they blend their Vermont honey with other premium honey produced in the U.S. and Canada.

They treat their bees organically and, during the winter, hives are left with enough of their own honey to survive and thrive. Throughout the company’s history, they have earned a reputation among beekeepers for producing a hardy strain of honeybee that is disease-resistant and able to thrive in the harsh Vermont winter. Owner Chas reflected on their 2019 season in a recent Champlain Valley Apiaries blog post. In his post, he references the flurry of media attention given to the large quantities of adulterated honey on grocery store shelves and reminds consumers of the importance of purchasing honey from local producers whose practices you can verify and trust. Chas assures that, “you will never get anything but the best and 100% pure honey from us at Champlain Valley Apiaries. Our commitment to our product goes back three generations and 88 years and will never be compromised.”



Co-op Connection Business of the Month: Texture Salon

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As a Co-op shopper, you likely pay close attention to the ingredients in the foods you choose to feed yourself and your family. Reading food product labels has likely become a common part of your shopping experience. But how many of us pay this much attention to the ingredients in the products we put on our bodies? The fact is, much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, thus it is equally important to become ingredient detectives when choosing personal care products. That’s why we love shedding some light on Middlebury’s own Texture SalonThey’re our featured Co-op Connection Business this month and we’re reminding member-owners that Texture Salon offers 10% off your first visit, whether you’re looking for products or services!

So, what sets Texture Salon apart?

Take it from salon owner, David Warner Jr.:

Salon Owner – David Warner, Jr.

Since 2001 we have been committed to offering a new kind of salon experience where skin and hair care services are free of toxic ingredients (such as parabens, sodium laurel sulfates, talc, ammonia, formaldehyde, and other toxic agents), ethically- produced/ tested, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Offering ammonia-free hair color (Chi and Organic colour systems), Karma Organic nail color, Deva Curl, Onesta, Soma, and a full line of Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, at Texture Salon, we aim to provide a truly healthier, superior salon experience. Delicately synthesizing old and new technologies, we use localized air-purification systems, rock salt lamps, utilize state of the art color guru Beth Manardi Lighting, and natural plant power to enhance the breathing environment for our clients and staff, and restricting cell phone calls to maintain a serene and comfortable space for all. We support recycling, alternative energy, we have 35 solar panels providing us with power, and strongly oppose the use of animal-based products and testing.

Supporting our community is important to us. We host two Jane Iredale mineral cosmetics events each year to bring like-minded people together to mingle, share new tips and laugh. We also support local charities such as The United Way.

Whether its hair-coloring, highlights, or skincare, Texture Salon shows how caring for its clients can go hand-in-hand with caring for our environment. For a full list of services click HERE!


About the Texture Team:

David Warner, Jr. – Excited to begin his career, David graduated from O’Briens School of Cosmetology Class of 1994. His passion for hair color and cutting was quickly challenged when he discovered that he was allergic to many of the products used in mainstream beauty salons. Determined to stay in the field he loved, David opened Texture Salon in 2001. Using ammonia-free, organic, natural products and embracing local, small businesses, he has a special interest in investigating new, alternative hair products. David has studied with Farouk Systems for salons and trade shows and enjoys keeping up to date with hair shows and in-salon classes. “It’s important never to forget why I entered the beauty industry. To have a real connection with my client and make them feel good about themselves.” David has a special passion for corrective hair coloring and curly hair, as well as being certified in Chi Transformation straightening, he has attended the Deva Curl Academy in NYC. When he’s not making clients feel beautiful, he enjoys history documentaries, the peace and quiet of nature, working on his home improvements and traveling with his husband and their retired greyhound “Bruno”.

Andrea Lamphere is a graduate of Diorr’s Beauty College in Burlington, Vermont. She worked at salons in Burlington for seven years before opening her own shop in 1979. She attended the World Beauty Festival in London, England in 1982. After selling her salon in 1985, Andrea worked for a few salons in Middlebury before joining Texture Salon in 2006. A seasoned hairdresser with over 40 years in the beauty industry, Andrea strives to keep learning new techniques and has studied in Montreal, Boston, New York and London. She tries to attend at least 2 educational events per year and has done so for 42 years, keeping her clients current in today’s fashion.

Taylor has been in the hair industry since 2012. She began as a receptionist and practiced shadowing at an O’Briens salon in Middlebury while attending O’Briens Aveda Institute. Taylor takes pride in building a strong relationship with each of her clients to form trust and confidence. Her goal is to always create a style that can be maintained and recreated at home. She enjoys a variety of services such as waxing, coloring, and cutting both men’s and women’s hair as well as having confidence and patience with small children. Taylor has a passion for continuing her education and inspiring her creative process with specialized classes and hair shows throughout each year. She has traveled to Chicago, New York, and Rhode Island to gain inspiration to bring to her clients and fellow stylists alike. Let her show you not just her skill and creativity but the funny and warm personality that she brings to every service!

JoAnna Carter is a native Vermonter and loves living here. She graduated from Salon Professional Academy in 2009 and has enjoyed her last 8 years as a stylist. JoAnna prides herself on custom cuts for men and women as well as the entire family, including small children. Never one to shy away from color, she is well versed in Texture’s full line of Chi and Organic Colors.

David, Taylor, and JoAnna