July 2023

Spotlight on New Leaf Organics

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on New Leaf Organics! This local, organic farm not only keeps our produce shelves stocked with an array of fresh seasonal veggies but also supplies us with an abundant array of veggie and herb seedlings each Spring. Perhaps you have a few of them growing in your garden? All of New Leaf Organics products are 20% off for Co-op member-owners from August 3rd – 9th, so it’s a great time to stock up on the flavors of summer in Vermont. Read on to learn more about this female-powered farm and all that they have to offer:

Nestled in the rolling hills near the Bristol-Monkton town line is a sweet little farm called New Leaf Organics. Now in her 23rd year in business, Farmer Jill Koppel leads her rockstar all-female crew to produce some of the most beautiful and delicious flowers, fruits, and veggies you’ll find anywhere in Vermont. Their farm has evolved quite a bit over the years, but their core mission remains the same; growing high-quality organic produce, flowers, and plants that improve soil health and strengthen the community.

Their Mission

  • to grow high-quality, deliciously fresh organic produce and flowers.
  • to maintain and build the health of our soil and water.
  • to keep this land open and in agricultural production.
  • to bring community together in appreciation of good food and eating with the seasons.
  • to help couples create a memorable wedding day brightened with our beautiful flowers
  • to be a healthy and joyous place for kids to roam and discover and help them learn where our food really comes from.
  • to provide a positive and meaningful place to work for our employees and ourselves.
The 2023 New Leaf Farm Crew

New Leaf Organics grows 5 acres of vegetables, berries, and flowers which are all sold in Vermont. You can shop their online store and/or visit their farmstand. Their online store offers farmstand pickup and delivery options. Farmstand hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 12 pm – 6 pm. While visiting the farmstand, you’ll find  New Leaf’s fresh-picked veggies, berries, and flowers. You’ll also find a great selection of locally sourced products from around the Champlain Valley including fresh breads and granola from Bicycle Mill Bakery; sweet and savory hand pies and small pies from Humble Pie Baking; and take-out meals from Chomp Cookhouse.

New Leaf Organics Farmstand

You can also sign up for their Farm Stand Card Program. What’s a Farm Stand Card? Here’s how their website describes it:

“It’s like a gift card, but tastier. Farm Stand Cards give you pre-purchased credit to use at our Farm Stand. It’s an affordable and flexible way to enjoy the freshest, local organic produce and flowers and support our vibrant local food system. They come in increments of $225, with an additional 10% spending bonus. For example, when you pay $225, you’ll get a spending credit of $250. You can use your card any time you shop to buy anything we sell at our farm stand — from produce and baked goods to bedding plants and groceries. Pick your own flowers are included for Farm Stand Card holders.

​How Does This Compare to Your Traditional CSA Model? Farm Stand Card shares are similar to a CSA in that you receive fresh organic produce and flowers each week and a discount on your purchase while committing to and supporting our local farm. They’re even better than a traditional CSA, though. The Farm Stand Card allows you greater flexibility to shop anytime the Farm Stand is open, and to purchase anything we sell in the stand. It gives you the vegetables, flowers, and local goods you want, when you want them, at the best price. Win-win-win!”


Looking to send a local, organic bouquet to someone special? New Leaf Organics offers Home Sweet Blooms floral deliveries to homes and businesses in Hinesburg, Vergennes, Middlebury, & Bristol! They also offer a pick-your-own flowers option throughout the growing season or you can purchase a flower bouquet subscription. The flower fields are located across the street from the farm stand. 

Need flowers for an upcoming wedding or event? New Leaf Organics raises over 100 varieties of organic, specialty cut flowers and creates exquisite floral arrangements for weddings and events, from casual to formal. Their services, from full-service arrangements and delivery, to “pick-your-own,” to “weddings-in-a-bucket” are a great fit for all your events. Buying direct from the grower ensures the freshest, highest quality flowers at the best price. Buying organic ensures that agricultural chemicals aren’t endangering our environment or the farmworkers who handle the flowers. Click here to read more about why this matters.

According to Farmer Jill, “I’ve been lucky enough to find a dedicated crew of farming “geeks” who get equally as excited about discovering a great new variety to try or the thrill of our first seeds germinating in the Spring. Having a great crew keeps the farm dynamic and is better every season because of them. My kids, Ruby and Ada, and husband Skimmer make sure we don’t work the whole Summer away… Thanks for your interest in our farm! Supporting local farms like ours ensures that high-quality agricultural soils will be kept in farming for generations to come and proof that together we really can keep Vermont agriculture alive and thriving!”

For the latest info and insight into how the season is sprouting, blooming, and unfurling, follow them on Instagram @organicsnewleaf and Facebook @newleaforganics

Spotlight on Crown Prince Seafood

We’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on Crown Prince Seafood this week! From July 27th – August 2nd, member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on their full line of sustainable seafood products! Read on to learn more about this third-generation family-owned business that’s been committed to bringing high-quality seafood to your dinner table for over 75 years:



Family-owned and founded in 1948, Crown Prince, Inc. provides the finest quality canned seafood to cooks and customers throughout the United States and Mexico. Guided by three generations of the Hoffman family, Crown Prince has grown slowly and carefully, emphasizing quality products and sincere customer relationships above all else. 


Corneleus “Case” Anton Hoffman emigrated to the United States from Holland in 1918 as an 11-year-old. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to a handful of successful ventures, including opening an orange juice business with two friends called Cold Gold. It was at this orange juice factory, of all places, that Case was turned on to the prospect of specializing in seafood. The factory’s cost accountant was Norwegian and had a friend back home, Bjarne Ogne, who wanted to sell Norwegian sardines in the United States. Case and his fellow business owners agreed, and for a time they sold both orange juice and Norwegian sardines. Recognizing the impractical nature of this pairing, the men decided to sell Cold Gold and were left with an inventory of Norwegian sardines. Case offered to try and sell the fish, and the more he sold, the more interested he became in the products. He ordered more and in 1947 made his first big sale: to Alpha Beta, one of the leading regional grocery chains in California. With that sale, the company was born. Case named it “Norwegian Fish Importers,” and that name was used until Crown Prince was adopted in 1985.  

From 1947 to the late 1960s, Case worked tirelessly to make the business a success and was able to single-handedly expand sales throughout southern California. At first, he was the only employee, and orders were small enough that he made the deliveries in person from the back of a station wagon. When business started picking up he hired his first worker, a part-time girl to type invoices and help keep records. Soon he also hired warehouse trucks to make larger deliveries.

Case’s son, Bob Hoffman, entered the business in the late 1960s and took over many of the administrative and managerial responsibilities. This freed Case, a natural entrepreneur, to return to the field. Over the coming years, Case expanded into nearby states and eventually across the entire U.S. He traveled nationally, making sales calls and training sales managers to know the seafood and the company as well as he did. It was during this time that the name Crown Prince was adopted, as Norwegian Fish Importers no longer accurately reflected the company’s products. After decades of hard work, Case slowly began to transition into retirement and Bob took on more and more leadership until he was the company’s president.

Dustan Hoffman (Bob’s daughter and Case’s granddaughter) embraced her family legacy from an early age. At age 12, Bob recalls, Dustan would announce her future role as president of the company. Through college she spent summers and vacations learning everything she could about the seafood, where it is sourced, how it is packed, and the role of every single employee. Today, as predicted, she is the President of Crown Prince.


Sustainable Seafood

The team at Crown Prince understands the value of being a good steward of the natural resources and raw materials that make up their products. They are proud of their commitment to secure third-party certified sustainably harvested seafood from suppliers who follow socially and environmentally responsible practices. 

Here is a sample of the certification bodies associated with Crown Prince:

For a complete list of Crown Prince’s certified products, click here.

Crown Prince is also committed to working with suppliers who value and practice environmentally and socially responsible business. Crown Prince has created a Supplier Standards document that outlines the core commitments to social and environmental accountability that are expected from their suppliers. They also work directly with their suppliers to reduce waste, water use, GHG emissions, and energy usage while simultaneously increasing recycling efforts throughout the supply chain. They’re currently developing a Crown Prince Supplier Scorecard to assess how each of their suppliers is impacting the environment and their communities.


Sourcing from Well- Managed Fisheries

Crown Prince prides itself on sourcing its products from well-managed fisheries that use sustainable harvesting methods. From Alaska to Thailand, you can be sure that the fish products you eat from Crown Prince are well-managed and sustainable.


Corporate Environmental Sustainability

Under Dustan’s leadership, Crown Prince has grown to place special emphasis on healthy eating, natural foods, and environmental sustainability—while maintaining the core commitment to quality and customers, on which the company is based. In 2010, Crown Prince established a Green Team to identify and implement specific projects and goals to help the company manage and reduce its environmental impact. Crown Prince’s sustainability work plan includes tracking and managing corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste, and recycling.

After establishing the company’s baseline emissions in 2012, they set a publicly available target to reduce emissions from market-based electricity usage by 75% through 2020. They surpassed this goal in 2020 and adjusted the target to achieve a 100% reduction, which they achieved in 2022!

Crown Prince also measures Scope 3 emissions (such as business travel, employee commuting, shipping, and more), which go above and beyond the mandatory reporting standards. A greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory is a comprehensive accounting of all greenhouse gas emissions arising from the operational activities of an organization over a given period. It is one of the most valuable tools available to organizations looking to understand and reduce their carbon footprint. Crown Prince follows the internationally accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol to calculate our GHG inventories.

Since 2010, Crown Prince has reported the results of their sustainability efforts to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The CDP is an independent, not-for-profit, London- based organization working to drive GHG emissions reductions by businesses and cities. The CDP was established in 2000 and contains the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world.

Plastic Free July

Founded in 2011 by the Plastic Free Foundation, Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and more beautiful communities.  Since its inception, this movement has inspired 100+ million participants in 190 countries to engage in transformative change. Of course, it’s not just single-use plastic; it’s single-use itself that is driving the problem, so we encourage you to think beyond plastics to any single-use item that can be replaced with a reusable item to shift our society from a throw-away economy to one that truly embraces and supports circularity.

Here’s a great video from Upstream on the Reuse Movement that serves as an inspiring primer:



Taking Action

The EPA recently released a Draft National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution—part of a series of EPA plans centered around “building a circular economy for all.” It’s encouraging to see such movement at the federal level, and there are several worthy elements in this draft strategy. However, there is also room for improvement, especially when it comes to emphasizing reuse as a solution to plastic pollution. This Plastic Free July, we have a huge opportunity to make our voices heard by the EPA and bring home the message that it’s not just single-use plastic, it’s single-use itself that’s driving our throw-away economy. With this in mind, we encourage you to submit your comments to the EPA by July 31st. Need help crafting effective comments? Upstream Solutions has published an outline on its website, which provides a helpful guide.

We also love this roundup from Reuse Solutions Network, which provides some ideas to help you not only go plastic-free but engage in the ultimate solution to plastic pollution—reuse.

Reuse Opportunities at the Co-op

Here at the Co-op, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to reduce and eliminate packaging waste and dedicated our Spring 2019 issue of our Under the Sun Newsletter to the topic of reuse, complete with a handy centerfold map highlighting the ways to participate in systems of reuse at the co-op:

We’re grateful to work with a long list of local farmers and producers who share our values around reducing waste and promoting reuse. The local farmers and producers enjoy being able to reuse items like apple crates, 5-gallon buckets, milk bottles, large mesh veggie bags, and delivery boxes in a circular system by which they deliver items to us in these vessels, we transfer the items from their delivery vessels to our shelves, then we place the empty vessels in our storage areas so that the farmers can retrieve them to use again and again. This video on our Co-op Instagram page illustrates how this works. 

One great example is our partnership with Hillsboro Sugarworks and Singing Cedars Apiaries to create a waste-free circular system of reuse for our bulk maple syrup and honey. These local producers deliver the syrup and honey in 5-gallon buckets, we use those buckets to fill our bulk tanks (from which you can fill up your jar when you shop), and we return the empty buckets to the folks at Hillsboro Sugarworks and Singing Cedars Apiaries to be sterilized and refilled over and over again. Here’s a video clip that talks more about this wonderful circular system of reuse.


We’re proud to offer hundreds of items in bulk bins throughout the store so that you can bring your own containers from home and fill them with the items you need without the packaging. You’ll find bins of grains, flours, granola, vinegars, culinary oils, nuts, nut butters, and so much more in our Bulk department.

Around the corner, you’ll find our bulk coffee section, and in the next aisle, you’ll find a wide selection of bulk jars of teas and spices, along with a new section of gravity bins containing a wide variety of dried fruits.

Venture across the center aisle to our recently re-vamped Bulk Body Care section, where you can bring your own container to fill up on all of your favorite body care essentials from shampoo and conditioner to liquid soap and lotion. You’ll also find lots of refill jars containing items that are perfect for crafting your own DIY body care products, complete with recipes to help get the creativity flowing. 

In our snack aisles, you’ll find gravity bins of popular snack items like flavored nut mixes, wild rice sticks, and sesame sticks, and around the corner in the candy aisle, you’ll find plenty of bulk sweet treats ready to dispense into your own containers. A few steps further into the cheese department you’ll find local bulk feta from our friends at Maplebrook Farm and bulk chevre from Blue Ledge Farm. You’ll also find an olive bar, where you can bring your own container to fill up on all your favorites!

While the Vermont State Department of Health will not allow shoppers to bring their own containers from home to buy prepared foods from our salad bar, we were excited to find a workaround. This is our antidote to the ubiquitous single-use take-out container. We offer reusable dishes for folks who dine in-house, but we also recognize that there are times when it makes more sense to take your meal to-go. Thanks to the Lunch to Go and Back Again program, you can take your lunch to-go without the need for disposable containers! Simply pick up one of our reusable to-go containers located at our salad bar, fill it with your favorite salad bar items, then take it to the register. The cashier will charge you a $5 container deposit, which will be refunded to you when you return the rinsed container. Our staff will wash and sanitize it, then return it to the stack to be used over and over again!

Our Lunch to Go and Back Again program allows you to take your food to-go in a reusable container!


On your way out of the store, don’t forget to drop off your can carriers! We’re a proud participant in the Vermont Can Carrier Reuse Program, which in its first year is on track to divert 100,000 plastic PakTech craft beer/soda can carriers from the waste stream, brilliantly having them picked up by craft beer distributors like Vermont Beer Shepherd during their normal rounds of beer deliveries then returning them to craft breweries for reuse. 

Deposit can carriers in this crate on your way out of the Co-op
Your can carriers will be picked up by distributor Vermont Beer Shepherd, who will then return them to local breweries for reuse!




We’re excited by these reuse systems at the Co-op and we recognize that there’s always more that we can do. With this in mind, feel free to share your ideas with us for ways that we can continue to improve the reuse systems at the Co-op! We also invite you to be part of Plastic Free July by clicking this link and signing up for the challenge. Their site is also full of helpful resources and ideas to keep you on the circular path!

And if you’d like to commit to joining a workplace of individuals who share your passion for circularity, we’re hiring! Click here to learn more about joining our team!


Spotlight on Aqua ViTea

This week’s Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Aqua ViTea! Their full line of Kombucha and Aqua Selzer is 20% off for member-owners from July 20th – 26th! Read on to learn more about this unique local business with humble beginnings on a Salisbury Farm!



Aqua ViTea began in 2007 in the Salisbury, Vermont farmhouse of Jeff Weaber and Dr. Katina Martin, based on the naturopathic principle of “food as medicine.” Weaber and Martin had just relocated to Vermont after 9 years in Portland, Oregon, where Katina pursued medical degrees in Naturopathy, Midwifery, and Acupuncture and Jeff served as the brewer for The Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. Honing the craft of fermentation at work and learning about functional foods and the governing role of the digestive system from Katina at home led Weaber to discover the wonders of Kombucha.

Aqua ViTea founder Jeff Weaber with his wife Katina Martin at their Salisbury home where they first began brewing kombucha

By 2007, he was selling his Kombucha to the happy crowds at the Middlebury Farmers Market under the Aqua ViTea brand, and in 2008, he began bottling his product and selling wholesale to our Co-op and a handful of other local markets. By 2014, demand began to outpace production capacity, and plans to move Aqua ViTea’s production off the farm began to ferment. They first moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Bristol, VT, followed by yet another upgrade in 2017 to an even more impressive facility — the former home of Woodchuck Cider just off Exchange Street in Middlebury. Today, the rapidly growing company is the largest Kombucha producer on the east coast, employing a team of 30 full-time employees proudly brewing low-sugar, alcohol-free, organic kombucha with naturally abundant probiotics, enzymes, and antioxidants, whose balanced blend of sparkling refreshment and bold flavor makes it the perfect substitute for juice or soda. 

The Aqua ViTea team

As the business grew, Weaber called on Mike Kin, who was a close friend of Weaber’s in Oregon, and convinced him to move to Vermont with his family to become the company’s brewer. If you dig the artwork on Aqua ViTea’s packaging and materials as much as we do, you’ve got Mike to thank for these. He sketches each one by hand, creating the funky, colorful, amazing signature artwork that you see on all of AquaVitea’s products!

Mike Kin creates the signature Freshketch artwork for Aqua ViTea


Commitment to Authenticity

Many commercially available Kombucha brands have been found to contain significantly more sugar and alcohol than their labels disclose. Additionally, some large-scale Kombucha products are being manufactured in a lab setting, force carbonated, and even pasteurized, with the probiotic cultures added artificially as “ingredients” to the end product.

Aqua ViTea, since day one, has shown a deep commitment to authenticity. This begins by sourcing the highest quality ingredients, including sustainably sourced organic tea from Middlebury’s Stone Leaf Teahouse and organic cane sugar to feed the ferment. Their Kombucha is the product of a live, active fermentation, which allows the live cultures and enzymes to develop naturally and delivers the tangy effervescence that Kombucha drinkers love. They are one of only two kombucha makers in the country who have invested in a spinning cone column, which allows for the extraction and recovery of volatile compounds, including alcohol, without the need for excessive heat. And since the alcohol is removed at the end of fermentation, the active cultures can grow at their own pace, which results in authentic, delicious, and non-alcoholic Kombucha. They even employ an in-house microbiologist to analyze the safety and purity of their products! The organic alcohol that is extracted from Aqua ViTea Kombucha is repurposed to support innovations like hand sanitizer and new beverage development. The nutrient-dense organic green and black tea used in their brewing process is composted to support local agriculture. 

A tour group from Addison Central Teens visits Aqua ViTea and learns about the cone extractor, which removes the alcohol from Aqua ViTea’s kombucha


Aqua Seltzer

The newest addition to the Aqua ViTea lineup is Aqua Seltzer! Better than your average bubbles, Aqua Seltzers, infused with organic kombucha, are refreshing better-for-you offerings packed with probiotics for immune & gut health. Weaber shares that the idea for a seltzer line was born when he looked at the ingredients list on a can of the seltzer that his teenage kids love to drink and realized that there was nothing much to them. He wondered if there was a way to create a seltzer that also offered functional nutritional benefits aside from simply providing hydration. After months of research and development and countless hours of taste testing, a new, bubbly, better-for-you beverage was born. It’s infused with kombucha, providing 5 billion probiotics per serving, along with amino acids and antioxidants, with only one gram of sugar and 15 calories. They’re thirst-quenching refreshers filled with goodness for your gut!








Spotlight on The Ginger People

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on The Ginger People! From July 13th – 19th, member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on our full line of Ginger People products. Read on to learn more about this family-owned, mission-driven company that partners with family farms practicing sustainable agricultural methods to bring you healthy, flavorful, non-GMO, and organic ginger and turmeric products!


For over 30 years, Bruce and Abbie Leeson have focused their family business around their passion for ginger and their desire to offer a  product range that honors the authentic, innovative, and values-driven fundamentals of their brand.

Abbie, Bruce, and Evan Leeson pictured with some of their ginger farmer partners in Fiji

Inspired by the healing powers of ginger spanning over 5000 years, The Ginger People creates products with simple, short ingredient lists, made in fun and functional formats for modern lifestyles and daily consumption.

The Ginger People are committed to working with small-scale farmers who share a reverence for the land through sustainable farming practices. Many of the farms they work with are located in close proximity to their manufacturing facilities, thus reducing the carbon footprint associated with transport. From farm to market, The Ginger People support over 500 farmers, factory workers, and staff in the premier growing regions of the world – China, Fiji, Indonesia, and Peru.


The Ginger People’s mission is to be the most trusted ginger brand in the world through quality, innovation, social responsibility, education, and commitment. They are a family of people who seek to create and promote great-tasting, healthful ginger products.

By partnering with farmers and producers in the premier growing regions of the world, they support communities and create loyal relationships. They exist to share experiences where their passion for ginger and its purpose come together.

With no GMOs, nothing artificial, and a growing list of organic products, The Ginger People range has a little something for every body. And that’s not all. To add even more goodness, The Ginger People has expanded to include turmeric, a famous member of the ginger family with a long list of healing nutritive properties. Be sure to check out The Ginger People’s Health Blog for more info on the healing powers of ginger and turmeric!


Also, be sure to check out the recipe archive on their website for delicious recipes ranging from sweet ginger snaps to savory ginger-buttered tomatoes and everything in between! Getting your daily dose of ginger and turmeric never tasted so good!

Spotlight on Tierra Farm

We’re casting our Member Deals Spotlight on Tierra Farm this week to highlight the socially and environmentally responsible practices of this employee-owned business. They provide an array of healthy products to our bulk department that are certified organic, gluten-free, kosher, and GMO-free, all of which are produced in small batches in their solar-powered facility in Valatie, NY. From July 6th – 12th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their delicious dried fruits, nuts, and other healthy snacks! Read on to learn more about this fantastic small business and its commitment to responsible practices throughout the supply chain:

Tierra Farm is a Certified Organic manufacturer and distributor of nuts and dried fruits located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Their customers consist mainly of cooperatives and independently owned grocery stores that value working with an employee-owned, environmentally conscious company that manufactures its own products.

Tierra Farm started as a diversified organic vegetable farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The organic nuts & dried fruit portion of the business started in 1999, as a way to generate income in the slower winter months. That portion of the business has continued to thrive and evolve into a year-round operation, though they still maintain their original farm.

Tierra Farm offers its customers exceptional value through unbeatable quality at prices that are fair both to the consumer and to the farmer. Their products are made without preservatives, added oils, or refined sugars, in their own peanut-free facility. They manufacture the products they sell: dry roasting and flavoring nuts and seeds, blending trail mixes, grinding butter, and covering nuts and fruits in fair-trade chocolate. Everything is made in small, hand-crafted batches for freshness.

One of their core values has been to cultivate strong relationships with the best organic farmers in the world. They work directly with the farmers from which they source their nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and have worked with some of these farmers for over a decade. Being in direct communication with their farmers allows the preservation of their organic integrity and ensures fair business practices throughout the supply chain.

Tierra Farm produces only Certified Organic products which are grown without synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms, or chemical fertilizers. This helps sustain biodiversity, conserves fresh water, and enhances the soil. They generate over 70% of their electricity from solar panels and recycle over 60% of their waste. Their delivery boxes are made from recycled cardboard and our individual product packaging is always made with recyclable materials and/or compostable packaging whenever possible. Tierra Farm proudly features more than 100 products in plastic-free, home-compostable packaging and is wholly committed to going plastic-free by 2023. If home composting isn’t your jam, they have a takeback program for their compostable bags and encourage you to send your used Tierra Farm bags back to them so that they can turn them into compost. As their website states, they’re “working for a world where the food we eat doesn’t come at the expense of the planet or the people on it.”

Tierra Farm is also committed to community. They recognize that there’s a whole big world outside their doors and they want to help make it as beautiful as possible. With this in mind, they embrace opportunities to s

upport local charities and help them continue to do great work in service to others. 

Recently selected one of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies by Inc. 5000, Tierra Farm remains committed to its team members. Every single Tierra Farm employee makes a living wage of $20 per hour and enjoys a comprehensive health benefits program, as well as a retirement plan and onsite lunch. In August of 2019, Tierra Farm became a Certified B Corporation, one of only 3,000 companies worldwide to earn this distinction.



Featured Co-op Connection Business – Green Mountain Adventures

Summer in Vermont is a spectacular time to hike, bike, paddle, and swim your way through some of the most scenic vistas New England has to offer. Regardless of your outdoor sport of choice, Middlebury’s Green Mountain Adventures (aka Middlebury Mountaineer) is the perfect place to get outfitted with everything you need to explore the forests, mountains, rivers, and lakes of Vermont and we’re excited to collaborate with them through our Co-op Connection program! Thanks to this partnership, card-carrying Co-op member-owners can enjoy a 10% discount when shopping at Green Mountian Adventures! Read on to learn more about this family-owned local business and its wide variety of offerings for the outdoor enthusiast in all of us!

The History

Co-owners Steve and Marion Atocha first opened Middlebury Mountaineer (d/b/a Green Mountain Adventures) in 1998 on Middlebury’s Mill Street in a spot above the Storm Café. Around five years later, the store moved to a Park Street location formerly occupied by Ben & Jerry’s. After a short stint there, the business inched a little further up Park Street to the storefront next to the Henry Sheldon Museum, and finally, in the Spring of 2017, they found what they’d been looking for all along — a prime location with great visibility in the heart of Middlebury’s Main Street.

The Family

Steve is the co-owner and founder of Green Mountain Adventures. On the store’s webpage, he is described as a father, a fly fishing enthusiast, and a certified American Canoe Association Kayaking Instructor. He spends his free time hiking for out-of-the-way fishing holes or backcountry skiing on the Lincoln Gap. Green Mountain Adventures is co-owned by his wife Marion, who also serves as a clothing buyer for the store. She divides her time between the shop and working full-time as a nurse in Bristol. An avid hiker, swimmer, and Nordic skier, Marion’s real passion is raising her three boys and working on her family farm. In true family business fashion, their boys pitch in as part of the Green Mountain Adventures team. 

Steve and Marion Atocha
Steve Atocha with his sons


The Gear

Green Mountain Adventures provides only the best gear and apparel with a commitment to quality merchandise and a high standard for personalized customer service. You’ll find many of your favorite brands including Patagonia, Darn Tough, Prana, Blundstone, Howler Bros., Hydro Flask, Yeti, and more. They also carry a wide range of cross-country skis, boots, poles, wax, and accessories from Fischer, Rossignol, Bjorn Daehlie, Salomon, Rottefella, Craft, and Swix. If you’re not ready to commit to an equipment purchase but want to try out some of the best gear in the industry, check out their summer and winter gear rental and lease options. 


Guided Adventures

If you’re looking for a guide for your adventures, Green Mountain Adventures offers professional guide services and equipment rentals for fly fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing. Whether you’re a beginner interested in learning the basics or a more experienced adventurer looking to hone your skills, Green Mountain Adventures will personalize any full or half-day trip to meet your needs.

Summer Camps

Now in their 24th season, Green Mountain Adventures offers a variety of outdoor adventure day camps uniquely designed to safely lead children and young adults (ages 6-14) into the vast playground of rocks, rivers, and mountains surrounding our Central Vermont community. Participants engage in multi-activity wilderness adventures including canoeing and kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, river tubing, and rock climbing. Each GMA camp provides imaginative and unforgettable journeys in some of the most beautiful backcountry wilderness areas in and around the Green Mountains. Their programs offer a low camper-to-guide ratio to ensure your camper receives individualized attention and support. Guides are hand-picked from the local community based on their extensive wilderness experience and skills, intimate knowledge of the local environment and terrain, and youth service experience (as teachers, coaches, mentors, parents, etc.). In addition to providing outlets for youth to immerse themselves in nature, there is also a strong focus on relationship building. According to Steve, “as an outdoor adventure camp in the local community for over 20 years, we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to witness the personal growth of many returning campers as they develop confidence in themselves and their ability to relate with peers in a group setting. Our programs are very small and inclusive, without much room or opportunity for cliques to form. We encourage a “come as you are” ethic where campers can be fully themselves, without external pressure to act or perform in a certain way.”