apples

Spotlight on Champlain Orchards

One of the hallmarks of this season in Vermont is the abundance of local apples. With this in mind, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont – Champlain Orchards in Shoreham! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their stunning array of fresh apples and apple products including sweet apple cider, apple pies, and apple cider donuts from September 30th – October 6th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar-powered, ecologically managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.

 

The story of Champlain Orchards as we know it today began in 1998, when twenty-seven-year-old Bill Suhr purchased 60 acres of orchard in Shoreham, Vermont.  Bill’s motivation and initiative to live off the land overshadowed the fact that apple growing and fruit farming were not in his realm of knowledge, but thanks to the seasoned expertise of long-established neighboring orchardists Sandy Witherell, Scott and Bob Douglas, and Judy Pomainville – who all shared equipment, land, and information, it wasn’t long before the orchard was thriving.  In the early days, Bill delivered 20 bushels at a time in a station wagon to the local farmers’ markets and co-ops. He quickly gained the trust of produce markets around the state through exhibiting a steadfast motivation and passion for delivering high quality, Vermont-grown fruit.

Bill and Andrea Suhr with their two children

Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 140 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, medlar, quince, and many berries. They are committed to being careful stewards of their land and grow all of their fruit following strict Eco-Apple requirements, while striving to minimize their carbon footprint and sustainably contribute to their community. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is almost entirely solar-powered. All of their fruit is either ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM institute or organically grown and certified by VOF.

Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Their orchard-made cider is crafted from fruit grown with a conscience, in beautiful and pristine Vermont. Their cidery is located on-site at Champlain Orchards and every single apple in their hard ciders is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp, and deliciously drinkable. They average around 50,000 gallons per year, and growing!

Champlain Orchards is proud to employ over 40 local Vermont residents, year-round. They also welcome an amazing Jamaican crew during their harvest season, many of whom have been coming to Champlain Orchards for over a decade! 

One very exciting addition to the Champlain Orchards family last year was the legendary orchardist Zeke Goodband. Zeke leaves a nearly 20-year tenure at Scott Farm Orchards in Dummerston, Vermont to join the Champlain Orchards crew. According to a  Seven Days article heralding this merger of apple mega minds, Zeke is described as a “champion of old and odd varieties of heirloom apples. His fruit has brightened up apple bins in co-ops around the state, and his influence has changed Vermonters’ perception of what an apple can be: golden and purple, as well as red and green; russeted or gnarled skin, as well as smooth.” He arrived at Champlain Orchards with scion wood from about two dozen varieties, which he plans to graft onto rootstock to see how they do in this new environment. Goodband and Suhr describe themselves as old friends and kindred spirits. They both admit to working too much and get excited when the conversation turns to apple genetics. They share the same values of fruit growing: making sure it’s safe for the environment and for their families. 

Owner Bill Suhr and Orchardist Zeke Goodband

Other newsworthy headlines from the orchard this year included Champlain Orchard’s acquisition of neighboring Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill. This orchard was founded in 1989 and was overseen by four generations of the Douglas family. Scott and Bob Douglas were the fourth and final generation of Douglas’ to operate the farm and before selling the property to Champlain Orchards, they took steps to protect the land from future development by working with the Vermont Land Trust to preserve the Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill’s 181 acres. The conservation easement ensures the land will remain available to future farmers. Here’s what Bill Suhr has to say about the purchase of Douglas Orchard:

“For the past 22 years I have been emulating Bob and Scott Douglas as they care for their family farm and orchards, just down the road from us. After years of discussions and planning, we were able to officially purchase the 180-acre farm, allowing Bob & Terry, and Scott & Sue Douglas to officially begin a well-earned retirement. The Douglas family has been very supportive of Champlain Orchards over the years and I am thrilled to be able to preserve this historic orchard for future generations and continue on their legacy and values.

There are many more stories that Bob and Scott can tell while smiling about the young “flatlander” they have worked with over the years, but let’s switch to discussing how we intend to manage the challenge of running two unique PYO/retail operations. Over the years we have worked hard to not compete with the Douglas family when growing our PYO operation here at Champlain Orchards. We respect that some customers have formed loyalties to each farm, while other folks travel back and forth to experience both. Many companies absorb a competitor and simply overlay their own company traits. However, we see an opportunity to continue to maintain the unique experiences each farm offers, so people can appreciate older trees vs new trellis, traditional apple varieties vs uncommon varieties, etc. While staffing two operations will be challenging, we really like the opportunity for visitors to spread out and enjoy the freedom of both orchards.

There are uncertain times ahead for us all, but thanks to your loyal support we can continue to keep the Vermont apple landscape alive. We look forward to seeing you this summer and fall for a safe, bountiful PYO season, thank you!”

 

Apple Raisin Pie with Walnut Crumble

Holiday baking season is upon us and we can hardly imagine a better way to kick it off than with this twist on a classic apple pie! You’ll find most of the ingredients featured in our Weekly Sale from October 29th – November 4th, including some of the freshest apples of the season from our friends at Champlain Orchards. Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Strafford Organic Dairy or a dollop of organic vanilla gelato from Larson Creamery and you’ll be in localvore paradise! 

Spotlight on Champlain Orchards

One of the hallmarks of autumn in Vermont is the abundance of local apples. With this in mind, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont – Champlain Orchards in Shoreham! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their stunning array of fresh apples and apple products including sweet apple cider, apple pies, and apple cider donuts from October 22nd – 28th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar-powered, ecologically-managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.

 

The story of Champlain Orchards as we know it today began in 1998, when twenty-seven-year-old Bill Suhr purchased 60 acres of orchard in Shoreham, Vermont.  Bill’s motivation and initiative to live off the land overshadowed the fact that apple growing and fruit farming were not in his realm of knowledge, but thanks to the seasoned expertise of long-established neighboring orchardists Sandy Witherell, Scott and Bob Douglas, and Judy Pomainville – who all shared equipment, land, and information, it wasn’t long before the orchard was thriving.  In the early days, Bill delivered 20 bushels at a time in a station wagon to the local farmers’ markets and co-ops. He quickly gained the trust of produce markets around the state through exhibiting a steadfast motivation and passion for delivering high quality, Vermont-grown fruit.

 

Champlain Orchards Co-owner, Bill Suhr. Photo Credit: S.P. Reid

Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 120 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, and many berries. They are committed to being careful stewards of their land and grow all of their fruit following strict Eco-Apple requirements, while striving to minimize their carbon footprint and sustainably contribute to their community. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is almost entirely solar-powered. All of their fruit is either ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM institute or organically grown and certified by VOF.

Aerial View of the Orchard

Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Their orchard-made cider is crafted from fruit grown with a conscience, in beautiful and pristine Vermont. Their cidery is located on-site at Champlain Orchards and every single apple in their hard ciders is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp, and deliciously drinkable. They average around 50,000 gallons per year, and growing!

Cider Tasting Room at the Orchard

Champlain Orchards is proud to employ over 40 local Vermont residents, year-round. They also welcome an amazing Jamaican crew during their harvest season, many of whom have been coming to Champlain Orchards for over a decade!  One very exciting addition to the Champlain Orchards family this year is the legendary orchardist Zeke Goodband. Zeke leaves a nearly 20-year tenure at Scott Farm Orchards in Dummerston, Vermont to join the Champlain Orchards crew. According to a recent Seven Days article heralding this merger of apple mega minds, Zeke is described as a “champion of old and odd varieties of heirloom apples. His fruit has brightened up apple bins in co-ops around the state, and his influence has changed Vermonters’ perception of what an apple can be: golden and purple, as well as red and green; russeted or gnarled skin, as well as smooth.” He arrived at Champlain Orchards with scion wood from about two dozen varieties, which he plans to graft onto rootstock to see how they do in this new environment. Goodband and Suhr describe themselves as old friends and kindred spirits. They both admit to working too much and get excited when the conversation turns to apple genetics. They share the same values of fruit growing: making sure it’s safe for the environment and for their families. 

Owner Bill Suhr and Orchardist Zeke Goodband

Other newsworthy headlines from the orchard this year included the very unfortunate COVID outbreak among their orchard crew in early October. The orchard closed for a short time in an effort to contain the outbreak and care for their staff members. Thankfully, all staff members affected have since made a full recovery. Suhr and his wife Andrea Scott worked closely with the Vermont Department of Health to ensure they were doing everything possible to keep their team, customers, and community safe during the crisis. Health Commissioner Mark Levine praised Suhr and Scott for their response and management of the incident. The orchard has since fully re-opened for business and they wish to express their deep gratitude for the outpouring of love and support from the local community. For more information and a list of FAQ’s related to the outbreak, click here. 

Peanut Butter & Apple Sandwiches

Back to school time is here and whether you’re scrambling to get back into the schoolyear lunchbox-packing routine or you’re looking for easy lunches to prepare for kids schooling at home, let us make things just a little easier by suggesting this easy twist on a classic lunchbox staple. You’ll find most of the ingredients in our weekly sale display from August 13th – 19th.

Spotlight on Scott Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Scott Farm this week to shed a little light on the work they’re doing to preserve heirloom and unusual apples on their 571-acre land trust in Southern Vermont. All of their fruits are 20% off for member-owners from October 24th – 30th! Read on to learn more about this unique organic orchard and its rich history:

 

Scott Farm Orchard is a 571-acre gem located in the rolling hills of Dummerston, VT. The orchard is home to over 130 varieties of ecologically grown heirloom apples and other fine fruits. The farm itself is something of an heirloom, settled in 1791 by Rufus Scott. The orchards were planted in 1915, and in 1995 Scott Farm was gifted to the historic preservation organization Landmark Trust USA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to rescue important but neglected historic properties and bring them back to life. At Scott Farm this has meant revitalizing the entire farm operation from orchard to farmhouses to barns.

Scott Farm Orchard. Photo by Kellyfletcherphotography.com
Historic buildings at Scott Farm. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

The renowned apple maestro, Ezekiel “Zeke” Goodband, took over the management of the orchard in 2001. His search for old varieties has taken him to abandoned orchards throughout New England and as far as Kazakhstan, the birthplace of apples. A long time ago, Zeke learned that the less he sprayed the orchard, the less he had to spray. Zeke’s formal educational training was in the field of ecology and he realized early in his orcharding career that if he respected the orchard as an ecosystem there were fewer “pest” problems.

Zeke Goodband. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

Their goal at Scott Farm has been to enhance the biodiversity of the orchard ecosystem – the more complex the ecosystem, the more stable it becomes, minimizing the potential for significant pest explosions. They have moved beyond organic into what they refer to as ecologically grown fruit. Scott Farm produces 130 varieties of ecologically grown apples – with beautifully poetic names such as Roxbury Russet, Belle de Boskoop, and Cox’s Orange Pippin, along with unusual apples like Winter Banana and Hidden Rose. Other fine fruits grown at the orchard include gooseberries, medlars, quince, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, pears, plums, and peaches. The apples and quince can be found at the Co-op, and the remaining fruits are sold directly through the orchard’s Farm Market which is open every day at 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston, Vermont from Labor Day to the day before Thanksgiving. Over 75% of the Scott Farm crop stays in Vermont!

photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

 

Visit their web page to learn more, and don’t miss these fantastic recipes!

Apple Harvest. Photo by kellyfletcherphotography.com

Spotlight on Champlain Orchards

The crisp chill in the morning air and the first few dappled leaves high in the mountains signal that autumn is nearly here, as does the abundance of local apples. We’re nearing the half-way point of our Eat Local Challenge and we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont – Champlain Orchards in Shoreham! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their stunning array of fresh apples and apple products including sweet apple cider, apple pies, and apple cider donuts, along with their plums and red pears from September 12th – 18th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar-powered, ecologically-managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.

newlogo

 

The story of Champlain Orchards as we know it today began in 1998, when twenty-seven-year-old Bill Suhr purchased 60 acres of orchard in Shoreham, Vermont.  Bill’s motivation and initiative to live off the land overshadowed the fact that apple growing and fruit farming were not in his realm of knowledge, but thanks to the seasoned expertise of long-established neighboring orchardists Sandy Witherell, Scott and Bob Douglas, and Judy Pomainville – who all shared equipment, land, and information, it wasn’t long before the orchard was thriving.  In the early days, Bill delivered 20 bushels at a time in a station wagon to the local farmers’ markets and co-ops. He quickly gained the trust of produce markets around the state through exhibiting a steadfast motivation and passion for delivering high quality, Vermont grown fruit.

 

photo credit: S.P. Reid

Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 100 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, and berries. Their fruit is ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM Institute. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is 100% electrically solar-powered, with Solar Orchard #3 in the planning stages.

 

Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Every single apple in their Vermont Hard Cider is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp and deliciously drinkable. Their cidery offers original Vermont hard cider, Mac & Maple, Heirloom, Honeycrisp, Cranberry, Pruner’s pride, Ginger & Spice, Asian Pear, Honey plum, Pruner’s Promise, Sparkling Ice, Peach, Hopped Native, and Ice cider. Be sure to visit their tasting room!

Misson

Champlain Orchards’ mission is to grow a wide variety of delicious ecologically grown tree fruit while respecting the land, supporting our communities and surpassing customers’ expectations.

Values

Champlain Orchards welcomes the opportunity and challenge to grow unique apple, pear and stone fruit while providing an environment for people to grow personally and professionally.  We strive to be leaders in our industry and community with innovative practices and products.

Vision

Champlain Orchards’ vision is to build a legacy as the premier ecologically managed orchard in the Northeast United States by being led by multigenerational management and staff through careful long term planning.  Our sights are set on being the model for providing wholesome fruit, ciders, and other products, using sustainable growing practices and renewable energy.

Growing Practices

So what does ecologically-managed mean? Great question!

Eco Apple Certification is third-party verified by the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which supports and monitors low-input pest management. The IPM approach includes thorough training and inspection of certified farms, who use the most eco-sensitive, minimally-treated, natural methods possible to grow our fruit. For example, instead of extensive spraying, we use wood chips from pruned branches as mulch around the trunks of our trees in order to increase plant health, which in turn helps the trees ward off illness. Damaging pests are managed through the introduction of natural predators, mating disruption, and trapping, rather than pesticides – this ultimately keeps our trees, staff, and you safe. To learn more, please visit the IPM’s website, or give us a shoutout!

 

Peanut Butter & Apple Sandwiches

Is it back to school time already?! If you’re scrambling to get back into the schoolyear lunchbox-packing routine, let us make things just a little easier by suggesting this easy twist on a classic lunchbox staple. You’ll find most of the ingredients in our weekly sale display from August 15th – 21st!

Spotlight on Scott Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Scott Farm this week to shed a little light on the work they’re doing to preserve heirloom and unusual apples on their 571-acre land trust in Southern Vermont. All of their fruits are 20% off for member-owners from October 25th – 31st! Read on to learn more about this unique organic orchard and its rich history:

scott-farm-logo-cropped

 

Scott Farm Orchard is a 571-acre gem located in the rolling hills of Dummerston, VT. The orchard is home to over 120 varieties of heirloom and unusual apples. The farm itself is something of an heirloom, settled in 1791 by Rufus Scott. The orchards were planted in 1915, and in 1995 Scott Farm was gifted to the non-profit historic preservation organization Landmark Trust USA.

circa-1920s-30s

The renowned apple maestro, Ezekiel “Zeke” Goodband, took over the management of the orchard in 2001. His search for old varieties has taken him to abandoned orchards throughout New England and as far as Kazakhstan, the birthplace of apples. A long time ago, Zeke learned that the less he sprayed the orchard, the less he had to spray. Zeke’s formal educational training was in the field of ecology and he realized early in his orcharding career that if he respected the orchard as an ecosystem there were fewer “pest” problems.

Scott Farm orchard before harvest

Their goal at Scott Farm has been to enhance the biodiversity of the orchard ecosystem – the more complex the ecosystem, the more stable it becomes, minimizing the potential for significant pest explosions. They have moved beyond organic into what they refer to as ecologically grown fruit. Scott Farm produces 120 varieties of ecologically grown apples – with beautifully poetic names such as Roxbury Russet, Belle de Boskoop, and Cox’s Orange Pippin, along with unusual apples like Winter Banana and Hidden Rose. Other fine fruits grown at the orchard include gooseberries, medlars, quince, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, pears, plums, and peaches. The apples and quince can be found at the Co-op, and the remaining fruits are sold directly through the orchard’s Farm Market which is open every day at 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston, Vermont from Labor Day to the day before Thanksgiving. Over 75% of the Scott Farm crop stays in Vermont!

Visit their web page to learn more, and don’t miss these fantastic recipes!

barns

Spotlight on Champlain Orchards

Happy Autumn! The crisp chill in the morning air and the first few dappled leaves high in the mountains signal that the season is here, along with the abundance of local apples. We’re deep into our celebration of Eat Local Month and we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont – Champlain Orchards in Shoreham! They’re featured in our Member Deals program this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their stunning array of fresh apples and apple products including sweet apple cider, apple pies, and apple cider donuts, along with their plums and red pears from September 20th – 26th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar powered, ecologically managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.

newlogo

 

The story of Champlain Orchards as we know it today began in 1998, when twenty-seven-year-old Bill Suhr purchased 60 acres of orchard in Shoreham, Vermont.  Bill’s motivation and initiative to live off the land overshadowed the fact that apple growing and fruit farming were not in his realm of knowledge, but thanks to the seasoned expertise of long-established neighboring orchardists Sandy Witherell, Scott and Bob Douglas, and Judy Pomainville – who all shared equipment, land, and information, it wasn’t long before the orchard was thriving.  In the early days, Bill delivered 20 bushels at a time in a station wagon to the local farmers’ markets and co-ops. He quickly gained the trust of produce markets around the state through exhibiting a steadfast motivation and passion for delivering high quality, Vermont grown fruit.

 

photo credit: S.P. Reid

Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that includes over 100 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, and berries. Their fruit is ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM Institute. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is 100% electrically solar powered, with Solar Orchard #3 in the planning stages.

 

Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Every single apple in their Vermont Hard Cider is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp and deliciously drinkable. Their cidery offers original Vermont hard cider, Mac & Maple, Heirloom, Honeycrisp, Cranberry, Pruner’s pride, Ginger & Spice, Asian Pear, Honey plum, Pruner’s Promise, Sparkling Ice, Peach, Hopped Native, and Ice cider. Be sure to visit their tasting room!

Misson

Champlain Orchards’ mission is to grow a wide variety of delicious ecologically grown tree fruit while respecting the land, supporting our communities and surpassing customers’ expectations.

Values

Champlain Orchards welcomes the opportunity and challenge to grow unique apple, pear and stone fruit while providing an environment for people to grow personally and professionally.  We strive to be leaders in our industry and community with innovative practices and products.

Vision

Champlain Orchards’ vision is to build a legacy as the premier ecologically managed orchard in the Northeast United States by being led by multigenerational management and staff through careful long term planning.  Our sights are set on being the model for providing wholesome fruit, ciders and other products, using sustainable growing practices and renewable energy.

Growing Practices

So what does ecologically-managed mean? Great question!

Eco Apple Certification is third-party verified by the Integrated Pest Management Institute of North America, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which supports and monitors low-input pest management. The IPM approach includes thorough training and inspection of certified farms, who use the most eco-sensitive, minimally-treated, natural methods possible to grow our fruit. For example, instead of extensive spraying, we use wood chips from pruned branches as mulch around the trunks of our trees in order to increase plant health, which in turn helps the trees ward off illness. Damaging pests are managed through the introduction of natural predators, mating disruption, and trapping, rather than pesticides – this ultimately keeps our trees, staff, and you safe. To learn more, please visit the IPM’s website, or give us a shoutout!

 

Spotlight on Scott Farm

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Scott Farm this week to shed a little light on the work they’re doing to preserve heirloom and unusual apples on their 571-acre land trust in Southern Vermont. All of their fruits are 20% off for member-owners from October 26th – November 1st! Read on to learn more about this unique organic orchard and its rich history:

scott-farm-logo-cropped

 

Scott Farm Orchard is a 571-acre gem located in the rolling hills of Dummerston, VT. The orchard is home to over 120 varieties of heirloom and unusual apples. The farm itself is something of an heirloom, settled in 1791 by Rufus Scott. The orchards were planted in 1915, and in 1995 Scott Farm was gifted to the non-profit historic preservation organization Landmark Trust USA.

circa-1920s-30s

The renowned apple maestro, Ezekiel “Zeke” Goodband, took over the management of the orchard in 2001. His search for old varieties has taken him to abandoned orchards throughout New England and as far as Kazakhstan, the birthplace of apples. A long time ago, Zeke learned that the less he sprayed the orchard, the less he had to spray. Zeke’s formal educational training was in the field of ecology and he realized early in his orcharding career that if he respected the orchard as an ecosystem there were fewer “pest” problems.

Scott Farm orchard before harvest

Their goal at Scott Farm has been to enhance the biodiversity of the orchard ecosystem – the more complex the ecosystem, the more stable it becomes, minimizing the potential for significant pest explosions. They have moved beyond organic into what they refer to as ecologically grown fruit. Scott Farm produces 120 varieties of ecologically grown apples – with beautifully poetic names such as Roxbury Russet, Belle de Boskoop, and Cox’s Orange Pippin, along with unusual apples like Winter Banana and Hidden Rose. Other fine fruits include quince, gooseberries, medlars, Asian pears, plums, elderberries, table grapes, pears, blueberries, nectarines. The apples and quince can be found at the Co-op, and the remaining fruits are sold directly through the orchard’s Farm Market which is open every day at 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston, Vermont from Labor Day to the day before Thanksgiving. Over 75% of the Scott Farm crop stays in Vermont!

Visit their web page to learn more, and don’t miss these fantastic recipes!

barns