co-op spotlight

Featured Co-op Connection Business: Danforth Pewter

Danforth logo with lion

With graduation, Mother’s Day, and wedding season on the horizon, it’s likely that you’re in search of some special, locally made, handcrafted gifts. Look no further than Middlebury’s own Danforth Pewter! They’re our featured Co-op Connection Business and we’re reminding you that Danforth offers 10% off to card-carrying Co-op member-owners! Visit their workshop and store at 52 Seymour Street where you might catch a glimpse of their pewter crafters in action, thanks to the workshop viewing windows. They also have a beautiful retail store on Main Street in the heart of downtown Middlebury, or you can visit them online.

Danforth-Middlebury-Storefront-cropped-for-Web

The Danforth family has a rich history of working with pewter, dating all the way back to 1755 when Thomas Danforth II opened a pewter workshop in colonial Connecticut. Several generations of the Danforth family followed him into the pewter trade. The last of the colonial-era Danforths stopped working in pewter in 1873. There is colonial Danforth pewter in the Smithsonian, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum Collection at Colonial Williamsburg, and many other American museums.

One hundred years later, Thomas Danforth II’s great-great-great-great-great grandson Fred Danforth, and Fred’s wife Judi Danforth, revived the family tradition when they opened Danforth Pewter in Vermont in 1975. Over the next 33 years, the company grew to include four retail stores, a web store, a wholesale business providing products to several hundred independent gift stores around the country, a custom design business, and a corporate gift and recognition business.

Today, every piece of Danforth, Shirley and Pewter Port pewter is crafted by hand from 100% lead-free fine pewter in our Middlebury, Vermont workshop. Our line includes everything from miniature pocket charms to one-of-a-kind oil lamps signed by the artist, and our more popular categories are jewelry, holiday ornaments and key rings.

Here’s what Fred & Judi have to say about their pewter:

Judi&Fred Ferns

We are passionate about our craft and proud of our family’s longtime involvement in the rich history of pewter making in America. We strive to keep artisan pewter alive and well in the 21st century by offering a wide range of items, with both original contemporary designs and classic pieces.

Our pewter is 100% lead-free and meets or exceeds all FDA food-safety standards. Our designs and products are all hand crafted right here in Middlebury, Vermont.

We strive to make your entire experience special. From learning about pewter to receiving your final purchase, we want your every interaction with our company to be a reflection of our passion for beautiful pewter gifts. Our goal is your complete satisfaction, and to ensure that your ordering experience is timely, convenient, and enjoyable.

 

Click here for a full listing of Co-op Connection businesses and discounts.

Helen bench filing
mirros in vibe
Spinning
Finishing
Danforth Pewter 004
Danforth_botanica
Mariner
Danforth Pewter 007
Danforth Pewter 006

Spotlight on Neighborly Farms

As our celebration of Dairy Month churns on, we’re shining our Co-op Spotlight on a fantastic local, organic dairy farm hailing from Randolph Center, VT: Neighborly Farms! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their award-winning organic cheeses this week! Read on to learn more about this 168-acre organic dairy farm that calls VT home:

Neighborly-Farms. Round Logo

Established as an operating dairy farm in the 1920’s, Rob and Linda Dimmick are continuing the tradition of family farming. Nestled in the rolling hills of Randolph Center, Vermont, Neighborly Farms decorates the countryside with its red barn and white post and beam farmhouse built in the 1800s. We operate on 168 acres with cropland and grazing fields to support the dairy and a sugarhouse for producing pure Vermont maple syrup. The clean and tidy barn is home to 70 Holsteins—the black and white cows that symbolize rural living at its very best.

Rob and Linda are continuing the family farming tradition because they have a passion for the land and animals. We are a totally organic farm. This means the farm is run in complete harmony with the land and the animals; no antibiotics, no hormones, and no commercial fertilizers. Just pure and natural techniques that keep the cows healthy, happy, and the dairy products wholesome and chemical free. It means that the cheese produced at Neighborly Farms are pure and natural. And the best part? The organic cheeses taste great too.

Neighborly Farms of Vermont is not just another dairy farm. At our family farm we have a love for the land and animals. That’s why we’re an organic farm. It says we care about our surroundings and neighbors. Neighborly Farms produces eleven kinds of delicious organic cheeses; all made with wholesome milk from our well-cared for Holstein cows. At our family farm we make cheese the old-fashioned way, by caring for the land and surroundings it helps us produce the finest cheeses possible.

At the Co-op, you’ll find a rotating variety of our cheeses including our Jalapeno Jack, Monterey Jack, Colby, Feta, Green Onion Cheddar, and our staple Raw Milk Cheddar, many of which have been honored with awards from the prestigious American Cheese Society. We hope you enjoy them and thank you for supporting your local, organic dairy farms!

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Spotlight on Vermont Creamery

With National Dairy Month in mind, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Vermont Creamery and reminding member-owners that they can enjoy 20% off their decadent dairy products this week. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a state with the highest number of artisanal cheese makers 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 incredible creamery with such humble roots. Read on to learn more about how the creamery began, their model for for being a sustainable mission-driven business, and what keeps them inspired to produce their world-renowned products:

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Our Story:

Vermont Creamery was started by two young visionaries devoted to new and non-traditional agriculture, Allison Hooper and Bob Reese. As a college student, Allison spent a summer traveling in France. She worked on a small family farm in Brittany, earning room and board while learning how to make all of the essentials of what was to become her life passion: cheesemaking. Bob always thought he would one day take over his grandparents’ dairy farm. Unfortunately by the time he finished his degree in Agriculture, they’d sold the farm. Appropriately enough, the improbable run as long term business partners began in 1984 during a dinner celebrating Vermont agricultural products. Bob was in charge of the dinner and desperately needed a locally made goat cheese for the French chef’s signature lamb dish. He reached out to Allison, who was then working at a dairy lab and milking goats in Brookfield. Allison made the chèvre on the farm, Bob delivered it to the chef– the dinner was a success and Vermont Creamery was born.
As they say, “time flies when you’re having fun”. And what a fun wild ride we’ve had. A quarter century ago, $2,000 of savings, and a $4,000 loan from an ag-minded Vermont church made possible our first nervous debut of fresh chèvre in the milk house on the farm in Brookfield. We sold first at farmers’ markets, then to food co-ops and French chefs. Back then, fresh chèvre, so popular today, was a dazzling exotic foreign delicacy for American palates. Today, almost 30 years later, 20 Vermont goat farms ship their milk to Vermont Creamery. We are humbled and proud to have won more than 100 national and international awards. Our butters and cheeses populate some of the most prestigious cheese boards in America. But what makes us proudest perhaps is that we have sustained a team of family farms and creamery artisans. Together we thrive making simply great cheese for discerning, appreciative eaters, home cooks and discriminating chefs alike.

Our Mission:

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

Our mission is founded on five principles:

  • The farms: Improve our rural communities by supporting family farms which have best management practices that are sustainable and environmentally sound.
  • A culture of continuous improvement: Invigorate and challenge our creamery community to maintain the highest product quality, excel at customer service and care for our consumers by inviting them to be part of our family.
  • The value of cheese: Promotes a life of good health and meaningful connection through the preparation and sharing of good food with others.
  • A responsible manufacturer: Add value to milk while minimizing our impact on clean and plentiful water, clean air, and land.
  • The Team: Accountability and responsibility allows every team member to create a profitable, meaningful and fun workplace where he/she is challenged empowered and motivated by his/her contribution.
  • A workplace that thinks globally and acts locally: Fostering mutual respect and tolerance in pursuit of a better life for everyone resonates within the creamery, into the community, and beyond

Our Culture:

In 2014, Vermont Creamery became B Corp certified. B Corps are a new type of company that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. This designation reflects the values upon which our company was founded and our operating philosophies today. We became B Corp because capitalism affects change when it is mindful of doing what is right at the expense of profits. The B Corp Impact Assessment reflects not only what we currently do, but applies rigor to and accountability for our mission.

Our Recipe for Making a Difference-

  • 100% of our company utilizes open book management
  • 100% of Creamery employees participate in profit sharing
  • 100% of our milk comes from small-scale suppliers/farms
  • Our conservation partnership with the Ayers Brook Goat Dairy trains future Vermont farmers
  • 1% of profits are given to support non-profit and community work
  • Cut water consumption by 1/3 even as our business grew
  • 50% of the management team are women
  • 5 days paid maternity and paternity leave per year
  • Carpooling and bike-to-work incentive programs
  • More than 70% of heath insurance premium cost covered by the company

Meet the Goats:

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Vermont Creamery BeetSalad

Co-op 40th Anniversary Mugs are Here – Clean and Green!

Oooh….just look at those beauties!  The Co-op is celebrating our 40th Anniversary with limited edition mugs from Sunset Hill Pottery in Neenah, Wisconsin.  Sunset Hill received recognition as “America’s Cleanest, Greenest Pottery” last year.  Follow this link to find out just what changes they’ve made at their facility to make their pottery better for their workers and for the environment.

Our new mugs are available, for a limited time, in four gorgeous glazes and styles:

  • Fresh Awakening – for those of us who need a few extra ounces in the morning
  • Traveler – for the busy bee who needs their cup to stay hot until they can get to it
  • Whole Lotta Latté – for the “sit and sip” crowd (great for soup and chili, too)
  • Pot Belly – for anyone – just because it’s so cute!

Stop by and pick up yours (or one of each) while they’re still here.  They make great gifts, too!

40th-Anniversary-Museum-Banner

Spotlight on Niman Ranch

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Niman Ranch this week to highlight their commitment to offering all-natural meats raised by small family farmers committed to sustainable and humane practices. We all know that words like “natural” and “sustainable” can be applied to foods without any real, tangible, meaningful standards to back them up. In fact, the USDA legally allows the use of the word “natural” on meat and poultry despite the fact that the term isn’t currently well-defined or meaningful,  rendering it a deceptive marketing ploy rather than a clear indication of how a meat or poultry product was raised or processed. That’s why we love Niman Ranch. When they throw around words like “natural’, “sustainable”, and “humane”, it actually means something. Here’s how they back it up:

Niman Ranch Logo

At Niman Ranch our all-natural meats are:

  • Raised on more than 700 small sustainable family farms and ranches
  • Raised according to the most humane animal handling protocols in the industry
  • Raised by farmers who adhere to sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Never given antibiotics or hormones – ever.
  • Never fed animal by-products – ever.

What do we mean when we say our animals are raised humanely?

All Niman Ranch livestock are humanely raised according to the strictest animal handling protocols. These protocols were written based on the recommendations of animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin. Our independent family farmers are required to raise their livestock outdoors or in deeply bedded pens. Their animals have continual access to food and water and spend their entire lives with their litter mates. This allows the animals to express their natural instinctive behaviors and form healthy social groups. Gestation crates and farrowing crates are strictly prohibited.

What does sustainability mean to us?

Sustainability is at the core of our Raised With Care philosophy. We believe that sustainable agriculture is best described as livestock raising and production practices which balance current resource demands without compromising the future of the resources from an environmental, economic, and human perspective. We realize that a sustainable system is not successful unless we also maintain the economic health of all our farmers and ranchers, so our sustainability practices incorporate this understanding into what we call our Top 10 Sustainability Best Practices:

  • Pay farmers a premium in accordance to our strict raising protocols
  • Establish a floor price for our farmers tied to the cost of inputs of feed and fuel
  • Promote agricultural biodiversity by using a wide range of breeds uniquely suited to the specific natural environments in which they are raised
  • Practice genetic diversity to keep breeds healthy over generations
  • Maintain livestock density well below conventional industry standards to prevent overburdening the land
  • Raise livestock in geographies where feed is locally available to reduce the carbon footprint associated with feed transport
  • Mitigate soil erosion and/or loss through:  maintaining pasture with coverage for livestock, crop rotation, rotational grazing and responsible waste/manure management.
  • Prohibit the use of concentrated liquid manure systems. Manure is managed as a beneficial resource and is never allowed to negatively impact the local environment.
  • Use buffer strips and grassed waterways
  • Provide a robust and growing marketplace for our farmers and ranchers livestock

Do animals need antibiotics?

Since our animals are not raised in crowded, unsanitary or stressful conditions, the need for antibiotics to treat sick animals is very low. Our animals never receive antibiotics – ever.

What if an animal gets sick?

Occasionally, one of the animals raised for us becomes sick and cannot get well without antibiotics. Our animal welfare protocols allow for the animal to be treated, but then removed from the Niman Ranch program. It is never sold as Niman Ranch meat.

How can I be sure that all Niman Ranch farmers and ranchers adhere to the protocols?

We follow a 3-step process to ensure full compliance with our strict protocols:

  1.  All our farmers and ranchers regularly complete affidavits agreeing to follow all of our protocols.
  2. We personally inspect each farm before it is accepted into our program, to make sure it meets our standards.
  3. Our field agents, located throughout the country, regularly visit and inspect the farms and ranches in our network. We have more field agents than we have sales people.

The farmers and ranchers within our community are true believers in sustainable agriculture and share in our values and vision. They are practicing traditional farming methods because they understand that by raising livestock humanely and sustainably, they will leave an agricultural legacy, ultimately preserving the land for future generations.

Who are the farmers and ranchers of the Niman Ranch community?

Check out this great video below to hear from a sampling of the wonderful farmers and ranchers that are committed to raising animals the Niman Ranch way. You can also see more videos, photos, and read full bios on our webpage.

Willis Farm
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Spotlight on Seventh Generation

 

As we countdown to the celebration of Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary,  we’re highlighting businesses that prioritize environmental stewardship in both their products and processes. This week’s spotlight is on Seventh Generation of Burlington, Vermont! From April 7th – 13th member-owners can enjoy 20% off our full line of Seventh Generation products, so it’s a great time to stock up and save, while also greening your spring cleaning routine! Read on to learn more about Seventh Generation and their commitment to environmental well-being in their own words:

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From our very first days as a company back in 1988, we have been driven to consider the effects of our actions on the well-being of our next seven generations. Our aspirations are to nurture nature; transform commerce with honesty, responsibility, and radical transparency; enhance health through education, activism, and innovation; and to build communities advancing social justice and equality to unleash human potential.

To travel with purpose, we need a vision of where we are headed. Our Path to 2020 began with examining our impacts as a business and considering the principles that matter to us as a company:  responsible sourcing; using materials from plants not petroleum; ensuring the health of our planet and the people on it; having an engaged, motivated workforce; and caring for our community. To track our progress toward these goals, we publish an annual Corporate Consciousness Report, which we invite you to check out.  We’re excited to reach our goals and to have you along with us on the journey.

In 2013 the American Sustainable Business Council partnered with us to co-found the Companies for Safer Chemicals Coalition. The Coalition represents over 200 leading businesses united in the belief that meaningful reform can unleash economic and job growth while protecting the consumers we serve and and the communities they live in. The Coalition is calling for reform to improve transparency, safety, and innovation, fostering solutions that lead to sustainable, safer products and technologies.

We firmly believe that you have the right to know what is in the products you buy, which is why we’ve launched the #comeclean campaign. Through this campaign, we aim to air the cleaning industry’s dirty laundry. We support legislation to require manufacturers of both consumer household and industrial cleaning products to disclose all intentionally-added ingredients, including fragrance components, on their product labels and on their websites.  Food and personal care products are currently required to have content labels, but there are no regulations in place for the ingredient labeling of household cleaning products – especially for the fragrances that scent those products. Chemicals of concern can hide behind the term “fragrance” in ingredient lists on your cleaning products – chemicals that have been linked to serious health effects including allergies, asthma, cancer, and reproductive harm.

We are also members of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) and we are a certified B-Corp. To learn more about us and our products, please visit our website.

 

Co-op Business of the Month: Danforth Pewter

Danforth logo with lion

With graduation, Mothers’ Day, and wedding season on the horizon, perhaps you’re in search of some special, locally made, hand crafted gifts. Look no further than Middlebury’s own Danforth Pewter! They’re our Co-op Connection Business of the Month for April and  member-owners can enjoy 10% off when shopping at Danforth Pewter. Visit their workshop and store at 52 Seymour Street where you might catch a glimpse of their pewter crafters in action, thanks to the workshop viewing windows. They also have a beautiful retail store on Main Street in the heart of downtown Middlebury, or you can visit them online.

Danforth-Middlebury-Storefront-cropped-for-Web

The Danforth family has a rich history of working with pewter, dating all the way back to 1755 when Thomas Danforth II opened a pewter workshop in colonial Connecticut. Several generations of the Danforth family followed him into the pewter trade. The last of the colonial-era Danforths stopped working in pewter in 1873. There is colonial Danforth pewter in the Smithsonian, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum Collection at Colonial Williamsburg, and many other American museums.

One hundred years later, Thomas Danforth II’s great-great-great-great-great grandson Fred Danforth, and Fred’s wife Judi Danforth, revived the family tradition when they opened Danforth Pewter in Vermont in 1975. Over the next 33 years, the company grew to include four retail stores, a web store, a wholesale business providing products to several hundred independent gift stores around the country, a custom design business, and a corporate gift and recognition business.

Today, every piece of Danforth, Shirley and Pewter Port pewter is crafted by hand from 100% lead-free fine pewter in our Middlebury, Vermont workshop. Our line includes everything from miniature pocket charms to one-of-a-kind oil lamps signed by the artist, and our more popular categories are jewelry, holiday ornaments and key rings.

Here’s what Fred & Judi have to say about their pewter:

Judi&Fred Ferns

We are passionate about our craft and proud of our family’s longtime involvement in the rich history of pewter making in America. We strive to keep artisan pewter alive and well in the 21st century by offering a wide range of items, with both original contemporary designs and classic pieces.

Our pewter is 100% lead-free and meets or exceeds all FDA food-safety standards. Our designs and products are all hand crafted right here in Middlebury, Vermont.

We strive to make your entire experience special. From learning about pewter to receiving your final purchase, we want your every interaction with our company to be a reflection of our passion for beautiful pewter gifts. Our goal is your complete satisfaction, and to ensure that your ordering experience is timely, convenient, and enjoyable.

 

Click here for a full listing of Co-op Connection businesses and discounts.

Helen bench filing
mirros in vibe
Spinning
Finishing
Danforth Pewter 004
Danforth_botanica
Mariner
Danforth Pewter 007
Danforth Pewter 006

Co-op Spotlight on Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood

Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood, based in Seattle, Washington is our Member Deals Producer of the Week from March 31st – April 6th. During this time, member-owners can enjoy 20% their full line of sustainable seafood products!

Henry & Lisa Lovejoy launched their company in 1999 with the belief that there are many concerned people just like them who care about where their food comes from, care for the environment, and desire a source of all natural premium quality seafood from environmentally sustainable fisheries. Having spent 10 years in the seafood industry traveling around the globe and visiting seafood exchanges from Tokyo to Paris, Beijing to Madrid, they witnessed the astounding volume of seafood being sold each day on these exchanges, and noticed the size of many of the fish decreasing. Simultaneously, there was more and more news that numerous species were being fished to the point of commercial extinction. It became very evident that the world is harvesting our oceans faster than they can replenish themselves, and these resources need better management.
Henry & Lisa both have a deep respect for and great appreciation of the oceans. As a youngster, Henry was inspired by Jacques Cousteau, spent time volunteering at the New England Aquarium, and learned to scuba dive. Now as avid scuba divers and sea kayakers, whenever they have a chance, they are out exploring the ocean and feeling their love and respect for it grow.
Much has changed since Henry first sat down to write the EcoFish business plan. Today you can find EcoFish/Henry & Lisa’s in over 3,500 grocery/natural food stores and many restaurants nationwide. But, a lot has stayed the same. They continue to source the finest seafood available from both well managed wild fisheries and state of the art eco-friendly aquaculture operations.
From how they purchase their seafood, to their 100% recycled packaging, to the renewable energy that powers their office, to the many marine & conservation causes they support, each purchase of Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood helps them further their mission.

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