Dairy

Spotlight on Stonyfield

We’re shining our Co-op Spotlight on Stonyfield this week to highlight their commitment to organic dairy, the family farmers that make it possible, and the Earth that sustains us. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of organic dairy products from July 26th – August 1st! Read on to learn more about Stonyfield’s history and mission:

 

History:

While Stonyfield is best known for making yogurt, yogurt wasn’t the way the founders of Stonyfield thought they’d change the world. In 1983, Stonyfield co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg were simply trying to help family farms survive, protect the environment, and keep food and food production healthy through their nonprofit organic farming school.

Just to keep things running, the duo started putting their farm’s seven cows to work making yogurt. They knew they were making a healthy food grown with care; what they didn’t expect was how much people would love it.

People went crazy for the yogurt from Samuel and Gary’s little farm school, and the two knew they had found a way to make a real difference. With this yogurt business, the two organic farming teachers could show the whole world that a company could make healthy, delicious food without relying on toxic chemicals that harm the environment and public health.

So, the two went all-in on yogurt and, over 30 years later, the folks at Stonyfield continue to honor the example their founders set. They’re still located in New Hampshire, just 30 miles east of the old farm. And now, their organic ingredient purchases support a huge network of food producers made up of hundreds of organic family farms, thousands of organic cows, and over 200,000 organic acres!

They‘ve also pioneered planet-friendly business practices—from offsetting emissions at their production facility to making yogurt cups from plants instead of petroleum to making their own renewable energy, and much more.

The thought and passion that started Stonyfield Organic in the first place have only grown stronger, and they’ve never stopped working for healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet.

Commitment to Organic:

Stonyfield’s products are all 100% certified organic – made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs.  Eating organic isn’t just good for you and your family, it’s straight up good for other people and the planet. One of the main goals of organic farming practices is to avoid contamination of our precious soil, rivers, drinking water, and air with toxic persistent chemicals. Which also means organic farmers themselves and their neighbors aren’t exposed to potentially carcinogenic herbicides. Organic agriculture not only means less dependence on fossil fuels, it can actually help reduce climate change. It’s estimated that converting all of America’s cropland to organic would have the same carbon-reducing effect as taking 217 million cars off the road!

There is also compelling evidence to support the notion that organic dairy is more nutritious than its conventional counterpart. Why? Because it comes from cows that are actively grazing on grass, as nature intended. Organically raised cows spend their days outside on pasture so the milk they produce is significantly higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), heart-healthy fats that can help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. There is a lot to be learned and said about organic farming, and Stonyfield hopes you will join them in the journey towards better food systems. Click here to learn more.

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 From June 7th – 13th. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a state with the highest number of artisanal cheesemakers per capita, and Vermont Creamery ranks high among them. Their cheeses, creme fraiche, mascarpone, and cultured butter have garnered awards locally, nationally, and globally, creating quite a reputation for this incredible creamery with such humble roots. Read on to learn more about how the creamery began, their model for being a sustainable mission-driven business, and what keeps them inspired to produce their world-renowned products:

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 butter 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.

Co-Founders Allison Hooper and Bob Reese

 

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

Click HERE to read Vermont Creamery’s 2017 Mission Report

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:

 

Spotlight on Kimball Brook Farm

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Kimball Brook Farm! Their full line of products are 20% off for member-owners from March 8th – 14th. Read on to learn more about one of Vermont’s finest family-owned organic dairy farms:

History

Kimball Brook Farm was first settled by Daniel Kimball in the late 1700s. Daniel and his sons continued running the farm until it was purchased by Edward Danyow in 1960.

The DeVos family purchased the farm in 1967 and on June 1, 1968, John De Vos Sr. and his son John De Vos Jr. moved their complete herd (50 cows), machinery and households from Monroe, New York to the Kimball Brook farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

John De Vos Jr. and his wife Sue operated the farm for over 30 years raising three sons and one daughter on the farm. The eldest son, John De Vos III (JD) and his wife Cheryl took over the business in 2001, expanding the herd from 80 cows to 200 and added a milking parlor.

In 2003, JD and Cheryl began transitioning the 220 cow farm to an organic operation and  Kimball Brook Farm became one of the largest certified organic dairy operations in the State of Vermont. The first shipment of organic milk was in September 2005. In 2010, they began the process of pursuing another dream of opening their own creamery in the former Saputo Cheese plant in Hinesburg. This would allow them to assemble, bottle, and package all of their own products. In June of 2011, they were awarded the VT Dairy Farm of the Year award and by May of 2012, they were celebrating the official opening of Green Mountain Organic Creamery.

At the Co-op, you can find a broad selection of Kimball Brook Farm’s organic products including Whole Milk, Cream, Chocolate Milk, Maple Milk, Mocha & Coffee Flavored Iced Cappuccino, Butter and Iced Teas. Also be sure to check out their newest addition to the lineup:  CBD Tea!

The Herd

The herd at Kimball Brook Farm consists of Holsteins, Jerseys and Jersey/Holstein crosses. During the growing season, their cows and heifers(teenagers) can be found happily grazing on the lush grasses their pastures provide. The cows that are being actively milked also get some mixed legumes and grains at the barn to provide them with the extra energy they need to produce rich, organic milk.

The Devos family believes that by maintaining the health of the land and the health of the cows, they can provide a fantastic organic milk free of Growth Hormones, GMO’s, Pesticides, Herbicides and Antibiotics for consumers to enjoy.

Check out this fun video showing how Kimball Brook Farm milk gets from the cow to your kitchen table:

 

Investing in Local Organic Dairy

You eat local and you drink local, but what about Investing local? Kimball Brook Farm has an offer for those looking to make a deeper commitment by investing in their organic dairy farm and creamery. This offer is for Vermont residents only. Click here to read more about it.

A polyculture of corn & sunflowers grown as food for the herd at KBF

Spotlight on Blue Ledge Farm

If you’re planning to put together a cheese or charcuterie board for your New Year’s Eve gathering, be sure to pick up some Blue Ledge Camembrie! We’re featuring this divine cheese in our weekly sale from December 28th – January 3rd. Made with fresh Ayrshire cow’s milk, this is a smooth mold-ripened Camembert/Brie hybrid. A buttery slice of bovine heaven! It pairs well with a light red or white wine and is a great match for any type of cured meats. Read on to learn more about the makers of this fine cheese and their sustainable dairy farm in Salisbury, VT:

 

 

Blue Ledge Farm is a first generation, family owned and run goat dairy and cheese-making operation established in 2000 by Hannah Sessions and Greg Bernhardt. Their mission is to create a high quality product built on the cornerstones of respect for consumers, land and animals as well as their local community.

They initially started milking four goats at Blue Ledge Farm, and began processing cheese two years later. Today they milk 125 goats twice daily and produce eleven types of cheese, from very fresh to semi-aged bloomy rind cheeses, to harder cheeses aged three months.

The 150 acres of Blue Ledge Farm consist of woods, hayland, pasture and wetland. Recognizing the ecological value of the wetland ecosystem, they recently preserved the fifty acres of wetland on their farm through the Vermont Land Trust. Their 125 goats spend spring, summer, and fall days browsing in the woods, return to the barn for 4 pm milking, and lounge around in a grass pasture as evening sets. It’s no wonder that they recently became certified as an Animal Welfare Approved Farm!

Sustainable farming practices are top priority at Blue Ledge Farm. They compost their bed-pack manure and apply it to their fields, thereby completing the nutrient cycle from grass to goat and back to grass. In 2008 they built an underground aging facility, or “cave” which is naturally cool and moist, conditions that the cheese likes, and being underground it takes less energy to keep the temperature and humidity at desirable levels. They have partnered with Efficiency Vermont on several projects over the years, from a variable-speed efficient milking machine, to more efficient cooling compressors, to newer fluorescent light bulbs, all in an effort to lower their impact on the environment. At the heart of their operation is the clean-burning EPA-Approved bio-mass furnace, which allows them to heat their home, cheese-house and barn, as well as all of the hot water used in the cheese plant, with locally-produced wood pellets! In 2015 they covered the south facing roof of their barn with solar panels which provide nearly half of the farm’s electricity usage all summer long!

In addition to the Camembrie on Co-op shelves, you’ll also find their lovely fresh Chevres in several flavors, Crottina, Lake’s Edge, Middlebury Blue, La Luna, Mixed Drum, and, when available, Riley’s Coat. Enjoy!

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 from June 22nd – 28th! 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. They 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. They 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 their family farm, there is a deep love for the land and animals. That’s why they choose to be an organic farm. It’s a way of showing that they care about their surroundings and neighbors. Neighborly Farms produces eleven kinds of delicious organic cheeses; all made with wholesome milk from their well-cared for Holstein cows. They make cheese the old-fashioned way and believe that caring for the land and surroundings helps them produce the finest cheeses possible.

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

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Spotlight on Kimball Brook Farm

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Kimball Brook Farm! Their full line of products are 20% off for member-owners from April 6th – 12th. Read on to learn more about one of Vermont’s finest family-owned organic dairy farms:

History

Kimball Brook Farm was first settled by Daniel Kimball in the late 1700s. Daniel and his sons continued running the farm until it was purchased by Edward Danyow in 1960.

The DeVos family purchased the farm in 1967 and on June 1, 1968, John De Vos Sr. and his son John De Vos Jr. moved their complete herd (50 cows), machinery and households from Monroe, New York to the Kimball Brook farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

John De Vos Jr. and his wife Sue operated the farm for over 30 years raising three sons and one daughter on the farm. The eldest son, John De Vos III (JD) and his wife Cheryl took over the business in 2001, expanding the herd from 80 cows to 200 and added a milking parlor.

In 2003, JD and Cheryl began transitioning the 220 cow farm to an organic operation and  Kimball Brook Farm became one of the largest certified organic dairy operations in the State of Vermont. The first shipment of organic milk was in September 2005. In 2010, they began the process of pursuing another dream of opening their own creamery in the former Saputo Cheese plant in Hinesburg. This would allow them to assemble, bottle, and package all of their own products. In June of 2011, they were awarded the VT Dairy Farm of the Year award and by May of 2012, they were celebrating the official opening of Green Mountain Organic Creamery.

At the Co-op, you can find a broad selection of Kimball Brook Farm’s organic products including Whole Milk, Cream, Chocolate Milk, Maple Milk, Mocha & Coffee Flavored Iced Cappuccino, Butter and Iced Teas.

The Herd

The herd at Kimball Brook Farm consists of Holsteins, Jerseys and Jersey/Holstein crosses. During the growing season, their cows and heifers(teenagers) can be found happily grazing on the lush grasses their pastures provide. The cows that are being actively milked also get some mixed legumes and grains at the barn to provide them with the extra energy they need to produce rich, organic milk.

The Devos family believes that by maintaining the health of the land and the health of the cows, they can provide a fantastic organic milk free of Growth Hormones, GMO’s, Pesticides, Herbicides and Antibiotics for consumers to enjoy.

Check out this fun video showing how Kimball Brook Farm milk gets from the cow to your kitchen table:

Events at the Farm

Throughout the summer months, be sure to check out the fabulous farm dinners and other events at Kimball Brook Farm! Stay tuned to their events page for dates and details.

Investing in Local Organic Dairy

You eat local and you drink local, but what about Investing local? Kimball Brook Farm has an offer for those looking to make a deeper commitment by investing in their organic dairy farm and creamery. This offer is for Vermont residents only. Click here to read more about it.

A polyculture of corn & sunflowers grown as food for the herd at KBF

Spotlight on Stonyfield

We’re shining our Co-op Spotlight on Stonyfield this week to highlight their commitment to organic dairy, the family farmers that make it possible, and the Earth that sustains us. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of organic dairy products this week! Read on to learn more about Stonyfield’s history and a few of their impressive initiatives to help support farmers and the environment.

History

While Stonyfield is best known for making yogurt, yogurt wasn’t the way the founders of Stonyfield thought they’d change the world. In 1983, Stonyfield co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg were simply trying to help family farms survive, protect the environment, and keep food and food production healthy through their nonprofit organic farming school.

Just to keep things running, the duo started putting their farm’s seven cows to work making yogurt. They knew they were making healthy food grown with care; what they didn’t expect was how much people would love it.

People went crazy for the yogurt from Samuel and Gary’s little farm school, and the two knew they had found a way to make a real difference. With this yogurt business, the two organic farming teachers could show the whole world that a company could make healthy, delicious food without relying on toxic chemicals that harm the environment and public health.

So, the two went all-in on yogurt and, over 30 years later, they remain steadfast in their mission. They’re still headquartered in New Hampshire, just 30 miles east of the old farm where it all began.

Organic Commitment

Stonyfield’s products are all 100% certified organic – made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs.  In one year alone, their organic ingredient purchases keep more than 185,000 pounds of toxic persistent pesticides from the air, water, and land! WOW!

 

Supporting Farmers & Caring for the Planet

Stonyfield believes in the importance of supporting family farms and taking care of the world around us. They consider the impact of everything they do–from the plant-based packaging to the quality of the ingredients, to how their products are made, and finally, how it gets to you.

When they learned that the organic farmers cooperative from which they source their bananas was having to endure significant hardships and loss to get the bananas to a processing facility, they knew they needed to step up. Transporting the bananas to the nearest 3rd-party processing plant required farmers to transport their crops on their backs, then by boat, and then by truck to get there. Even under the best conditions, the trip takes many hours and is often fraught with hazard. In the end, up to 40% of the fruit is either lost on the journey or left to rot on the trees. Given the challenges of processing at such a remote facility, there’s little incentive for farmers to fully harvest available fruit or invest in their farms. Upon learning this, Stonyfield invested in a processing plant that is completely owned and operated by the AAPTA growers cooperative, allowing them to cut waste, improve efficiencies and stabilize their income. How cool is that?! Click here to read more about it!

 

Stonyfield is also helping to jumpstart the next generation of organic farmers. They recognized that the population of organic dairy farmers is aging, and very few people are lining up to take their places as they retire. They decided to play a central role in sustaining and rebuilding organic dairy in America through a groundbreaking training program for organic dairy farmers. In the program, aspiring organic dairy farmers spend two years at Wolfe’s Neck Farm on the coast of Maine. Living on site, they receive intensive training in organic farm and pasture management, animal health and comfort, and business planning. At the end, they pitch their farm business plan to potential investors before setting out on their own. The first group of trainees started in June of 2015. Stonyfield will be following this first batch of farmers on their blog as they move through the program, so stay tuned!

 

Click HERE to read more about Stonyfield’s sustainability initiatives.

Click HERE for tasty recipes!

Spotlight on Cabot Creamery

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Cabot Creamery this week to shed a little light on this nearly 100-year-old cooperative creamery, established at a time when cows outnumbered people in Vermont. Cabot’s full line of dairy products are 20% for member-owners this week! Read on to learn all about their humble beginnings, the local farmers that are part of the this cooperative, and how the Cabot name became synonymous with dairy in Vermont:

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The Cabot Creamery, headquartered in Waitsfield, VT, is a cooperative made up of more than 1,200 dairy farm families located throughout New York and New England. We manage four plants in three states, employing over 1,000 people, who make “The World’s Best” cheese and dairy products.

The Cabot story reaches back to the beginning of the 20th century. In those days, the cost of farming was low and most farmers produced way more milk than they could market. So, in 1919, farmers from the Cabot area figured that if they joined forces, they could turn their excess milk into butter and market it throughout New England. Ninety-four farmers jumped on board, purchased the village creamery (built in 1983), and began producing butter.

Over the next two decades, as the nation’s population flocked to urban areas, Cabot’s farmer-owners thrived by shipping their milk and butter south. While the national economy shifted away from agriculture, the Vermont economy was still largely based on dairy farming. In fact, in 1930, cows outnumbered people! It was at this time that the company hired its first cheesemaker and cheddar cheese entered the product line for the first time. By 1960, Cabot’s membership reached 600 farm families at a time when the total number of operating farms around the nation was in sharp decline.

Steady growth continued and 1992 was a pivotal year in Cabot’s history as their farmer-owners merged with the 1,800 farm families of Agri-mark, a southern New England co-op dating back to 1918. Together, the combined companies boasted more than 1,500 farms, four processing plants, and a large product line.

Today, Cabot’s future looks bright. Our company blends state-of-the-art facilities and a savvy entrepreneurial spirit with the timeless values and personal commitment to quality that comes from being 100% owned by our farm families. In our Middlebury facility, we recently installed a  huge new piece of machinery that will allow us to process 4,000 more pounds of cheese curd per hour than the 8,000 pounds the current machine handles. This 22-ton piece of equipment known as the CheeseMaster will increase production of the 26 truck-sized vats — each holding enough milk to make 6,000 pounds of cheese — that get filled daily.

The Middlebury facility runs 24 hours a day/seven days a week, and serves to make and age Cabot’s famous Vermont Cheddar. The plant also processes whey liquids, which are left over from the cheesemaking process, to produce whey proteins and permeate, which is sold around the world. Additionally, the facility serves as a warehouse for cheese and whey products, with the capacity to store up to 2 million pounds of cheese. On a daily basis, 120 Vermont and New York dairy farmers supply the milk for the Middlebury plant, although that number increases on weekends and holidays when other plants are closed. Addison County is one of the largest membership areas in the farmers coop, helping to supply the milk that comes to the plant every day.

To learn more about the eight farms in Addison County that are part of the Cabot Cooperative, click on the links below:

 

Tudhope Family of Cher-Mi Farm in North Orwell
Tudhope Family of Cher-Mi Farm in North Orwell
Percy Farm in Stowe
Percy Farm in Stowe
Cheryl & Jerry Connor of Morgan Hill Farm in Bridport
The Foster Family of Foster Brothers Farm in Middlebury
The Foster Family of Foster Brothers Farm in Middlebury
Fleury's Maple Hill Farm in Richford
Fleury’s Maple Hill Farm in Richford
Fleury's Maple Hill Farm in Richford
Fleury’s Maple Hill Farm in Richford
Gail & Loren Wood of Woodnotch Farm in Shoreham
Audet Family
Audet Family
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