Featured Co-op Connection Business – Shafer’s Market

Our featured Co-op Connection Business this month is Shafer’s Market and Deli! Perhaps you’ve cooled off with one of their delicious creemees this summer or enjoyed a slice pizza fresh from their wood-fired oven? We’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on this family-owned business that’s been working hard to keep the community fed during these challenging times and we’re reminding card-carrying Co-op member-owners that they can enjoy a 10% discount on all of Shafer’s delicious offerings through the Co-op Connection. Read on to learn more:


When life-long Middlebury residents Adam Shafer and Jennifer Stocker learned that their hometown deli, located at 54 College Street in downtown Middlebury, was for sale back in 2017, they jumped at the chance to call it their own. Shafer came into the business with a lot of experience in the culinary world, having grown up in a family that knew the ins and outs of restaurant management. He regularly pitched in to help his grandfather Bill Shafer at the two restaurants he owned – the Lemon Fair Diner and The Pizza Cellar, both of which were located on Middlebury’s Merchants Row. He eventually moved on to professional stints at several local restaurants including Two Brother’s Tavern, Carol’s Hungry Mind Café, and Bistro Sauce in Shelburne, then finally made a return to his hometown for a seven-year stint with Middlebury College Dining Services.

Co-owner Jennifer Stocker works the house-made dough for their wood-fired pies

Stocker brings her own business experience to the team after a successful 22-year career as a hairstylist. She and Shafer have six children (including 3-year-old twins!) and visitors to the market and deli will likely find the teenagers pitching in behind the counter. Stocker and Shafer bring a great deal of energy and passion to their work, which has truly been put to the test during these past few difficult months. The challenges presented by the pandemic have required Shafer and Stocker to be nimble and creative when it comes to feeding their community. They’ve certainly risen to the challenge, first by shifting their model to include more pantry staples during the early days of the pandemic, and, most recently, by providing a much-needed food delivery service to students at Middlebury College who are required to remain on a strict campus quarantine. 

Stocker adds the hearty house-made sauce

They currently serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week and provide local delivery. Their goal is to gradually work back up to their pre-pandemic hours, though, for now, they must first focus on building back up their staffing. Stocker stressed that her first priority was that the food coming out of their kitchen rise to their very high standards. When they’re able to keep standards high with a full staff again, they’ll be able to return to later hours. For now, you’ll likely find them open from 7:00 am until at least 7:00 pm.

Stocker piles on the fresh toppings

Their eclectic menu offers something for everyone, including an extensive breakfast menu, signature sandwiches featuring house-cured meats, hearty burgers, wood-fired pizzas, and, of course, a long list of ice cream and creemees for dessert. They also offer a selection of retail items in their market including soda, beer, candy, dairy, and other basic items. If you’re looking for a great cup of local joe, Shafer’s offers hot and iced coffee options from Bud’s Beans. They also extend a very generous 15% discount to all local EMTs, police, and fire personnel.

The wood-fired brick pizza oven works its magic

Whether you’re a seasoned regular, or it’s your first time visiting Shafer’s Market and Deli, we’re confident that you’ll find something delicious and leave with a smile. 

Hannah serves up a fresh scoop of ice cream and a smile from the walk-up window


The walk-up window offers convenient access to an exciting list of ice cream, milkshakes, and creemies

Deli Delights

Our adaptable, helpful and enthusiastic staff approached the busy holiday season after months of construction and change without losing a beat, but one major innovation didn’t make its debut until the first week of January:  the Hot Bar!

First of all, due to its size, the enormous stainless steel piece of equipment for both hot and cold foods had to be brought into the building before all the walls were finished.  Then the salad and soup bar was brought back as soon as the dust settled, literally.  Finally, around 11 o’clock on  January 3, when I just happened to be checking out the daily offerings,  I heard “Hot food coming through!”  I was the very first customer who enjoyed the first hot entrée that day:  beef brisket, and it was worth the wait.  Subsequently, vegetarian and vegan dishes appeared, and the mac and cheese is one of the first casseroles to go.

You don’t have to wait for the lunch choices, however.  Hot breakfast sandwiches are available from 8-11am every day, currently cheddar cheese, ham and chicken sausage options.

One additional discovery for folks on a gluten-free diet:  all the mini pizza flavors in the deli case are available with a wheat free crust.  The crust is handled and baked separately with your choice of toppings.  Just ask the staff and minutes later you have a delicious wheat-free pizza.

Staff members encourage questions, suggestions, and other feedback.  They love hearing when things are good, but they want to hear when things could be better.  Thank you for your loyalty during this past year of transition, and please continue to help us serve you as best we can.

Ann LaFiandra is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member