Local

Spotlight on McKenzie

This week’s Member Deals spotlight shines brightly on McKenzie. All McKenzie meats (including their Alfresco line) are 20% off for member-owners from May 10th – 16th. Read on to learn more about this local Burlington-based company that’s been providing all-natural meats to our community10 for well over 100 years:

 

History

In 1885, John married his beloved Nellie an Irish farm girl. In 1898 they immigrated to rural Vermont to fulfill their dream of running their own farm. It flourished and included smokehouses for slow curing country hams. Nellie began giving hams as holiday gifts to neighboring farms. Word got out of their extraordinary quality and flavor. Soon the orders started coming and they never stopped.

Much has changed in this world, but some things are too good to change. Today, the McKenzie folks are still going to extraordinary measures to bring you the best meats made the old-fashioned way – based on John and Nellie’s farm methods for naturally hardwood smoking hams and using pure Vermont maple syrup for authentic flavor. They continue this tradition of bringing you authentic flavors with simple, wholesome food values. Attention to the little details served their family well back then, and that same integrity in their process and product continues to serve as their compass today.

The McKenzie Promise

At McKenzie, they believe in paying attention to all the little details, that meats and cheeses should be crafted with care, that every batch should be sourced from independent farms and trusted purveyors, and that a recipe with natural ingredients is always better than one with artificial ingredients or preservatives. To that end, here is there promise to you:

  • 100% natural
  • Raised without the use of antibiotics
  • No nitrates or nitrites
  • No growth hormones
  • Gluten-free
  • Sourced from independent farms

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on High Mowing Organic Seeds

Spring is officially here and if you enjoy gardening, you’re likely yearning to get your fingers into the soil as soon as Mother Nature allows. In the meantime, as you dream up your garden plans and place your seed orders, we invite you to check out the incredible variety of local, organic seeds offered by High Mowing Organic Seed Company of Wolcott, VT.

History

High Mowing Organic Seeds began in 1996 with just 28 varieties, many of which originated in founder Tom Stearns’ backyard. Since then, the company has grown exponentially, and what started as a one-man operation is now a thriving business making available to home gardeners and commercial growers over 600 heirloom, open-pollinated, and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seed. True to their roots, High Mowing Organic Seeds continues to grow many of the varieties they sell on their 40-acre farm, setting them apart from the majority of other seed companies. Seeds that are produced here in Vermont come with the added bonus of regional specificity, meaning that they are more attuned to life in our unique growing conditions. They have already established relationships with our soil, our pollinators, and our specific climate, making them more likely to thrive in your garden.

Philosophy

At High Mowing Organic Seeds, they believe in reimagining what our world can be like. They believe in a deeper understanding of how rebuilt food systems can support health on all levels – healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities, and healthy bodies. They believe in a hopeful and inspired view of the future based on better stewardship for our planet. Every day that they’re in business, they are growing; working to provide an essential component in the rebuilding of our healthy food systems: the seeds.

 

The Safe Seed Pledge

The Safe Seed Pledge was created in 1999 when High Mowing Organic Seeds guided a coalition of 9 other seed companies in drafting a statement about the signers’ stance on genetic engineering. To date, the Pledge has been signed by over 370 seed companies worldwide. In signing the Safe Seed Pledge they affirm their commitment to non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seed. They feel that the regulatory framework for the introduction of genetically modified crop varieties is flawed and that GMO seeds themselves present a threat to plants’ genetic diversity through their ability to pollinate non-GMO plants. The pledge reads as follows:

“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”

 

When asked what it is about seeds that makes him so passionate, Stearns replies, “I see seeds as one of the best educational tools. For me, I’ve seen myself as an educator more than anything else. I see my work focusing on helping people rebuild their local food systems. Seeds are an important, yet easy, tool to recognize the importance of these systems, and seeds are one of the mediums by which this message can be conveyed”.

Click here to check out their 2018 catalog!

 

 

Spotlight on Shaker Maple Farm

To celebrate sap season in Vermont, we’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Shaker Maple Farm! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of maple syrup products from April 12th – 18th, so it’s a great time to stock up on liquid gold!

Shaker Maple Farm is owned and operated by Steve and Leah Willsey of Starksboro, VT. They have been sugaring for over 30 years and currently boil from 20,000 taps. Many of these taps are from maple trees on their beautiful farm in Starksboro and some taps reside on two neighboring properties from whom they buy sap. In 2013, they completed construction on a beautiful sugaring barn, complete with a small canning facility. Just this year, they signed a new land lease which will allow them to increase to 30,000 taps over the next two seasons!

The 2017 season yielded 10,300 gallons of syrup at Shaker Maple farm. The Willsey’s sell about half of their syrup wholesale and the other half is sold in bulk. You can find their syrup at a variety of local grocery stores, co-ops and restaurants. You’ll also notice that their syrup is certified organic, which may lead you to wonder, “isn’t all maple syrup organic?”. The answer might surprise you! Organic certification ensures that:

  • No pesticides or chemicals were used to manage the forest. Like any crop, a forest can be sprayed to control insects. The same organic standards for field crops apply to maple forest to regulate things like buffer zones and runoff and ensure that no fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals were used.
  • A healthy forest is maintained. Organic standards limit the number of taps allowed in each tree to sustain the health of the tree. Organic certification ensures sustainable management of forestland to promote tree health, biodiversity, and reduce erosion.
  • No lead, filtering agents, or chemical defoamers. Certified organic maple farms must adhere to strict regulation when it comes to things like lead in equipment and the use of filtering agents and chemical defoamers.

Smoked Salmon Salad

Have you tried the incredibly tasty smoked salmon from Honeywilya Fish? This unique local business based in Duxbury, VT is featured in our Member Deals program from March 22nd – 28th and our weekly sale that week features a handful of ingredients that round out this simple, delicious salad. Toss it together for a quick lunch or dinner with a side of crusty local bread.

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

Business of the Month: Middlebury Fitness

Are you looking to give your workout routine a spring makeover? We invite you to check out our Co-op Connection Business of the Month — Middlebury Fitness! Flash your Co-op member-owner card and you’ll receive 50% off the enrollment fee, 10% off a short-term membership, and your first class or workout is FREE! Read on to learn more about what this community wellness center has to offer:

 

 

Middlebury Fitness is a community health and wellness center founded in 1997 that puts their members needs first.Their facility features a wide variety of the most current strength and cardio equipment by the leading brands in the industry. Is group fitness your thing? They offer a variety of programs and group fitness classes to meet the diverse and ever-changing needs of their member base, ranging from ages 13-93. Click here for their class calendar and descriptions. Other services and amenities include personal trainingfree equipment orientationsathletic performance trainingDietician consultationssaunasmassage therapy, and more!

The crew at Middlebury Fitness is incredibly proud to be so active in this great community and annually receive recognition and awards for various initiatives. For the past three consecutive years, they have received the United Way of Addison County’s “Partner Award” for an annual event that has raised thousands of dollars for our local friends and families in need. In fact, their recent SPIN UNITED event raised $11,440 for United Way of Addison County. Wow!!

At Middlebury Fitness they understand that you have options when it comes to your health and fitness needs. They aim to meet and exceed their members’ expectations every day and believe they have some of the most attentive, caring, professional and knowledgeable instructors, personal trainers and staff you will find. Their ultimate goal at Midd Fit is to ensure that each of their members achieves their personal fitness goals while experiencing exceptional customer service in a supportive atmosphere of fun and camaraderie.

If you are a current member, they’d like to extend a sincere THANK YOU for being a part of the Midd Fit family! If you are not yet a member, please visit and let Middlebury Fitness guide you through your fitness journey today! And don’t forget to mention that you’re a Co-op member-owner!

Spotlight on Champlain Valley Apiaries

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a local business that’s been providing local honey to the Co-op since the very beginning – over 40 years ago. In fact, Champlain Valley Apiaries was founded long before the Co-op existed, way back in 1931, and they’ve been producing pristine, delicious Vermont honey ever since! From February 22nd – 28th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of gooey golden goodness. Read on to learn more about this wonderful local business and their commitment to environmental stewardship:

Champlain Valley Apiaries is a 3rd generation Vermont family-owned business. Founded in 1931 by innovative beekeeper Charles Mraz, they have been producing delicious Vermont honey for over 85 years. Their mission, along with producing the highest quality honey, is to foster sustainable agriculture and bring awareness to the essential role of honeybees in our food system. They are committed to protecting all pollinators, the environment, the well being of their employees, and the local community where they live and work.

They also continually assess and modify business operations so as to lessen their impact on the environment by increasing operational efficiency, conserving energy, water, and other natural resources, reducing waste generation, and eliminating the use of harmful materials. Champlain Valley Apiaries is committed to a triple bottom line, not only valuing profit but seeking environmental excellence and social awareness within their company culture.

The folks at Champlain Valley Apiaries describe their honey as a floral snapshot of a particular area at a given time. Bees gather nectar from a variety of floral sources, depending on the time of year. Sources include things like clover, alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, various trees, dandelions, and goldenrod, to name a few. For this reason, the exact makeup of their honey will vary from year to year and even from bee yard to bee yard. In order to keep a consistent product, they blend their Vermont honey with other premium honey produced in the U.S. and Canada.

They treat their bees organically and during the winter, hives are left with enough of their own honey to survive and thrive. Throughout the company’s history, they have earned a reputation among beekeepers for producing a hardy strain of honeybee that is disease-resistant and able to thrive in the harsh Vermont winter. At the Co-op, you’ll find Champlain Valley Apiaries liquid honey and their raw, naturally crystallized honey.

Spotlight on Red Hen Baking Company

Our Member Deals Spotlight is beaming on Red Hen Baking Company this week! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of freshly baked breads from February 15th – 21st. Read on to learn more about this wonderful local bakery that’s been turning out fresh organic bread 7 days a week for nearly 20 years!

 

History

The folks at Red Hen Baking Company are guided by a belief that pure, uncomplicated ingredients and the hands of skilled artisans are the building blocks for great food. Their bakery sprouted from humble beginnings with a staff of 8 on Route 100 in Duxbury, VT. They were committed to using organic ingredients since the very beginning and became an established presence in the area’s many cooperative and independent food stores. Their bread was beginning to appear at more and more of the area’s finest restaurants and they became mainstays of the Montpelier and Waitsfield Farmers’ Markets. To this day, these venues still make up the core of their wholesale business.

After 8 years of hard work in Duxbury and a seasoned staff that had grown to over 20 employees (many of whom are still with the bakery today), they had the opportunity to move 5 miles down the road to the neighboring town of Middlesex. It was here that they established their new baking facility in a building constructed especially for their purposes with an attached café in a renovated building that housed the former Camp Meade Diner.

Their café has become known as a local destination and gathering place where people can enjoy not only the breads they’re so well known or, but also their increasingly lauded pastries, sandwiches, and soups. To supplement their own creations, the cafe also features beer, wine, and specialty food from near and far. Next time you’re cruising through Middlesex, be sure to stop in!

Quality Commitment

Although Red Hen has grown considerably since those early days in Duxbury, they remain dedicated to creating the very best food from the best possible ingredients. You can’t make great food without great flour (or potatoes or seeds or meal, as the case may be), so a great deal of time and energy are spent sourcing the very best of these items. In many cases, they are closely acquainted with the farmers and millers that are responsible for producing the raw materials used for baking their breads. In fact, over 90% of all the flour they use comes from two farmers within 150 miles of the bakery. Each year, 430,000 lbs of local wheat go into their breads!

Farmer Ben Gleason of Gleason’s Grains delivering flour to the bakery.

They employ methods that are as old as bread making itself and these processes guide their days at the bakery. This method of slow fermentation produces a complexity of flavor, a chewy texture, helps the bread to keep longer, and even adds to its nutritive value. Each loaf is then formed by hand and baked in a hearth oven. The Red Hen family of breads runs the gamut from dense whole grain varieties to light and airy ciabatta and everything in between.

Giving Back

Like any good hen, the folks at Red Hen feel a responsibility to do what they can to nurture the community that has nurtured them. There is never a shortage of work to be done and there are so many good organizations doing that work, but each year their staff selects a few organizations that they would like to support. Last year they directed over $26,000 to the following organizations doing work both close to home and further afield:

To learn more about Red Hen Baking, check out their web page! You can view their cafe menu, read all about their diverse bread offerings, and find great tips for storing your bread to maximize freshness.

 

Spotlight on The Orange Owl

This week’s Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on The Orange Owl! This Vermont-based vegan skincare company provides our Wellness department with a full line of fabulous body care products and from February 8th – 14th, they’ll all be 20% off for member-owners! It’s a perfect time to pick up a few DIY Spa products for your Valentine, or to simply pamper yourself! Read on to learn more about this wonderful local business and the fabulous female powerhouse at the helm:

About the Company

The Orange Owl is a vegan skincare company based in the beautiful state of Vermont. The core mission of the company is to provide simple and environmentally friendly alternatives to essential products used regularly in our lives. ‘Going Green’ is not just a buzzword or about being fashionable to the folks at The Orange Owl. Instead, it is one of the vital components that goes into designing all of their merchandise.

Inspiration for The Orange Owl’s products is derived from a number of sources. From the smell of early morning coffee with a hint of cinnamon, hikes along some of the most beautiful trails in New England, to a plethora of experiences in founder Askhata Nayad’s home county of India, epiphanies happen all the time. It’s from these experiences that the colors, scents, and textures of her products are born.

Giving Back

She has also not forgotten that as you move ahead in life, it is important to give back to society. To this end, The Orange Owl is involved with The Schooling Project, an organization in India that works towards financing the education of underprivileged children. The Orange Owl donates 5% of every purchase made to benefit The Schooling Project, which works together with Global Concerns India to provide avenues for children to gain the financial means necessary to stay in school. In addition to basic education, the team does a fantastic job of offering workshops with the children to build their confidence and helps them explore various technical fields ranging from photography, to film design, and green design.

About the Owner

Akshata Nayak was born and raised in the city of Bangalore in southern India. She moved to America for her graduate studies in late 2003, earning a Masters in Biochemistry and, a few years later, a Masters in Applied Clinical Nutrition. After working in basic research in the fields of Immunology and Emergency Medicine for six years, she decided to shift her focus.The Masters in Applied Clinical Nutrition was a step in that direction. It helped emphasize some basic policies of trying to establish a balance in people’s lives when it came to overall health.

When she’s not busy owning and operating The Orange Owl, she also serves as a nutritionist at Alternative Roots Wellness Center, a holistic health center started with her husband. She lives in Vermont and loves to cook, read and repeatedly change the cushion covers in her living room. She is having the proverbial blast.

 

Akshata believes that establishing a relationship with you is just as important as having you enjoy her products. After all, knowing the people behind the items you use regularly makes the purchase more personal. So, indulge and treat yourself. Leave your problems behind. Experience these wonderful products!

 

Spotlight on Urban Moonshine

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Urban Moonshine this week and all of their wonderful wellness products are 20% off for member-owners from January 11th – 17th. They offer a wide range of high-quality organic products ranging from digestive bitters for your belly, to tonics that pick you up or simmer you down. With a strong emphasis on ethical sourcing processes and a mission to make herbalism more accessible, we’re happy to shed a little light on this women-run company hailing from Burlington, Vermont. Read on to learn more about them:

 

 

Urban Moonshine was founded in 2008 in Jovial King’s kitchen with the goal of making herbal medicine more accessible. They specialize in high quality liquid herbal extracts with a focus on digestive bitters, herbal tonics, and everyday health remedies. Urban Moonshine has grown from a booth at the local farmers’ market to a nationally distributed and recognized brand while staying true to its mission of bringing high-quality, certified organic herbal medicine to more people and changing the way we think about the healing power of plants. They aim to return the use of herbal medicine to daily life, to bring it “out of the cupboard and onto the counter”.  They see their herbal products as part of a growing wellness movement, focused on authentic, effective, whole plant solutions. Urban Moonshine is based in beautiful Burlington, VT and is proud to be a woman-run company.

An extremely big moment in the Urban Moonshine story occurred last month: the amazing independent herbal tea company Traditional Medicinals acquired Urban Moonshine! Fundamental to that story is that Traditional Medicinals was co-founded in Sebastopol, CA in the early 70’s by one of Vermont’s most beloved/legendary herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who was also one of Urban Moonshine founder Jovial’s first herbal teachers! Both companies are on the same path bringing high quality, organic herbal medicine into more people’s lives and they’re thrilled to be able to lean on Traditional Medicinal’s experience to help continue to build Urban Moonshine from the small kitchen to farmers’ market business Jovial started in 2009.

Both botanical wellness companies are aligned with the usage of high-quality organic ingredients, ethical sourcing processes and a mission to make herbalism more accessible by connecting people to the power of plants. Traditional Medicinals and Urban Moonshine will continue to operate separately and retain existing headquarters in Sonoma County, CA and Burlington, VT.

Be sure to check out Urban Moonshine’s blog to stay up to date on the latest in herbal wellness.

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