Local

Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is Thursday, April 22, marking the 51st anniversary of the very first Earth Day celebration in 1970! According to EarthDay.org, 20 million Americans (representing 10% of the total population of the United States at that time) took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums on that first Earth Day to advocate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Earth Day celebrations have continued to grow in scope and magnitude since that day in 1970 as the awareness of climate change and the dire need for environmental advocacy has become ever more apparent. 

Food co-ops have been looking for ways to reduce environmental impact for decades. In fact, many co-ops were formed by people who wanted access to healthy, delicious food with reduced environmental impact and less waste, and co-ops continue to lead on these issues today. You help co-ops continue this proud tradition every time you choose to shop at one, invest in ownership, or tell a friend about your local food co-op. Here are a few of the ways that co-ops support healthier patterns of production and consumption:

Supporting Local Farmers & Producers

Local products at food co-ops around the country average 21% of total co-op sales, compared with a national grocery store average of just 1.8%. Here at your Co-op, we’re extremely proud to report that 34% of our sales come from local products, thanks to our partnerships with more than 400 local farmers and food producers! Supporting these local farmers and producers with your food dollars helps to decrease environmental impact by reducing the fossil fuel consumption and air pollution associated with transporting foods over long distances. At the average chain supermarket, most of the food items you buy travel over 1500 miles to reach your plate via lengthy truck and plane trips. This not only causes massive fuel consumption and pollution but also involves the need for packing and shipping facilities and refrigeration throughout the supply chain, consuming vast amounts of energy. The more food miles collected during food transportation, the more fossil fuels are burned, allowing more harmful greenhouse gas emissions to be released into the atmosphere.

 

Supporting Organic

Nationwide, co-op shoppers demonstrate an inspiring commitment to the environment, with organic sales at co-ops totaling over $415 million annually. Organic farming methods have been scientifically validated  as being not only more sustainable but a potential answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems. On average more than 33% of the products co-ops carry are USDA Certified Organic and represent 42% of a co-op’s total sales, compared with a national grocery store average of just 5%. Certified organic food by law cannot be grown using toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or GMO seeds. Beyond the benefit to individual shoppers is the positive impact organic agriculture has on natural systems. Organic methods are supportive of all levels of life from soil microbes to pollinators to the health of farmworkers in the fields.

 

Tackling Food Waste

Spoilage is a perennial challenge for the food industry. Diverting food from the landfill is the key, and co-ops tackle that through donations to food pantries, composting, and better utilization of cooking scraps. Nationally, the average food co-op is donating 24,100 pounds of healthy, edible food to food pantries annually, with a total of more than 1.5 million pounds of food donated in 2016 alone. Similarly-sized conventional grocery stores divert an average of 12,500 pounds, about half of what co-ops do. Here at your Co-op, food waste reduction is a particular passion and we’re proud to have donated over 6,500 pounds of food to our local food shelves last year. Non-marketable foods that are not fit for human consumption are passed along to local farmers who pick up our compost regularly to feed their animals. The remaining food scraps that aren’t fit for animal consumption (coffee grounds, meat scraps, etc.) are picked up by Casella Waste Management and become compost. These practices support our planet by reducing the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with food scraps entering a landfill and by making the most of the energy expenditure that went into producing those food items in the first place. 

Promoting Reuse and Recycling

According to a 2012 Impact Study, co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste, and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent, and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers. Your Co-op understands that recycling isn’t the panacea we all once believed it to be, so we’ve doubled down on our efforts to reuse and upcycle as many items as possible. We dedicated the Spring 2019 and Spring 2020 issues of our Under the Sun newsletter to this important topic, complete with a map in the 2019 edition centerfold highlighting all of the items throughout the store that are reused either by local farmers and producers (apple crates, delivery boxes, maple syrup buckets, and honey buckets) or by customers (spice scoops, egg cartons, product delivery boxes, etc.). We also installed a cardboard bailer to allow us to minimize the number of trips required by Casella to pick up our recycled cardboard and we’re constantly exploring new ways to offer products without packaging. 

Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure

Buildings have direct environmental impacts, ranging from the use of raw materials for their construction and renovation to the consumption of natural resources, like water and fossil fuels, and the emission of harmful substances. When your Co-op expanded in 2017, significant efforts were made to minimize the environmental impact of the physical store. We prioritized the integrity of the building “envelope” to ensure a high level of control over indoor air quality, temperature, humidity levels, and energy consumption. We also made every effort to use sustainable building materials, installed LED and solar lighting throughout the building and parking lot, and integrated hyper-efficient refrigeration systems. The efficiency of refrigeration systems has a critical impact on a store’s carbon footprint, as refrigeration can account for as much as a third of a typical grocery store’s electricity usage and the refrigerants used in refrigeration systems have a greenhouse warming potential many thousand times that of carbon dioxide. Therefore, reducing refrigerant leaks and carefully maintaining refrigeration systems can have a significant impact. 

While we truly believe Earth Day should be celebrated every day, we love having a specific day set aside to honor our incredible planet and we enjoy the conversation it inspires with regard to environmental sustainability and climate action. People like you make it happen. When you shop at the co-op, your money makes a bigger impact in your local community than at a typical grocery store. At the co-op, your food dollars work to support a robust local economy, a vibrant community, and a healthy environment. Thanks to co-op shopper support, local farmers and producers continue to have a market for their delicious food, organic agriculture continues to grow, local food pantries and nonprofit organizations have a strong partner and together we are making progress towards a fairer food system.

Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery

Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery from April 1st – 7th and member-owners can enjoy 20% off Krin’s full line of local confections! Read on to learn more about this wonderful woman-owned bakery nestled in the mountains of Huntington, VT.

 

 

Krin’s Bakery is the home of artisan baker Krin Barberi. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, then exploring and working for others, Krin opened her own bakery in 2005. Krin’s Bakery makes delicious cookies, cupcakes, and other treats using time-honored recipes and simple, fresh ingredients. Whether in a lunchbox, enjoyed over coffee, or served at a special occasion, Krin’s baked goods celebrate her twin passions for baking and for building community.

Krin’s bakes the treats you love and remember—chocolate cupcakes with a thick frosting; chewy cookies in classic flavors and festive shapes; classic Italian biscotti and moist chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, all baked in their small Huntington, Vermont bakery by a dedicated crew of skilled bakers, using thoughtfully-sourced ingredients from neighboring farms, orchards, and businesses. Their treats are available in local grocery stores and co-ops throughout central and Northern Vermont, and if you’re not lucky enough to live in VT, they ship!

Krin is a passionate local foods activist supporting the cause by working with local distributors, markets, producers, and farmers. She takes her inspiration from her rural New England family’s tradition of supporting and participating in the life of her community. She believes that where our food comes from is important and takes pride in using local Vermont ingredients whenever possible.

It is from this deep sense of community and place that Krin continues to bake love and care into each and every treat.

 

Spotlight on Lake Champlain Chocolates

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering Fairtrade Certified chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from March 18th – 24th — just in time for the Easter Bunny to stock up! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home for almost 40 years and its commitment to responsible sourcing:

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History:

The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sourcing Matters:

From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and fresh dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.

The goal is to bring you their best. To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and Fairtrade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

A Family Affair:

Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.

Lampman Family

Fair Trade:

Making great-tasting chocolate is hard work and the team at Lake Champlain Chocolates believes that every person in this process should be treated and compensated fairly and that their actions should make a positive impact on local and global communities. When you purchase Fairtrade chocolate, more money goes back to the farmers, allowing them to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better life for their families. It also allows these farmers to invest additional Fairtrade premiums in community development, ensures a ban on forced labor and child labor, and encourages environmentally-sustainable farming practices. Go ahead and indulge your sweet tooth and feel good knowing that 100% of the chocolate they use at Lake Champlain Chocolates is Fairtrade certified.

Why Buy Fairtrade Certified Chocolate?

  •  Farmers and workers are justly compensated and have safe working conditions (this includes prohibiting the use of forced labor and child labor).
  • Farmers are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty and help to build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.
  • Cocoa farmers and co-ops receive an additional premium for investing in community development.
  • Farming communities develop skills that help them use the free market to their advantage.
  • Farming villages become better stewards of the environment — using sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to preserve local habitats and increase biodiversity

 

B Corp Certification:

Lake Champlain Chocolates joined a growing community of more than 2,500 certified B Corporations worldwide who are united under one common goal – to redefine success in business. Rather than focus solely on profits, certified  B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Unlike other certifications that look at individual products, B Corporation evaluates the entire business — assessing the yearly impact on the environment, workers, customers, community, and government.  This new type of corporation is purpose-driven to create benefits for all, not just shareholders, working together to be the change we seek in the world.

For Lake Champlain Chocolates these performance standards provide a valuable third-party measurement tool, assuring customers and suppliers that LCC’s business practices meet the highest standards. “Achieving B Corp Certification is the next step towards fulfilling our company’s vision to become the gold standard of chocolate companies in the United States, a respected leader other companies aspire to be,” says Eric Lampman, LCC President. “For more than 35 years, our practices have been guided by one core value – ‘everything must measure up to the chocolate.’  And this includes making a positive impact on our local and global communities by respecting our employees, fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers, and practicing environmental responsibility.”

Factory Tours:

The folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates would love to show you around! Visit their flagship store on Pine Street in Burlington to watch their master chocolatiers craft extraordinary chocolate right before your eyes. Watch a brief video to learn how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and what makes their chocolates so delicious. And while you’re there, be sure to treat yourself to one of their specialty confections like Almond Butter Crunch, their famous chocolate truffle, or enjoy a hot chocolate, espresso, or ice cream from their café. Their factory tours are free, self-guided, informative, and fun! Chocolate is typically produced Monday-Friday; however, there can be changes in the production schedule without notice. You may visit Monday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, though to see the most action in the factory, it is recommended to visit Monday-Friday before 2:00 pm.

Lake Champlain Chocolates also offers free outdoor chocolate tastings (weather permitting) at their Pine Street location on Saturdays from 12:00 – 4:00. 

 

 

Spotlight on The Bakery

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on The Bakery this week! Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all of their favorite baked goods from this local bakery hailing from the heart of Rutland, Vermont. Read on to learn more about the bakery and their commitment to serving up their local best:

 

If you’re cruising through historic downtown Rutland and find yourself craving fresh local baked goods and a great cup of coffee, The Bakery’s got you covered. Locals may recognize The Bakery as the latest evolution of the long-successful Baba-A-Louis Bakery — a central Vermont staple for more than 30 years. The time-tested recipes are the same, baked in the same original ovens, but the name, location, and the man at the helm have been new since 2013. 

Donald Billings, who also owns Roots The Restaurant and The Annex in Rutland, as well as Crux and Mountain Merchant in Killington, took over the bakery in 2013. Billings has been involved in the restaurant industry his entire life and was named Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce‘s 2019 Business Leader of the Year.

Owner Donald Billings behind the counter at The Bakery

The Bakery’s mission is to create delicious food from fresh, local ingredients. They’re committed to providing affordable meals from minimally processed, locally-grown food, including organic crops and humanely-raised livestock. The Bakery is proud to partner with local providers and values the relationships they’ve formed with the local farmers and producers in our region.

In addition to baking up some of the most delicious bread and baked goods around, The Bakery also offers a full menu of soups, salads, smoothies, and sandwiches to please any palate. Of course, they’ve had to be nimble in the face of the pandemic and have tailored their offerings to suit a curbside-pickup model in an effort to prioritize both the safety of their staff and the community.

Here at the Co-op, you can find a wide range of their baked offerings, including bread, bagels, English muffins, and a staff favorite lemon blueberry bread that will make you swoon! 

Baked Stuffed Apples

Drip, drip, drip….we can almost hear the maple sap beginning to collect in pails in sugarbushes across Vermont and our Weekly Sale from March 4th – 10th celebrates the start of sugaring season with a handful of ingredients well suited to a hearty maple-themed breakfast! You’ll find local, organic, dark robust maple syrup quarts from Hillsboro Sugarworks; local apples from Champlain Orchards; local, organic granola from Patrick’s Artisan Bakery; local, organic Rogers Farmstead yogurt; local Paradiso Farm coffee; and ham steaks that are just begging for a maple glaze. This recipe pulls together many of those ingredients into a Vermont breakfast spread that also doubles as a decadent dessert when you swap out the local yogurt with a scoop of Strafford Organic Creamery’s ice cream or Larson’s Farm & Creamery gelato. 

Spotlight on The Bakery

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on The Bakery this week! Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all of their favorite baked goods from this local bakery hailing from the heart of Rutland, Vermont. Read on to learn more about the bakery and their commitment to serving up their local best:

 

If you’re cruising through historic downtown Rutland and find yourself craving fresh local baked goods and a great cup of coffee, The Bakery’s got you covered. Locals may recognize The Bakery as the latest evolution of the long-successful Baba-A-Louis Bakery — a central Vermont staple for more than 30 years. The time-tested recipes are the same, baked in the same original ovens, but the name, location, and the man at the helm have been new since 2013. 

Donald Billings, who also owns Roots The Restaurant and The Annex in Rutland, as well as Crux and Mountain Merchant in Killington, took over the bakery in 2013. Billings has been involved in the restaurant industry his entire life and was named Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce‘s 2019 Business Leader of the Year.

Owner Donald Billings behind the counter at The Bakery

The Bakery’s mission is to create delicious food from fresh, local ingredients. They’re committed to providing affordable meals from minimally processed, locally-grown food, including organic crops and humanely-raised livestock. The Bakery is proud to partner with local providers and values the relationships they’ve formed with the local farmers and producers in our region.

In addition to baking up some of the most delicious bread and baked goods around, The Bakery also offers a full menu of soups, salads, smoothies, and sandwiches to please any palate. Of course, they’ve had to be nimble in the face of the pandemic and have tailored their offerings to suit a curbside-pickup model in an effort to prioritize both the safety of their staff and the community.

Here at the Co-op, you can find a wide range of their baked offerings, including bread, bagels, English muffins, and a staff favorite lemon blueberry bread that will make you swoon! 

Wellness Wonders: Elderberry!

Our Wellness Wonders Spotlight for March shines brightly on a tiny but potent little berry with an extensive history of use and folklore in traditional western practices – the elderberry! For centuries, elderberries have been used to make culinary and medicinal preparations, including preserves, wines, cordials, teas, herbal infusions, and syrups. Ancient texts from Hippocrates (460 – 370BC), Dioscorides (40 – 90 AD), and Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 AD) include information about elder, indicating its longstanding value in herbal medicine, and elder has often been referred to as the “medicine chest of the common people.”

Elderberries are fruits of a hardy perennial shrub that can withstand less than ideal growing conditions. It grows in full or partial sun, tolerates the cold, and can withstand wet, clay soils. Here in Vermont, you may even see the native Sambucus canadensis growing in roadside drainage ditches, along rivers, or in wet fields. Its cousin, Sambucus nigra (black elderberry), is native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. The berries of both S. canadensis and S. nigra can be used for culinary and medicinal purposes, however, the seeds within the raw fruit contain a component called sambunigrin which can cause intestinal distress if ingested in large quantities, so it’s ideal to cook, tincture, ferment, or otherwise prepare the berries prior to consumption. It’s also important to note that the stems and leaves of the elder plant are toxic and should be removed prior to making an elderberry or elderflower preparation.

 

A bottle of homemade elderberry syrup on a wooden table, with fresh elderberries in the background

The berries, flowers, and bark of the elder (Sambucus) plant have long been prized by herbalists across the globe, and modern studies have also substantiated the berries’ ability to help maintain normal, healthy functioning of our immune system. This makes elderberry an excellent plant ally to promote resilience during times when our body’s systems are particularly stressed. While elderberry is most famous for being a cold and flu herb, its gifts extend well beyond sniffle season, promoting strong bones and healthy hair, protecting the heart and eyes, and supporting digestion, according to herbalist Emily Han of Learning Herbs.

Whole elderberries are typically prepared as teas, tinctures, syrups, wine, and cordials. They can also be used much like other berries in various recipes, including scones, pies, cakes, muffins, jellies, and vinegars. Beyond their medicinal properties, the berries pack a nutritious punch, as they are rich in flavonoids, boast a high anti-oxidant count, and are quality sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, bioflavonoids, beta-carotene, iron, and potassium, according to herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. You can find excellent tips and recipes for preparing elderberries here, here, and here. And a staff favorite fermented elderberry honey recipe can be found here

In addition to providing nutritious medicinal berries, the elder shrub produces beautiful white flowers that bees and butterflies love. According to Herbal Academy, the flowers have has been used since ancient Egyptian times for both medicinal purposes and as a beauty aid, as they were believed to help reduce wrinkles and age spots. A stronger infusion was often used to help heal skin rashes, eczema, measles, chapped skin, and sunburns; and flowers steeped in oil were often used to alleviate diaper rashes. The flowers have many wonderful culinary uses, as well. On a hot summer day, an elderflower cordial makes a most fragrant and refreshing treat. Click here for more elderflower recipes. 

Here at the Co-op, we offer an extensive lineup of elderberry products. There are local options from Eos Botanicals, McFarline Apiaries, New Chapter, and Maple Medicine, along with some of our favorites from trusted brands beyond Vermont’s borders. If you’re wondering which elderberry product is right for you, don’t hesitate to ask a member of our Wellness team! They’d be happy to help you select a product to suit your needs.

Spotlight on The Manghis’ Bread

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on a family-owned bakery that’s been serving fresh-baked bread to their community for over 35 years. From February 18th – 24th, member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all products from The Manghis’ Bread! Read on to learn more about their rich history and commitment to community:

 

Elaine and Paul Manghi founded the Manghis’ Bread in their North Randolph home in the late 1970s. Their mission was to provide healthy, homestyle breads at an affordable price for local families. The business moved to Montpelier in 1980. From 1980 until 2010 Elaine and Paul were the constant faces of the bakery, arriving in the early morning and going strong until afternoon. In February 2010, Paul passed away unexpectedly. The dedicated staff rallied and kept the bakery running smoothly. For several more years, Elaine continued greeting customers and calling wholesale accounts at the bakery, her home away from home. She retired in the spring of 2014 with much appreciation from the staff and
the larger community.

Since then, Manghis’ has evolved into a real family business. Elaine’s daughter, Maria, continues to work with the retail staff and now carries Paul’s operational duties. Elaine’s son-in-law, Steve, left New England Culinary Institute in 2010. He now carries Paul’s production duties, assisting the bakers to mix and bake the goods that are so loved. Elaine’s son, Matthew, occasionally jumps in to assist in both the production and retail sales.

Maria & Steve Stoufer

The foundation of the business is still to provide wholesome breads, breakfast sweets, and seasonal holiday items at an affordable price for local families. Currently, the bakery is primarily a wholesale operation, selling anywhere from 1,800–3,000 loaves to roughly 40 small Vermont businesses each week. Over 35 + years of operation they have also found quite the following with local families and are growing a much larger retail business, which unfortunately has been put on hold due to the pandemic. 

According to Steve and Maria, the bakery strives to be an asset to their community as a solid contributor to the local economy, a sustainable business model, and a concerned community advocate. They strive to minimize their impact on the environment with their unique volunteer delivery system. They provide for all of their staff a competitive wage and a safe, caring environment in which to work. They aim to encourage and support the growth of professional development and create customer satisfaction with their products and with their service.

Whether it is the regular loaf of white bread or the extra special bourbon cakes, Manghis’ is a warm and welcoming Montpelier establishment, offering a special mix of homemade treats and good character. They all look forward to continuing to serve this community for many generations to come.

Spotlight on Breathing In Wellness

In honor of this month of love, we’re thrilled to shine a bright Member Deals Spotlight on a local business that infuses a bit of love into every batch of their handmade herbal wellness products. From February 11th – 17th, Co-op member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all Breathing in Wellness products. Breathing In Wellness is the lovechild of Reyna Morgan-Richer, along with her partner Louella, and they aim to bring you a line of products to gently carry you along a journey of self-care. We also happen to think that their products make perfect gifts for your Valentine. In fact, their Quiet Mind CBD Bath Soak might be just the thing for both of you to enjoy together… Read on to learn more about Breathing in Wellness and its evolution in Reyna’s own words:

 

 

Breathing in Wellness offers mindfully handcrafted products to help the user be more connected to space and time; for self-reflection and self-care as well as connection to their body. Moments of self-care are essential to our overall well-being. I believe that we come to this space having all kinds of experiences of being with our body, myself included! And Breathing in Wellness hopefully is a step in the right direction for helping the community (and myself) see and feel that.

My vision for Breathing In Wellness has always been one that encourages the PAUSE… Hand on the Heart…  Breathing In… Breathing Out… You are invited to notice the changes in your body and mind and spirit.

I desire Breathing In Wellness to be a healing space. But I didn’t always know that…

Years ago when I realized that I wanted to offer self-care products as my side gig, I just knew that the products I was making with plants were amazing! And it was fun to feel connected in a different way to the work that I was doing. Until 2018 when I left my job in the Human Services field, it was a way to destress. And I saw it as a way that I could encourage others in my field to do the same. Often times I felt overworked and under-appreciated, and working with plants in such a healing way was a real small part of why I began Breathing In Wellness; the plants and salves and salts made me happy. Learning about different plants and flowers and their medicinal properties made me happy. The other part of why Breathing In Wellness came to be, was to heal myself and those I loved when they were experiencing ailments that could be healed with herbs. As a cancer survivor and someone who deals with chronic, at times debilitating pain, I was finding ways to lessen my symptoms in a natural, safe, no side effects kind of way.

The thing that has gotten in the way of my spreading the message of and love in my products, is fear. This stems from childhood and young adult/ adult traumas that I have not fully considered, faced, or processed… But I’m working on it. And that is also a part of Breathing In Wellness.

I now see Breathing In Wellness as a space in which I can be authentically myself through and through. I think on some level that has always been the desire, but I just wasn’t there yet. I desire my brand to be an engaging and encouraging space for and of openness for growth and experiencing what may seem out of reach for whatever reason. This is actually no easy task. But nothing worthwhile is easy, is not fearful. Things can be hard and scary, there’s no issue in that, at all. It’s about moving through that space to a space of acceptance of those fears.

I welcome you to a space that accepts all of the easy and all of the hard things. And I welcome you to begin your process with Self Care.

Photo by Elisabeth Waller

Spotlight on Daily Chocolate

Looking for something sweet for your sweetie? Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with your partner, celebrating Galentine’s Day with your best gals, or simply treating yourself to some self-love this Valentine’s Day, we think that a special treat from Daily Chocolate is a perfect way to celebrate. Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on this local chocolatier and all of their decadent products are 20% off for member-owners from February 4th – 10th. Read on to learn more about this sweet little chocolate shop hailing from Vergennes, Vermont, and the people who put the love into the chocolate:

 

Daily Chocolate opened in 2006, the creation of Florey Mahoney and her partner Chris White. Three years later, after planting firm roots at 7 Green Street, the shop was purchased by Jen Roberts and Judd Markowski, an extended family of the shop’s originators.

Jen continued to operate the Daily Chocolate for the next ten years, vastly expanding the menu, and growing its reputation for creating delectable and unique confections. Under Jen’s creativity, she expanded the wholesale markets throughout Addison and Chittenden Counties. Thanks to Jen, Daily Chocolate can be found at numerous coffee shops, farms, and healthy food markets. Helping Jen along the way was Christina Caniyo, author, apothecary, and chocolatier, who was with the shop since it first opened in 2005. Also, a regular at Daily Chocolate, Vergennes artist and chocolatier Bethany Farrell.

On December 1st of 2020 Daily Chocolate changed hands once again. Leading the shop into a new decade is artist and chocolatier Dawn Wagner.

Dawn Wagner

Dawn’s first foray into chocolate was in the mid-’90s at Lake Champlain Chocolates. During her three years there she created some of the factory’s finer chocolates, produced entirely by hand, including many sculptures and other decorative pieces. After moving to NYC to pursue her theatrical career, Dawn continued to make chocolate both professionally for El Eden in the East Village, and privately through her own company cocoSNAP!

In 2016, after nearly 20 years in NYC working both Off and On-Broadway, Dawn, and her husband, actor Jeremy Holm made their triumphant return to Vergennes, Vermont. An old family friend to Jen’s husband Judd, Dawn immediately began working seasonally at Daily Chocolate beside Jen, and very happily joined the team full-time in the spring of 2019.

It is one of Dawn’s dreams-come-true to not only operate a chocolate shop but to be able to do it surrounded by friends and family in her home town.

Quality Ingredients

Daily Chocolate works hard to choose the finest ingredients for our recipes. We use natural, whole foods, free of artificial flavors and colors. Our chocolate is soy-free, and all of our recipes have been modified to remove corn syrup and white sugar. We are committed to shopping locally and organic whenever possible. We are happy to support our local farmers by using Monument Farms dairy, local Vermont maple syrup, & honey, Lincoln Peak Wine, and Cabot Creamery’s butter.

Sustainability

Daily Chocolate is committed to the wellbeing of our planet. Over the past few years, we have worked hard to reduce excessive plastics and increase recycled and biodegradable packaging and shipping materials. Please don’t forget about the luckiest chickens in Addison County, the recipients of the contents of the Daily Chocolate compost bin.

Ethical Practices

We are grateful for the equatorial farmers of West Africa and South America who grow the magical Theobroma Cacao plants that give us chocolate. We promise to source ethically and work with companies who comply with international standards, to end child and slave labor, and to pay these hard-working farm families a fair wage.

Creativity

Making Chocolate is like making theatre. It’s magical, a little mysterious, and when done correctly, it’s moving. Here at Daily Chocolate, we are committed to keeping our ideas fresh, our flavors inventive, and our look beautiful.

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