Local

Homemade Pizza

Making pizza at home might seem intimidating – especially compared to the relative ease of popping a pre-made frozen pie into the oven, but we think you’ll agree that nothing tastes better than homemade and the process is actually quite simple. PaneBelle’s pizza dough is featured in our weekly sale from January 14th – 20th, along with local Maplebrook fresh mozzarella, Muir Glen organic pizza sauce, and a handful of perfect pizza toppings, including local Vermont Smoke and Cure Pepperoni, so it’s an excellent time to try your hand at homemade pizza! Feel free to get creative with the toppings. This recipe makes 2 thin-crust 12” pizzas. If you prefer a thicker crust, follow the same instructions but create one larger pizza. 

Wellness Wonders: Oxymels

What is an oxymel?

The term oxymel comes from the Greek word oxymeli, which translates to “acid and honey” and generally refers to an herbal extraction of vinegar and raw honey. While some traditional oxymel recipes have as much as a 5 to 1 ratio of honey to vinegar, most modern oxymel recipes call for an equal balance of the two. The vinegar most often used in oxymels is raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which boasts a host of healthful properties on its own. Bringing together the probiotic qualities of raw apple cider vinegar with the beneficial enzymes of raw honey is a fantastic way to get the benefits of both, while also extracting and ingesting supportive herbs, particularly pungent ones that aren’t always pleasant to take on their own. One very popular example of an oxymel that you may be familiar with is fire cider, which was popularized by the esteemed herbalist (and Vermonter) Rosemary Gladstar. 

What health benefits do oxymels offer?

According to a recent Mountain Rose Herbs blog post on the topic of oxymels, both apple cider vinegar and honey have been used for millennia to help boost the immune system, soothe dry throats, and temper digestive issues. Organic apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid, and when you use the raw, unfiltered version, you are also getting “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria (similar to what one might enjoy in kombucha). Meanwhile, the honey brings soothing qualities and provides germ-fighting properties. So, these two ingredients alone are beneficial to the body, and when you add herbs, you have an incredibly effective method of getting extra herbal support as well.

 

Does the Co-op carry oxymels?

The Co-op is proud to offer a local oxymel from our friends at Valley Clayplain Forest Farm. Mark and Ammy make this potent herbal preparation with raw apple cider vinegar, local honey, and juice pressed from fruits grown right on their farm in New Haven. Their Black Currant Oxymel features the tart, yet sweet flavor of this potent superfood that has four times the Vitamin C of an equivalent amount of oranges and double the antioxidants found in blueberries. They suggest taking it by the tablespoon, diluting it with water for a refreshing fruit drink, using it as a marinade, combining it with oil to make a salad dressing, or pouring it over yogurt or pancakes. 

We carry another fantastic local oxymel called Honey Lemon Master Tonic from our friends at The Yerbary in Charlotte, Vermont. This powerful herbal ally is a traditional fire cider made with organic apple cider vinegar, organic onion, organic garlic, organic ginger, organic horseradish root, organic lemon, organic raw honey, organic turmeric, organic habanero pepper. The Yerbary founder Michaela Grubbs says that this tonic will keep your systems resilient and boost your body’s defenses in a powerful yet sweet way!

Want to try making an oxymel at home?

Making your own oxymel may be much easier than you think. Some common dried herbs that make great oxymels include dandelion, elderberries, lemon balm, nettle, tulsi, rosehips, turmeric, basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Check out this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs for making an oxymel with some of your favorite dried healing herbs:

  1. Fill a pint jar 1/4 full of your choice of herbs.
  2. Cover with equal parts apple cider vinegar and honey to fill jar.
  3. Stir to incorporate.
  4. Wipe any liquid off the rim and top with a tight-fitting plastic lid. Alternatively, place a piece of parchment paper under a metal canning lid and ring to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
  5. Shake jar until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Store jar in a cool, dark place to extract for two weeks. Shake jar at least twice a week to assist in extraction.
  7. Strain out herbs through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down on the herbs to release as much liquid as possible, retaining liquid and setting herbs aside to compost.
  8. Pour strained oxymel into glass storage jars or bottles.
  9. Label and date.
  10. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use. When stored properly, shelf life is approximately 6 months.

 

Featured Co-op Connection Business – Green Mountain Adventures

While the pandemic has made it challenging to safely engage in many of our favorite activities, one thing that can’t be taken away is our zest for outdoor adventure. In fact, many say that the ability to get outdoors and enjoy the splendor of Vermont’s natural landscapes is one of the primary reasons they’re getting through this challenging time with sanity intact. Regardless of your outdoor sport of choice, Middlebury’s Green Mountain Adventures is a great place to get outfitted with everything you need to explore the forests, mountains, rivers, and lakes of Vermont and we’re excited that they’re the newest local business to join our Co-op Connection lineup! This means that card-carrying Co-op member-owners can enjoy a 10% discount when shopping at Green Mountian Adventures! Read on to learn more about this family-owned local business and its wide variety of offerings for the outdoor enthusiast in all of us!

 

Co-owners Steve and Marion Atocha first opened Middlebury Mountaineer (d/b/a Green Mountain Adventures) in 1998 on Middlebury’s Mill Street in a spot above the Storm Café. Around five years later, the store moved to a Park Street location formerly occupied by Ben & Jerry’s. After a short stint there, the business inched a little further up Park Street to the storefront next to the Henry Sheldon Museum, and finally, in the Spring of 2017, they found what they’d been looking for, a prime location with great visibility on Middlebury’s Main Street.

Steve is the co-owner and founder of Green Mountain Adventures. On the store’s webpage, he is described as a father, a fly fishing enthusiast, and a certified American Canoe Association Kayaking Instructor. He spends his free time hiking for out of the way fishing holes or backcountry skiing on the Lincoln Gap. Green Mountain Adventures is co-owned by his wife Marion, who also serves as a clothing buyer for the store. She divides her time between the shop and working full-time as a nurse in Bristol. An avid hiker, swimmer, and nordic skier, Marion’s real passion is raising her three boys and working on her family farm. In true family business fashion, their boys pitch in as part of the Green Mountain Adventures team. Their son Brewer works in the store as a sales associate after school and on weekends and helps guide their kids’ summer adventure programs. Their son Abel also pitches in as a store sales associate. Lorenzo, their youngest son, helps tune skis in the wax room.

Steve and Marion Atocha
Steve Atocha with his sons

Green Mountain Adventures provides only the best gear and apparel with a commitment to quality merchandise and a high standard for personalized customer service. You’ll find many of your favorite brands including Patagonia, Darn Tough, Prana, Blundstone, Howler Bros., Hydro Flask, Yeti, and more. They also carry a wide range of cross country skis, boots, poles, wax, and accessories from Fischer, Rossignol, Bjorn Daehlie, Salomon, Rottefella, Craft, and Swix. If you’re not ready to commit to an equipment purchase but want to try out some of the best gear in the industry, check out their summer and winter gear rental and lease options. 

 

If you’re looking for a guide for your adventures, Green Mountain Adventures offers professional guide services and equipment rentals for fly fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing. Whether you’re a beginner interested in learning the basics or a more experienced adventurer looking to hone your skills, Green Mountain Adventures will personalize any full or half-day trip to meet your needs.

Poached Egg & Avocado Bagel Sandwich

Our Weekly Sale from December 31st – January 6th features everything you need to whip up this delicious bagel sandwich, including fresh local bagels from Middlebury Bagel Bakery. We happen to think it makes a perfect breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner!  

Wellness Wonders: Oxymels

What is an oxymel?

The term oxymel comes from the Greek word oxymeli, which translates to “acid and honey” and generally refers to an herbal extraction of vinegar and raw honey. While some traditional oxymel recipes have as much as a 5 to 1 ratio of honey to vinegar, most modern oxymel recipes call for an equal balance of the two. The vinegar most often used in oxymels is raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which boasts a host of healthful properties on its own. Bringing together the probiotic qualities of raw apple cider vinegar with the beneficial enzymes of raw honey is a fantastic way to get the benefits of both, while also extracting and ingesting supportive herbs, particularly pungent ones that aren’t always pleasant to take on their own. One very popular example of an oxymel that you may be familiar with is fire cider, which was popularized by the esteemed herbalist (and Vermonter) Rosemary Gladstar. 

What health benefits do oxymels offer?

According to a recent Mountain Rose Herbs blog post on the topic of oxymels, both apple cider vinegar and honey have been used for millennia to help boost the immune system, soothe dry throats, and temper digestive issues. Organic apple cider vinegar is high in acetic acid, and when you use the raw, unfiltered version, you are also getting “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria (similar to what one might enjoy in kombucha). Meanwhile, the honey brings soothing qualities and provides germ-fighting properties. So, these two ingredients alone are beneficial to the body, and when you add herbs, you have an incredibly effective method of getting extra herbal support as well.

 

Does the Co-op carry oxymels?

The Co-op is proud to offer a local oxymel from our friends at Valley Clayplain Forest Farm. Mark and Ammy make this potent herbal preparation with raw apple cider vinegar, local honey, and juice pressed from fruits grown right on their farm in New Haven. Their Black Currant Oxymel features the tart, yet sweet flavor of this potent superfood that has four times the Vitamin C of an equivalent amount of oranges and double the antioxidants found in blueberries. They suggest taking it by the tablespoon, diluting it with water for a refreshing fruit drink, using it as a marinade, combining it with oil to make a salad dressing, or pouring it over yogurt or pancakes. 

We carry another fantastic local oxymel called Honey Lemon Master Tonic from our friends at The Yerbary in Charlotte, Vermont. This powerful herbal ally is a traditional fire cider made with organic apple cider vinegar, organic onion, organic garlic, organic ginger, organic horseradish root, organic lemon, organic raw honey, organic turmeric, organic habanero pepper. The Yerbary founder Michaela Grubbs says that this tonic will keep your systems resilient and boost your body’s defenses in a powerful yet sweet way!

Want to try making an oxymel at home?

Making your own oxymel may be much easier than you think. Some common dried herbs that make great oxymels include dandelion, elderberries, lemon balm, nettle, tulsi, rosehips, turmeric, basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Check out this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs for making an oxymel with some of your favorite dried healing herbs:

  1. Fill a pint jar 1/4 full of your choice of herbs.
  2. Cover with equal parts apple cider vinegar and honey to fill jar.
  3. Stir to incorporate.
  4. Wipe any liquid off the rim and top with a tight-fitting plastic lid. Alternatively, place a piece of parchment paper under a metal canning lid and ring to keep the vinegar from touching the metal.
  5. Shake jar until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Store jar in a cool, dark place to extract for two weeks. Shake jar at least twice a week to assist in extraction.
  7. Strain out herbs through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down on the herbs to release as much liquid as possible, retaining liquid and setting herbs aside to compost.
  8. Pour strained oxymel into glass storage jars or bottles.
  9. Label and date.
  10. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use. When stored properly, shelf life is approximately 6 months.

 

Featured Co-op Connection Business – Green Mountain Adventures

While the pandemic has made it challenging to safely engage in many of our favorite activities, one thing that can’t be taken away is our zest for outdoor adventure. In fact, many say that the ability to get outdoors and enjoy the splendor of Vermont’s natural landscapes is one of the primary reasons they’re getting through this challenging time with sanity intact. Regardless of your outdoor sport of choice, Middlebury’s Green Mountain Adventures is a great place to get outfitted with everything you need to explore the forests, mountains, rivers, and lakes of Vermont and we’re excited that they’re the newest local business to join our Co-op Connection lineup! This means that card-carrying Co-op member-owners can enjoy a 10% discount when shopping at Green Mountian Adventures! Read on to learn more about this family-owned local business and its wide variety of offerings for the outdoor enthusiast in all of us!

 

Co-owners Steve and Marion Atocha first opened Middlebury Mountaineer (d/b/a Green Mountain Adventures) in 1998 on Middlebury’s Mill Street in a spot above the Storm Café. Around five years later, the store moved to a Park Street location formerly occupied by Ben & Jerry’s. After a short stint there, the business inched a little further up Park Street to the storefront next to the Henry Sheldon Museum, and finally, in the Spring of 2017, they found what they’d been looking for, a prime location with great visibility on Middlebury’s Main Street.

Steve is the co-owner and founder of Green Mountain Adventures. On the store’s webpage, he is described as a father, a fly fishing enthusiast, and a certified American Canoe Association Kayaking Instructor. He spends his free time hiking for out of the way fishing holes or backcountry skiing on the Lincoln Gap. Green Mountain Adventures is co-owned by his wife Marion, who also serves as a clothing buyer for the store. She divides her time between the shop and working full-time as a nurse in Bristol. An avid hiker, swimmer, and nordic skier, Marion’s real passion is raising her three boys and working on her family farm. In true family business fashion, their boys pitch in as part of the Green Mountain Adventures team. Their son Brewer works in the store as a sales associate after school and on weekends and helps guide their kids’ summer adventure programs. Their son Abel also pitches in as a store sales associate. Lorenzo, their youngest son, helps tune skis in the wax room.

Steve and Marion Atocha
Steve Atocha with his sons

Green Mountain Adventures provides only the best gear and apparel with a commitment to quality merchandise and a high standard for personalized customer service. You’ll find many of your favorite brands including Patagonia, Darn Tough, Prana, Blundstone, Howler Bros., Hydro Flask, Yeti, and more. They also carry a wide range of cross country skis, boots, poles, wax, and accessories from Fischer, Rossignol, Bjorn Daehlie, Salomon, Rottefella, Craft, and Swix. If you’re not ready to commit to an equipment purchase but want to try out some of the best gear in the industry, check out their summer and winter gear rental and lease options. 

 

If you’re looking for a guide for your adventures, Green Mountain Adventures offers professional guide services and equipment rentals for fly fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing. Whether you’re a beginner interested in learning the basics or a more experienced adventurer looking to hone your skills, Green Mountain Adventures will personalize any full or half-day trip to meet your needs.

Spotlight on Barn First Creamery

We’re thrilled to shine our Member Deals Spotlight on one of the newest additions to our local cheese lineup – Barn First Creamery! All of their creamy, delicious, award-winning goat cheeses are 20% off for member-owners from December 24th – 30th, so it’s a perfect time to pick up a special cheese or two to help ring in the New Year. Read on to learn more about the roots of this northern Vermont farm and the people (and goats!) who make the magic happen:

 

 

When Rebecca Velazquez and Merlin Backus decided to leave NYC for a more rural life, they had no idea of the adventure they were about to embark upon. In 2013, after a few years of searching for a spot to drop new roots, they made the decision to return to Merlin’s hometown of Westfield, Vermont, where a parcel of land adjacent to Merlin’s family home had become available. The property sale happened to include a barn… hence the name Barn First! 

Once the couple settled in Westfield, Rebecca set out to find work. She had a deep love of cheese, so Merlin’s father Dan thought it made perfect sense to connect her with fellow community member and award-winning goat cheesemaker Laini Fondiller of Lazy Lady Farm. Dan knew Laini well, as local connections tend to run deep in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. In fact, before Laini started her own goat farm, she’d worked with Dan as a logger and hog castrator. So Rebecca went to work for Laini, learning the ropes of goat husbandry, land management, and cheese care. Though Rebecca regularly turns to Laini with goat health care issues, she is quick to stress that she never asked Laini for cheesemaking tips or recipes, wanting to respect the relationship between the two of them, and Laini’s thirty-year legacy of goat cheese making. 

While Rebecca was working for Lazy Lady Farm, she and Merlin got to work building a barn of their own and bought two old goats from Laini to begin their own fledgling herd. They hand-milked seven goats from 2013-2016 before their barn, milking parlor, and cheese room were up and running. Eventually, they picked up a few more goats from another esteemed Vermont goat dairy – Twig Farm. The Barn First herd now consists of just under 50 does, milked to produce pasteurized bottled goat milk, as well as seven types of award-winning aged goat cheeses. All of the goats are pastured when the weather allows, and their milk tastes like the fields and woods of Westfield, Vermont. The goats are milked seasonally, with a resting period every winter when the animals get ready for kidding in March. In a recent NFCA Cave to Co-op feature on Barn First Creamery, the author points out that “Rebecca and Merlin might be Laini’s protégées but they have their own distinct style, making cheeses that complement each other and can appear on a cheese board together.” The poetic names for each of their cheeses come from the maiden names of Rebecca and Merlin’s family trees.

Here a the Co-op, you can find Barn First Creamery’s bottled goat milk, along with four of their fantastic cheeses, including Breiba, Urdang, Quinby, and Malloy (the reigning 1st place champion at the prestigious American Cheese Society Awards!). Try them all and let us know your favorite!

Spotlight on 3 Bears Bakery

‘Tis the season for dazzling confections and we’re thrilled to shine our Member Deals Spotlight on a local family-owned bakery that brings some of the tastiest local treats to our Co-op shelves – 3 Bears Bakery! Read on to learn more about the family behind these decadently delicious artisan pastries, cakes, and shortbreads hailing from nearby Orwell, Vermont:

 

 

Established in 2008 by Andre and Claire Konstant, 3 Bears Bakery has been providing the local community with English and European baked goods for over 12 years.

Claire, having been raised in England, and Andre, having traveled extensively throughout western Europe, wanted to bring the tastes of these cultures to small-town Vermont. For 12 years they have been handcrafting artisan breads, pastries, cakes, shortbreads, and sweets for their local farmers’ market and small stores using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, but always focusing on the highest quality first.

Being a small family-owned business, their focus is truly local. You can find their treats at a short list of local co-ops and markets including our Co-op, the Rutland Co-op, the Rutland Farmer’s Market, Buxton’s General Store, and the Lake Hortonia General Store. They’ve also been known to fill the farmstand at Squier Family Farm with their treats from time to time. 

 

Spotlight on Champlain Valley Creamery

We’re casting our Member Deals Spotlight on a local organic creamery that produces delicious award-winning cheeses just a few short miles from the Co-op. Champlain Valley Creamery uses traditional techniques and small-batch pasteurization to produce their cheese entirely by hand in a net-zero solar-powered facility in Middlebury. Their fantastic lineup of cheeses are all 20% off for Member-owners from December 3rd – 9th! Read on to learn more about this fabulous local creamery and the people who make it shine:

 

 

Champlain Valley Creamery was first established in 2003 by founder and owner Carleton Yoder. With a graduate degree in food science and a background in wine and hard cider making, Yoder was eager to run his own food business. With Vermont’s abundance of amazing local milk, small-scale cheesemaking just made sense. Yoder began his adventures in cheesemaking in a facility in Vergennes where he focused on two products: Organic Champlain Triple and Old Fashioned Organic Cream Cheese. Both have been awarded well-deserved honors from the prestigious American Cheese Society.

Carleton Yoder

Over the years, the creamery has continued to grow and expand its offerings, eventually moving into a net-zero solar-powered facility on Middlebury’s Exchange Street in 2012. Yoder and his small crew now produce an expanded lineup of cheeses including Queso Fresco (available in original, house-smoked, and pepper varieties),  Maple Cream Cheese, a pyramid-shaped triple cream with a layer of ash known as Pyramid Scheme, and, most recently, they began importing Italian truffles to produce the Champlain Truffle Triple.

 

The Creamery also made a switch last year to using 100% grass-fed organic milk from the Severy Farm in Cornwall. The milk only travels a few short miles from the farm to the creamery, where the cheesemaking begins within hours of arrival. The use of grass-fed milk results in a richer, creamier cheese that displays subtle seasonal changes reflective of the changing diet of the cows as the seasons progress. It’s truly the terroir of Addison County in each decadent bite of cheese.

salting a fresh batch of Queso Fresco

Yoder is supported by a small crew that is just as dedicated to the craft as he is. They use traditional techniques and small-batch pasteurization to produce their cheeses entirely by hand.  A recent visit to their facility found the crew in constant motion, measuring, stirring, monitoring temperatures, and generally putting every bit of the day’s fresh batch of milk to good use. The bulk of the cream and whole milk is used to produce the Organic Champlain Triple, Champlain Truffle Triple, and the two varieties of cream cheese. The part-skim milk is then transformed into each of the three varieties of Queso Fresco, and the whey is drained off to create hand-dipped, basket-strained ricotta that is only available to a few select restaurants in the area. The only remaining by-product is a small amount of whey, which is sent to feed the happy pigs at Hinesburg’s Full Moon Farm, resulting in an operation that is hyper-local with very minimal waste. 

Amanda Warner & Carleton Yoder, with Carleton’s daughter,  Lila Cook Yoder, who was helping out on a snow day

According to Yoder, “cheesemaking is hard work but we strive to let the milk, cream, culture, salt, and mold shine through with their amazing flavors.” It’s this minimalist approach and the desire to honor the high-quality local ingredients that make Champlain Valley Creamery’s cheeses shine.

Picture hanging above Yoder’s desk made by his son, Nate

 

Classic Hanukkah Brisket

Planning a Hanukkah feast? New England-raised beef brisket will be featured in our weekly sale from December 3rd – 9th and we think you’ll love this Classic Hanukkah Brisket recipe! 

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