Local

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 4th – 10th, so it’s a perfect time to stock up on local 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 26,500 taps. Many of these taps come from maple trees on their beautiful 300-acre farm in Starksboro and some taps reside on two neighboring properties from whom they buy sap. Last year they were excited to sign a new land lease, adding an additional 250 acres to their sugarbush!

The 2018 season yielded 11,000 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.

 

Spotlight on Kimball Brook Farm

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Kimball Brook Farm! Their full line of products is 20% off for member-owners from March 28th – April 3rd. 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 additions to the lineup: Maple Lemonade, Strawberry Ginger Lemonade, and a line of teas and lemonades with CBD!

 

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 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:

 

 

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

Spotlight on Klinger’s Bread Company

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Klinger’s Bread Company! From March 14th – 20th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of local fresh-baked artisan breads! Read on to learn more about this Burlington-based bakery and their time-honored baking traditions:

 

Rustic, Healthy, Hearty, Crusty, Chewy, Flavorful…
Just a few words overheard to describe the artisan breads of Klinger’s. Their hearth-baked breads were proudly brought to Vermont in 1993 by the Klingebiel families of Williston, Vermont and Salem, New York.

These flavorful, authentic European breads were developed by one of America’s premier artisan bakers. Their bakers have been thoroughly trained in the methods and subtleties of bread baking. The breads are made from starters which are allowed to develop over a thirty-hour period. Visit the bakery and watch their bread crafters at work. Amidst floured tables, you will see them mix the finest ingredients, hand shape loaves, and bake them with care in their French brick oven.

Klinger’s is proud to bring you the rustic, homemade taste of their signature artisan breads. Their goal is to produce breads with character and integrity, to make your mouth water with the aroma of loaves fresh from the oven, and to share the products of their labor with you again and again.

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! Better yet – during the month of March they’re completely waiving the enrollment fee for Co-op member-owners! 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 its 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 four consecutive years, they have received the United Way of Addison County’s “Partner Award” for an annual event that has raised $47,500 for our local friends and families in need. Wow!! They were the 2018 recipients of the prestigious BOB (Best of Business) award in the Health Club category by Vermont Business Magazine. 

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 February14th – 20th, 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 Douglas Sweets

Looking for a sweet local treat for your Valentine? Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Douglas Sweets! All of their sweet and savory Scottish shortbreads are 20% off for member-owners from February 7th – 13th. Read on to learn more about this local bakery based in Shelburne, VT and the mother-daughter duo who are carrying on a cherished family tradition:

 

Armed with a traditional shortbread recipe developed and perfected by her Scottish mother, founder Debra Townsend, along with her daughter and co-founder Hannah (named for her inspirational grandmother), launched a business out of the kitchen of their condo. Fast-forward a few years and countless batches of these delectable, buttery shortbreads, the Townsends needed to scale up, moving their business into the Vermont Artisan Village in Shelburne where they also operate a retail bakeshop. There you will find their signature shortbreads along with great coffee and an array of baked goods from fruit tarts to cheesecakes, all of which are made with their famous shortbread dough.

According to Debra, “In 1956, my mother longed for the traditional Scottish shortbread she had grown to love while in the old country. After much experimenting, she duplicated that perfect rich buttery taste. For years our family has been baking that same shortbread and enjoying it with friends.”

The Townsends are committed to using Vermont ingredients like King Arthur Flour and Cabot butter whenever possible. At the Co-op, you’ll find their sweet and savory buttery shortbreads in a wide variety of flavors ranging from the original traditional Scottish shortbread to more exotic flavors inspired by Townsend’s world travels like spicy Indian curry, Italian lemon and rosemary, or Thai sweet basil and peanut. The bakers offer the shortbreads plain or dipped in chocolate for an even more luxurious treat!

 

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 organic pizza dough is featured in our weekly sale from January 24th – 30th, along with local Maplebrook fresh mozzarella, local Bove’s pizza sauce, and a handful of perfect pizza toppings, 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. 

Spotlight on New Chapter

Looking to step up your wellness game in 2019? We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on New Chapter this week and all of their supplements are 20% off for member-owners from January 10th – 16th. Read on to learn more about this Brattleboro-based B Corp that has been honoring natural well-being by nurturing body, soul, and Earth for over 35 years:

 

New Chapter was originally founded in 1982 by Paul and Barbi Schulick out of a passion to promote health through innovative botanical formulations made with 100% real foods and herbs. The company has grown and evolved over the past 36 years, but it still remains firmly rooted in Brattleboro, VT where they proudly employ more than 150 area residents.

 

Mission

  • To deliver the wisdom of Nature, thus relieving suffering and promoting optimal health.
  • To advance the organic mission, nourishing body and soul with the healing intelligence of pure whole foods and herbal supplements.
  • To nurture and sustain Mother Earth, the source of natural healing.
  • To honor and reward personal growth, for enlightened teamwork depends on the vitality of every member of the New Chapter® family.

 

Commitment to Sustainability

At New Chapter, concern for the planet is expressed not only through careful sourcing and formulation principles but also with every action they take as a company. New Chapter is proud to be a Certified B Corporation, which means they define success in holistic terms that encompass not just profit but people and Earth too. 

  • Sustainable Sourcing – They travel the globe to identify and build relationships with supplier partners who share their commitment to sustainable sourcing. Knowing their suppliers and the origins of their crops helps to uphold a supply chain that is both socially responsible and environmentally conscious.
  • Welfare of People – Throughout the supply chain, from Vermont to India, New Chapter aims to engage partners whose workers are treated with respect and provided with working conditions that are safe, healthy, and balanced.
  • Climate Friendly Farming – New Chapter is proud to be a part of the growing regenerative agricultural movement. Replacing industrial practices with regenerative ones can reboot plants’ natural cycle of removing carbon from the air by sequestering it in the ground. Along with adherence to organic standards, soil regeneration practices include rotating crops, composting, using cover crops, and avoiding deep tilling. These techniques create healthy, carbon-rich soil that is full of organic matter and holds water like a sponge.
  • Waste Reduction – New Chapter is able to compost, recycle, or reuse more than 80% of the waste they produce – everything from lunch leftovers and office paper to pallets and shrink-wrap. And they’re now certified Zero Waste to Landfill, which reduces their carbon footprint and uses energy recovery to convert their waste into clean energy.

 

Giving Back

As environmental stewards focused on human health, New Chapter works to increase accessibility to organic food, farming, and traditional herbal medicine. And as a Certified B Corp, they endeavor to use their business resources to help solve social and environmental problems—in communities around the world where our ingredients come from as well as locally right here in Vermont. Partners include Kindle Farm and the Vermont Food Bank.

 

 

Student Perspectives on the Co-op in our Community: Introducing Perenniality

Sustainable. Organic. Natural. Free range. Local. The criteria for our food and the terminology to describe it seem to be constantly evolving: why add another word to the list?

Over the past few months, we have been meeting with General Manager Glenn Lower to learn about the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op and cooperatives in general, and to discuss yet another term, the word perennial. This partnership was brought about as a part of a course offered by Middlebury College called “The Perennial Turn in Ag/Culture,” co-taught by visiting professor Bill Vitek, local professor Marc Lapin, and MNFC Board member Nadine Barnicle.

So what does it mean to be perennial? Perenniality is more than a label, and it even goes beyond applying to our food systems. Perenniality is about a shift in consciousness towards a set of values that promote sustainability and equitable relations with other people as well as the ecosystems around us. A select list of some of the traits that characterize perennial thought includes “regenerative,” “interconnected,” “dynamic,” and “thrivable.” The Co-op embodies all of these characteristics in various ways.

The first characteristic of perennial organizations is that they are regenerative. The Co-op practices this value by taking the benefits of the Co-op and using it within the local community so that the community can be financially self-sustaining. Not only does the Co-op buy products from local farms and producers, but the Co-op also provides employment opportunities in the community, and at the end of the year, member-owners receive a share of the profit through their patronage dividend. The Co-op also borrowed money from a local co-op bank in Middlebury when expanding the building a few years ago.

The second characteristic we would like to introduce is the interconnectedness of the Co-op. The Co-op provides the member-owners and the people who shop at the Co-op with more than just a store-customer relationship. As a member of the local community in its own right, the Co-op provides spaces and opportunities for the local people to come together. That includes the workshops, events, and classes held by the Co-op.

Another fundamental characteristic of perennial organizations is a willingness to change: perenniality is dynamic. One major theme that was discussed in class was a transition from object to living thinking, as conceived of by Craig Holdrege. The Co-op displays this value through its responsiveness to the community it serves: moving to a new storefront out on Route 7 would have saved the Co-op roughly one million dollars. Glenn remarked that “it would’ve been easy.” Thankfully, MNFC’s commitment to the community meant that it was willing to do things differently and make the money work, as Glenn put it. This responsiveness means that MNFC engages with members, truly listens, and then changes their practices to best meet members’ needs.

The final characteristic we wanted to share with you was introduced to us by another community partner in class, Chinese medicine practitioner and acupuncturist Rachel Edwards: thrivability. In essence, thrivability is what lies beyond sustainability, as we want the world around us not only to sustain but to thrive, just as we would want for ourselves happiness beyond meeting basic needs. The Co-op promotes thrivability as it explicitly encourages a “vibrant local economy” as one of its ends, and otherwise actively pursues positive change rather than accepting stasis.

Ultimately, MNFC models what we have discussed in our class as the underlying principle of perennialism: namely, cooperation as the fundamental basis of all relations. The Co-op models all sorts of perennial characteristics, but most importantly, as a cooperative, it is cooperative. It is inherently regenerative, interconnected, responsive to its members, and pursuing thrivability. Hopefully, the Co-op will continue to have as much success as it does now, and in doing so, promote other ways of being for retailers and consumers alike. In this way, perhaps perennialism as a philosophy can spread. Still, Glenn’s advice to us was to let it grow on its own. If it can flourish organically, then it will catch on.

Josie Bourne and Shio Shio Tsurudome are Middlebury College Students

 

 

Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery

Looking to satisfy your holiday sweet tooth? We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Krin’s Bakery this week and member-owners can enjoy 20% off Krin’s full line of local confections from December 20th – 26th! Read on to learn more about this wonderful 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 Bakery in 2005.

According to Krin, “We are a community of 7 Huntington women bringing diligence, humor, and really good taste buds to work every day. Our team is devoted to delicious baked goods made in small batches with deep attention to the baking process. We bring pride to our production process, using only “real” ingredients (butter instead of shortening, sugar instead of corn syrup). From ingredient choice to the mixing bowl, from oven to cooling rack, we bring that sense of pride from our kitchen to you.”

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 including carrots and zucchini from Full Moon Farm in Hinesburg, Bee Happy Honey from Starksboro, Huntington’s own Maple Wind Farm eggs, and dairy from Middlebury’s Monument Farms.

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

At the Co-op, you’ll find Krin’s famous cupcakes, mini cakes, macaroons, and cookies!

 

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