Local

Spotlight on Butterworks Farm

Butterworks Farm is basking in the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their local, organic, grass-fed dairy products are 20% off for member-owners from March 26th – April 1st. Read on to learn more about this local farm worked by three generations of the Lazor Family over forty–six years to bring you high-quality products with a deep emphasis on regenerative practices that promote soil building, carbon sinking, water retention, and biodiversity:

Over forty years ago, Jack and Anne Lazor came to Westfield, VT fresh out of college with degrees in Agricultural History (Jack) and Anthropology (Anne). As long-time sustainable farmers and leaders in organic farming, they continue to play an important role in the dynamics and operations at Butterworks and beyond. Jack is a writer and frequent inspirational keynote speaker at organic farming conferences everywhere. He enjoys food, friends and pursuing his passions- sustainability and soil science. Anne keeps Jack and the farm running as Jack’s home dialysis technician and a caring presence for the entire team. She enjoys gardening, keeping chickens and ducks, the study of homeopathic medicine and upholds the homesteading spirit she and Jack started with 40 years ago. Their daughter Christine Lazor grew up at Butterworks and now has a family of her own. A deep love for the team, the farm, the animals, the products and the mountains keep her inspired as she and her family carry on the rich farming traditions that her parents began.

Their cows are a herd of very friendly and sometimes precocious Jerseys. Each has her own name and stanchion in the barn during milking. They choose Jerseys for their ability to produce milk on a  100% grass-fed diet. High fiber and mineral-rich grasses, legumes, and forages are available to the cows always in the lush, rotationally grazed pastures of summer and the sweet hay in the winter solar barn.

Their farming methods have evolved over the years. For the first forty years, they were grain growers and hay producers. Cereal crops such as oats, wheat, and barley, along with row crops like corn and soy fit neatly into their crop rotations with grasses and legumes. From the straw for the animals bedding to the grain the cows ate, everything was grown on the farm. Over the years, as their soil health and fertility increased, the quality of their forages improved until they realized that they could likely reduce the amount of grain that was being fed to the cows. By 2016, they had phased out grains completely and became a 100% grass-fed dairy, rotating the cows on fresh pasture every twelve hours.  

 

Jack Lazor shared on the Butterwork’s Farm blog that, “our transition to 100% grass-fed is well worth it.  Despite the fact that we will need more land and sharpened management skills to do this, we are very happy to promote more grass and less grain (and subsequently less tillage) on the land that we steward.  More grass means more fibrous root systems in the soil.  Less grain means less tillage and better soil health.  Less tillage means less burning of fossil fuels and less disturbance to the delicate balance of microorganisms in our soils.

“Our primary goal in farming is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through photosynthesis, lock it up in the Earth’s crust as humus and organic matter.  Higher carbon levels in the soil are the number one weapon that we as humans have to reduce and eliminate the effects of a changing climate.  We are excited to be trying something challenging and new.  Our farming practices were already focused on mineralization and soil health which has built a vibrant farm organism.  Our switch to 100% grass-fed dairying is taking us to new levels.  It is incredibly hard work, but so much fun and what we are learning we want to share with others in the process.”

 

Spotlight on Klinger’s Bread Company

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Klinger’s Bread Company! From March 5th – 11th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of local fresh-baked artisan bread! 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.

Baked Stuffed Apples

This simple, comforting dish makes a perfect Vermont Sugaring Season breakfast. You can also opt to swap out the yogurt with a scoop of ice cream or creme fraiche for a decadent dessert. Many of the ingredients are featured in our weekly sale from March 5th – 11th, so it’s a perfect time to give this recipe a try!

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 13th – 19th, 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. Owner Chas reflected on their 2019 season in a recent Champlain Valley Apiaries blog post. In his post, he references the flurry of media attention given to the large quantities of adulterated honey on grocery store shelves and reminds consumers of the importance of purchasing honey from local producers whose practices you can verify and trust. Chas assures that, “you will never get anything but the best and 100% pure honey from us at Champlain Valley Apiaries. Our commitment to our product goes back three generations and 88 years and will never be compromised.”

 

 

Spotlight on Grafton Village Cheese

Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Grafton Village Cheese. All of their local, award-winning cheeses are 20% off for member-owners from February 6th – 12th, so it’s a perfect time to stock up on your favorites. Read on to learn more about this unique mission-driven creamery with a rich local history:

 

History

The Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company was originally founded in 1892 by dairy farmers who gathered together in a cooperative to make their surplus raw milk into cheese. In the days before refrigeration, there were many such cooperatives in the rural agricultural communities of Vermont and an abundance of fresh, creamy milk was turned into a food that could be stored for a longer period of time. A devastating fire destroyed the original factory in 1912, pressing a decades-long pause on the cheesemaking operation. Thankfully, in the mid-1960s the nonprofit Windham Foundation restored the company in an effort to breathe new life into Grafton’s agricultural economy. Their traditions have endured over the years and they remain committed to making their cheese by hand using premium raw milk from small, local family farms.

Cheese on a Mission

Grafton Village Cheese remains a mission-driven Windham Foundation-owned enterprise, supporting Vermont’s rural communities through grants, programs, and social enterprises. When you purchase Grafton Village Cheese, you’re not only supporting the local family farms that produce the milk and the 60 plus employees at Grafton cheese, but you’re also supporting educational initiatives like the Kindle Farm School, dedicated to serving students with a variety of emotional, behavioral, neurological and learning needs; you’re supporting grants that fuel farm to school efforts by Food Connects; and you’re supporting the preservation of a historic homestead owned by Alec Turner, who was an escaped slave who settled in Grafton in 1872, as part of Vermont’s African Ameican Heritage Trail. Now that’s cheese on a mission!

Visit

In addition to their production facility in Grafton, the Foundation operates a manufacturing plant and cheese store in Brattleboro, Vermont, where visitors can watch the cheddar being made and sample a wide variety of Vermont cheeses. If you’re traveling through the Brattleboro area, this is a must-see! 

 

 

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 16th – 22nd, 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 9th – 15th. 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 nearly 40 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 38 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.

 

 

Spotlight on Agricola Farm

Have you ever met someone so passionate about what they do that their enthusiasm is nearly palpable? Alessandra Reillini of Agricola Farm is just that someone and we’re excited to shine our Member Deals Spotlight on her farm this week. All Agricola Farm meats are 20% off for member-owners from December 26th – 31st, so it’s a great time to stock up the freezer. Read on to learn more about this ecologically-focused farm raising animals in the lush pastures of Panton, VT and the passionate Italian farmers that bring it to life:

About the Farmers

Agricola is a small diversified Italian farm in Panton, VT run by Alessandra (Ale) and Stefano (Steu). They, along with their small crew, are the farmers, the butchers, the vendors, and the chefs.  Ale originally founded the farm in 2007 with three pigs, four sheep, and big dreams. After earning a  Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale School of Medicine, she was lured to the Green Mountain State to UVM where she continues to serve as a Professor of Clinical Psychology when she’s not hard at work on the farm.  Stefano is an Agronomist and has a Masters in Agricultural Science from the University of Turin, in Italy. They share a love of good food, good company, an intense work ethic, and a strong commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Agricola “Farmily”

They specialize in raising and preparing gourmet meats and are particularly well known for their pasture-raised pork. On their farm, you’ll also find Icelandic sheep and heritage breed chickens, for both eggs and meat, along with apiaries for farm-fresh honey. In 2019 they also began raising ducks and geese and they grow many Italian varieties of vegetables and herbs, which you can sample if you’re lucky enough to attend one of their famous farm dinners, or you happen to visit their lovely farmstand during the summer months. At the farmstand, you’ll also find unique seasonal treats including fresh-baked bread, handmade Italian pasta, wildcrafted herbal teas, and artisanal soaps made with their pork lard, along with a stunning array of their fresh and cured meats.

Agricola Farm Stand in Panton, VT

The Italian Way

Ale, Steu, and the rest of their “Farmily” are committed to raising livestock the traditional Italian Way. What does this mean?

  1. The diet they choose to offer their animals promotes more natural growth. They use less sugar (no corn or whey) and fewer proteins (no soy) than the average pig diet. They also select non-GMO feed and avoid feed that speeds the oxidation process of the meat, such as brassicas and soy. Thanks to their diet and genetics, their pigs are predisposed to grow slower, reaching butchering weight at 14+ months, as compared to the usual 6 months for conventionally raised pigs. Why is this important? Muscles that grow slower are more flavorful. Many chefs describe Agricola Farm’s pork as complex and naturally flavored.
  2.  The animals can best express their pigness in pastures. Agricola Farm’s pigs are rotationally-grazed, moving to a new paddock bi-weekly, which allows them to graze the land naturally rich in grasses, legumes, parsnip roots, Jersualem artichokes, fruits, and hickory nuts. Running, digging, and grazing is a great exercise that keeps the pigs happy, entertained, and improves the flavor of the meat. According to Ale, “there is an unexplainable satisfaction in seeing pigs harvesting their own food straight from the land.” Ale and her farmily seed the pastures with grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables that they know the pigs will enjoy and they take great satisfaction in watching the pigs forage and feast.
  3. Agricola Farm processes their own meat following traditional Italian techniques for handling and cutting the meat. This allows them to celebrate their heritage while also maximizing the tenderness and flavor of their products. 

In short, the Italian Way means healthier animals, a more natural and enjoyable way of life for the animals, greater fertility for the land, and higher quality meat for the consumer. 

Happy pigs foraging in a fresh paddock

Looking Forward

Ale and her team have been hard at work rolling out an exciting new project — the opening of Agricola Meats in Middlebury! This meat processing facility will allow them the space, equipment, and flexibility to produce their own cured meat products, along with creating unique products for four other local farms. In her blog, Ale shares that, “the new facility allows us to produce a variety of cured meats such as prosciutto, coppa, pancetta, lonzino, and zillions of other products. We are so excited and ready for this shift! Our hearts also warm up because of the enthusiasm that we find for the project all around us: from the farmers that are happy to finally get a fair price for their livestock and create a unique quality product, from the shop owners that are proud to promote a product in which they believe, and from the people that buy the product and discover a delicious and nutritious way to promote responsible agriculture and be part of the green change that is happening at our farms. It has been a wild and happy ride to get this project going and we have countless people that helped us on the way.  I feel so humbled that so many people have just offered their time and their expertise and many of them have done that without asking for a compensation, only because they believed in the importance of the project… the importance of supporting Vermont Farms, the importance of supporting a type of agriculture that helps our environment and the importance of creating a top product that can make Vermont proud.”

Icelandic Sheep on pasture at Agricola Farm

Here at the Co-op, we’re grateful to work with farmers like Ale and Steu who are so dedicated to the craft of ecological farming and sustainable meat production. It’s critical that we, as consumers, support farmers that prioritize animal welfare and environmental stewardship. Agricola Farm takes pride in their products and they’re excited to become part of your family dinner table.

ducklings at the farm

Classic Hanukkah Brisket

Planning a Hanukkah feast? Local Boyden Farm beef brisket will be featured in our weekly sale from December 12th – 18th and we think you’ll love this Classic Hanukkah Brisket recipe! 

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 12th – 18th — just in time for your holiday parties! 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 recent switch 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 are 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 his hyper-local with very minimal waste. 

Amanda Warren & 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

 

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