With the fast approaching holidays, we’re excited to shine a bright light on Addison West! This shop nestled in the heart of downtown Middlebury offers a skillfully curated lineup of new and vintage items intended to excite and inspire, and they offer a sweet deal for card-carrying Co-op member-owners! Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind this new venture and the folks who bring it to life:
What began as a holiday pop-up in the space at 44 Main Street previously occupied by Community Barn Ventures has since evolved into a full-fledged home design, décor, and lifestyle shop featuring an enticing lineup of gifts, furniture, jewelry, lighting, artwork, and other kitchen and home décor. By November of 2022, Community Barn Ventures had relocated to the Old Stone Mill in Frog Hollow, and Monique Bonner seized the opportunity to change course from a decades-long career as a tech marketing executive to fulfill a lifelong dream of running a retail shop. Bonner officially launched Addison West on her 50th birthday, drawing on her previous experience redesigning and renovating countless bathrooms, kitchens, condos, and homes and fulfilling a passion for connecting people with the spaces and things they love.
Bonner particularly enjoys showcasing the work of local makers, artists, and artisans, so you’ll find among her skillfully curated collection many locally-crafted items and artwork. She also has a particular passion for bringing together things both old and new, sharing in an Addison Independent article her love of “mixing new with vintage, things that have history. That’s a huge part of my philosophy on home design and decorating. I also love that buying vintage or antique items and furniture for your home is another way for us to think and act sustainably.”
As for the name Addison West, Bonner shares on her website that, “well, most simply, we live on West Street in Addison County in Vermont. Addison County is a remarkable area. It’s an area grounded in the earth and landscape. It’s surrounded by mountains, full of farms and dairy cows and amazing, resilient, people. And the idea of the West has always seemed to inspire exploration, new places, the undiscovered. So our ethos is all about the grounded, the historical, the foundational, and at the same time inhabiting the magic of what’s new and what’s possible.”
The overarching goal for Addison West, according to their website is “to have people feel grounded and great. Great about their spaces. Great about their homes, their lives, and their gifts – both what they give to themselves and what they give to others. We really want to inspire people to embrace the best of what they have, while at the same time encouraging them to try new, to mix things up.” As part of their participation in the Co-op Connection program, they generously offer a 10% discount to Co-op member-owners, so consider this your formal invitation to visit Addison West and explore all that they have to offer! Whether you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift, or simply looking for fresh inspiration for your own home, we think you’ll find what you’re looking for at Addison West!
It’s baking season! What a perfect time to stock up on local baking supplies from King Arthur Baking Company! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from November 24th – 29th, so member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on their full line of baking products! Read on to learn more about America’s oldest flour company and its mission to create and deliver superior products and knowledge so that consumers experience the joy and passion of baking, all informed by their values as a 100% employee-owned Benefit Corporation:
King Arthur is an employee-owned company on a mission to be the ultimate resource and inspiration in the kitchen, to inspire connections and community through baking, and to use their business as a force for good. They were first founded over 230 years ago and while much has changed over the years (including a recent name change from King Arthur Flour to King Arthur Baking Company), they remain committed to the principles upon which they were founded. They believe in the power of baking to make a difference — for people and the planet. They work to build stronger communities and increase access and connection to real foods. They take pride in their responsible sourcing and their “never bleached” guarantee. And they work closely with farmers, millers, and suppliers in a continued commitment toward sustainability.
King Arthur Baking Company is a certified B-Corporation and they measure their progress with a triple bottom line — people, planet, and profit. Their products are non-GMO Verified by the third-party Non-GMO project and they source their wheat from American farms, helping grow a strong, sustainable agricultural economy. In partnership with their farmers, they’re working to limit pesticide exposure while increasing sustainable yields in a changing climate; promoting our planet’s health for many years to come. They carry on their centuries-old heritage of stewardship through the quality of their brand, and the steps they take to preserve the vitality of the community and the earth on which we live. Click here to view their Mission & Impact documented through the annual B Impact assessment.
At King Arthur Baking, they have always believed that everyone deserves equal access to the joy of baking. They strive to ensure that their values are reflected in all that they do. To maintain and extend a history of putting community, their employee-owners, and the planet first, they recognize that they must also address the social injustices that challenge those very values. They have committed themselves to this work not out of obligation, but because it’s ingrained in who they are as a company. They recognize that the work of fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion will never end; there will always be more humbling, difficult, and meaningful work to do. And they commit to rising to the challenge time and time again — because of a strong sense of responsibility to break down barriers that hinder access to baking, a universal craft that has the power to unite people from all walks of life. Click here to read more about their ongoing work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Whether you’re a brand new baker or a seasoned professional, King Arthur Baking is there for you with an incredible volume of resources to help you bake your best. There are handy tips for what to do when your bread falls flat and your cookies crumble, excellent instructional videos to help you understand everything from bulk fermentation to baking the perfect pie crust, and recipes for anything you could ever dream to bake. And if you’re a professional baker, King Arthur Baking offers a library of reference materials and information that will be helpful in bakeries, restaurants, and production facilities. They also offer live and virtual classes for every type of baker at every skill level. Classes range from introductory demonstrations for beginners to intensive week-long professional courses, with a wide variety of hands-on classes for adults and children. Let them be your ultimate go-to resource for all things baking.
Halloween is a time when we’re typically bombarded with mountains of sugary, corn-syrupy treats being hauled around by all the little ghouls and goblins, which is why we’re loving this good old-fashioned alternative featuring healthy whole-grain popcorn and pure Vermont maple syrup. You’ll find local, organic Hurricane Flats popcorn featured in our Halloween Weekly Sale from October 26th – November 1st, so it’s a perfect time to give these wholesome treats a try!
Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on a local business that keeps our Co-op shelves stocked with fresh-roasted artisan coffees and teas. From October 26th – November 1st, member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on all of the offerings from Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea! Read on to learn more about this local importer and roaster of single-source, organic, and fairly traded coffee and tea and their dedication to the craft:
Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea was founded by Mané Alves, a native of Lisbon, Portugal, who has been in the specialty coffee industry for over 20 years. His wife, Holly, came to the business with more than 20 years of experience with branding and marketing and now handles strategy and marketing for Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea. Together with their General Manager, Renee Adams, and the rest of the team, they possess a shared passion for great coffee and a vision of delivering the highest quality coffee and tea products to their customers, week in and week out.
Thanks to his extensive travels, Mané has been able to develop direct relationships with many of the farmers from which his coffees and teas are sourced. Many of the coffees in the lineup are single-sourced, farm-direct, organically grown, and Fair Trade certified.
The workhorse of the company is its state-of-the-art Roastery where they transform green coffee beans from around the world into some of the finest roasted beans around.
If you find yourself passing through Waterbury, VT, be sure to drop by their coffee bar and see for yourself why Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea has earned a coveted Seven Daysie award for “Best Coffee Roaster in Vermont” and “Best Coffee Shop Outside of Chittenden County.” They offer delicious drinks and treats to-go, plus whole bean and ground coffees and teas by the bag.
Mané and the rest of his team understand the importance of sustainable business practices. They collaborate with the farmers who grow the products they offer to explore climate-friendly growing practices and they are committed to offering eco-friendly packaging. Click here to learn more about the balance between sustainability and quality in coffee packaging and the environmentally friendly Biotré 2 bag used for Vermont Artisan Coffees, which is made from 100% renewable materials and is 60% compostable.
In addition to offering high-quality coffee and tea to retail outlets, Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea is also host to the School of Coffee — a professional coffee training center offering CQI-accredited courses on brewing and roasting coffee in a Specialty Coffee Association Certified Premier training facility. Their cupping classes, roasting classes, and barista classes are geared toward the coffee professional, while their tastings and workshops are for folks who just want to learn more about the world of specialty coffee. To learn more about tours, tastings, and workshops, click here.
It’s a lot of fun to celebrate culinary traditions, even when they aren’t necessarily a part of one’s personal cultural heritage, as long as we remember to honor the line between appreciation and appropriation. These experiences help open our minds and our palates to the unique traditions and flavors of different cultures. With this in mind, we’re sharing a delicious recipe for an Oktoberfest meal with a unique Vermont twist! Dabbling in this German culinary tradition is also budget-friendly since many of the ingredients are featured in our weekly sale from September 28th – October 4th, so pick up some Picnic Provisions bratwurst, Flack Family Farm kraut, and a VonTrapp brew, and revel in the flavors of Oktoberfest in Vermont!
One of the hallmarks of this season in Vermont is the abundance of local apples. With this in mind, we’re wrapping up our September Eat Local Challenge by casting our Co-op Spotlight on one of the oldest continuously operating orchards in Vermont – Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, and feeling exceptionally grateful that this year’s late frost didn’t decimate the harvest! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so member-owners can enjoy 20% off their stunning array of fresh apples and apple products including sweet apple cider, apple pies, and apple cider donuts from September 28th – October 4th! Read on to learn more about this family-owned, solar-powered, ecologically managed orchard overlooking Lake Champlain.
The story of Champlain Orchards as we know it today began in 1998, when twenty-seven-year-old Bill Suhr purchased 60 acres of orchard in Shoreham, Vermont. Bill’s motivation and initiative to live off the land overshadowed the fact that apple growing and fruit farming were not in his realm of knowledge, but thanks to the seasoned expertise of long-established neighboring orchardists Sandy Witherell, Scott and Bob Douglas, and Judy Pomainville – who all shared equipment, land, and information, it wasn’t long before the orchard was thriving. In the early days, Bill delivered 20 bushels at a time in a station wagon to the local farmers’ markets and co-ops. He quickly gained the trust of produce markets around the state through exhibiting a steadfast motivation and passion for delivering high-quality, Vermont-grown fruit.
Today, Champlain Orchards manages over 220 acres of fruit trees that include over 140 varieties of apples as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, medlar, quince, and many berries. They are committed to being careful stewards of their land and grow all of their fruit following strict Eco-Apple requirements, while striving to minimize their carbon footprint and sustainably contribute to their community. Eight acres are certified Organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) and the farm is almost entirely solar-powered. All of their fruit is either ecologically grown and third-party certified by the IPM institute or organically grown and certified by VOF.
Additionally, Champlain Orchards runs a cidery. Their orchard-made cider is crafted from fruit grown with a conscience, in beautiful and pristine Vermont. Their cidery is located on-site at Champlain Orchards and every single apple in their hard ciders is pressed, fermented, and crafted at their orchard. This makes for a quality, local product that is fresh, crisp, and deliciously drinkable. They average around 50,000 gallons per year, and growing! New this year is a Cider Garden which is open throughout the fall, featuring locally sourced food and beverages, as well as events and activities for both adults and children, like lawn and board games! Click here to learn more and see the schedule of hours and events.
Champlain Orchards is proud to employ over 40 local Vermont residents, year-round. They also welcome an amazing Jamaican crew during their harvest season, many of whom have been coming to Champlain Orchards for over a decade!
One very exciting addition to the Champlain Orchards family is the last few years is the legendary orchardist Zeke Goodband. Zeke left a nearly 20-year tenure at Scott Farm Orchards in Dummerston, Vermont to join the Champlain Orchards crew. According to a Seven Days article heralding this merger of apple mega minds, Zeke is described as a “champion of old and odd varieties of heirloom apples. His fruit has brightened up apple bins in co-ops around the state, and his influence has changed Vermonters’ perception of what an apple can be: golden and purple, as well as red and green; russeted or gnarled skin, as well as smooth.” He arrived at Champlain Orchards with scion wood from about two dozen varieties, which he plans to graft onto rootstock to see how they do in this new environment. Goodband and Suhr describe themselves as old friends and kindred spirits. They both admit to working too much and get excited when the conversation turns to apple genetics. They share the same values of fruit growing: making sure it’s safe for the environment and for their families.
In 2020, Champlain Orchards acquired neighboring Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill. This orchard was founded in 1989 and was overseen by four generations of the Douglas family. Scott and Bob Douglas were the fourth and final generation of Douglas’ to operate the farm and before selling the property to Champlain Orchards, they took steps to protect the land from future development by working with the Vermont Land Trust to preserve the Douglas Orchard & Cider Mill’s 181 acres. The conservation easement ensures the land will remain available to future farmers. Here’s what Bill Suhr has to say about the purchase of Douglas Orchard:
“For the past 22 years, I have been emulating Bob and Scott Douglas as they care for their family farm and orchards, just down the road from us. After years of discussions and planning, we were able to officially purchase the 180-acre farm, allowing Bob & Terry, and Scott & Sue Douglas to officially begin a well-earned retirement. The Douglas family has been very supportive of Champlain Orchards over the years and I am thrilled to be able to preserve this historic orchard for future generations and continue on their legacy and values.”
Over the years the team at Champlain Orchards has worked hard to avoid competing with the Douglas family when growing their PYO operation. They respect that some customers have formed loyalties to each farm, while other folks travel back and forth to experience both. Many companies absorb a competitor and simply overlay their own company traits. However, the folks at Champlain Orchards view this as an opportunity to maintain the unique experiences each farm offers, so people can appreciate older trees vs. new trellis, traditional apple varieties vs. uncommon varieties, etc. While staffing two operations will be challenging, they appreciate the opportunity for visitors to spread out and enjoy the freedom of both orchards.
Champlain Orchards is open for pick-your-own (PYO) fruit for much of the growing season, so if you’ve never visited, consider this your formal invitation! Their website and social media pages are updated regularly to reflect seasonal PYO options and times. Visiting the orchard is a treat any time of year, but it’s truly a magical experience in the Fall when the apples are peaking!
As our Eat Local Challenge rolls on, we’re shining a bright Member Deals Spotlight on our friends at Old Road Farm! All of their glorious organic produce is 20% off for member-owners from September 21st – 27th! Read on to learn more about these young farmers, the diverse experience they bring to this challenging profession, and their commitment to real organic farming:
Meet the Farmers
A transplant from New York, Gabby Tuite came to Vermont to attend the University of Vermont where she received a bachelor’s in Community Development and Applied Economics. While studying at UVM, she took an internship at the Shelburne Farms’ Market Garden where she first got her hands dirty and fell in love with farming. After UVM, Gabby worked at River Berry Farm for two seasons. Here she learned how to grow on a larger scale, taking note of the efficiencies required to run a profitable farm. Between growing seasons, Gabby has worked at the City Market Onion River-Coop as a Produce Buyer and Team Leader giving her insight into marketing and merchandising, supervising employees as well as the local food chain from a buyer’s perspective.
Henry Webb grew up with large vegetable gardens and has fond early memories of visiting his father working at the UVM dairy barn. Starting in his teens he spent eight seasons working for Last Resort Farm, a Certified Organic vegetable, berry, and hay farm. He learned to maintain and work on the farm’s equipment and infrastructure as well as organic vegetable farming practices. Henry also spent two years at New Village Farm where he worked with a small herd of Normandie cattle producing raw milk and beef. At New Village, he was given the opportunity to manage and expand the farm’s market garden and gained experience producing for a small CSA, a farm stand, and the Shelburne Farmers Market.
About the Farm
Gabby and Henry shared a dream of owning their own farm and first began their adventure in the Fall of 2015 on a quarter-acre plot in the old field below Henry’s childhood home in Monkton, Vermont, mostly growing vegetables for a few area farmer’s markets. In the Fall of 2019, they were able to secure their dream “forever farm” with the help of the Vermont Land Trust. This gorgeous farm is nestled in the fertile river valley of Granville, Vermont, surrounded by National Forest land.
They specialize in growing fresh, high-quality salad greens and seasonal vegetables for local markets with a deep commitment to the highest standards of ecologically sound, regenerative, and innovative vegetable production. Their produce is Certified Organic by VOF and they are also certified by the Real Organic Project, a grassroots, farmer-led movement created to distinguish soil-grown and pasture-raised products under USDA organic. Gabby and Henry share that they choose to be certified by the Real Organic Project (ROP) because their farming practices are inherently tied to the land and the soil that they farm.
Gabby shares that “In Vermont, we are really fortunate to have the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) and its certifying body, Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF), who share that commitment, but on a national level, we agree with the ROP that industrialization has in some ways diluted the intent of the organic label. We really don’t like to be critical of anyone’s farming practices, but there are currently things allowed under national standards that we don’t think fit people’s perception of what an organic farm is and we think that consumers have a right to an informed decision about what they are buying. We see our farm, our land, as not just a medium for production but a deeply complex living system that we ultimately bear the responsibility to steward. ROP is an advocate for that view.”
Here at the Co-op, you can find an abundant array of Old Road Farm’s produce, including spinach, chard, salad mix, arugula, collards, sweet peppers, cauliflower, radishes, patty pan squash, broccolini, watermelon, and scallions, each in their respective seasons. If you find yourself traveling Vermont’s iconic Route 100 through Granville, be sure to stop for a visit at their farmstand, where you can find a colorful mix of all the produce grown at their farm, which includes the usual lineup of goodies you can find at the Co-op, along with eggplant, tomatoes, squash, celery, and more!
As we reach the halfway point of our September Eat Local Challenge, we’re excited to share this quick and easy Apple Yogurt Parfait featuring a list of some of our favorite local ingredients. This parfait makes a delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert that you can prepare in advance and enjoy on the go! For the dessert version, consider subbing in a local ice cream in place of the skyr and drizzling the top with a bit of local honey or maple syrup. You’ll find most of the ingredients you’ll need in our weekly sale from September 14th – 20th, including Gammelgarden Creamery skyr and Quaker Hill granola, so it’s a perfect time to whip up this localvore treat!
As our Eat Local Challenge rolls on, we’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on a local, organic farm that has been part of our Co-op family for over 30 years – Golden Russet Farm! We acquire more produce from their farm than from any other farm in Vermont! Member-owners can enjoy 20% off of their abundant array of local, organic veggies and their glorious fresh-cut bouquets from September 14th – 20th! Read on to learn more about this wonderful farm and the fine folks who work tirelessly to make it such a special place:
Farming Organically Since 1981
Will and Judy Stevens have been growing organic vegetables commercially since 1981, having started on a small plot of rented land in Monkton, VT. After growing their business and refining their techniques, all the while learning from other pioneers in the Vermont organic farming community, they determined it was time to expand their operation. In 1984 they purchased a former dairy farm with good soils in the agriculturally-rich town of Shoreham, VT, in the southwestern corner of Addison County—and this land has been home to Golden Russet Farm ever since! A few years ago, their daughter Pauline returned home to the farm, and in 2022, Will and Judy began transitioning ownership of the farm to Pauline.
Certified Organic in 1987
The Stevens have always used exclusively organic production practices in their vegetable and greenhouse operations and became certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers in 1987. Among other things, this means they use crop rotation, cover crops, biological and naturally derived pest controls, compost, animal manure, and naturally derived fertilizers as standard management practices. More recently, the farm has also become Real Organic Certified by the Real Organic Project. This is an add-on label certifying farms that remain true to the original tenets of the organic movement by prioritizing fertile soil as the fundamental foundation of organic farming.
CSA, Farmstand, Greenhouse Sales & Cut Flowers for Events
Golden Russet Farm starts off the season with vegetable and flower plant sales in the greenhouses and the Farm-to-Kitchen Connection CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. In addition to raising vegetables for market, they also grow flowers for cutting, which adds color to the fields and creates habitat for beneficial insects. You’ll find these beautiful bouquets for sale throughout the summer months at the Co-op.
A Hyper-Local Sales Focus
Since 2003, the farm’s focus has been on “hyper-local,” meaning that approximately 90% of their produce has been consumed within 20 miles of the farm. Their produce is available at the farm stand, their CSA, at food markets in Middlebury and Burlington, and at Addison County restaurants.
Solar Powered Since 2013
In April of 2013, the Stevens put up five free-standing solar panels which provide them with all of their farm and personal electrical energy needs.
About The Farmers
Judy is a fourth-generation Vermonter from southern Vermont. Her family ran a successful Christmas tree business in the Londonderry area for many years. This experience helped her and Will create a successful mail-order wreath business that they ran from the farm until about 2000. Will moved to Vermont from the Ticonderoga, NY area in 1977 to finish his college education at the University of Vermont, which is where he and Judy met. He graduated in 1980 with a BA in studio art, with a specialty in blacksmithing.
After spending the summer of 1980 at Shelburne Museum (Judy as a weaver, and Will in the Blacksmith’s Shop), they were serendipitously presented with the opportunity to ramp up their homestead gardening interest to a commercial scale, and in the first several years everything they grew was sold exclusively at the Burlington Farmers’ Market. From the beginning, their mission has been to provide good quality food to people at reasonable prices.
Shortly after they moved to an old dairy farm in Shoreham, VT, in November 1984, they began to raise a family–Freeman was born in 1986, Pauline in 1989, and Anna came along in 1991. The kids had a sand pile in front of the shed, which, as the greenhouse plant business grew over the years, became a magnet for customers’ children. At some point, the pile was moved to its present location at the corner of the flower garden, which makes it much easier for shopping parents to keep an eye on their children!
Between 1989 and 1992, Will served as President of Vermont Organic Farmers, which then was NOFA-VT’s certification committee. This was an exciting time in the world of organic agriculture. The sudden interest in the link between food safety and production practices was inspired by Meryl Streep’s CBS appearance on 60 Minutes in the fall of 1989 when she railed against a particular spray used on apples. “Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits” was formed, bringing public awareness to the benefits of organic agriculture. Suddenly, a fringe movement that had been based on back-to-the-land ideals found itself moving toward the mainstream. Some would say that this was the beginning of the localvore movement.
Judy served for 3 years on the board of the Vermont Fresh Network. VFN strives to foster meaningful, mutually profitable relationships between Vermont food producers and chefs and was one of the earliest formal “Farm to Table” initiatives in the nation.
Judy and Will have been actively involved in Town affairs through various organizations and boards. Judy served on the Rescue Squad through much of the eighties and has played an important role in the expansion and promotion of Shoreham’s Platt Memorial Library over the last twenty years. Will was elected to the Town Planning Commission in the mid-nineties and eventually chaired it for several years. He has since served on the Select and Zoning Boards and has been elected Town Moderator every year since 2004.
In November 2006 Will was elected to the Vermont Legislature (as an Independent, representing the Towns of Benson, Orwell, Shoreham, and Whiting) for the first of four two-year terms. He was on the House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee all eight years and served the last four as ranking member. He is especially proud of two programs that came out of his committee during that time: the Farm to Plate and Working Lands Initiatives. Will now serves as an Outreach Representative for Senator Bernie Sanders’ office.
What do you get when you layer local Vermont Fresh basil pesto, Maplebrook Farm fresh mozzarella, Dell’Amore pizza sauce, and local, organic red peppers onto Slice of Vermont fresh pizza dough? A localvore pie that raises the pizza night bar to new heights! You’ll find these ingredients featured in our Weekly Sale from September 7th – 13th at a great price, and they’ll all help you tally points in the September Eat Local Challenge. They’ll also help us continue to add kernels to the Big Corn located at the Co-op entry, which tracks dollars paid to local farmers and producers all month long!